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[DitV AP] White Stag

Started by Falc, May 21, 2009, 02:56:23 PM

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The town of White Stag was founded way back when, when Brother Zacharias went hunting in the woods that existed there and shot a bone-white deer stag. Feeling that this was a sign from the King of Life, he settled there with his family and over time the town has expanded. However, Something is now Wrong in White Stag...

It all started with Adam and Benjamin, two brothers. The town has kept a tradition of hunting in the woods, and Adam, the older brother, was an accomplished woodsman, very much like his father, a fact that gave him much Pride. Benjamin, though, never seemed to get the knack of it and frequently found himself ridiculed and Injustly treated by his brother and their friends.

One day, now six months ago, both brothers went out hunting to fill out their family's winter reserves. As usual, Adam asked his brother to keep his distance so he wouldn't scare off his prey, which Benjamin complied with. But Benjamin suddenly found himself looking at a bone-white deer stag! Almost in a trance, overwhelmed by the moment, Benjamin took aim and shot the stag dead with a single bullet.

Standing over his kill and still dazed from the event, Benjamin soon found his brother next to him. To Adam, it was clear that whoever took this kill back to town, would be remembered for ever. Unable to stomach the thought of his brother getting all the praise, a discussion erupted wherein Adam declared he would take credit. After all, no-one would believe Benjamin, who wasn't capable of hitting the broad side of a barn.

Enraged by this, Benjamin decided he would no longer suffer this injustice and he hit his brother over the head with a dead tree branch, killing him. He dumped the body down the nearby cliffs and returned home, with his trophy and a story of how they had separated, how he had shot the stag and how his brother had not appeared after the shot. Search parties were organized but the body was not found.

This murder and the lies to cover it up, gave the Demons a perfect way into the town. Now that Adam's disappearance had been accepted as a hunting accident, the Demons arranged for more such accidents to occur. Over these past 6 months, 8 men have gone missing or have been found killed by freak occurrences.

These deaths have caused much grief in the community. The first death (after Adam) was Joseph, husband to Esther, who is the daughter of Brother Matthew, the Steward of White Stag. Esther and Deborah, Adam's mother, were joined by their loss and with every death, their little circle of grieving women grew. Discussions amongst them started about why this was happening, why so many people were dying recently, what they had done to deserve this. Pretty soon, they started believeing that the King of Life is punishing us for the hunting. After all, he is the King of all Life...

This belief spread very easily amongst these women and corrupted their worship as they started praying to be released from the divine wrath, while trying to convince the rest of the town to stop the hunting. Seeing how their pleas were mostly ignored by the others, they finally decided to have their own private religious meetings, under the leadership of Esther, turing her into a False Priest.

Their prayers for guidance and help to convince the men that the hunt should be stopped, have been heard, but not in the way they hoped. A bear from the woods has become possessed and for the past two weeks, he has been hunting the hunters. So far, he has killed 3 more men and injured 2 more. The town has decided to go after this demonic menace in full force, while the women are pleading them to not go.

And this is when the Dogs ride into town.

Brother Mattheus, bookish, deeply religious, not very sociable. Disturbed by nightmares in which he commits grievous sins.
Brother Eliah, a man of action. Tends to let his fists do the talking. His mother died at a very young age and he is convinced this was a Demon's doing. Tends to carry around all sorts of exorcism parafernalia.
Sister Surayah, grew up as a shepherdess. Good at natural things, healing and such. Also not very sociable. Not very tall, but has a huge horse and a sheepdog. Wants to follow her grandmother's footsteps.

They first manage to keep the men from going out, mostly by telling them that if it is really a demon, they'd be killed and that this is a job for the Dogs. Surayah makes contact with Esther and hears the basic, not-really-objectionable bits of what she believes about the town's situation.

This is followed by the Dogs handing out the mail and Eliah meeting Deborah, who came from his home town. They talk about what happened to her sons and it's pretty clear to everyone that they should have a chat with Benjamin.

They head to the family's house and confront Benjamin, who ends up admitting the murder after low dice rolls means he can't put up much of a fight. The Dog's decision? Tomorrow, they'll take him into the woods and make him face the bear! They assumed that it was his sin that brought on the demonic bear and while technically true, I did what the book says and let them run with it.

So they took Benjamin back to town under some pretense and left him in the care of the Steward, while they organised an evening service where they blessed the graves of the recent deaths, had a whole sermon from Brother Mattheus basically about how it's okay to hunt, and had Brother Eliah do his anti-demon things. Afterwards, Surayah was approached by Judith. Judith is her niece, their mothers being sisters. However, Judith's mother died a few years ago and her father died a month ago in one of the 'hunting accidents'. Now an orphan, she's received a whole lot of support form Esther and the others, but she's a bit worried about some of the thing Esther's been telling her. Surayah tells her she should listen to what Brother Mattheus has said instead of Esther, but Surayah does decide she'll have a chat with Esther.

The next scene is when they prepare to go out to hunt the bear, with Benjamin along. They make him confess his sins to his parents before going, and Deborah starts a conflict pleading for her only remaining son's life, causing some interesting Fallout but eventually having to let her son go.

The group enters the woods and finds the bear without too much problems. The glowing red eyes confirm he's either a demon or possessed. They send Benjamin forward with his rifle, but instead of shooting at him, he just keeps wakling towards it while the bear just looks at them. The Dogs start worrying a bit about how he might end up being in control of the bear and how they may have made an error, but they don't actually do anything. Benjamin walks up to the bear, shoulders his rifle and shoots the bear in the head. The bear doesn't even blink and then pounces on Benjamin, shredding him to pieces in a few heartbeats.

This does finally kick the Dogs into gear and they start a conflict with the bear, which they win, exorcising it moments before it passes away from its wounds. We had to stop then, so it ain't finished since I still expect a showdown with the sorceress Esther.

However, that one conflict with the bear brough quite a few mechanical difficulties and questions, so I'll go into detail about those.

First off, the start. We had some trouble agreeing on what arena we'd start in: Surayah wanted to shoot him, Eliah wanted to shoot him while performing ceremony and Mattheus wasn't quite certain. It didn't help one bit that they were facing a bear, an animal incapable of talking or shooting... They finally did accept to agree on shooting and I as the bear decided to stay at range for one Round and unleashed a soul-shaking, demonically powered roar as a Raise which was deemed acceptable by all present. Problem was then that Surayah wanted to escalate to physical to counter the roar by plugging her ears, Eliah did something along the same lines, but Mattheus wanted to start singing a hymn, which would be talking... I let them all roll their dice and since the whole arena and escalation thing was being thrown out and considered a bit silly, I just rolled all the bear's dice as well (shooting + physical meant they had rolled all their stats anyway...).

The next round (also the last) saw the bear using these dice to charge into the group and inflict 3d10 Fallout on each (Viciousness + his claws are weapons). Soon after the bear's gone and they roll. Eliah gets a 15 but his high Body saves him, so he's fine. Mattheus rolls an 18, so he's dying. Surayah, the healer of the group, rolls a 13 but only has 2 Body. So we have two people dying and in need of medical attention. Oh dear...

We decide to have Surayah save herself first while Eliah tends to Mattheus just enough to keep him alive until Surayah's done. Now, to start with, I'm no fan of these 'stay alive' conflicts because I hardly ever know what to Raise with and I feel that they tend to drag things out. Maybe it's me but I've always failed to create any sort of tension in these. Anyway, Surayah rolls not-so-good and I roll very good. Problem is, there's no arenas so there's no escalating in this conflict. Or at least, not as I understand. So she's kinda stuck, she'll win but I cause Fallout. Again. On her because hey, she's giving herself medical treatment. This is the point where I basically gave up on this. We did end up rolling, she got a second XP fallout from it (after one from the bear attack) and thankfully it ended there. She then proceeded to stabilize Mattheus when I rolled 3 high dice and 2 low ones and since they started they forced me to grossly overpay and I just gave then and there.

So, my specific questions:

1) How do I handle multiple characters involved in a conflict who want to escalate differently? Who want to start in different arenas?

2) Any thoughts on perhaps a bit more streamlined Fallout system?


First of all, it sounds like you had a great game. I'm not sure I'm understanding your issues with multiple character fallout. The Dogs do not have to be in agreement about what they're doing. One can be trying to talk to the Bear while another Dog escalates to gunplay and starts firing. Just start in order of the best roll. They roll dice and narrate their goes. Let them each decide when to roll in their dice from escalations as long as they narrate what their doing. If one Dog wants to shoot the Bear and the other wants to stop him, then you may have a conflict between the Dogs too.

Oh, and who says demon possessed bears can't talk?

As for fallout, that works fine as is. I see no need to streamline it at all. Vicious is...well, vicious. And just to be sure you were just looking at the highest two dice, right?

In my experience, I've found healing conflicts to be tense as hell. With Dogs taking D6 fallout from their efforts it can get nasty, especially if the demonic influence is way up there. Its nasty to watch someone go into convulsions while you're trying to put their skull back together.
James R.


Just to back up what James said, there seems to be a pretty misconception that "escalating" means the entire conflict escalates and EVERYONE has to escalate together.  That's not right.  Escalation is per character.  It can also be momentary and you can shift back and forth.

So you can start at Gunfighting.  Then "escalate" to Just Talking.  The go right back to gunfighting and may through a punch in there to "escalate" to fighting.  The idea is that you get the dice the FIRST time you take an action in a new arena, that's it.  The second thing is that you deliver fallout based on what you did.  So if you shoot at someone you do d10 if you then make a raise that's Just Talking you go back to do doing d4s and then when you change again and throw that punch it's a d8.

It's way more fluid and organic than some people seem to think.



These have been very interesting and useful responses, thank you. While I did know that the current arena does not mean you have to act accordingly, it wasn't clear that it's actually a per-person thing and not applicable to the entire conflict.

Which does lead me to one other question.

See, this all started when people wanted to start in different arenas. However, if we state that 'talking' or 'shooting' are personal choices, then there's no problem with that. Except that no-one's rolled any dice yet, so there's no way to tell who's gonna act first. And maybe I do want to start talking, but if I end up last in the round and all hell's broken loose and I'm now convinced that talking just won't do... Then what? I've rolled my talking dice but I might never make a talking Raise nor See.

So I'm thinking it might be better to start with everyone rolling 2d6, with no other purpose but to determine 'initiative'. Highest roll gets to make the first Raise, decides what he's doing and rolls some additional d6es for their first arena (I do believe you can't have a stat at 0 so those first 2d6 are the absolute minimum you'll roll in any arena), whoever's affected decides on their See and its arena and rolls additional d6es for that, and then the next person gets their Raise, etc.


If the players disagree about the starting arena, the GM decides. The GM should choose the one that happens first, narrative-wise; if it's not clear which that is, the GM should choose by which makes more sense to him inside his own personal head. If the GM can't do this, maybe because he can't stand to make decisions in the face of his friends' incompatible expectations, or maybe because he's seized with indecision in the crunch, or why ever else, then he's got no biz GMing Dogs.



Vincent, I must say I find your reply a bit... odd, since it doesn't seem to address the point I was making.

Starting everyone off in the same arena could mean that players end up rolling dice for 'talking' even though they'll never Raise or See with 'talking'. While I don't see it as a huge problem, the little test balloon I wrote seemed to be a simple and useful solution. So, basically, I would really like to have a bit more details about why you feel the proposal I made is wrong?


Falc, it really doesn't matter much. First, be sure everyone is actually in the same conflict, meaning there's just one thing at stake. If not, you have more than one conflict in the group. Once stakes are agreed upon, they will likely guide you to what arena you're in (like "Does my bullet kill Borther Enis" will suggest you're in a gunfight, even if not everyone is shooting). Next, I would suggest that anyone who is just talkin' roll acuity and heart, anyone who is shooting roll Acuity plus will. But anytime someone who's shooting decides to talk, just roll your hear dice in, etc.

James R.