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Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Noclue on May 26, 2010, 10:00:09 PM

Title: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Noclue on May 26, 2010, 10:00:09 PM
I'm planning to run this town at Gamex this weekend in Los Angeles (So, if you're playing on Saturday don't read this). I'm interested in any feedback. Do you think it will work for a con game scenario?

White Rock Crossing

Brother Solomon, a Dog originally from Back East, has spent over a year recuperating in White Rock Crossing under the careful ministrations of the Steward’s young wife, Sister Elianna.

Although things seemed calm in the town the demons soon showed themselves. The summer was freakishly hot and muggy, streams dried up and fields went fallow. When Brother Ezrah's grain started rotting in storage and bloated, maggot-filled cattle corpses washed up in the town's remaining water source, Brother Solomon knew he needed to act.

The root cause was easy to see. The Steward had failed in his duties to the branch, allowing the demons a foothold in town. Brother Boaz was obviously distracted by his pretty new bride, doting on her to such an extent that the town suffered. Brother Solomon annulled the marriage. As the King is merciful, he allowed Brother Boaz to retain his position as Steward.

Brother Boaz was devastated by the loss of his marriage and felt wronged and shamed by the injustice the Dog's verdict. To drown his anger and despair, Brother Boaz turned to strong drink, leaving the town without spiritual leadership.

To fill the breach, Brother Ezrah, Sister Hannah and Sister Leah formed a Council of Elders, ostensibly to oversee the administration of town business until Steward Boaz had overcome his grief. However, the Council, drunk on its own power, soon took over all duties, including leading worship and blessing a child born to Brother Emmanuel and Sister Sophia.

Sister Elianna and Brother Solomon fell in love, not a worldly love, but one written in the stars by the King himself. Brother Solomon put aside his coat but evaded all her questions about marriage. As the months wore on, she discovered that she was carrying Brother Solomon' child and confided in her sister, Patience.

Patience, jealous of her sister’s relationships with the Boaz and Solomon, said some pretty mean things in her anger and concern for her Elianna’s eternal soul. She approached Sister Hannah in strictest confidence. Sister Hannah publicly condemned the young woman as a Jezebel and adulterer, destroying two godly men with her wicked charms. Brother Solomon' shock at the news of the child didn't help matters. Shamed and shunned, the young woman took Brother Solomon's coat from his room and hung herself from the rafters of the branch's worship hall.

Pride: Brother Solomon’s love with Sister Elianna violates his vows and hers. Solomon believes their love is ordained by the King himself and thus their coupling out of wedlock is sacrosanct. He also believes his love for Elianna had nothing to do with annulling her marriage.

Injustice: Brother Boaz, turned to strong drink in order to dampen his pain and despair at losing his wife.

Sin: Brother Solomon and Sister Elianna's adulterous affair. Brother Boaz’s drunkenness. Sister Patience’s covetous attraction and

Injustice: Sister Elianna's pregnancy leads to her being condemned and humiliated.

Sin: Elianna’s suicide. Patience murdering Hannah. Brother Boaz’s vengeful rage.

Pride: Brother Boaz places his own hurts above the needs of the Branch.

Injustice: Believing the Steward will recover with time and care, the Faithful are left to minister to themselves.

Sin:  By abdicating his responsibilities, Brother Boaz has left the faithful open to Demonic Attack.

Pride: Brother Ezrah, Sister Hannah and Sister Leah have formed a false priesthood. What started as a good faith attempt to fill a void, is now a prideful power play, which none of them is willing to relinquish.

Injustice: Sister Hannah’s condemnation of Sister Elianna led to her suicide and then to Sister Patience’s murderous attack.

Sin: The Council acts like a priestly body without the divine authority to do so. They’re judgements are based on pride and greed, rather than the True Faith.

Demonic Attacks: A brooding heat, the air is heavy but it will not rain. The streams have failed and the crops are withering. Images of rot and insects abound. Corpses.  The demons inhabit the multitude of carrion birds that have flocked to the town. They seek to feed the negative emotions of the townsfolk – lust, jealousy, rage, despair, greed, and covetousness.

False Doctrine: Brother Solomon believes he can take up again the work of a Dog after casting aside his coat. The Council of Elders believes they can act in the Steward’s stead and provide spiritual guidance to the Branch.

Corrupt Worship: The Council of Elders are leading services and blessing babies.

False Priesthood: The Council of Elders’ usurpation of the Steward’s role makes them a false priesthood.

Sorcery: Sister Leah is a sorcerer using her powers to push Brother Ezrah to assume more and more power, at times possessing him to work her will through his actions. She is enhancing Sister Hannah’s rigidity and sense of propriety. She has also worked her magic on Brother Boaz, Sister Elianna and Sister Patience, heightening their feelings of grief and despair.
Hate and Murder:  Patience blamed herself for Elianna’s death. She fell in love with Brother Solomon at first sight and slipped a mountain folk love potion into his coffee. Obviously, it worked all too well. In her rage and grief, she fell upon Sister Hannah with a knitting needle, putting out her eye.

Brother Boaz is in a murderous rage as well, but he is fixated on Brother Solomon, the source of all of his woes, whose misuse of power had destroyed both himself and his naive young wife, corrupted Sister Patience and opened the town up to demonic attacks.

This is the town the Dogs find: Sister Elianna has been cut down from the Church rafters, a bit of Brother Solomon’s coat still clings there. Brother Solomon, wearing his torn coat once again, is loading his guns and going to confront the Council who he blames for her death. Sister Patience is being held in the Steward’s vacant house to await sentencing. Sister’s Hannah’s wounds are being tended. Brother Boaz, is armed and drunk and spoiling for a shot at Brother Solomon.


BROTHER SOLOMON wants Sister Hannah, Sister Leah and Brother Ezrah to pay for the Sister Elianna’s suicide.

BROTHER BOAZ wants Brother Solomon dead, but he’ll settle for him admitting his sins and being publically stripped of his office.

SISTER PATIENCE wants the Dogs to forgive her for killing her sister and attacking Sister Hannah.

BROTHER EZRAH wants to remain in power, either as the head of the Council or as the new Steward.

SISTER LEAH wants the Dogs to destroy everyone who might be a source of power in the town, leaving her alone to wield her influence.

SISTER HANNAH wants Sister Patience punished for her crimes and cast out of the Branch.

THE DEMONS want to see the town erupt in hate and murder. They want to see the Branch declare the Brother Solomon profane and kill him. They want Brother Solomon to kill the council members.
What Would Happen if the Dogs Never Came?
The council would declare Brother Solomon to have been stripped of his office when he cast off his coat. Brother Boaz would shoot Brother Solomon. Brother Solomon would shoot Sister Hannah. Sister Patience would follow her sister’s lead and kill herself. Brother Ezrah and the rest of the Council would evolve into a sorcerous coven and lead the entire Branch into spiritual ruin.

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Noclue on June 13, 2010, 08:54:16 AM
I should add:

Any thoughts or advice?

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Paul T on June 14, 2010, 06:02:51 AM

This is a very cool, twisted Town, with a lot of things to grasp at, but all coming together into a big mess ready to explode.

My concern would be about the time frame. Is this a typical 4-hour Con slot or something similar? You have a lot of material to get through in that short a time, especially if you do the typical character creation + initiation before play. I could see this sort of game going very long, especially with a group of cautious players (which could easily happen in a Con situation): there's a LOT of backstory to communicate.

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Noclue on June 21, 2010, 11:15:00 PM
Thanks Paul. It did run a bit long, but I was in the late night slot, so we ran over a bit. The town worked well and was a satisfying game both at the con and with my regular group. Judd commented that it might play better as a later town rather than a first town, and I think I agree with that because it allows time for the players to identify themselves as Dogs before they're confronted with Brother Solomon. Still it was fun both times. In my group's game in particular, the impact of revealing that Elianna hung herself with a Dog's coat was palpable.

In the con game the PCs ride in and just as I'm about to tell them everything that's going on in town, one of the Dogs commands everyone to sit down and shut up and then orders them all to head for there homes and wait quietly. This gave me a chuckle. Then they start to examine Elianna's body and go all CSI. I really try hard to avoid investigation when I'm running Dogs, it's an easy trap to fall into. So I had to act quickly with very definitive statements like "It is clear to you this girl has been hung."

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Paul T on June 22, 2010, 09:31:49 AM

How many players did you have?

Is there anything about the town write-up that you would change if you were to run it again?

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Noclue on June 26, 2010, 03:24:45 PM
Both games had three Dogs. I don't think I would change the write up at all. One thing I do like is that there's quite a few folks with sins needing judgement besides the sorceress. Interestingly, in both games the Dogs were merciful on Solomon, talking him into hanging up his coat for good and moving on.

In my home game, the Dogs had a major throw down with the Council and ended up turning the Sorceress into a disfigured mass of burns and wounds by throwing a jar of sacred earth in her face. After that, I gave and the demons dispersed, leaving them with the now whimpering and all too human form of Sister Leah. There was this interesting interchange where the character with heresy in his background pulled his pistol to put her down, the poor, tough street urchin PC wanted to save her and the loud mouthed, meddlesome know-it-all took one look and decided to have no part in the decision. I liked the tension there.

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Andrew-UK on July 23, 2010, 04:09:29 AM
Ran this town this week pretty much as written with the only a few little changes:
  • They arrived in the middle of a torrential down pour
  • The dogs found Sr Elianna hanging from the coat before anyone else
  • Sr Leah later possessed Sr Hannah as a way to drive the dogs out

Something very unexpected happened, three of my dogs died and the final one decided he should retire and stay in the town as the new steward. As an ending to a game we all actually really enjoyed it (was very cinematic to have one of the dogs stumble out into the rain and collapse in the mud).

In the final scene the dogs found Sr Hannah in the full throws of demonic possession and between her claws and inflicting fallout one d higher then normal she killed two dogs outright (both players were very unlucky with their fallout rolls). The third dog did a little better but didn't survive the follow up.

This brings me to one of the problems I am having with the system (its all me its not the game) and this town exposed it for me. There is a lot going on in this town, and communicating that effectively is hard. I have embraced the idea you must not have an outcome in mind (I couldn't have predicted the outcome of this town), but I do think you need to have a number of encounters you can draw on when no clear path is presented. Just so you can keep the pressure up and move the story forward. The ideas I am coming up with on the fly are working but I don't think they are as engaging as they could be. But perhaps I should just let the game stall, and see what the dogs come up with on their own.

I am looking to run Apocalypse World at some point soon, but with its much more open world I think I need more practice.

This is an interesting town, but perhaps there is too much back story. Entirely depends on what your players are looking for. I think mine got a little disinterested and ultimately did something they shouldn't have. But that is part of what this game is all about.

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Noclue on July 24, 2010, 01:58:08 PM
Hi Binney (do you have a real name that I can call you?). Thanks for running my town. It sounds like you had fun. So, neat!

The town does have a lot going on, but I think the key is to play the town wanting the Dogs to learn about it. I struggle with this in the first parts of the session, but it gets easier as things go forward. I get someone in front of the Dogs who wants to tell them lots of stuff. Someone who has opinions, strong opinions about what needs fixin'. Then I make sure to get someone else in front of them who has other opinions, but is equally active in telling the Dogs what they think.

If things flag, I have tried to remember to look down at what the NPCs want. Rather than have set pieces prepared, I try to just reach for an NPC, look at what they want from the Dogs and figure out how they are going to try to get that right now. I think this has helped me with pacing, but it's still a skill I'm improving.

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Noclue on July 24, 2010, 02:01:05 PM
I just realized that your name might actually be Binney. If so, Hi. Otherwise, it's nice to have a real name here. My name is James, like in my sig. :)

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Andrew-UK on July 25, 2010, 05:54:27 AM
Actual name is Andrew. Binny is something I picked up, and really should stop using :P

I know just what you are saying about it becoming easier to run as the game goes on. Towards the end of the night it was flowing much better. Totally agree when I am stuck I just look down at what each of the characters wants and go with what feels right for that moment.

Seems I end up with a character coming in, getting angry, shouting a little then storming off to find someone. Normally that is fine, just need to mix it up a little. In this one Boaz was one of the first to see Elianna. Being totally drunk he started shouting and my Dog initially tried to calm him down then let him go. This one worked out nicely because as the Dogs were riding back into town with Solomon, Boaz started taking pot shots at them.

My Dogs loved Solomon. Were prepared to do anything he wanted, to the point they were more than happy to just stand back and let him kill the Elders. That is when it turned bad and Dogs ended up in a shooting match.

On the whole a lot of fun! Got another group starting out soon, going to run this one past them after they have tried a few simpler towns.


Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Noclue on July 25, 2010, 12:52:11 PM
  • The dogs found Sr Elianna hanging from the coat before anyone else

BTW, this is pure awesome. I thought about it briefly in Town Creation and didn't do it. I think I shied away from it as being possibly too contrived, but I think my decision was the wrong one. I'm planning on running the town again at Gateway in Sept. and will kick it off with this.

Title: Re: [DITV] White Rock Crossing, my new town
Post by: Andrew-UK on July 26, 2010, 02:40:25 AM
I think with a lot of these ideas when you write them down they feel contrived and over used, so you decide to be a little more subtle. But I you have to make some things obvious and a little cheap so the players know where to focus. If you are all friends the worst that will happen is they will have a laugh at how blatant you are :)

Part of the reason I wanted a heavy rain storm when they got to the town was this set up. The first instinct was to take shelter and the town hall is the easiest place to go. When they opened the doors the lightning and thunder were coming down thick and fast and it worked really well. I didn't reveal it was a coat until they looked a little closer.

As the book says always push for a little more, turn the dial up where ever you can. Seeing a girl hanging from a Dogs coat was a great idea Noclue. My players loved it!