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Author Topic: [DitV][Blue Rose] Keepers of the Flame or 'Dogs in the Veran Marshes'  (Read 12375 times)
oliof
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Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« on: October 08, 2005, 08:20:40 AM »

So, yesterday I had the first meeting with a group of people who wants to try out forgite games and stuff. I thought we had planned on FrankT GMing Dogs in the Vineyard for us, but obviously I overinterpreted a suggestion of his as an announcement of what was going to happen. So much for that.

We were four people, Frank, Martin, Ron, and I. The evening started by Martin and Ron[1] being in early, and FrankT being on time. I mean, that's a great way to start out the evening - everyones excited to be there, and everybody is in early enough so we don't need to rush anything.

FrankT also had some other games up in his sleeve, namely Polaris - which we might try out at some other date. It might be hard to find the phrases Polaris uses to be as concise and compelling to use as the english version. After a short time of everyone getting to know each other (I only had played with Martin before, and FrankT with Ron on several occasions), we started discussing what game to play and who was going to GM. Martin, FrankT and I were keen on playing DitV (which Frank already had GMed, but we others had no previous experience).

The nice people that are on the IRC channel advised me it would be best to try DitV in the standard setting before transposing it to some other genre, but unfortunately Ron was quite against that western thing. Since I wanted to really have a Dogs-like game, I went on talking about this fantasy setting where I thought it would be a snap to setup a DitV-like game without losing anything besides the guns. FrankT then said that he wouldn't be able to GM that as he didn't know Blue Rose, so the mantle of GMship was passed over to me.

We spent some time where Martin and I explained a bit about Blue Rose, what we think the short comings of the presented basic Blue Rose settings were, and where I think (and Martin strongly backed my point of view, fortunately!) A Dogs in the Vineyard-like setting would fit in nicely.

You see, in the Blue Rose core book, there is only a general overview about the game world. The description is centered on Aldis, a renaissance-like society of magic-using do-gooders who have liberal views on the world and have intelligent animals with citizen rights, public schooling and a capital that runs on magic (at least the public illumination and hot water supply for the whole city, but I disgress). Obviously, this is not where a Dogs-like setting fits.

But then there is Jarzon.

Jarzon is a neighbor state to Aldis. In the great sorcerous war a few centuries back, Jarzon was hit by the fallout (ha!) of the witch kings' battles quite hard, and only their strong belief in their interpretation of one of the deities allowed them to survive in their country. Of course, they see their neighbors, who are ruled by a queen that has been appointed by a magical hart (which could be a demon anyway) and study of magic and sorcery approved by the ruling body, so the 'back east' is in the west, but that's only a difference in direction. We have the Roamers, homeless disbelievers who can find their fold in society if only they convert to the faith. We have demons and demonic influences, little settlements that are trying to make a living from the dusty soil, and all that's needed for a proper DitV as far I can see.

We discussed some of the details of the organization of the church of pure light. As written in the book, we have young priests having to travel around the land, before they retire and become priests or return to a secular life. Sounds familiar? We discussed the culture of Jarzon, which is easily to see as arabic, fitting the description of it being a land of hot summer. Of course, You miss the winter as a hard force, but this would be a setting with a strong supernatural feel, dialed all the way up. And then, there is the Veran Marsh, the strip of land that separates Jarzon from Aldis. It's a torn, wounded land, full of evil magics and oppportunity. There are quite alot of settlements near the Marsh, which is of course grwoing and shrinking all the time, and there are of course also settlements quite inside the Marsh, which will need to be visited by DogsKeepers of the Flame every now and then.

We figured out that the Keepers would still have coats like the original dogs, and instead of guns, they'd have swords with blades formed like flames, instead of the common straight edged swords people who are not of the Order have. FrankT did lead us through the character creation process, which went on quite nice. I don't have the character sheets here, but I'll try to remember what the PCs were.

Martin opted for the son of a rich house, who knows the scripture word by word (the corresponding trait being 'I speak with words that are the flames of scripture'), but having problems appyling his knowledge to the real world. We used this for his accomplishment, but more on that later. FrankT plays the son of a roamer mother whose trek was killed off when he was a small boy. He grew up on a lot of superstition, but when his mother went to the city and took on the faith, he followed her. Ron opted for a boy from the 'country side', who has a problem with his animism talent (he is gifted magically, and can hear animals talking to him, which people would see as demonic in the most parts of this land). This character does not like to make important decisions, and is more of a passive follower than a leader.

While FrankT was quite accustomed to the character generation, there was some confusion about how to assign Traits and Relationships. Martin wanted his character's pride to play an important role, and we had a discussion about this being Trait or Relationship. I can't remember, but this was settled to everyones satisfaction.

After this was all done, we went on to accomplishments. FrankT now had me take on responsibility as GM, and helped out with the conflict resolution as I needed some time to get used to it. I love it, by the way! First accomplishment we played out was Martin's, who wanted to have his teachers give him a lesson about charity and compassion. We had a very nice scene in the slums of the city, where we had pupil and teacher quoting scripture like hell, and in the end I won the conflict. So, Martin's character now knows he needs to be more compassionate with those in need, but he still has doubts about how to handle the needs of the poor.

Ron's character was to face his reluctance to play an active part in the team, so he was sent out for a field trip with some of his fellow soon-to-be-dogs. They were in the outskirts of the marshes and realized they had no water with them (which can be dangerous in the Veran Marsh, as You'd never know about the quality or nature of any fluid You might encounter there). Ron that had a rat tell him that doom awaits where is fellows went, and where he could find water. He smashed the rat to death easily (I had rolled very badly on my dice, so it was quite easy for him to win the conflict), and the conflict petered out unconclusively for me. Ron seemed to have an even harder time than me to adjust to all this conflict, relationship, and dice stuff, so I didn't press on too much. I also seemed in a weak position mechanically to enforce the conflict to go on, and to have Ron ponder what to do. I'd like some advice on this, actually.

FrankT's character then was to marry his cousin as part of the ceremonial training he received. This was important for him, because he wanted to learn ceremony (and one of his traits is that he cannot read so well). The ceremony was a nice scene to play out. FrankT rolled very good, and I only slightly better than with Ron, but the conflict went along much better than Rons. I had FrankT see strong hints that the couple might not have been as virginate as they should have been, but a proper reading from the book of light as well as a well-received speech were good reasons to have him go through the ceremony quite well.

So, after the accomplishments were done (only Martin did take some short-term fallout to his Pride), we quit for the night since I wanted some time to get more comfortable with the rules and try and build a town or settlement for the group to encounter. This will be my next task. I did consider adapting the Towns and Branches found in this forum, but then I think I need to change so much I'd be better of building my own from scratch.

So, to wrap a very long post up:

  • Dogs in the Vineyard can find it's way into a standard fantasy setting quite easily. We do have a Dogs-without-guns variant, but almost all the other aspects are there. [2]
  • I have some problems handling the case where my dice don't give the ability to play up a conflict as strongly as I want it to be.
  • I don't exactly know if Ron really likes the setting, or if there is something I could do to win him over. It might also be a bit of unfamiliarity with the distinct loss of structure and win of control over the story

[1] This is not Ron Edwards, but another Ron.
[2] Actually, what's missing is an equivalent to the T.A., but I don't see this as a problem. In the case of settlements near the border, this could be Aldean emissaries or the like, but that's probably my call.
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oliof
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Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2005, 08:22:26 AM »

this probably does belong into Actual Play as well, but I wasn't sure how to divide this into two separate posts, nor could I find out if a post can appear in to sub forum.

Regards,
    Harald
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Frank T
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« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2005, 10:06:01 AM »

I think the thread sits fine in this forum. Thanks for the write-up, Harald. As a small correction, I only played once with Ron, in the Jesus, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll game. I think he's just taking his time, don't worry too much about him. It was actually quite a ride Martin and you were giving us about the setting, and I'm sure my explanation of the rules wasn't less demanding. Plus, I don't think his Accomplishment went bad at all. It showed us how escalating to fighting can really turn a conflict upside down. And it showed you where to further put Ron's character to the test. Knowing him from our other game, I bet he doesn't take that passive part out of discomfort with play, but really as an issue for his character.

Regarding your weak mechanical position in the conflict: That'll change when you play NPCs instead of the generic 4d6 4d10 during the Accomplishment.

I'm really looking forward to playing the game.

- Frank
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Frank T
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« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2005, 11:09:35 AM »

P.S.: We should check if we ave to change some of the ceremony. But I think it'll work finde just the way it is.
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Sydney Freedberg
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« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2005, 12:55:32 PM »

Very neat. (The anti-Barbaren game?) If someone would summarize and outline any changes with mechanical impact (e.g. swords for guns) that you made for this setting, one could link this thread into the official "Alternative Settings" sticky as yet another interesting application of the core game.
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oliof
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Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2005, 03:13:52 PM »

If someone would summarize and outline any changes with mechanical impact (e.g. swords for guns) that you made for this setting, one could link this thread into the official "Alternative Settings" sticky as yet another interesting application of the core game.

Up till now, I don't see the need to change anything mechanically. As Frank said, we might need to look over the ceremony. As the Blue Rose pantheon is directly based on the judeo-christian virtue/vice set, I'd change only little. I would replace Sacred Earth either by coals burnt in the fires of the main temple, or even sacred oil which is set to flame (should burn away so fast as to not hurt anybody).

We talked abit about the sowrds for guns thing. The Blue Rose setting provides Musket like crystal rods magically gifted can use to shoot people at range. But this would not have the ubiquity of guns, and magic using non-priests are not seen to often in the open. The swords of the Keepers are special, but anyone can use the normal straight-edged ones, so we went down that road.

Regards,
   Harald
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oliof
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Posts: 449

Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2005, 03:18:56 PM »

P.S.: We should check if we ave to change some of the ceremony. But I think it'll work finde just the way it is.

The functions of the ceremonies described fit my view on things quite well, provided we modify the paraphernalia used.
Other than that, the game really is almost pure Dogs, only without guns, and even the serial numbers only partially filed off. [skip off-topic remark about viability of Blue Rose default setting premise and how much better this one is]
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oliof
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Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2005, 03:24:53 PM »

I think the thread sits fine in this forum. Thanks for the write-up, Harald. As a small correction, I only played once with Ron, in the Jesus, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll game. I think he's just taking his time, don't worry too much about him.  It was actually quite a ride Martin and you were giving us about the setting, and I'm sure my explanation of the rules wasn't less demanding.

Thanks for the encouragement. I have become sensitive to players being very quiet on the table because of very bad experiences in the past.

Quote
Plus, I don't think his Accomplishment went bad at all. It showed us how escalating to fighting can really turn a conflict upside down. And it showed you where to further put Ron's character to the test. Knowing him from our other game, I bet he doesn't take that passive part out of discomfort with play, but really as an issue for his character.

Regarding your weak mechanical position in the conflict: That'll change when you play NPCs instead of the generic 4d6 4d10 during the Accomplishment.

I'm really looking forward to playing the game.

- Frank

Great input Frank. I am looking forward to it as well, and I think I have quite an idea for a settlement in the outer reaches of the Veran March already....
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