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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 47 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [DitV] Green Creek Pass  (Read 4126 times)

Posts: 226

Alexander Newman

« on: October 09, 2005, 07:43:51 PM »

I'm preparing to run Dogs in the Vineyard for the first time in a one-shot next Saturday, which I'll repeat the following Saturday for a new group of four. Inspired by one of the coat descriptions in the text and a trip to Zion National Park in the snow, I followed the town creation rules for Green Creek Pass. I would welcome suggestions on trimming fat, adding devious bangs, tightening up the NPCs motivations, that sort of thing. The scene is mid April in Green Creek Pass, with snow still not lifted, belts tight, and the cold pressing in:

1a. Pride
- Sr. Hannah, wife of Steward Credence, believes her status as a former Dog makes her more suited to be Steward than her husband. (Sr. Hannah has the six coats she wore as a Dog hung up in the Meeting Hall).
- Sr. Hannah also believes she should take a second husband, and has seduced young Br. Thomas.

1b. Injustice
- Br. Credence's Stewardship is usurped, and his status as man of the family undermined.
- Sr. Hannah has barred Br. Noah — Thomas' father, and owner of a dry goods store — from the Meeting House for speaking out against her courting his son.
- Br. Thomas cannot court Sr. Ruth — daughter of the other dry goods store owner, Br. Luke.
- Families in this divided congregation are getting hungrier or colder.

2a. Sin
- Br. Credence defers to his wife on matters of Faith.
- Sr. Hannah often leads the congregation in worship.
- Br. Thomas and Sr. Hannah have had sex — repeatedly.
- Br. Thomas rejects the Stewardship of his father.
- Sr. Hannah has preached calumny against Br. Noah.
- Two-thirds of the congregation have ostracised Br. Noah and his family.
- Br. Noah holds meetings for the rest of the congregation at his house.
- Br. McCaleb, Br. Noah's youngest has been (falsely) accused of stealing food from Br. Luke's store, and is being locked in stocks as the Dogs arrive.

2b. Demonic Attacks
- Food has gone missing from the winter supplies of the Steward's congregation, and Br. Luke's store.
- Coal has gone missing from the winter supplies of Br. Noah's congregation, and his store.
- The winter has been unusually harsh, although both the Meeting Hall and Noah's Store are warmer.
- Every night, ice forms and cracks with a sound like gunshot in the creek.
- Br. Thomas is afflicted with priapism; sex with Hannah cures it for a day.

3a. False Doctrine
- Sr. Hannah: women who have once been called as Dogs can take on Stewardship of a branch.
- Sr. Hannah: Stewards can take second spouses, thus women can marry two men.
- Br. Noah: it is righteous to take on Stewardship of the branch if the old Steward is rotten.

3b. Corrupt Practices
- Sr. Hannah preaches, and Steward Credence's congregation treat her word as doctrine.
- Steward Credence's congregation accepts her courtship of Thomas.
- Br. Noah acts as Steward for part of the congregation.

4 and 5 skipped - there's plenty going on for a one-shot.

6a. People
- Steward Credence — wants the Dogs to put his wife in her place, so he can get on with being a Steward. Preferably without him having to ask for help in her presence.
- Brother Luke — wants the Dogs to run Noah out of town; he never liked the competition.
- Brother Noah — wants the Dogs to declare him Steward and talk sense into his son.
- Brother Thomas — wants the Dogs to tell him what to do about the priapism, so he can get back to courting Ruth.
- Brother McCaleb — wants the Dogs to prove his innocence.
- Sister Hannah — wants the Dogs to validate her false Stewardship.
- Sister Ruth — wants to be courted by Thomas, but may fall desperately in love with one of the Dogs.

6b. Demons
- The Demons are relishing the division of the congregation into two sects practising false doctrine.
- They want Br. Thomas to join Sr. Hannah in forming a cult with Br. Luke.
- They want Sr. Hannah to have Br. Noah killed.
- They'll frame Br. Noah's family for the food thefts.

6c. If the Dogs never came...
- ... McCaleb would be put in the stocks and freeze to death, Noah would try to shoot Hannah, Thomas would kill his father and rape Ruth, Luke would kill Thomas, and things would get worse from there.

As you can see, I didn't go all the way up to Sorcery: I'm not certain that's the right choice, although my instinct was to avoid overt possession for now. It's right around the corner though, since technically both congregations are probably cults.

Winning gives birth to hostility.
Losing, one lies down in pain.
The calmed lie down with ease,
having set winning & losing aside.

- Samyutta Nikaya III, 14
Jason Morningstar

Posts: 1428

« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2005, 07:02:32 AM »

Wow, that's a mean little town you got going there.  A heartbeat away from sorcery, hate and murder. 

I think you are right in deciding there is plenty going on, because there is!  The thing I find most interesting is that a former Dog has strayed so far, so fast - there must be some interesting reasons for that.  It isn't like she doesn't know that her behavior is causing problems - she's seen it in countless other towns, and she probably killed a few people who were acting like she is now.  Whatever her motivations are, they must be VERY COMPELLING INDEED.  To that end, what if she slipped into a deal with the devil, literally - what if somehow her misbehavior was keeping everybody fed?  Just an idea, not sure it works with her wants as written.  One cool thing about that could be the introduction of a demon she knew "professionally" from way back and sort of kept tabs on, then called on when things got bad.  This elevates it to sorcery, but it could work. 

Similarly, what if the steward, rather than wanting her put in her place, really wanted to allow her to take his place?  That makes him interesting and vulnerable and full of sin himself.  Again, YMMV. 

Since all the badness is tightly interconnected, I think this could be successfully resolved as a one-shot.  I'd make sure that everybody's wants were both mutually exclusive and perfectly reasonable in context. 



Posts: 226

Alexander Newman

« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2005, 04:25:35 PM »

Thanks for the input, Jason.

I saw Sr. Hannah's pride starting out way back when: the seed of her pride was planted when her first coat was so worn it was replaced by the town she was serving at the time, since "Some Dogs come out of their service with three or four coats, the earlier ones packed carefully away to preserve them. [p.35, GenCon ed.]" Sister Hannah came away with six, and what was a badge of honour turned prideful. I see her having appointed Credence Steward, then left the service in Bridal Veil Falls and returned to Green Creek Pass to marry him. Perhaps the initial pride was Credence's: pride that his wife was a better Dog than 'most any Dog around. I was honestly torn between making Credence resent his wife, or love and admire her too much. I think the latter may be more interesting. He hung those coats carefully in the Meeting Hall, and let the demons right into town.

You're absolutely right that her current motivations need to be very compelling, and given that she's got two thirds of the congregation on her side, it's possibly unsupportable that she's not a Sorceress leading a cult (with her husband and Br. Luke as the first three - I think Luke, a latecomer to the town creation, needs stronger drives). In which case, I think I could reasonably escalate her to calling on the "Queen of Life" to keep them warm. Do you think there's room for that to happen as a consequence of the Dogs' arrival? She could escalate to that point if pushed to it. I'm a little concerned that that would make her less 'realistic' - could her pride have consumed her that much? I want to say "Sure, why not?"

On further reflection, I think it would be fun to have the Dogs met by McCaleb's as-yet-unnamed mother (Rosemary?) begging them to release him and keep him from death. I think having his Mom beg them to free him and call him from the brink of death, and telling the players that she's right, and he's incontrovertibly innocent might be a fun kicker (did I get the term right?) to get them either fighting for his life (against the demonic influence, too... they're going to hear that creek crack from well outside of town)... or not... and dealing withthe consequences. It also neatly avoids having all the principals right there at the very start of the town, allowing for a bit more getting to the bottom of things.

I have a game-rulesy question, too: is it reasonable for Sr. Hannah not to realise she has become a sorcerer? To think that 'miracles' are being granted her by the 'Queen of Life'? Hmmm, as I write it, I think I can answer my own question. Sure: the voice of the 'Queen of Life' is that of a demon, and the King of Life isn't talking to Hannah any more.

Thanks, again, for the helpful focus. I must go flesh out the wants.


P.S. I'm looking forward to trying out The Shab-al-Hiri Roach. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to persuade my boyfriend's mother to play: she's been a Dean. Hehe.

Winning gives birth to hostility.
Losing, one lies down in pain.
The calmed lie down with ease,
having set winning & losing aside.

- Samyutta Nikaya III, 14
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