Friday, February 10, 2012

Dogs In The Vineyard Session Three

Well, I did it again, I waited forever before posting up some AP of my Dogs game. Admittedly, I was debating whether to at all, but why not?

Featuring the Dogs:
- Brother Judah, played by Daniel. Brother Judah is heavy on the Body stat and kicks ass in a physical fight. Daniel is the fellow who has always played the "I attack him." guy in all of our other games. Also the most prone to ask where the strip club/brothel is at.
- Brother Eli, played by my little bro Curtis. Brother Eli is very into guns. Very much so. The Acuity also makes him decent at talking though.
- Sister Lydia, played by Kris (it's a guy, I know that name goes either way but he's playing a genderbent character). Very talk-y. Kris is the most into the RP next to me. He's got some stake in Sister Althea not being forced into marriage, since the same thing almost happened to his Sister Lydia.
- Me, Ego, the GM. This game my goals were: a) have some dice conflict, b) wrap up Terrance River Branch, towns are only supposed to be one session long.

Just read the previous AP.
I made a change though. I had Timothy stick around frozen in place rather than run.

Okay, so there they are, and Brother Eli walks out from behind the barn with a bottle of booze, and asks "What is this?" Hand on his gun, we instantly start conflict and roll dice - for some reason, I can't remember who exactly rolled, I know only one Dog rolled in. I think it was Brother Judah actually. They quarrel, and it gets into physical non-fighting, and since Brother Gregor (the booze-maker) rolled god-awful, I had him give, since Brother Judah was kicking his ass and had just said "You either get those hands up and get on the road to repentance, or you're not making it out of here alive." So they rope up his hands and get going back to town - their plan is to eventually bring Brother Gregor to Bridal Falls, the central Dogs temple, so he can be tried and can repent. They start walking back into town, Brother Judah and Brother Gregor up front with Brother Timothy being brought along by Sister Lydia. Brother Eli stayed back to torch the booze-making setup. I bring this up a few times, that from the town it looks like they just torched his whole house, and it really disturbs some folk.
In their walking, Sister Lydia wants to talk to Brother Timothy. She's questioning him about what he was doing - he admits that he had bought a bottle of whiskey from Brother Gregor, but not for him, as a gift for Sister Althea. He'd run out of ideas for how to win her over when he thought maybe a bottle would impress her. He then mentions off-hand in his stunned state that his father had been the one to mention it first...
They were already going to the steward's- now they're going there for the Steward himself. Daniel has been raring to do this for like the past three sessions, even before we were doing Dogs, so I let him have his way finally. He kicked that door down! Of course, the Steward comes running to the door. Now, I'm seeing this only while writing up, but in hindsight I should have had his wife, Sister Margaret, who I'd introduced and never did anything good with, she should have been with him, or just answered the door herself. In fact, I left her out of the session entirely, and that was silly of me. Oh well, he answers, back and forth, this is Sister Lydia's turn to do some dice conflict (they decided it; I asked whether Judah or Lydia should take this and they both decided on Lydia). They're talking, and eventually they uncover that he USED to drink but no longer does, and that his referral of Timothy there he admits was a mistake and that even then it was only a hunch, that he wasn't even sure if Gregor still operated that old still. During the conversation, Brother Judah pushes his way in to search the place for booze. This time he finds some, a single full bottle, hidden in an alcove behind a painting. They think immediately to blame the Steward, who says "no, it's not mine, I haven't kept anything in there in years!" They look around, and find that while Brother Gregor is standing there, Timothy is GONE, vanished into the crowd that had gathered (they DID haul a well-known farmer into town in ropes and then kick in the Steward's door, of course there's a crowd). In the excitement, no one noticed him slip away, but the Dogs think they know where he might have gone.
They arrive at Brother Simon's house and instantly have their hunch proven - there's Timothy, yelling at the house for Althea to come out, he needs to talk to her. Daniel's been building up some violence - Judah likes to fight, and keeps getting held back. He takes Timothy as being harrassing and a boozer and wants a marriage Althea doesn't and it's time to take out some frustrations. He beats Timothy to a pulp. Seriously. Concussion, one arm broken, the other broken so badly that it ends up amputated in the aftermath. Brother Simon comes out and yells that Sister Althea isn't even here right now, she's at the church. Daniel admits that he pretty much just burned the last remnants of his bridge to that family, revealing that Brother Judah REALLY likes violence. They leave, a crowd gathering around Timothy, but not before telling the surgeon that Timothy gets no anesthetic for his amputation.
They show up to the church, and Brother Jacob's gone home sick. They explain the situation, and she's aghast at what Judah's done, but they push that she can't stay in town. She needs to have her Faith restored, and that she should come with them back to Bridal Falls (where they're bringing Gregor and the Steward). She argues, but it doesn't get to full conflict, and she complies.
The Dogs make one final stop - I wasn't going to bring it up, but someone wanted to conclude the loose end (and maybe add to their growing chain gang - they intend to bring Timothy with them too, so that's three prisoners and Althea already). They head to Brother Jacob's house. Judah breaks down the door - again. This time I made it a brutal break down, it was established that Jacob's door is always locked and that means he ripped the door frame out to. Instead of being met at the door, they march on in, find him nearly passed out in his chair. Conflict ensues (I'm, um, not sure if it had dice, I don't recall), and again the end result is "Come with us and repent, or die." I used the opportunity to get some more backstory and reasoning out on why Jacob's turned, but I was fighting an uphill battle to make real conflict out of this - he did WANT to stop sinning.

The group leaves town. The sun is dipping beneath the horizon as the Dogs ride out, trailing the Steward, the priest, the farmer, the Steward's son, and Althea up front with them, her head down. As the town shrinks into the distance, the blaze from Gregor's farm is still going. This town is in shambles. But it's not their job to put the pieces back together.
As an epilogue, we montaged through what happened to the everyone when they reach Bridal Falls. Gregor is tried by the Ancients and executed - he's a full on sinner, intentional and unrepentent. He only came with because possible death later is better than sure death now. The Steward is actually left unpunished - he fully repented back when he gave up drinking. He'll probably even get to stay a Steward. Timothy repents fully, but will forever be crippled. He's lost an arm, and will probably never find love. Brother Jacob is helped entirely to repent. He will probably never be allowed to act as priest again, but he remains free.
Althea's punishment is strange. The girl doesn't believe what she's doing is wrong, and pure academic teaching by the Dogs might not help. She needs to be shown what harm her defiance of the King of Life can do. She is to accompany Dogs Judah, Eli, and Lydia. Game end.

So, what from here? Well, to be honest, I'm out of ideas for Dogs towns, or at least where to start with for Dogs towns. We were only going to one more potentially, so while I think of another idea we're going to shelf these characters and play a new game. We're going to Apocalypse World! I'll be inviting our friend Kenny, who played with us through high school, and this game is right up his avenue. He might have been out of the RPG scene for a bit now, so I hope I can convince him to give it a shot, since I think he'd really enjoy it and we'd have a great time seeing him again. Not sure when the next game'll be, but I really hope its soon. But some quick reflection.

What Was My Favorite Thing About The Session: The potential disconnect between sin and punishment. First town, we had a person beating another ruthlessly and abusing the whole town, a weather demon that caused a famine, and these guys almost killed Brother Judah, and the punishment was to defeat the Demon and go, trying to keep the town stable. In this town, we had a chick who didn't want an arranged marriage and some drinking, with no one even getting punched, let alone killed, and they left the town a smoldering heap. I suppose it's how far the sin spreads, not how intense it is. Gotta remember if I do this again to keep the sin spread, or to include other goings-on. I don't want them to always burn the town, but I DO want the stuff to usually have town-affecting consequences. It's best when the players' actions matter to the town, rather than just neatly and surgically strike the sin.
What Was My Least Favorite Thing: Too much conflict, but I'm not faulting myself for this.  This was soemwhat inevitable to me. The Dogs, last session, basically forestalled every single conflict, which is why they didn't roll any dice. Problem is, all that caught up to them this time.
What I Would Do Differently: Incorporate other characters into potential one-target scenes. Margaret with the Steward, Simon out there fighting Timothy instead of in the house, Althea with Jacob in the church, something like that. More people complicate things. Complications are good.
What I Would Have Them Do Differently: Pick a side and stick to it. If the Dogs pick no sides, they leave and nothing happened. If the Dogs sided with the Althea side, they take out Timothy and leave Althea there. If they side with Timothy, they take Althea. They took option 4: TAKE EVERYONE. Their characters didn't learn much when they supported their instincts and supported the Faith and just punished violators of either.

Well, that's about it.
End Recording,

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