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Messages - Sean F

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other lumpley games / Re: DITV - Sin list
« on: July 25, 2014, 11:57:58 PM »
Let's play with some hypotheticals!

Brother Jakob stole food from the Territorial Army last time they stopped in town for R&R.  He did it because the drought killed his crops, and he hasn't been able to feed himself or his disabled father who lives with him.  He is a thief - he stole.  Will the Dogs punish him?

Sister Patience has neglected her children.  She left her home, and now without a good wife's efforts the household is rapidly falling apart.  Sister Patience's sister has been feeding and housing her.  Do the dogs punish them?  Patience, or her sister, or both?  Does it matter if Sister Patience's husband beats her nightly?

Brother Samuel's family was slain by the local tribe of Mountain Folk.  The town, independent of Samuel, offered the tribe food and blankets last winter and brokered peace.  Brother Samuel killed the heathen that killed his wife, but he did it after the ceasefire was called.  Do the Dogs punish him?  Do they help him cover it up?  Both?  Neither?

The local Mountain Folk tribe comes down to worship The King during service!  The local Steward convinced them to 'give it a shot' and won them over.  He moved the services from the Sabbath to sync up with the quarters of the moon, though, because the Mountain Folk consider those times holy and if they're worshiping The King during those periods he knows they're not off engaging in polytheism.  Do the Dogs punish the Steward?

Jimmy won't share ANYTHING with his sister.  When a Dog calls him out on it, little eight year old Jimmy starts hitting them.  Does the Dog escalate to punching a child if it comes down to doing so or giving the conflict?

Brother Ibrahim has taken over the duties of the Steward, because Steward Callahan is an IDIOT who couldn't keep his shoes tied if you dunked him in a tub of glue.  Serious problems have developed because of Callahan's incompetence.  But, Callahan's the one The King called to serve.  Does Ibrahim get punished?  Callahan?  Anyone in the flock who supported the change?

Here's a brief bit from my last game : Br Angus married Sister Patience.  She has a kid, and it almost kills her.  Br Angus demands his wife attend to her 'wifely duties' and almost immediately gets her pregnant again.  She dies the second time before giving birth.  He demands the hand of her much younger sister, who he has always had eyes for but who really dislikes him.  After all, the baby needs a mother, preferably blood.  It's Sister Jacquelin's duty to marry this jerk and spend the rest of her life with the guy who de-facto killed her sister.  So she starts sleeping around, hoping to get pregnant, trying to force her parents to let her wed almost anyone else.  What do the Dogs do?

There are three big 'issues' that I see cropping up, and that I aim for-

Where Justice and Mercy are opposed, what do the Dogs do?

When following a *general* tenant of the Faith would obviously hurt someone the town in a *specific* instance, do they still stand by the tenant?  Or do they make an exception?

How far are the Dogs willing to go, in terms of escalation, over less-than-life-threatening issues?  Will they never back down, even if it means shooting some of The Faithful over something ultimately inconsequential?  Where's the line between what they'll let go and what they'll hold fast on?  (The father's a drunk.  He drinks so much he's neglecting his family.  But isn't a drunk dad better than a corpse with a bullet between his eyes, blood staining the coats of his killers?)

other lumpley games / Re: DITV - Sin list
« on: July 25, 2014, 02:31:12 AM »
I've always played that they know exactly what kind of behaviors constitute a sin.  99% of Dogs grow up in the Faith, and they get that special training at the Dog's Temple.  We know they know the progression from Pride to Hate & Murder - what constitutes a sin seems simpler than that.  The flock is responsible to avoid sinning, it's following the Faith 101.

Dogs always struck me as more fun when you don't hide anything from the players.  They're in a rough spot because they have to decide where to draw the line on what's acceptable and what isn't.... and how far to go to stop unacceptable behavior.  Whether to choose justice or mercy at any given point.  Muddling the waters with ambiguity hurts the intensity of the decision-making.

Dungeon World / Re: Party Composition?
« on: June 26, 2014, 12:29:51 PM »
I wouldn't worry overmuch.  Consider :

A level 1 wizard, CON of 8 and STR of 9, gets into a fight with the town guard.
At worst the lvl 1 wizard has 12 hit points to start.  The guard probably has three.
The wizard has a 50/50 chance of dealing damage.  That first blow has a 50/50 chance of killing the guard.
This is if the wizard doesn't take advantage of ANYTHING and just acts like some kind of martial zombie.

A lumberjack sneaks into the bedroom of the level one thief with "Shoot First" and makes to chop off his head in his sleep.  Un-ambush-able, the thief wakes up in time to fling a hidden dagger upward into the lumberjack's throat.  Most of the time that's an immediate kill.  From a prone sleeping position.

A Druid, Wizard, Thief and Bard might even win against a Dragon if they prepared, approached intelligently, and were lucky.

Apocalypse World / Re: Suggest me some "different" apocalypse :)
« on: June 25, 2014, 02:15:40 PM »
Warning!! Pseudoscience detected ahead!! Warning!!


A plague springs up that modifies the toxicity of C4 (a type of carbon) in the body, throwing it through the roof.  In the nation where it started, where corn or corn-raised meat (the source of C4 in the human body) is almost unheard of, it spread without notice, infecting almost the entire population.  In no time there was an endless supply of unaffected carriers. 

Many nations, however, were destroyed by the disease.  The western hemisphere was practically abandoned.  Most of Europe suffered devastating losses. Countries receiving or having received foreign aid from the American breadbasket were affected. 

Survivors did exist. 
In Greenland the population was spread enough to allow quarantine in time. 
Hunter groups in the deep north of the North American continent survived. 
In Pennsylvania those Amish children who hadn't left on their Rumspringa survived the first wave of disease.  The ones who remained unnoticed by the rest of America remained unexposed to modern corn-based foods and lived long enough to grow into adults. 
A few religious extremists and modern-militias, squirreled away in the middle of nowhere, remained unexposed and (due to their paranoiac nature) had enough supplies to survive.  Some of them.
W.H.O. and U.N. expeditions to the western continents mostly died out... but a few rogue survivors remained immune because of their diets.

What remains in the west is a land of startling prosperity, almost entirely abandoned and decaying faster than the survivors could possibly maintain it.  Guns?  Check.  Citadel-like apartment complexes, factories, and churches?   Check.  Cars?  Trucks?  Armored, weaponized military monstrosities?  Check.  Food?  Almost entirely lethal.  Gas?  Maybe for the first year or two - that stuff doesn't last forever.  Bio-diesel?  Historically made from corn, which usually ended up killing the producers when they got hungry and dipped into the production stock.  Factories?  Rusted out husks of dangerous metal.  A world where you could have anything you want, as long as it's something you'll kill for.

Dungeon World / Re: Help with first session
« on: June 15, 2014, 01:37:35 PM »
It'll be fine!

A neat thing I've heard of others doing and tried on my last session opening, to great success, is that something the characters could reasonably do during an adventure and then jumping straight to the last five/twenty minutes.  So, they aren't ambushed by bandits at the start, they're already in the heart of the bandit camp surrounded by enemy bodies (and at 3/4 hp maybe) as the Bandit King Thadius Orangeblood comes BURSTING out of his tent riding bareback on a dire beaver, trying to escape.  Does he?  Will he be back for them, or start recruiting people into a new gang (including someone's nephew?)... or maybe they slay him and his mount.  Are there dire-beaver-babies that need tending to / murdered?  You've got half an hour or so there easily - now pay attention to the characters.  Where are they at odds with each other, or there's the potential for conflict?  Did they enjoy depicting the slaying of the Bandit King or were they more interested in debating the future of the beav-lettes?  Play to what they played best.

Have their successes BE successes, but have complications arise going forward that threaten something else.  Once you get the knack for that the cold start gets easier. 

I'd like to suggest having a smoke / bathroom / coffee break shortly after all the characters are made up, when the natural 'This is why I'm cool, this is why you're cool, and this is why we'll probably (hate/love) each other' talk dies down.  Something spouted off during those ramblings will jump out at you or give you an idea.  Push it hard.  And if nothing does, throw Thadius Orangeblood at them (or drop them into some other 95% done adventure) and find out what they're glossing over and what they're embracing.

other lumpley games / Re: DITV - 'Lily of the Valley'
« on: May 13, 2014, 03:17:21 PM »
Sure!  Here's a summation of what I brought to the table.  (Sorry for the delay - I haven't been on Barf Forth Forums for a while)

PRIDE - Sister Jacquelin's happiness is more important then her duties.
INJUSTICE - Sister Jacquelin won't marry her deceased sister's husband (a real jerk who has always desired her, and who never treated her sister with the respect she deserved) or do her duty to their children.  She is also disobeying her parents and abandoning them / the farm.

SIN - To avoid the forced marrage Sister Jacquelin is sleeping with multiple young men out of wedlock, thinking if she gets pregnant then she will get to pick the better of two shotgun marrages.
DEMONIC ATTACK - The demons begin spreading a vile sickness to all the men of Lily of the Valley who are married.  Those who are unmarried or who abandon their wives are immune.

FALSE DOCTRINE - Brother Ibrahim notices that only married men are suseptible to the illness, and take it as a sign from The King of Life that marrage is no longer a desirable state for the Faithful, an antiquidated practice not suited for frontier life.
CORRUPT WORSHIP - Many single men, as well as a few now-well married men, have teamed up with Br Ibrahim and are living in a communal building.  A few are embracing fornication (possibly with S. Jacquelin, certainly with other women in the community) 
FALSE PRIESTHOOD - See 'CORRUPT WORSHIP' : Br. Ibrahim has a handful of other men following his re-interpretation of The Faith, despite the Steward's insistance that they are living the lifestyle of sinners.
SORCERY - The demons have made Br. Ibrahim especially persuasive, and coupled with the weariness of the illness hitting the faithful men of the town it'll only be a matter of time before being single and engaging in fornication is accepted as the approved norm.

HATE, MURDER - Br Tyler kills Br Samson during an enpassioned arguement over the future of S. Jacquelin.  Br Samson wants to take her to another town and take her hand in marrage, Br Tyler wants to continue his relationship with her.

Wants (People and Demons) :
S. Jacquelin - Be absolved of her duties to Br Angus
S. Jacquelin's parents - Get S. Jacquelin married to Br Angus
Br Angus - Marry Jacquelin and 'break her in'
Br Tyler - Get away with murder.  Keep his relationship with S. Jacquelin ongoing.
Br Ibrahim - Avoid the duties of husbandry / fatherhood while spreading his seed.
Br Ibrahim's flock - Don't get the flu.  Also, sleep with whoever they want without reprecussion.
Steward - End the S. Jacquelin 'mess' before Br Angus has a heart attack.  Stop Br Ibrahim's blashemy.
demons - Drag the town into a state of near-perpetual fornication.  Seperate children from their fathers.  Pervert the ways of The Faithful.  Starve the abandoned.

Dungeon World / [Actual Play] Why I love this game
« on: May 13, 2014, 10:50:59 AM »
The party stared up the cliff-face.  Gregory Halfstep, the halfling who had legitimately claimed to be decended from the royal blood of the Dwarven Zollstock kingdom, indicated that this marked the halfway point of their journey to the hidden entrance to the Mountain Homes.  The party needs an Adamantium egg for an experimental spell that might be able to bring the fallen back from Death's Kingdom, and suspect if they place Gregory back in power he'll see that they get one from the Dwarven royal coffers.  Or they can hand him over to the ruling body as a pretender and ask for a reward - they're playing it by ear, mostly using him to find the entrance to the underworld.  The party is :

Duramarth, a half-elven Fighter who owes his life to Death and can channel the powers of the negative planes to suck the life from his foes.
Edward, a half-elven Templar seeking to avenge his father against the half-demon and his cult who slayed him.  He has been prophesied by a swamp hag to be the slayer of rulers.
Fiona, a Tiefling swordmage bonded to the intelligent sword Caliburn, who thinks she is a human.  She has been prophesied by the same swamp hag to become a great ruler.  And Gregory, the maybe-heir to the Dwarven kingdoms, is in love with her.
(The 'prophesy' is not going to be forced, but left hanging to be self-fullfilled or ignored as the players like.)
Soveliss, a wood-elf Ranger / Bounty Hunter who considers humans to be lower lifeforms. (The player was not in attendance this particular week - his character is off somewhere doing something else)

Fiona, her player forgetting momentarily she could teleport (*BLINK*), rolls 6- to climb the cliff.  She gets partway up, followed closely by Gregory who is right behind her, enjoying himself, before realizing she won't make it past the next bit.  She can teleport though, so she lowers herself down and starts taking in the area making a mental map so she can BLINK around.  However, the gargoyle, before now invisibly pressed belly-first into the cliff, grabs Gregory and begins to fly off.

Fiona's the only one (besides Soveliss) with any kind of ranged attack, and she reaches out with her magic lasso to yank Gregory back down to the party.  A 7-9 means she got him alright, but the gargoyle takes the momentum and comes crashing down into the party.  A brief fight takes place - the Templar and Fighter are damage-creating monsters, and while I like to give them the opportunity to show it off they don't take much risk from anything in a straight toe-to-toe fight. 

The gargoyle dead, Fiona *BLINKS* to the top of the cliff and starts pulling people up with the magic lasso, which is faster than using a rope would be.  But, another 7-9 on Edward's pull, the last member of the party to be pulled up the cliff-face, sees HIM taken by a gargoyle.  A mid-air engagement begins, Edward using his templar-trained tenacity to shrug off the paralyzing effects of the gargoyle's magic claws and stabbing upward. 

Duramarth sighs and looks at his magnificent but currently useless axe.

Fiona reaches out with the whip to pull Edward back.  The nature of the whip, however, is that it pulls human-sized and below creatures toward the caster.  Larger creatures pull the caster towards them.  And Edward, in full kit, with a gargoyle attached to him by rows of talons embedded in his armor, constitute a larger-than-man-sized creature.  Fiona goes flying off the ledge and lands on the creature's back.  Stabbing with Caliburn commences.

The gargoyle is wounded on a 7-9 by Edward and he is released to fall to the earth.  A very well rolled prayer for divine intervention (a Templar class move) sees the rock of the mountain momentarily turn to mud.  A very well rolled set of (reduced) damage dice see Edward crawling out of an Edward-shaped hole in the mountain unscratched.  Meanwhile, Fiona's gargoyle flies above the clouds (6- on an attack roll), foiling her BLINK ability.

She jumps, a skydiver without a chute, and gets the chance to BLINK on her way to the ground.  She gets sub-six and can't focus adequately with all the wind tearing up her eyes.  Edward runs under her, ready to catch her.  (Note that Edward has dedicated his life to hunting/killing demons and is about to risk it to try to save someone he doesn't know is part-demon! And who he has kind of been told he would eventually kill.) Duramarth grabs Gregory in an embrace, making the two of them one-and-a-half humans.  Fiona gets it, and reaches out with her whip.  7-9 - Duramarth must make a defy danger STR roll to avoid releasing Gregory.  Which he is likely to make, since his strength is 18.

Unless he rolls a one and a two.

Gregory, heir to the Dwarven Kingdoms, goes flying off the edge of the cliff towards the rapidly decending Fiona.  Edward makes a CON check to partially absorb the blow - an 8 in total.  Gregory is squashed between the two of them and somewhat jellified.  6d8 arbitrary fall damage (enough to usually-but-not-always kill anyone) gets reduced to 4d8 (still likely to be lethal) to be divided between the two however they feel appropriate (pre-rolling).  Fiona and Edward both survive, coated in Halfling (royalty?) blood and guts.  Duramarth hews a rough grave into the path above the cliff, but (rolling a 7) the mighty blows of his axe draw the ire of the entire gargoyle colony living on the cliff.....

other lumpley games / Re: DITV - 'Lily of the Valley'
« on: October 16, 2013, 03:56:32 PM »
Also : Why is Firefly In The Verse a thing, but Patriots In The Galactica isn't?

other lumpley games / DITV - 'Lily of the Valley'
« on: October 16, 2013, 03:50:10 PM »
Hello all.

I ran my third game of Dogs the other day.  It was a four player group of new players, excepting one player from the previous two games (the one who pulled his gun against a pregnant woman the moment he thought she might be possessed, if you've read my previous writeup)

The brief version of what happened follows.  Lessons learned after the dashes below.

Background :

Brother Angus (30) wanted Sister Jaquelin(17) for his own.  She had zero interest though, and he ended up marrying her older sister.  She was always sickly and nearly died giving birth to their son.  He almost immediately got her pregnant again - she did die during the second pregnancy.  He implored Sister Jaquelin's family for the hand of their other daughter "so his son could be raised by blood."  They agreed.  Sister Jaquelin bolted, abandoning her family and duties.

A flu began in the town which only seemed to infect married folks.  Quarantines didn't prevent the spread, and regular service together didn't spread it to the single folk.  Br. Ibrahim (alternately called "Ieh-brah-heem" or "Ay-bra-hym" throughout the game)  'realized' that The King must not approve of marriage anymore or he'd be protecting them.  By the time the Dogs show up he's got six other males with him, a combination of single folks and husbands who've abandoned their homes and gotten better.  They all live in a communal dwelling, which was nicknamed the 'Frat House' pretty early in the game.  Br. Ibrahim is getting strangely persuasive...

A few of S. Jacquelin's suitors stayed close through the ordeal, especially Br Samson (18) and Br Tyler (19).  She abandoned her virginity in a quest to get pregnant, thereby winning her parent's "approval" to marry someone BESIDES Br. Angus.  Br Samson tried to convince her to leave town entirely instead of living on the lam, that they could start over living proper Faithful lives in a new town.  Br. Tyler got in an argument with Br. Samson over that plan (in private) that ended with Br Tyler smashing Br Samson's head in with a rock.  He drug the body half a mile outside of town and hid it in a mud patch.

The Steward wants to drag S. Jacquelin in and get the marriage with "that no good" Br. Angus out of the way.  He and his wife are, however, leaving pies and the like on their windowsill to cool and not investigating when they go missing.  (He wants her caught, but can't stand the idea of her running around hungry.)  Most of his attention is focused on Br. Ibrahim and his false flock, although he hasn't had any luck convincing them to risk being sick or stop proselytizing their false interpretation of events.

In Play :

The Dogs show up and find the body.  The Steward identifies it and they all ride around town, getting a lay of the land / delivering the mail / talking with everyone the Steward knows was close to Br Samson.  I tried to put it all out in the open - Dogs isn't a mystery solving game, but a judgement making game.  The veteran dog threw a brick through a window of the frat house and snuck into the basement while they were distracted.  The rest found S Jacquelin and Br Tyler and brought them to the church.  They revealed that Br Samson was dead to each, separately, and discerned that Br Tyler did it but S Jacquelin hadn't known what had happened to Br Samson.  They talked to Br Angus and decided he was an ass.  They agreed to marry them, IF they'd take the baby and leave town the next morning.  They walked into S Jacquelin's parent's house (where the baby was) while I clarified "You're marrying the murderer and the harlot, in secret from their Steward, then sending them off with a baby?" 

That's what they did.  Honestly, it's probably what I would have done.

The elder Dog tried to exorcise Br Ibrahim while he slept and convince him to abandon his path.  Didn't work out well, outnumbered 7:1 with Demonic Influence die against him at the Hate and Murder value - he got kicked out of the house.  When he found out the pair were married he decided to follow them, convinced she was the source of the evil in the town and hell bent on putting a stop to her if the town they moved to turned pearshaped.

The rest went to the frat house to show them the error of their ways.  I explained the rules about repeating the same stakes - different players (check) different place (check) different arena.  One of the frat boys slapped a Dog and guns came out.  B Ibrahim was slain where he stood (a Dog dodged by diving for cover (through lattice work) under the deck and raised by emptying his twin pistols up into Ibrahim through the floorboards.  The rest of the frats surrendered.  One dog took a pair of 9s in fallout and had ten D10s against him, all but one of which ended up being over 5.  He had taken a blow by falling HARD behind his horse to get out of the way, and another getting half of one ear blown off.  When he reached up after the fight to check his ear the other dogs saw the red smear that was spreading down his side from the blow he (the character) had thought he'd dodged in the heat of combat. 

There was a touching, extremely well improvised death scene that created a closed loop between the character's initial conflict and all the things they had done since entering the town.  We all sat silent for a moment, I scooped up my notes and told them "That's Dogs in the Vineyard"


Lessons learned :

I started the town's playthrough with description of the town as they rounded the last corner of a dry streambed and saw the buildings ahead, and ended with "there is the murdered body of one of the townfolk hidden nearby.  You haven't found it.  What do you do?"  I liked the response - I think it gave the players the impression I wasn't going to hide anything from them.

When Br. Tyler saw Br. Samson's dead body I tried my best to overact his denials without entering into cheesiness.  After the third back and forth with the Dog's questioning I told them he was blatantly lying, and got a "Well duh" response.  I see this as a good thing, similar to the bit above : The investigating bit (in my mind) is all about saying "Yes" and explaining anything the Dogs could reasonably figure out as they ask, rifting knowledge based on what they're doing.  The "Yes or Roll" is about human conflict.  They don't need to worry about my conspiring to hide information or red herring them.

The Dogs got into an argument over whether to worry about the missing girl or the frat house.  That pleased me - for the most part they were too reasonable with each other.  The players working against each other adds a layer of tension I'd never be able to as the GM.  I need to figure out how to make that happen more often.  Maybe balance the players (who gets invited to the game) against each other.

Br Angus is the only 'villain' in the town, and he's also the only one within his rights according to doctrine.  After a five minute conversation with his the Dogs decided to disregard his rights, which tells me they're more worried about Mercy than Justice.  I know what to follow up on in the next playthrough.

I played that you could raise in a 'softer' arena (spoken word vs gunfire, etc) but that it'd have to be unilaterally considered something unignorable.  "You've betrayed the Faith" doesn't work (except maybe against an Elder) but "I've got your wife in here with me!" might.  "I wait until his pistol is empty, then jump up and charge him" probably wouldn't fly, but "I grab his son and hold him between the two of us" might.  It seemed to work well.

The town might have been a bit to complicated : The sorcerer and flock came about because of the demonic attack, which came about because of the actions of S. Jacqueline, but there's nothing connecting them closer than those two steps. 

I'm going to require the players to read up on Dogs (either borrow my copy or buy their own) if they want to play again - I think we'll get more out of it with a more shared-world experience.

other lumpley games / Re: [DitV] Blind leading the blind...
« on: June 17, 2011, 05:14:50 PM »
We did play again this week.  The next town was in a state of martial law under the army of the Territorial Authority, as they had been attacked repeatedly by the local Mountain People tribe.  The tribe had burnt down the grain silo, and it was almost harvest time.  The Faithful had turned away the MP during the last winter when they came down, asking for help making it through the especially harsh February month when game was scarce.  The Faithful were unsure if they could spare the food and sent them packing (unknownst to the Steward of the town), and the MP had, a few months later, started pulling in allied tribes to raid the town.  The Army just wanted to get the mission over with, and split into two parts - a raiding party to preempt the MP assault by wiping out their encampments, and a defensive force which had repurposed the church into a mini-fort.  ("It's the only non-wooden building in town - any other structure would put us all at the risk of being burned alive!")  The Steward wanted the Dogs to chastise the Faithful for turning away the needy and do something to avoid bloodshed, the Captain wanted them to aid in the assault, his Lt wanted them to aid in the defense, and the townfolk wanted them to support the town grocer in a coup against the Steward.  To summarize : they ultimately avoided the conflict by convincing both sides to hold off for a little while and sending delegates to a meeting. 

If I get a chance to GM another session I'll take your advice and work out the specifics of the Faith, the Faithful, and the nature of demonic intervention before the next town.

Slow Dog,

Thanks for re-enforcing my suspicion that I should let "this kind of thing slide."  If I'm trying to make towns that have complex characters, why be upset if the Dogs are complex too?

I'm thinking, for the next town (granted another chance to play) to have a town where several of the members were secret drinkers.  The demonic attacks took the form of unnaturally fermenting food almost as soon as it's harvested.  The local Steward figures, and preaches, "if The King controls nature, and booze is the natural state of things now, it must be his will that we be allowed to imbibe."  No hate/murder, yet, or even a hinting at it, but everyone's more or less permi-drunk.  Twist : the locals who started the brewing will want the Dogs to do what's necessary to fix the issue, and will assist them if possible.  After all, free booze eliminates their business...

So do the Dogs turn down the assistance of the sinners?  Do they kill drunkards?  Even if they show signs of possession? (The whole town is under sway, so if I understand the rules correctly, they can get demonic dice for protecting the Steward's interpretation AND possession for being in the false priesthood's cult.)  And since it's the whole town we've got the elderly and children in the mix...

other lumpley games / [DitV] Blind leading the blind...
« on: June 08, 2011, 11:32:11 AM »
I had the honor, despite having never played it before, of running my first Dogs game last night to a group of newbies.  If I had to sum it up in one sentence I suppose it would be : "The game went like an old bowl of mixed nuts, mostly cashews and pecans with the odd dead roach floating around."

The faults we discovered were largely our own - we only agreed to play about two hours before go-time when our usual DM (d&d Eberron campaign) left town and our backup game would have gone from eight players down to four for various reasons.  I was stoked to finally get to play this, but it didn't leave a lot of time to explain the finer points of the game and the theologicial premises.  I figured those could come out in play - largely they did, but by the end I discovered one huge glaring flaw in my preperatory explainations.

Right off the bat the system intrigued the players - they loved how traits were defined.  "I can't possibly imagine what your character knows our has done better than you can - why don't you tell US about it, and we'll come up with a short discription together?"  Men in their twenties trying to talk over each other to explain why they're, say, good with horses - and more importantly figure out the nuances of the OTHER player's characters.  Nice.  I wish I could take credit for that, but it's clearly part of the suspiciously-well designed system that only becomes obvious through play.  

We ended up with :
Brother Johnston, who was abandoned at the Dog's Temple as an infant.  I drew a parrallel between a kung-fu movie Budist Temple and the Dog's Temple ....and it stuck.  The teachers became masters, they once refered to B. Ezekial the head teacher as "sen-sai", etc.  Well, the teachers took him to the family that ran one of the local lumbermills but kept their eyes on him....  The character was obsessed with sorcerers, as he thought they were responsible for killing his folks.  During his introductory trial to "not be so obsessed" B Ezekial removed his copy of The Book of Life while he was at a public-speaking demonstration and replaced it with a copy with all of the passages even referring in passing to demonicy removed.  The following debate (I rolled pretty badly) ended with the head of the Dog's Temple taking fallout and B Johnston getting his old Book back.  A pretty funny moment when I described how, through the mechanics, his character had (during his first conflict!) caused a small crisis-of-faith in one of the head's of the order. (I'm saying the Headmaster of the Dog's Temple is also one of the Ancients\Elders of The Faith)

Brother Nelson : B Nelson's intial conflict was "I want to learn to not yell as much during confrontations."  He explained how he might lose his cool with, say, a drunkard in the street or someone who wasn't living up-to-snuff by his standards.  B Ezekial called him out on a specific instance of it, he claimed that it was his duty to let it be known in no subtle fashion when other's were out of bounds... and B Ezekial agreed.  I used the tactic of the example in the book - three days later B Nelson has failed in a firearms drill and his instructor tears into him.  The player, still sticking to his guns on the conflict and not being lead into any kind of double standard took the beration... and gained "I yell alot" as a d6 trait.  I think his final raise, which was a "3" (I didn't have any dice left), was a sheepish "Thank you for correcting me, sir.  You are right to do so, and I deserve it."

Brother Sergeant : His father is a general out East - he wanted to attend seminary but couldn't get in and felt drawn west.  He (rather audaciously) showed up at the Dog's Temple, asking to be trained, and the teachers came to the conclusion that he was probably sent by The King - stranger things have happened.  Notice at this point how his background involves trusting that The King plays loose-and-fast with dogma and standards when it's suiting to the wellbeing of the faith.  His conflict involved studying the Book to the point that he could quote it - which naturally drew him away from other duties, which is where the conflict sprouted.  He got away with skipping a few classes, though, and gained "I can quote the Book 1d6".

Town synopsis : As they rode into town they noticed a big crowd standing around a gallows, B Joseph in a noose, and B Solomon (town Steward) proclaiming judgement - adultry, fornication.  The Dogs rejected B Solomon's request for them to stand beside him and lend their authority to the execution.  As he tried to finish the deed they stopped him, rescuing B Joseph and humiliating B Solomon in front of the town.  It soon became clear ("don't hide information") that B Joseph and B Solomon's wife S Margrett had been sleeping around, but with a twist.  B Solomon was sterile, and S Margrett felt entitled (Pride) to a child.  Since the out-of-wedlock pregnancy a lot of children had been stillborn - it would slowly come to light that only those pregnancies started in sin were 'taking root.'  The Dogs were very quick to pronounce that the 'couple' needed judgement, although deciding what was proper took a while. ("Stoning" was a favorite choice, despite her currently being with child.)  It surprised me how quickly they sided with B Solomon, since S Margrett's position was so understandable, but that was explained pretty well in the wrap-up.  Eventually they opted to take the pair back to Bridal Falls for judgement by a committy selected by the Ancients of The Faith, but not until they had made a public proclimation against the couple.  She ran off when she realised Solomon had unfettered access to thier 3-year old daughter, and the Dogs, rather than stopping her, followed.  The daughter was safe in her house - a few minutes later B Solomon came back with a posse and demanded his daughter be turned over to him.  He won the following debate, which was interesting as *his* daughter was clearly not from his seed, quoting ' "The grain which groweth from the shaft belongeth to the shaft til it strikes the soil!" Are you to tell me, Watchdogs, that the daughter I raised is no part mine?!'  They took the blow from that and countered with 'This is our duty, so see justice enacted' which he countered with 'She is doubly my ward, as daughter and member of my flock.  Your duty lies in the welfare of the community, not in my home - and if you want to take it up with The Ancients, I'd be GLAD to!'  They backed off at that point, agreeing that he should come with them to Bridal Falls for a ruling... but they didn't make that stick when he later decided to just up and leave with his daughter in tow.  
The whole congregation was gathered at the church and the Dogs started a fire-and-brimstone speech - "Who amongst you has fallen by the wayside and followed her example?", which she countered with "Yes, who here loved their families enough to risk sin in order to preserve them?", initiating the big conflict.  

I want to pause here - I realise that small, givable conflicts are the bread-and-butter of the game and the Dogs are now in a situation where giving means not taking her back to Bridal Falls.  It was about eleven at night at this point, and we had maybe an hour to wrap things up.  The Dogs were pretty much just shouting down everyone who tried to stand in their way - it seemed proper to give them a big shout-off to end things.

It didn't end in a shout-off.  S Margrett had convinced enough of her sisters that "if adultry is the only way to concieve it CAN'T be against The King's plan" to be supported by the demonic influences in the town.  She was "cunning", gaining her 2d8 for the public debate, and 4d6 for her sewing circle cheering her on, 4d10 for the demonic influence, etc.  And the Dogs, each of them, rolled pretty poorly.  Probably the worst rolls of the night, individually and collectively.  The moment "eyes literally start glow as she denounces your authority" all three Dogs launched into fighting.  Well, two into fighting, one into shooting.  

It's worth noting that the Dogs would have won in a purely verbal exchange, but they would have had to take fallout.  Enough to make "one long-term" very likely.

I was playing on the philosophy that you don't have to personally escalate into a field of conflict to remain in the conflict - a scary enough orator could yell down his opponent, distracting him enough that his shots go awry.  Next time we'll play that in order to remain in the conflict you must escalate in accordance with the most violent actor in the scene.  I know this has been a topic of debate lately, and I'm interested in seeing which works best with my group.

At this point, S Margrett was protecting herself (rolled her physical dice) by blocking B Sergeant's cutlass and B Johnston's small axe\large hatchet with the huge Book of Life from the church's podium.  Both Dogs had put forward 2d6s with 6's showing - 24 points spent blocking! - and B Nelson's gunshot was a six and a seven, which she took with the smallest dice possible.  The Dogs had just fatally wounded a pregnant woman, on the elevated preaching platform by the altar in the church, in front of the whole congregation.  Within a turn the cutlass had cut her open from shoulder to hip.  It gets gruesome here, with me trying to make clear just how vicious they're acting, and I won't go into particular... but even if she survived the conflict, her baby wouldn't.  Her last two dice, a one and a two, were spent cowering in the corner holding up the book as a shield, muttering "please".  Didn't save her from B Johnston's axe.

Now, I know as the gamemaster we're not supposed to make moral choices concerning the Dogs, but I had to take a moment her to clarify with them.  "You realise you just shot/stabbed/chopped down a pregnant woman who posed no physical threat to you?"  They brushed it off - "she was a witch.  Possessed.  A sorcerer.  Don't suffer a witch to live, you know?"

B Solomon showed up with his posse, and figuring the killing was on took B Joseph "outside".   B Sergeant followed and TRIED TO STOP HIM FROM HANGING B JOSEPH, leaving the other two inside to keep yelling at the congregation and attempting damage control.  B Sergeant tried to talk down B Joseph, but B Joseph, feeling doubly entitled to see this man dead as the leader of the community and the wronged party, escalated to physical, using his posse to block B Sergeant's access to the gallows.  B Sergeant gave, muttering a prayer as B Joseph fell through the trap.

Ultimately B Solomon left town with his daughter, telling the Dogs they had stripped him of authority and left the town a unrepairable mess.  His second in command took over, and the Dogs advised him for the next couple of days as the town was torn down, the older buildings burnt to the ground and sorted through for nails and such, and a giant communial building errected for everyone to live in.  No risk of them sleeping around if it'll have to be in front of everyone else, right?  It would, theoretically, turn the personal sins into community sins, which are less likely to take off in the same way.  I'm converting this town into another system at some point and playing it with another group - the social dynamics are so screwed up by now it'd be a pretty interesting pitstop for a D&D or Enoch party.

By this point I am grateful to be sitting in the chair closest to the front door, as my friends have me entirely petrified.  I've done some bad things, but finding no moral qualms with killing a pregnant woman?  In front of all of her family and friends?  Stripping the personal freedoms from a community "for their own good"?  

Well, in the post-game wrapup the only two complaints were "we didn't really GET all of the subtle bits of the faith.  How our responsibilities differ from the Steward's, that kind of thing" and (this is the important one) "it was fun to play as RELIGIOUS EXTREMISTS but we probably couldn't play this all the time."

My players thought they were supposed to be hardass gunslinging take-no-prisoners Spanish-inqusitionish antiheros.  I probably shouldn't have breezed over the elements of the faith quite so much, trusting it to come out in play.

We tend to play once a week.  Next week our full-time DM is going to be out-of-town again.  The highest compliment was, on discussing what to play next time and agreeing that DitV probably isn't workable with more than four people, the suggestion that "we don't have to let the rest of the group know we're getting together."

So, the things I obviously need to run different next time :
Escalation - if one party escalates, every party must escalate or back off.  I don't know if that's better suited for my group, but it's worth experimenting with.
Morality - the characters are not the players, obviously, but I need to place an emphasis on their moralities being similar.  "It's *you*, excepting that you believe this religion.  Would YOU, thinking that a pregnant woman might the channeling evil spirits, be willing to cut her open with a sword?"
Background - I'm intent on ordering a hardcopy of the rules manual, but I just got my printer working again.  Maybe a brief summation of the area and the responsibilities of the Dogs, in print, would be a handy playing aid.
Dice - I need more d6s.  This game uses A LOT of them, doesn't it?
Sorcerer - I think my next town might fall short of sorcery, to make them deal with PEOPLE instead of CREATURES, which is what they mentally reduced S Margrett into when they saw her eyes glowing.  But, in future, is there a trick to making the sorcerer(s) more sympathetic?  A woman who wanted to be a mom and was willing to violate religious tenants to do it was the best I could come up with on short notice.

Any other suggestions?  Notice anything I did wrong?  Any comments are more-than welcome.

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