I'm preparing to run Dogs in the Vineyard for my local gaming group this coming Friday, and getting pretty psyched about it. The gang made characters before Gen Con, with the hopes that we would play the first town there, but the best laid plans...
I'm really excited about the characters. Dogs does a lot of things right, but character creation is always fascinating for me, to see these character come together, come to life. In this game we have:
Brother Absalom (Played by Randy)
Randy came to the table with a concept -- he wanted to play a blind Dog. Fair enough. He'd been a shepherd before becoming a Dog. Sounded good to me. Then he was stuck for some other traits, until the whole shepherd thing gave him some inspiration. Psalms 23. You know "The Lord is my shepherd..." He took the traits "I fear no evil" and "Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." Hell yeah! He was looking for another trait and I suggested the supernatural, and we came up with this cool Sacred Sight, that allows him to see angels and demons, as well as holy and profane objects.
We did his accomplishment first, so he was the system guinea pig for the rest of the group. I've run accomplishments for my other groups, so I felt pretty solid on it. The accomplishment was "I want to prove that my blindness does not hinder me from being a Dog." I had one of his instructors take him on horseback out of Bridal Falls at night. They rode round and round in the woods, the instructor making sure that Absalom was lost. He told him to get off the horse, and be sure to be back in time for morning prayers, then he rode off. It was a good conflict, lots of good raises and sees. Things were getting down to the wire with Randy almost out of dice, then something clicked -- he used his Sacred Site and "saw" the glow of some of the holy artifacts at the head temple in Bridal Falls, not far away. He used it to guide him back, and he walked in just as morning prayers started. He had succeeded and took the trait "Blindness does not hinder him being a Dog." He took some Fallout and raised his blindness to 2d4. It was a good start.
Sister Carmen (Played by James)
James had a pretty solid character concept too. Sister Carmen is a Mountains Person whose clan was slaughtered by some Faithful when she was a child. She was found by a woman, Sister Emeline and raised by Brother Jebediah, a Steward. Thing is, before she was torn from her old life, she'd been training to be a shaman, and still had a connection to the Earth. In fact, she has the trait "I sing the songs of the earth," and a relationship with the earth. Cool!
I'm kinda hazy on the exact wording of the accomplishment that James came up with. I think it was something like "Does Carmen learn to forgive the Faithful for killing her people." The scene was in a classroom, and one of the students had made some comment about how wicked the Mountain Folk were. This set Carmen into a series of flashbacks and memories. James did his raises of Carmen remembering her people being killed -- bad stuff connected to the Faith. I did mine of all the good stuff, like the love of her adopted father. During this, she remembered for the first time that Sister Emeline, the one who "saved" her was actually a part of the group that killed her people. Damn, that was harsh. She lost the conflict and took the trait "I'm vengeful." Nice. She also had some fallout and lowered her relationship with Sister Emeline.
Sister Serenity (Played by Tammy)
I think the toughest part for Tammy was choosing a background. Once that was decided (complicated community) the rest sort of fell into place. She had this idea that Serenity had been possessed by a demon when she was younger, which she took as a trait. She wanted her to be a healer, and exorcist. Also, she is the only Dog in the group with a gun-oriented trait.
She wanted to overcome her fear of demons. She was awaken in the middle of the night by one of her instructors and taken to a room with a tied up, possessed person and left there, locked in. The demon begins talking to her, and implied that it is the same demon that had possessed her! She snapped and opened a can of ceremony on it's ass. She exorcised it, but not her fear, which we decided had shifted to hatred. Like an irrational hatred.
An interesting group. Both Absalom and Carmen have complicated history for backgrounds, and Serenity complicated community. Ah, tasty complications. Can't wait to see how the first town plays out.