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Author Topic: [DitV] Advice for long-lasting campaign  (Read 7223 times)
.:. Lupo .:.
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« on: February 02, 2011, 05:24:31 AM »

Hi, I am new here. Hello to everybody, and thanks to Vincent Baker for his wonderful game. It was a privilege to be able to buy it directly from its author (e.g., rather than giving money to some faceless publishing company).

I've played/Gmed Dogs in the Vineyard 4 or 5 times in the past years, always in one-shot sessions. Now I am about to start GMing what is meant to be a long-lasting campaign. (well, what I hope to be a long-lasting campaign; we start tomorrow).

I know that DitV is best suited for episodic play, but I guess it can handle a long campaign just fine... so what I'd like to ask is:

- Has anybody successfully played a long-lasting DitV campaign?
- Any advice on how to do so? Any rules modifications or "tricks" which should be used to make a long campaign better?
- Do you see any drawbacks/problems in using recurring NPCs, allowing the Dogs to build relationships, allies, enemies, adding some "big picture" elements to the game and so on?
- I've found many ready-to-play Towns online. Does anybody know of any "sequels", that is, of any already Town which has two "adventures" written for it? Say the Dogs come back to a city they already visited, but they find new "Something is Wrong", new Sins and some new NPCs (of course, any such 'sequel' should be heavily adapted to reflect what the players actually did in the previous adventure).
- Somewhere in DitV, Vincent Baker comments that if he were to build a very large town, meant to last more than one session or two, he'd write some different, unrelated sets of "Wrongs" (e.g., three different paths to Pride/Injustice/Sin and so on). Does anybody know of an online Town which has these characteristics?

Thanks in advance for all the answers!
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 06:18:30 AM »

The game won't last past a dozen towns, give or take. That's pretty much as long a campaign as the game can do.

Always make your own towns! Towns online are fine as examples, but you should be the one doing town creation.

Returning again to a town you've already visited is okay, but speculating about it online always goes terribly. I recommend not thinking about it at all until you're sitting down to do it for reals.

Some people like recurring relationships, but I don't. Assigning relationship dice means committing your reserves to this, right now; there's no guarantee that you'll ever get to roll those dice again.

Start with straightforward towns that go all the way to hate and murder, with a sorcerer who's obviously a sorcerer. You can get more complicated later, if you find you still want to. These are Western crime thrillers; you'd be bored stupid if you went to see a Western and there wasn't even a murder in it.

-Vincent
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.:. Lupo .:.
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« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 08:30:34 AM »

Wow... that was quick :)

The game won't last past a dozen towns, give or take. That's pretty much as long a campaign as the game can do.

A dozens towns should be long enough for my needs. That's 12-15 sessions or 4-5 months. Not really a "long" campaign, but definitely a campaign.
I am curious why the game won't last past a dozen towns, though... do you mean that by then the characters will have been explored in all possible respects?
Or that the game itself will become repetitive, because of its rigid structure?
Or that the rules for character improvement/evolution were not designed for a long campaign?

Quote
Always make your own towns! Towns online are fine as examples, but you should be the one doing town creation.
For the last (episodic) session I created my own town (it was really quick, and all went smooth!). Generally I prepare all my campaigns myself, I've rarely bought/used a published adventure (because most of them suck really hard, and because scenarios custom-made for the characters obviously work better).

But I have to say that DitV striked me as a game who would work really well with "published" adventures... due to the specificity of setting and uniformity of characters' role, and due to the fact that most Towns follow the same pattern.
There are so many online Towns that chances

Quote
Returning again to a town you've already visited is okay, but speculating about it online always goes terribly. I recommend not thinking about it at all until you're sitting down to do it for reals.
I don't plan to, don't worry!
The most "planning in advance" thing I intend to do, is linking some NPCs in different towns. E.g., when the Dogs arrive in Town B, they find out that the lustful Brother Malachia is the son of Brother Joseph, the greedy Steward of Town A, whom they met in a previous session (and they might have confronted, or befriended, or replaced, or killed, who knows?)

Quote
Some people like recurring relationships, but I don't. Assigning relationship dice means committing your reserves to this, right now; there's no guarantee that you'll ever get to roll those dice again.
I am sorry, I was unclear. I meant small-r relationships, not "Relationships" as defined in the rules.
In most traditional role-playing games (excluding hack&slash ^^) over the course of the campaign the characters will, say, befriend the Duke... find a Jedi master... adopt and orphan... become enemies of the law or something. I like this kind of involvement in the campaign world, because I think it helps suspension of disbelief and it strengthen the players' interest.
I was wondering whether this kind of play would be "kosher" for DitV, or it would be unappropriate (e.g., I am worried it would break the "you are the only judge in an isolated town" part of the game).

Quote
Start with straightforward towns that go all the way to hate and murder, with a sorcerer who's obviously a sorcerer. You can get more complicated later, if you find you still want to. These are Western crime thrillers; you'd be bored stupid if you went to see a Western and there wasn't even a murder in it.
I will treasure this advice.
Of course, a Town can be very wicked even if there hasn't been a "proper" murder yet. In the last Town I created, the Steward himself had just become a Sorcerer, leader of a False Priesthood who controlled the whole town, enslaved many Faithfuls and tried to murder the Dogs. (the False doctrine was: IT'S OK TO ENSLAVE PETTY SINNERS AND HAVE THEM WORK IN THE TOWN'S COAL MINE, rationalized by the fact that this mountain town really needed the coal to survive the cold winter).
The Dogs did not witness to any Murder, but they did battle demons, and avoided massive riots and rebellions (and possibly, condemned the town's poores inhabitants to die next winter, since not enough Faithfuls wanted to work at the mine)
This felt pretty wicked / dramatic to us even if there were no Murders.
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.:. Lupo .:.
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2011, 08:50:06 AM »

But I have to say that DitV striked me as a game who would work really well with "published" adventures... due to the specificity of setting and uniformity of characters' role, and due to the fact that most Towns follow the same pattern.
There are so many online Towns that chances

Whoops, sorry, broken sentence.
Please read
"There are so many online Towns that chances are that, even if I write all my towns myself, I will probably write something very similar to at least one existing online Town... so I might as well use/adapt an existing Town in the first place."

(apparently I am not allowed to edit previous posts, or perhaps I just couldn't understand how to do it)
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2011, 04:32:27 PM »

It's probably best to approach a Dogs campaign without too much preplanning. For example, the GM doesn't really need to know how long the campaign is going to last - just start playing, and you'll probably see the game wind down naturally around the dozen session benchmark due to how the game's situation itself resolves. The reason for this is basically that the energy that runs the game comes from the ambivalent positioning of the player characters against the social system of the Faith, and once that position has been nailed down irrevocably by dramatic choices through the course of play, there is no longer anything to play about.

While you can well use a town somebody else has created, especially if you feel that you appreciate the choices made in creating it, it's probably not possible to create a follow-up for the same town in advance. This is because the follow-up should presumably take into account the choices made by the Dogs; if the town is such that the choices made by the Dogs don't really impact anything and thus you can project a second adventure onto the situation even before the first one's been played, then the town isn't very good in the first place.

Tying adventures together by introducing left-over material from prior play to new towns is definitely something to do in campaign play. This comes naturally as long as you don't preplan your campaign, but rather create individual scenarios sequentially: once you've seen how town A played out, it'll be easy to put in interesting references to its situation in town B. Just remember to keep the mix of new elements and old elements balanced.
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dindenver
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2011, 12:28:37 PM »

Lupo,
  Especially for a longish-term campaign, the best way to have persistent NPCs is to have the PCs return to Bridal Falls City.
  This is an area that van have a conflict or e conflict free, pretty easily. It's easy to imagine NPCs that are there that you will see again and it is easy to come up with a reason to go there again.

  anyways, good luck and let us know how ti goes please.
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Dave M
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