Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified

  • 9 Replies
Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« on: May 18, 2011, 02:20:31 PM »
I'm pitching this concept to some locals to see if they'll bite.

Fictional Inspiration:

Justified. Man, that show is fun. And it's pretty much just right for DITV.

Real Life Inspiration:

Harrisonburg, VA has 50,000 people and 4 US marshals, the latter of whom -- along with up to 6 private security contractors hired by the Marshal Service -- are responsible for policing the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley region alongside other marshals from Roanoke and Charlottesville. Harrisonburg is also home to James Madison University and Eastern Mennonite University, though Virginia Mennonites tend to be very modern, not the horse-and-buggy type.


I'm currently pondering whether it would be better to replace the Mennonites with some fictional analogue, the way the Faithful in DITV make it a bit easier to address issues surrounding Mormonism.  It'd be easy to make them "the Vigilant" who are supposed to be prepared at any moment for the return of the King of Life, have a lot of them attend "Eastern Vigil University" etc. But if I'm going to go that far, I might as well also set it in a fictional place based on Harrisonburg, perhaps.  I don't know; I'm kinda on the fence about it.

I'm also thinking that, unlike in Dogs, it'd be nice if some of the issues that come up in various "cases" (the equivalent of "towns") were recurring rather than just a one time deal, allowing for problems to fester and certain hooligans to keep showing up like they do in Justified. So I'm thinking about how to make a set of guidelines for letting old cases spawn new ones, which shouldn't be too hard.  It's not like having the marshals come in and sort things out is going to stop people's prideful ways.

Finally, I'm thinking about the newer NPC rules for Dogs, the ones that describe them just as sets of dice, with each later set being rolled in the event they escalate:

6d6+2d8, 4d6+1d10, 3d6, 1d8+2d4
5d6+1d10, 3d6+2d8, 3d6, 1d10+1d8
7d6+3d4, 4d6+2d4, 5d6, 2d6+1d8
9d6+1d10+1d8, 2d6+2d8, 2d6+1d4, 1d6+2d10

And I'm thinking maybe I want a hybrid between this level of simplicity and the original Dogs rules.  Like, maybe you could assign each NPC four clusters of dice (as in the above), but specifically assign them to Talking / Physical / Fighting / Shooting.  That way, some NPCs would be good at talking but bad at shooting, but you wouldn't have to give them all traits the way you do according to the original rules.

Anyway, those are just my initial thoughts. Suggestions?



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Re: Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2011, 05:39:15 AM »
I'm intrigued by these newer NPC rules! Anywhere I can read more?

The concept seems spot-on. I like the idea of follow-ups to previous cases.

Re: Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2011, 06:13:27 AM »
Alls I know is, I'm gonna be in this game, and I'm stoked as hell.

Also, I need to catch up on Justified. I wish it was streaming.

Re: Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2011, 11:20:23 AM »
That's pretty much all there is, Arvid. They're based on the NPC rules in Afraid, Vincent's unfinished DITV hack for doing investigative horror, and were posted on Anyway a while back.  Basically, you just pick one of these four "lines" for each NPC the Dogs encounter and start out rolling the first group of dice (6d6+2d8 say), regardless of what kind of conflict it begins as.  Then, if the NPC escalates, you have them roll the next set of dice.

John, if you've got Comcast, it's streaming on their On Demand service, I think.  Under "TV shows." We still need to go back and watch the first season, but the current one's been great.

Re: Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2011, 02:08:04 PM »
Some additional thoughts I jotted down on the way to work:

Default Relationships: If there's blood between you and someone else, it's 1d6, as usual. If there's bad blood it's 2d4.

Initiations: What's something you wanted to accomplish on your first case as a US marshal?  At the end, you get a new 1d6 trait based on what happened, as usual.

Demonic Influence: This is replaced by "Vendetta," which kicks in when something stops being about whatever it's about and becomes a personal grudge against someone, regardless of the harm it does to others or yourself.

Harrisonburg: I found an article from 2004 which said that, before that year, the courthouse had 6 security contractors working for it and no marshals at all. But that four marshals had just been sent there to shore up the law enforcement situation in the region. Sounds like a great premise for a campaign. Where did these new marshals come from? Were they reassigned from elsewhere? Where one or more of the existing contractors hired as marshals? We're they fresh faces straight out of training? Were they local police who got "promoted" to being federals?  Also, what do the security contractors, at least some of whom are probably still working in the area, think of being replaced? What led to them getting such a poor rep in the first place?

Re: Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2011, 03:12:52 PM »
An idea for a case:

Case #1, Damn Yankees

Jessup Dooley and his "unit" came over from West Virginia to play Union soldiers in a reenactment of the Battle of McDowell, part of Stonewall Jackson's Shenandoah Valley campaign of 1862.

During the "midnight raid," an annual bit of shennanigans in which the "Confederate cavalry" ambushes the encamped "Union regulars," Jessup was non-fatally shot and brought to a local hospital. The trouble is that he's violated his parole by leaving West Virginia and, furthermore, is not allowed to be in possession of firearms, much less carry them across state lines (making it a federal crime), even if it's his great-great-grandfather's Pattern 1853 Enfield (anachronistic for this particular battle, but Jessup's not really a stickler).

But the real problem is not Jessup but figuring out who decided to load their rifle with an actual Civil War-era musket ball, easy enough to dig out of the soil around here, rather than adhering to reenactment regulations. The local police are calling it an accident but Jessup claims that somebody's gunning for him.  Really, this is C'ville's jurisdiction, but they're busy assisting the FBI in a manhunt for the "DC sniper," who's reportedly hiding somewhere in NoVa, and are more than happy to leave you to deal with this fiasco.

Re: Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2011, 07:41:48 PM »
Yes, yes, and yes.

Also, let's inject a dose of WINTER'S BONE into this game.

Re: Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2011, 07:42:46 PM »
Nice set-up there, J.

Re: Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2011, 08:30:28 PM »
Thanks, folks!  Yeah, I was thinking some about Winter's Bone too.  There's probably room for both some of the good-natured humor of Justified and some darker desparation as in Winter's Bone. I need to do some more thinking and research about the darker aspects of southern and western VA. 

Near the NC border is where NASCAR came from (due to moonshine smuggling) and there's still a lot of old dirt tracks down there where people continue to race home-built suped-up cars. But I bet there's a fair amount of meth-cooking and other stuff in those areas now.

Apparently southern West Virginia is among the highest regions in the nation for prescription drug abuse, often Oxy.  And that spillover across the border from WV may be partially why they decided to dispatch some actual marshals to Harrisonburg.

Re: Valley of the Shadow: DITV + Justified
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2011, 09:07:26 PM »
They call Oxy "Hillbilly Heroin" for a reason, apparently.

I love me some Justified, and not just for sexy, sexy Timothy Oliphant.

One of the things that I like about the show is the intersection of the personal with the professional. Everyone is someone's cousin or someone's dealer or someone's childhood rival. Dogs has that too, to some extent, but it'd be neat to have a mechanic for it, other than the GM's say-so.

Maybe a thing where you track some stuff about people's family names? When you generate NPCs, if they're a local you pick their family name from a list?