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[DitV] King's Marshalls

Started by Pelgrane, February 23, 2007, 10:37:00 AM

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I ran a game called King's Marshalls using 1st Ed D&D rules. It was intended as the first in a series of "system matters" experiments. I've just run the same game using DitV rules. The variant rules were devised with assistance on this thread.

Game Background
Thirty years ago after a great war, the many warring factions on the Peninsula drafted a King who would have responsibility for maintaining peace across the land. Standing armies would be eliminated, the summoning of dark forces from the outer planes must be stopped, and the King's taxes must be paid. Above all, the King's peace must be kept. To enforce these rules the King's Marshalls were empowered to move from town to town ensuring that the King's laws are obeyed and that rebellion and sedition are prevented. Characters can be knights, magicians, or have other talents. There are orcs and other similar creatures (the equivalent of mountain men.)

The role of "demons" in DitV is replaced by secessionism. There are also actual D&D style demons, but they have a different role. DitV "sorcerers" are seditionists, traitors and rebels.

Magic is handled as follows. When a magician is created, the player takes up to 8 dice from stat dice to create d8 magical traits (usually just a spell). Any "take the blow roll" which includes magical d8s is treated as one category worse for fallout (d10 max) (magic is dangerous). Magical conflicts have been enjoyable, and magicians always seem to risk using them, due to their relatively puny reduced stats. Any defining an item as magic takes this risk, but certain things can only be affected by magic.

The priest got to choose his own ceremonies, appropriate for his beliefs. There is ripe ground for conflict between the religious beliefs and the King's Law.

Marshall's titles are either Sir, Lady, Mage, Marshall or Provost (for a priest)

Every marshall has a badge and a warrant, plus a killing weapon, and a protective item. Other possessions are optional.

Everyone needs to have "I am a King's Marshall" as a trait or relationship.

This is standard DitV except Gunshot is replaced by Lethal weapon.

The Ladder of Rebellion
This is the King's Marshall analog of towns falling apart.
PRIDE ->  Crimes
INJUSTICE -> Injustice ..(in the context of politics rather than morality: taxes set too high, not maintaining the roads, whatever--all those "little laws" are just niggling color that you use to hammer the Crimes below.)
SINS -> Crimes ...against the Kings Law.
"DEMONIC" ATTACKS (things going wrong because of seditious influences)
FALSE DOCTRINE -> Unlawful Declarations ...Actually asserting that the "right" law is NOT the Kings Law.
CORRUPT WORSHIP -> Sedition ...Spreading democratic of nationalistic ideals; enforcing Lords Laws in violation of the Kings Law.
FALSE PRIESTHOOD -> A demagogue arises. Rebellion ...Actively disregarding the Kings Law, be it secretly or openly; drawing neighboring Fiefs into your Sedition.
SORCERY -> Treason
HATE AND MURDER - Secession ...Forming one's own Kingdom within the real Kingdom.

Simon Rogers
Pelgrane Press Ltd


Players and Characters
There were two players who had not played DitV before, one of whom had not really played any indie games at all. One player (Steve) is experienced with the game. I'd never GM'ed it before, and I'm like a sieve when it comes to rules, but it didn't matter too much. The setup took a while with this number of players, and we skipped a startup conflict, leaving it open, because the player couldn't make a decision.

As always, everyone chose to win their startup conflict. I don't think there are enough dice for GMs ever to win this conflict unless the player gives. I suppose I could have done better raises so that they decided to give, but I wanted to ease them in gently.

Mage Ozmadeus
An elf magician. The summoning spell opened him up to conflict with the laws, as what constitutes dark powers is open to interpretation. The Provost worships the god Penteteuch and he and the Ozmadeus took an instant dislike to each other for religious and historical reasons
Acuity:    3d6
Body:   2d6
Heart: 2d6
Will: 3d6
Traits: Magic Lore 2d6, Fast 2d6, Well Educated 2d8, I do not call upon the dark arts 1d6 (startup conflict)
Magical Traits: Polymorph 5d8 (we thought that combining polymorph other and self into one ability had about the right scope), Magic Shielding 1d8, Summon Elemental 1d8,
Relationship: Familiar – 2d8 (a pixie), The King 1d6, Elf Race 1d6.
Possessions: Staff d6+4, Badge of Office, Kings Warrant 1d6, Mage's Robes, 2d8, Spell Book 2d6, Horse d6, Magic Bag 2d6

Sir John Fitz Hugh
The character was from a poor background with dubious contacts. The player had played once before, playing an old experienced dog, opposite an more experienced player with a very young character. It was a hoot.
Acuity:    3d6
Body:   5d6
Heart: 3d6
Will: 3d6
Traits: Acquainted with the lowlife 3d6, King's Marshall 4d4 (interesting), Martial Artist 2d10, Beer Monster d4,  Sociable d6 (startup conflict)
Relationship: Madame LouLou 2d6, Matsuess – rich merchant 2d8, Sir Ewan
Possessions: Kings Warrant d6, Badge of Office d6, Lance 2d8, Plate Armour 2d8, Family Sword 2d6+d4, Marshall's Baton d6, Big Shield 2d8

Marshall Kess
This character was designed a player with no indie game experience.
Acuity:    3d6
Body:   4d6
Heart: 3d6
Will: 3d6
Traits: Agile 2d10, Stealthy 2d8, Weaponmaster 2d8, Smooth Talker 3d6, Sharp Eyed 1d10, (no startup conflict)
Relationship: King's Marshall 2d8, Thieve's Guild 3d6
Possessions: Kings Warrant, Badge of Office, Talisman of Protection 2d8, Short Sword 2d8+d4,  Various Poisons 2d6

Sir Ewan[/b
]Effectively a paladin, and hence ripe for moral conflict. An old comrade of Sir John.
Acuity:    2d6
Body:   4d6
Heart: 4d6
Will: 3d6
Traits: King's Marshall 2d10, My word is my Bond 1d10, I am seasoned warrior 2d8, I know the Laws 2d8, I hate traitors 2d6, Defender of the weak d6 (startup conflict)
Relationship: The King's Road 1d8, Bandits 1d4, Innkeepers 1d6
Possessions: Kings Warrant, Badge of Office, Sir John d6

Provost Gondry
Steve's character - he's an experienced DitV GM and helped out with the rules (sometimes with a quite reasonable degree of exasperation). The character zealous cleric of Penteteuch (in D&D terms a lawful evil god), opening up conflict potential between the religion and state, and by coincidence, ideal for the town. He and the elf are going to kick off. He is effective but gets on everybody's nerves.
Acuity:    2d6
Body:   3d6
Heart: 4d6
Will: 5d6
Traits: Aura of Calm d4, Berate Sinner 3d6, Crush chaos 2d8, I understand the attraction of chaos 1d6 (startup conflict)
Relationship: King's Marshall 3d10, Pentateuch 4d8
Possessions: Kings Warrant d6, Badge of Office d6, Symbol of Penteteuch 2d6, Mace of Penteteuch d8+d4, Robes d4

Mage Livius
A slight, bitter, pedantic magician. The player hadn't played before.
Acuity:    3d6
Body:   3d6
Heart: 3d6
Will: 2d6
Traits: Law 1d8, Interrogation 2d6, Get out of the way d8, Detect lies d4, I'm not a sheep d6 (startup conflict)
Magical Traits: 3d8 Mental Control, 1d8 Divination, 1d8 Reveal Hidden Power, d8 Air Control 1d8, 1d8 Recognise spell
Relationship: King's Marshall 2d6, d8 Alina
Possessions: Kings Warrant d8, Badge of Office d6, Quarterstaff 2d8, Ring of Protection d8, History of Magic 2d6, Horse d8


I won't post the full town as the game is ongoing.

Achalach was an independent town on the border between the Penteteuchian and Estarian regions before the War. During the war, the town stated independent until Penteteuchian secessionists started an abortive rebellion. Tax returns to the King have been very low.

The structure was loosened up a great deal from the D&D original, and I made very sure I had no plans for how it might have gone. In DitV terms, this would be a difficult town, or it wouldn't have made much of a D&D adventure.

The first conflict was between guards blocking the King's Road and those Marshalls who refused to pay them a coin. I was surprised to find that most of them paid. Provost Gondry paid, but then questioned them about every detail of their income and expenditure. A multisided conflict "Do the Gods Pay?" was perhaps not the best way for me to start, and all the goes and rounds got a bit confusing, and I was a little unsure how to deal with people who wanted to hang back, see how and participate later in the conflict. I know you aren't allowed to join a conflict half way through, so I made them participate. I didn't really understand how to apply the advice here to people running to join a melee.

I escalated the conflict to violence, with the guards drawing a bead on the participating players, and it kicked off nicely. The Mage used Summon Elemental as a final raise, the guard tower tumbled. One guard got a broken leg as fallout. The player was pleasantly surprised to find out afterwards that the rebuilding of the tower just happened – there was no conflict, so no need to roll. I could have rolled demonic influence against him, but that was pretty low at this stage. The guards claimed the Lord needed all the money for the standing army against orcish incursions.
Provost Gondry healed the Sergeants leg, and already the Elf was looking for signs of dark magic, and the Provost looked askance at the Elemental. The two players were ripening for conflict.

The next conflict was between the Provost and Sir John, just to try to get him to come into the Inn before visiting the Lord. The raises worked well, with the Provosts success in this conflict making him look like a dick in front of the clientele eg "I don't socialize with riff-raff" in response to Sir John bringing in the "Acquainted with low life"

Then there was a peculiar interlude where I offered up conflicts, none of which were accepted. The innkeeper was feeding his left over food to a farmer's pigs instead of give it to the beggar (Sir Ewan backed down before the conflict began), one person was pre-arrested for a crime that he had not yet committed (the local Seer's divination at work) and even beating up the suspect didn't get a rise, and a woman claimed that the father of her child was not supporting the child properly – instead sending the child to the orphanage. I didn't want to push for conflicts too hard at this stage, but I was surprised at the players' rectitude. Maybe the conflicts weren't grabby enough.
[Interestingly, in the D&D game, the Marshalls just strode in and demanded everyone raise a toast to the King. That would have been a good DitV conflict]

The Elf and Provost passed the Temple of Penteteuch on the way to the Lord's house, and some worshippers jeered and abused the elf. One comment lead to a conflict between the elf and provost over whether the parishioner was putting Church before King – a serious matter. It can only get worse.

In the meantime, Mage Livius got his chance for a first conflict. The guards outside the Lord's tower wouldn't let him in until the Lord was ready. There was a little talking, "A King's Marshal must not wait upon a Lord's whim", but eventually, the guards pushed "the little wimp" away (the players face was a picture), and magic happened. There was lots of fallout. With mind control, Livius prevailed.

The final conflict was between the Elf and the Seer. The Lord sent the Marshalls into another room, but the elf wanted to see what was in the Seer's glass first. They had eye contact, but the Elf gave after the seer used his Voice of Command trait.

The session went well, better than I'd expected in fact. The religious conflict, moral issues relating to laws and traditions and how they interacted with the local mores gave fruitful soil for interesting conflicts. I do need to get the more reluctant players into conflcit.

Simon Rogers
Pelgrane Press


Player comments:
I really enjoyed tonights game, the Dogs system seems to be working
well so far and we've got a good vibe going with these characters. I'm
not sure how much longer Provost Gondry can hold out against the
provocation from Mage Ozomosius. I'm pretty sure that as far as
Pentateuch is concerned elves are demons and can be flayed with

I was pretty impressed with how well the game run on the 'dogs in the vineyard' rules. I think the game has the potential to run a lot slicker than the any S&S game I've ever played. There's very little room for rules lawyers to mess things up and with the 'conflicts' and the  multiples of dice I think there's plenty to keep action jumkies and dice addicts occupied.



Quote from: Pelgrane on February 23, 2007, 12:09:00 PM
The session went well, better than I'd expected in fact. The religious conflict, moral issues relating to laws and traditions and how they interacted with the local mores gave fruitful soil for interesting conflicts.

I'm pleased to hear it!


edited to fix format - RE