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Author Topic: [DitV] Actual Play: Still River  (Read 2794 times)
David Coulter

Posts: 4

« on: September 24, 2006, 12:36:09 PM »

Last night was our first DitV session. It fucking rocked. I was a little nervous at first, as I haven't run anything quite like it before, but it really seemed to bring out the best in everybody's roleplaying and storytelling. I honestly think it was one of the best RPG sessions I've ever been a part of.

The Dogs:

Brother Josiah is a big fellow, strong as an ox, raised in the Faith. As his initiation conflict, he went with "I hope I learned how to shoot." We set up a scene in which his shooting instructor, Brother Samuel, talked him into trusting his own ability. He walked away with some fallout, though--scars on his hands from a powder burn.

Brother Lucias is a convert to the Faith--born a Mormon, in kind of an interesting twist. He ran away from home and grew up on the streets until he was thirteen, when he was adopted by a Faithful family. He's the most black-and-white of the group, and the most hard-line believer. His introductory accomplishment was "I hope I come to terms with my past," as he'd done some pretty ugly things before he converted. We set up a scene where one of the other Dog initiates made fun of his coat (it's a patchwork job made from his old clothes--he's literally wearing his past). He went back and forth with him, using up my pool of dice with argument, then escalating to physical with a shove for his final raise. I didn't have any dice left, so he walked away, leaving his tormentor sprawled on his back and speechless. He took Got No Shame.

Brother Micah is a more bookish sort, raised in Bridal Falls and formally educated in theology as a young man. He took a pretty interesting Dog trait: I'm Proud To Be A Dog. Lots of future plot hookage there. His initiatory conflict was "I hope I learn to talk to women," so I had a young, pretty, female Dog initiate ask him for help studying a particular passage from the Book of Life. He rolled pretty poorly and ended up just taking her over to the appropriate book and walking away in embarrassment. Still Can't Talk To Women.

Now, the town.

Still River


Brother Stephen, Br. Micah's uncle, is a successful farmer with the finest herd of cattle in town. He's not shy about reminding folks of it, either.


Brother Jacob, a sixteen-year-old from the poorer side of town, sees his family eking out a living while Br. Stephen and his kind eat well every night.


Br. Jacob steals a calf from Br. Stephen's farm. His family eats well for a week, and his father, Brother Virgil, doesn't ask too many questions about where it came from. He'd rather not know.


Br. Virgil falls badly ill, burning with fever, mumbling deliriously, and sleeping restlessly.


Br. Jacob sees this as further proof that his family's been given the short end of the stick. He decides: It's alright to steal to even an injustice.


Br. Jacob decides that the King of Life wants him to "even out" the wealth in town. He recruits two more of his friends, Br. Elijah and Br. Jonathan, to help him steal more calves from Br. Stephen's farm. They begin ritually mutilating one cow and leaving it in his field as a warning every time they rob him.


The demons begin whispering to Br. Jacob, telling him that the other rich folks in town should pay, too.


Br. Jacob and his two friends burn down the local general store--with the proprietor still inside, gutted and chained by his ankles from the rafters.


Br. Stephen wants the Dogs to find out who's killing his cattle. He suspects the Mountain People.

Br. Jacob wants the Dogs to force Samuel to share his wealth with the town.

Br. Amos, the local Steward, wants the Dogs to get to the bottom of the murder of the storekeeper and heal Br. Virgil, as well as the other two people who have come down with the same mysterious malady--Br. Jonathan's sister and Br. Elijah's mother.


They want Br. Jacob and his followers to kill Br. Stephen, then lead the other poor people of town in an uprising against the rich.


They want them to side with Br. Jacob, condemning Br. Stephen as a greedy old man.


The boys would ritually murder Br. Stephen and his wife, then burn their house to the ground. They would gather more followers from the young and disaffected in the town, overthrowing the Steward, killing anyone with more money than them, and take their possessions for their own.

Actual Play

The Dogs rode into town in the middle of the night to find the general store already engulfed in flames. Br. Josiah went crashing through the door into the fire to try to save anyone trapped inside, while Br. Micah successfully rallied the gathering crowd of townspeople to form a bucket brigade and try to put the fire out. Br. Josiah made it to the hanging storekeeper, but I raised with the ceiling crashing down on him, and he took a great big pile of fallout dice, reducing his coat by one die for the places it was burned in the fire. Br. Lucius, though, managed to make it through the flames and haul him out before he burned to a crisp. He took fallout himself, and chose to take 1D4 in apathy for the town, as they'd been (from his perspective) willing to stand by and let his fellow dog burn to death rather than go in after him.

After settling the fire, they met Br. Stephen, who told them about the cattle mutilations and his suspicions that the Mountain People were responsible. He invited them back to his house to spend the night, but after everyone had gone to bed, the Dogs snuck out--Br. Josiah to the scene of the fire to investigate further, Br. Lucius and Br. Micah out to the pasture where the cattle had been killed.

Brs. Lucius and Micah found a mess of footprints and a break in the fence and had a conflict over whether to fix it before tracking the prints into the woods. Br. Micah won out and they fixed the fence, then went off into the woods. We ran the tracking as a general opposition conflict, with me raising with the darkness, tangled vines underfoot, and a general sense of despair of finding anything in the dark woods at night. They ended up giving up and going back to the house.

Br. Josiah was poking around the ruins of the store when he was confronted by Br. Jonathan. Br. Josiah demanded to know why the townfolk hadn't done more to save the shopkeeper, and Br. Jonathan responded that he hadn't done much to endear himself to anybody in town. Br. Josiah escalated to physical, grabbing him by the back of the collar and practically shoving his face in the ashes. One thing led to another, and it ended with Br. Jonathan headbutting the Dog, walking away and leaving him dazed and bloodied. Br. Josiah took short-term fallout, going off by himself to sulk. He assigned one of his unused relationship dice to take a 1D8 relationship to Br. Jonathan, eventually realizing he'd been too hasty to put his hands on him and intent to make things right between them.

In the morning, the Dogs met with the Br. Amos, the Steward, who asked them for help healing the sick. We ran them as three different conflicts, and it was really cool--lots of ceremonial raises, with the Dogs singing, praying, quoting scripture, all of that. The first house was Br. Jonathan's family. He gave Br. Josiah a wary look when he saw him, but the Dogs were led into the back bedroom, where the sick girl was. The Dogs anointed her, laid on hands, and began praying for healing when the window burst open and a rushing wind filled the room, a low growling underneath. Br. Josiah used his Strong As An Ox trait to slam the window shut, and the Dogs prayed the demon out of the room, then launched a followup conflict to get the girl to tell them the name of the demon who'd been tormenting her.

The Dogs had a nice synergy going, with Br. Lucius taking the lead on supernatural confrontation with laying on hands, making the sign of the tree, commanding the demons out in authority, Br. Josiah singing hymns and confronting the physical manifestations of demonic power, and Br. Micah using his knowledge of theology and demons to back the others up. As they left the house, Br. Josiah had a moment with Br. Jonathan where he apologized for losing his temper with him the night before, and Br. Jonathan thanked him for healing his sister, a little begrudgingly.

The next house, I ramped up the supernatural a little more--the room felt dark and oppressive when they entered, and the lamps in the room were flickering lowly. As they began the healing rituals, a wind filled the room once again, blowing out all the lights and leaving them in darkness. Br. Josiah went to relight the lamps, and I raised with one of them exploding as he lit it, dousing him in burning oil and cutting him with shattered glass. The Dogs managed to banish the demon, though, and he rolled fallout, rolling pretty poorly and prompting a healing conflict. He rolled well for that one, though, and managed to resist the call of Heaven for the work he still had to do on Earth. He took two long-term fallout, losing a bracelet made of the hair of the girl he hopes to marry and taking a new trait: Afraid Of The Power Of Demons 1D4.

On they went to the third house, where the door to the bedroom was held shut as if by an invisible hand. Br. Lucius kicked in the door and charged in, lifting both hands up in the Sign of the Tree, while Br. Josiah braced him from behind against the howling wind and Br. Micah followed behind, reading from the Book of Life (his copy is a huge, annotated version, several times the size of the usual copy carried by Dogs). After banishing the demon and healing the last of the sick people, the Dogs decided to gather the townfolk in the square and have a good old-fashioned revival meeting. Br. Lucius preached to the Faithful about the need to stick together in community and service to the King, while Brs. Micah and Josiah scanned the crowd. It soon became clear that Brs. Jacob, Jonathan, and Elijah were missing--as well as Brother Stephen and Sister Mabel, Br. Micah's uncle and aunt.

The Dogs still suspected that Br. Stephen might be in on whatever was going on, I think, so they gathered the mob and split up, Mr. Micah heading for Br. Stephen's farm and Brs. Josiah and Lucius searching the town. Br. Micah and his crowd went to the pastures first, but heard a scream coming from the house, at which point he fired his gun into the air and charged for the house. He burst into the parlor to find his aunt and uncle bound and gagged and the three boys standing over them with knives, Br. Jacob clearly possessed with glowing red eyes and pointed teeth that looked like they were filed down. He made to start by quoting scripture at them, but Br. Jacob snarled and charged with his knife, planting it in his shoulder and dealing some wicked Fallout. Brs. Josiah and Lucius soon arrived, managing to subdue the three boys with some tussling and a well-placed rifle butt to the head. Br. Micah took fallout from the knife wound, reducing the dice of his coat where it had been ripped and bloodstained, and taking Game Left Arm 1D4.

After exorcising the demon from Br. Jacob, the three Dogs retired to another room to discuss judgement. And this was the cool part--in a lot of ways, this conflict felt like the climax of the adventure, not the big fight with the knife-wielding cultist kids. The Dogs agreed that Brs. Jonathan and Elijah were basically good kids who'd just been led astray, and decided that they'd have to come to work for Br. Stephen to make restitution for what they'd stolen. They also decided, though, that Br. Stephen needed to be more generous with the townfolk, and Br. Micah decided to have a talk with him about that. They felt, too, that having the boys working for him would give him more motivation to make sure they were taken care off.

The conflict came about when they got to Br. Jacob--Brs. Lucius and Josiah felt that he needed to be executed; that he was a bad limb that needed to be amputated before the infection spread any further. Br. Micah wasn't so sure. He has a relationship with the sin of Violence, and doesn't like killing, even when another Dog might argue it's righteous and necessary. The Dogs launched a conflict and pulled in all kinds of traits, arguing for hours (of game time) until finally Br. Micah grudgingly agreed that there wasn't really another good option. The session ended with Br. Lucius putting a single bullet in the back of Br. Jacob's head at sundown. Can't wait for the next town!

Posts: 9

« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2006, 11:04:22 PM »

Oh yeah, the final conflict was the real meat and two veg of the night :)  Not to say the casting out of demons, struggling with my own haste and fear and hoping Br. Lucius didn't raise a bloody-handed mob wasn't damn cool.....

As Br. Josiah, I truly did believe that ending Br. Jacob was the right thing to do....   But as a young man with his first taste of what his newfound authority might mean, I was more than willing for Br. Mica to talk me around to his way of thinking, even while I was arguing for the pruning of the "deadwood".  The only time my game got drawn all night was when the demon snatched it in a suicidal fit and I was liking it that way.  With lamps and buildings and fire (one more tangle with a blaze and I am taking a fear of fire, I tellya!) being deadly enough, Br. Josiah was powerful motivated not to shoot nobody.

I am loving how much each action you choose is prompted by the question:  What do I/my character (a distinction that got real blurry for a while there) -feel- about this?  Not what is tactical, or smart or even right, but what is in Br. Josiah's heart and soul.

Damn I am glad I bought this game!

"Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken
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