Thursday, November 26, 2009

On a mission from God - playing Dogs in the Vineyard

Yesterday was a good day. Well, it was one of those days when I was running back and forth and felt like I didn't accomplish much, but I managed to experience a real live game session! I have had a drought since leaving Canada, but hopefully there will be some more precipitation from now on.

We made characters for Dogs in the Vineyard, and all three are interesting. Maybe the young female convert from the East is most flamboyant, but the others have interesting aspects. I like the intellectual sharpshooter, and the doubting theologian as well.

For those of you who have managed to miss it, DitV is a game about "Mormon gunslingers in a West that never was". It's not really about Mormons, and not really about the Old West as it was in our world, but something like it. What it is, is a game where actions have consequences and your morals force you to act and think about it. Everything that's causing brain damage about alignment just works out like it should in real life in this game, it feels real and meaningful. Also, it will blow your mind that you can have that much freedom of action as a player, and learn to feel serious feelings of regret about the consequences of that freedom.

The session was a bit short, but to my surprise we managed to get all three characters done, and initiate two of them. The latter is kind of like the Prelude in Vampire. You play out a scene or passage of scenes which happened before starting play and it will help you learn the game system, and kick start your brain into your newly designed persona.

My favourite scene was probably when one of the characters, who had a illicit sexual relation in his backstory, suddenly chanced upon a couple doing the nasty thing. He started berating them, and when the girl saw his hesitation she yelled "You would do it if you had the chance!" The look on the player's face was glorious to behold. It just became better when she then with a intuitive strike accused him of not being so innocent himself. Never have self doubt been so fun to act out at the game table. You know you have succeeded when a player is squirming on his chair and trying to get out of the mess, while at the same having a smile plastered on his face.

I just love Dogs. Thanks Vincent!
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