Dogs in the Vineyard :: Mandrake Hollow
The following text comes from here:
Sin: He has married the daughter of the richest man in town, the owner of the General Store, without sanction of the Faith Elders, but the rich man is pleased to have his family tied so tightly to the Steward. The
False Doctrine: The Steward preaches that, if the town agrees to something, that's official sanction enough. This infuriates his first wife, who decides she's going to end this herself by excluding the second wife from the quilting circle. They feel the first wife's being mistreated, so they back her and won't allow the second wife, just a girl of 15, into the circle, excluding her from the powerful women of the town. Included in this circle is the girl's mother, who feigns agreement to broaden the division between the wives.
False Priesthood: The second wife has complained to her husband and father about the first wife's behavior. Her mother, it turns out, has been slipping a contraceptive into the tea of the first wife to make the Steward's eyes wander while the store owner's been offering his daughter as the solution.
Hate & Murder: The first wife stabs the second wife in a rage while cleaning up after dinner.
When the Dogs arrive, the town is in official mourning. The Steward wants to be shot for causing the death of the girl. His wife wants to be vindicated for putting an end to her husband's illegal marriage. The store owners want the first wife to be executed and for the owner to be made new Steward.
-Sister Rachel- The dead 15 year old girl.
-Brother Jeremiah- Rachel's father, Marah's husband.
-Sister Marah- Mother of Rachel, Brother Jeremiah's wife.
-Steward Lawrence- the Steward, took a second wife without the elders' approval.
-Sister Eve- the Steward's wife and murderer of Rachel.
The Dogs were:
Brother Calvin, a one-armed, older Dog, who was full of the grace and mercy of the King of Life.
Sister Patience, a Calamity Jane type, cold-hearted, carries a big gun, and knows a thing or two about medicine.
Sister Juju (a.k.a. the Wolf-Girl), raised by wolves, mostly uncivilized, but taken in by the Faithful and now a Dog.
So, I started with the Dogs arriving in Mandrake Hollow, just as the funeral procession was entering the chapel at the end of the street. The Dogs went inside, and the people began whispering about how "the Steward and his wife are gonna get it now..." Seeing that the Steward was absent, the townspeople asked the Dogs to say a few kind words and annoint the dead girl with sacred earth. They politely did so, and that's when they noticed the stab wounds.
They finished up the ceremony, then the two shopkeepers cornered the Dogs. Sister Marah said, "It just ain't right for a Steward's wife to be a murderer. Lawrence ain't fit to be the Steward, and Eve deserves to die for killing our little girl. Please, do what's right, and when it's done, make my husband the Steward."
The Dogs were off, staight to the Steward's house on the north side of town. They knocked twice, and finally Lawrence answered. He was pale and worn out, and when he saw the Dogs' coats, he said "I knew they'd send you. Come in and do what needs to be done. I'm prepared for justice."
We launched our first conflict then: Can the Dogs convince the Steward that he's not a despicable sinner, and the King has forgiven him?
--Calvin preached the King's forgiveness from the Book of Life--about how Jesus' own disciple was a corrupt tax collector.
--Lawrence said he was a far cry from a tax collector--he was a murderer.
--Patience said he was a sicko for taking such a young girl for his wife.
--Juju said, "As long as they in heat, it's okay."
--Calvin escalated to physical, laying his hand on Lawrence and trying to comfort him.
--Lawrence escalated likewise, and put a gun into Calvin's outstretched hand, telling him "To do the right thing."
--Patience said, "Go on Calvin, give the man justice."
--Juju lunged at Lawrence, knocking him out of harm's way with a bear hug of love.
--Calvin exhorted him one last time to accept God's forgiveness, and Lawrence Gave.
A follow-up conflict was launched, with Sister Patience drawing her pistol and shooting Lawrence in the back.
--Lawrence blocked by dodging to the side and grabbing the gun barrel as it went off. His hand was blown to bits, and he dove under the table.
--Juju screamed "No!" and moved to shield Lawrence.
--Calvin knocked the gun out of Patience's hand.
I think the conflict was over at this point.
So we launched the conflict: Does Lawrence die? He was bleeding pretty badly, but Calvin managed to patch him up, and call him back to the light.
He was forgiven, but horribly maimed.
Juju ran upstairs to find something that belonged to Sister Eve, so she could track the scent. They followed the scent into the wooded mountainside, where they found her in a clearing, sitting on a stump. (In retrospect, I think she should have been picking flowers or doing something. I was stuck at the moment.)
"They sent you to kill me? They're the one's who caused all this! The whole reason my husband took another wife was because I was infertile. And I was infertile because they were slipping Pennyroyal into my tea! I'm the innocent one in this whole affair-- my husband and those damn shopkeepers are the ones who should be punished! I only did what was right, by putting an end to a forbidden marriage."
The scene was done at this point, but Calvin really wanted Eve to forgive her husband. He managed to convince her. (The conflict was pretty flat. I think I should have just said Yes.)
At this point, we launched a conflict between the Dogs: What should we do about the shopkeepers?
--Patience-- We should poison them...or hang them...or drag them behind a horse.
--Juju-- And then we should eat them!
--Calvin-- Now Juju, you can't just go around eating people. It's not right. We need to show them their rightful place and restore them to the community.
--Patience-- You're so high and mighty, dealing out grace and forgiveness to everyone. Where's the justice, Calvin?
--Juju dropped out of the conflict for lack of dice.
--Calvin-- The King came to give grace and forgiveness to everyone, and he will deal out justice on the day of final judgement.
--Patience-- You talk way too much. (Escalates to Fighting) *sucker punch to Calvin's gut*
--Calvin refused to escalate to fighting, so he crumpled to the ground and Gave.
Off to the General Store...
Patience throws the door open, with a vengeance burning in her eyes. The shopkeepers ask "Did you take care of the Steward and his murderous wife?"
We started the night's final conflict: Do the shopkeepers get what's coming to them?
--The shopkeepers ran for the door.
--Patience draws her pistol, aims, and shoots Jeremiah in the back, splattering his blood all over the glass door pane. *see note
--Juju lunges over the counter and begins tearing and clawing at Marah. The two fall to the floor, kicking and biting at each other.
--Calvin runs over and knocks the gun out of Patience's hand.
--Jeremiah rolls over and says, "I love you Marah. I don't think I'm gonna make it out of here alive. Carry on without me." (Juju sees this raise, saying "My animal instincts have taken over." Patience says, "My cold heart hardens even more.")
--Patience pushes the heavy cash register over, trying to crush Jeremiah's head, but at the last second --Marah struggles to push him out of the way.
--Juju claws Marah to death while Calvin looks on in horror.
They buried the shopkeepers, and restored the Steward and his wife to their rightful place in the community.
*Note: We ran into a little bit of a rules-hiccup at this point. Calvin wanted to Block Patience from killing the shopkeepers, but she had already fired the gun. In retrospect, I should have allowed Calvin to lend a helping die to them, so they would have taken less severe Fallout.
Overall, a good session, not bad for my first time running Dogs and for being pretty green with Narrativist systems.
I'm looking forward to the next town!