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Dogs in the Vineyard: Psuedo-Mormon Gunslinger Paladins in a west that never was.


Or call me Judd
Validated User
GM's Note:

I was driving this game hard. The players were tired and we had started late. After a weekend of tight Gen Con gaming, I wanted to run a fast and tight game.

I was not interested in making them look for clues but giving them the situation and forcing them to make decisions in how to deal with it.

The presence of a possessed Josiah changed things a bit and I knew I wanted him to be a part of this mess somehow.

At this point in the game, no conflicts had presented themselves.

Still to come:

Old Man Carson’s Funeral

The Ibex Homestead

Return to the Garden, Population: Four

Judgment in Eden
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Jason D

was just here
Validated User
lumpley said:
Soon, Jason. I'm a bit scrambling on account of the (surprising but welcome!) demand, so hang in there. I just put an "allow 2-4 weeks" note on the page but it shouldn't be even that long.


In between the waiting for this, and the near-fruitless search for a copy of The Burning Wheel, I am frustrated watching my post-Gen Con rush of game enthusiasm dwindling without game books in hand...


Or call me Judd
Validated User
Old Man Carson’s Funeral

The Watchdogs were awakened by Benjamin Ibex II, who everyone in Eden called Deuce. He was walking through Garden with his rifle across his shoulders, yelling for his brother to come on out. Deuce didn’t know why his brother wasn’t sleeping where they normally made camp until he saw the Watchdogs.

He briskly sent Tres home because he thought that’s what Pa would want under the circumstances. “Pa wants to see you, Tres. You lost three more goats, I saw.”

Tres mumbled about wolves in the hills and went home, leaving Deuce with the Dogs.

“I just came up to Garden to get my brother. If ya want I could take you to the cemetery. Old Man Carson will be buried come sun-up. We can make it if we ride hard.”

They mounted up and the five of them road towards Eden while Tres made his way home. It was goodly ride to the cemetery and they talked to the eldest Benjamin boy of the Ibex clan.

He repeated much of what his younger brother had said. But he also mentioned the aid of a traveling prophet who had helped their family in their time of need after the death of their ma. When asked about this prophet, Deuce just said, “He died,” and didn’t talk much for the rest of the ride.

The folk of Eden were heading towards the cemetery in a stream of about three hundred or so. At their head walked the Steward and just behind him was the coffin, held by those who knew Old Man Carson best. Benjamin Ibex the First was among the pall-bearers.

Deuce soaked up the attention he got from being the one to officially introduce the town to the visiting Watchdogs. The Steward, a fat man with gray sideburns that fanned on either side of his plump face, wiped away sweat from his brow and asked if any of the Dogs would like to say a word over Old Man Carson’s casket. Anadarch declined, not wanting to speak over a man’s grave who he didn’t know but Jeremiah offered to say a few words. He thought such a thing would be proper, given his vocation.

The Steward spoke of Carson’s fine life and the even finer existence that awaited him in Heaven, where his wife and family awaited. He seemed nervous, an odd trait for a Steward in front of his own congregation. Babies cried and a man kept coughing throughout the sermon. Realizing that his congregation was not listening with their hearts, if at all, the Steward’s sermon came to an inconclusive and meandering end.

But the congregation listened to Jeremiah. He was a golden-haired boy who reminded everyone of some nice cousin or neighbor they remembered. And when he spoke he spoke with confidence and determination. His new coat shimmered in the sunshine.

Jeremiah’s eulogy ended with, “Old Man Carson died from sickness and now he is healthy in heaven. We must take this opportunity to remember to cleanse the sicknesses in our own lives.”

Once Jeremiah was done the Congregation looked at a neighboring hilltop, as if a third sermon were in order. Benjamin Ibex the First stood on that hilltop and eyes downcast he took off his hat and began to talk about Old Man Carson. They paid him the respectful silent attention they had paid the Watchdog.

Benjamin was funny and poignant with his words. He made people laugh even as he made them cry and talked about Carson’s good will towards the children of the town, teaching the boys to throw a baseball and always making nice comments on the girl’s hair and dress. He ended his speech with a steely glare at the Steward and the Watchdogs. “Mayhaps if Carson would have been re-married as the Prophet’s ghost had suggested to me, perhaps if someone had seen to that he would still be with us. I know more than anyone that no man is fit to take care of himself. We are in dire need of women-folk to aid us in the day and night. I hope he is with his wife now in the heavens, beside the Savior Who Has Returned.”

When Benjamin the Goat-herder was done speaking the people of Eden were openly weeping and the Watchdogs exchanged glances.

Anadarch stayed with the Steward but Jeremiah walked to the nearby hill where Benjamin Ibex stood among the people of Eden. He shook hands, knowing full well that the town’s ills somehow surrounded this man and he talked with him. Their conversation was watched by the entirety of the town.

One never knew what would happen when a Watchdog came to a congregation. Would he shoot Benjamin Ibex I? Would he swear him in as the town’s new Steward or create an office of the Faith just for him? When it became clear that Jeremiah was going to do nothing but decide for himself if Benjamin’s words rang with truth or falsehood, the Faithful of Eden began their walk back to town.

GM’s Note:

The first conflict of the game outside of the accomplishments was Jeremiah’s battle of wills with Benjamin Ibex I. Their discussion was a conflict that Mario (Jeremiah’s player) declared the goal as, “I want to know if he is lying.” In the end he knew.

It had become obvious at this point who the movers and shakers in the group were going to be. Mario, player of Jeremiah, was taking this adventure by the throat and going with it right along with Aaron, player of Anadarch, who had cast himself as party leader and was prepared to walk the walk. Mateo was playing Benny and having picked him up at ultimate Frisbee practice before the game I knew he had just gotten through his first day of grad. school and had been going for over 12 hours.

Kolja was playing Cain and I liked the character and the player but he was new to the group and the youngest to boot. I had contacted Kolja through the Burning Wheel forums because I knew he didn’t have a regular gaming group in these here parts. I think Kolja was still getting his feet under him and I drove the adventure so hard that I wasn’t giving people spotlight time and I think our newest player in the group suffered from my unrelenting pace.

Either they moved or they were left behind. I fear I left Kolja behind a bit. After the game I got the sense that he likes the way we game and wants to do so again. I think he will relax and enjoy himself more in future sessions and hopefully, he will play in a game I run in which I can ease up and enjoy a moment here and there. Nice kid and a good gamer.

The Ibex Homestead and the Princess of Eden

Jeremiah insisted that he, Cain and Benny discuss Eden's well-being in greater detail at the Ibex estate. He was firm, smiling, yet polite. Benjamin Ibex I tried to turn down the honor but Jeremiah just smiled politely and insisted.

Benjamin the First sent his sons ahead of them in order to get the house prepared for guests. “My late wife, Faith, Savior rest her soul, passed on and living with eight boys….I’d rather the place was tidied before such honored guests arrived. Set out lemonade and the like.”

Jeremiah knew this was only a half-truth and while Benjamin gathered his boys around him, the Dogs gathered. It was agreed that Anadarch would go into town and do some looking around while the rest of the Dogs rode with the Ibex family.

Anadarch walked in the opposite direction with the Steward, leading his horse while his comrades went with the Ibex family into the hills where their homestead awaited. From the Steward, Anadarch heard about his disdain of Benjamin Ibex and how the congregation took pilgrimages to his homestead in the hills after services.

“Ever since that Prophet passed away while staying with him he has been insufferable. He says the Prophet’s ghost speaks to him and the people believe. They often go to him for advice. It is insufferable. He must be stopped.”

Anadarch listened without comment but asked, “The prophet, where was he buried?”

The Steward looked puzzled. “I reckon he was buried on the Ibex land. Never saw to the body myself. I know I should’ve been there for him better when his wife passed but he is stepping over the boundaries, here. One of his no good sons was found in a glade at a barn-raising with my daughter. I kicked that boy into a state of proper respect with Ben’s help and blessing. But still, he don’t know his place.

“He’s a goat-herder and I am the congregation’s Steward. Am I not?”

Anadarch nodded in agreement. “Did he come into town to have a coffin made?”

“I’m not certain,” the Steward replied. There and then, Anadarch rode away from the Steward with a tip of his hat and a good day.

Meanwhile, Benny, Cain and Jeremiah rode with the Ibex boys. Jeremiah counted six of the Ibex boys with them. “Where are your boys, Benjamin? I only count six.”

“Deuce stayed up at the house to do some chores and I sent Tres ahead to see to tidying up of the house and some lemonade set out.”

Jeremiah stood among the Ibex family and could smell a falsehood thick in the air. Mr. Ibex wasn’t all lying but he was far from telling all the truth. Ever since they had talked back at the cemetery, Jeremiah was getting a feel for his style of fibbing. Like most good liars, Benjamin Ibex I surrounded his lies with truth in order to obfuscate their passage. Even Benny was getting wise to the fib’s comings and goings.

Cain just appeared ready to follow his Brother-in-Arms’ leads, not wanting to do anything foolhardy while hearing the Watchdog’s coat. He still saw his brashness as having allowed a Demon to abscond from Watchdog Temple in the body of Josiah and the guilt weighed heavily.

Jeremiah asked Benjamin what he thought was in the town that needed fixing and the eldest Ibex launched into a line about how the Temple was at the far end of town. “If the temple could be re-built, perhaps bigger and better it would be easier for me and mine to reach. Not to mention when the many folk who come to my homestead to pay respect to the Prophet’s grave-site and gather to discuss the Book of Life they’d have less to travel from Sunday services.”

Jeremiah smiled. “Why don’t you show us a good site for that Temple on the way to your place?”

On his way back from his walk with the Steward, Anadarch was just about bushwacked by a gaggle of young ladies from Eden. They were lead by the Steward’s daughter, a pretty young lady with two blonde braids hanging down her shoulders. She strode up to the Watchdog, bold as you please.

“Good day, Watchdog. Is it true you were ushered into town by one of the Ibex boys?”

Anadarch smiled as he nodded and the girls of Eden melted.

“I’m sorry they had to be your first impression of Eden. Please don’t always think of their stench when you think of our fair town.” The girls looked shocked at her boldness and one of them even stammered out her name, “Emma!”

Anadarch asked questions about the Prophet and the girls didn’t know much. Linea, the shopkeeper’s daughter, told him what she knew.

“He must’ve used the wood he used to build a shed he was keen on. He bought the wood from my pa’s store.”

The handsome Watchdog asked, “Was it enough to build a coffin with?”

“Sure, enough to build a slew of ‘em,” Linea responded.

At that, Anadarch tipped his hat and rode off hard. He was riding towards the hills towards the Ibex Homestead.

Jeremiah, Benny and Cain were being shown the site where Benjamin Ibex I thought the Temple should go when across the hills to the east they saw Anadarch heading into the hills hard, right towards the Ibex Homestead. Jeremiah tried to distract the Ibex family from their brother Dog making towards their home with speed but Benny broke into a smile and pointed.

“Anadarch!” he grinned.

Tight lipped and grim, Benjamin Ibex led his sons and the Watchdogs towards his home, knowing that the fourth Watchdog and some lemonade would await.

By the time they got there Anadarch had taken a look around and saw the second and third Benjamin’s trail of dust heading up towards Garden through the hills.

Benjamin said the Prophet had broken his leg the night before he died. They knew he was lying but the Dogs just stared at him over their glasses of lemonade.

“The next day he was dead,” he explained weakly over lemonade.

Anadarch was asking about the shed and the wood used to build the coffin and how a man with eight sons could leave a shed unassembled when the shots rang out.

The Watchdogs were trained in such matters. They were two shots, both from the same pistol and they were coming from the northern trail that led to Garden. Benjamin Ibex I looked scared and shocked. He knew in his heart that his lies had finally led to violence.

The Watchdogs spurred their horses into action, heading towards the ghost town of Garden with members of the Ibex family in tow.

GM’s Note:

The momentum had begun to die and once the players realized there would be no big revelation at the Ibex Homestead I could feel their energy deflate.


Off they went to Garden. It wasn’t subtle but it worked.

Like I said, I drove this thing hard.
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Damaramu will regret this
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Paka, sounds like you had a nicce solid run in the time you had. Keep up the writeups, they're great.

Yesterday, I ran DitV for five of my players, three regulars and two semi-regulars, using the old set of playtest rules. From about 2.30pm, when character generation started, until 8pm, we managed to create all five characters, run through their preludes, and put them through the first town, Thunder Falls, which was something I came up with pretty much the previous night.

The main crisis was triggered by Brother William, the Branch of the town, leaving abruptly two weeks prior to the scenario, to chase after his runaway wife (see "The Time of the Preacher," by Willie Nelson), leaving only a hapless 16-year-old potential Dog recruit in charge. Without effective spiritual guidance, and with a corrupt instigator making deals with a winter demon to try and start a war with the Mountain People, the town was falling into grave danger until the Dogs showed up.

The characters:
James Wyatt, a fire-and-brimstone type with plenty of judgement for sinners, and not much mercy, a byproduct of his abusive background. It came up in play that his relatives, including his abusive adopted father, were possibly part of a conspiracy to sell the Territory out to the evil Rail Company, and now this has become one of the main plots.

Elvira Cher Baker, a half-breed girl, part Mountain People, harbouring borderline heretic views about mixing the Faith with some of the beliefs of her Mountain People relatives. She had lots of Ceremonial Traits and came in handy when they negotiated with a local tribe to help rescue a boy who had gotten lost in the tribe's territory. James has his eye on her and will shoot her if she exhibits any heretical behaviour.

Malachi Hartford, a young lad from a well-balanced background with a tendency for (but not much luck in) debating doctrine. His nephew was the lost boy at stake in Thunder Falls, so he was quite glad to rescue the kid.

David D. Sloane, rebellious crack shot who took traits for seducing young ladies and a troubled relationship with the sin of Lust. He actually messed around with one of Malachi's nieces during the scenario, but managed to hide this from the others, but James' player has promised a summary execution if David's womanising gets discovered.

Ezekiel Stone, quick-drawing Dog who speaks with lots of authority and loves his horse. We had a side plot with one of his cousin sisters begging his help in getting out of an unwanted engagement, but there was no time to resolve it.

It was quite fun to see two of the players taking characters with some serious flaws that could get them kicked out of the Dogs if they got out of control. Plenty of tension, temptation, sin and heresy lurking within the group. Occured to me that Elvira might end up with a sub-faction of the Faith that believes in the "hidden doctrines" of the Mountain People. Also occured to me that David was possibly bringing more trouble to the town than there was before. Finally, James is very likely to fly off the handle and start shooting his fellow Dogs if he finds out about their sins. Whee! :)

The two biggest conflicts in the game were a fight against demonic weather conditions, and the final confrontation with the local blacksmith who was allied with both a demon and the Rail Company.

The first big conflict was the struggle to make it down from the mountains into Thunder Falls through an unnatural blizzard while bringing along the rescued boy, who had a fever and a broken leg. I put 4d6 into the pool for the bad weather, plus d2d10 for the winter demon behind the troubles plaguing the town, while I allowed the Dogs to use the Stats of their best wilderness survival expert (David) combined with all relevant survival traits of all the others. It was an exciting encounter even without a visible enemy to fight - snow blowing in their faces, trudging through the drifts, moving in a huddle to protect the boy as they went down a rocky mountain trail. Although they realised that there was a supernatural influence in the weather (a la The Fellowship vs. Caradhras) nobody thought to use Ceremonial actions, like chasing off the demonic influence with the Authority of the Lord. With the bigger dice pool of the Dogs, it wasn't hard to win through, with some minor fallout from environmental effects. Ezekiel gained the trait "I Hate The Cold" at 1d4 from the fallout, while the others got by without any ill effects.

The second conflict was a confrontation with Brother Jeremiah, James' angry, widowed, abusive cousin who had fallen into the false doctrine of believing that an "angel" (actually the demon) had given him the right to do as he pleased with the bodies of his children (yes, it was implied to be as nasty as that sounds). The Dogs tried to take his children out of the house while confronting him with his actions in conspiring with the Rail Company to start a war between the Faithful and the Mountain People. Jeremiah lost his temper and betrayed the depths of his depravity in his words. James drew his gun to shoot Jeremiah, escalating things into a gunfight. Which immediately led to demonic attack and a messy dice-all-over-the-table battle, ending in Jeremiah's death and about 5 to 7 d10s of fallout for three of the Dogs, who only survived thanks to the quick Laying On Hands rituals performed by the other two.

Now, with the demon chased out of the town, and the sorcerer revealed and slain, the town has a chance to regain its footing. The Dogs have decided their next course of action is to proceed to the neighbouring towns and find out what happened to Brother William. This continuing plot thread, plus the revelation that several other members of Jeremiah and James' family, living throughout the Territory, are also collaborators with the Rail Company, should provide lots of story material in the future.

In the two large conflicts that we had during the game, I simplified dice-rolling (because of the number of PCs involved) by having only the character with the highest relevant stats leading the conflict by providing his two stats, and everyone else adding in their relevant traits (survival, gunfighting etc.) At the same time the opposing force (demon and his human ally) had relatively modest dice pools, so resolving the conflict wasn't that confusing for everyone. This was also done partly because only two of us (me and Jame's player) had enough dice to form the big dice pools.

On one hand, we really liked the general feel of the setting (holy avengers riding into town to right wrongs, spiritual enemies, elements of a Mythic West). On the other hand, with half the players intentionally playing Anakin-type bad seeds, the campaign could die in a blaze of internal conflict at any moment. It's probably because those two players really can't stand playing "Goddy Two-Shoes" (their spelling, not mine) such as Paladins and Clerics.

I think Dogs is a definite buy for me.

3rd Level Fighter

...has a cunning plan...
RPGnet Member
Validated User
lumpley said:
Soon, Jason. I'm a bit scrambling on account of the (surprising but welcome!) demand, so hang in there. I just put an "allow 2-4 weeks" note on the page but it shouldn't be even that long.

I hope you'll be sending Paka some goodies, because he's the one who sold the game to me! :)


Or call me Judd
Validated User
You stand between God's law and the best intentions of the weak.

You stand between God's people and their own Demons.

Sometimes its better for one to die than for many to suffer. Sometimes, Dog, sometimes you have to cut off the arm to save the life.

Does the sinner deserve mercy?
Do the wicked deserve judgement?

They're in your hands.

- back cover of Dogs in the Vineyard by Vincent D. Baker​

Return to Garden, Population: Four

The road to Garden was steep and dusty. They came upon a spooked horse and there Benjamin III lay in the dust, moaning. He was shot in the gut. His innards were making a hissing noise like a deflating balloon and the boy was letting out a moan that only a boy in the greatest pain of his life can let loose.

Anadarch was the first one to get to the shot boy and he paused only long enough to see that he would live until the others arrived. Jeremiah stopped his horse and told the others to go on while he tended to the wounded. Benjamin Ibex knelt beside his shot son and the Watchdog attempting to save his life and prayed to the Savior Who Has Returned to forgive his sins and shortcomings.

“Don’t take my sins out on my boys, Lord,” he prayed.

The goat pens in Garden had been opened and the herd was grazing. The goats could sense the tension and groups of them were circling nervously, kicking up a veil of dust. When the dust parted, Anadarch saw Benjamin “Deuce” Ibex II standing in the old town square with his hands up.

“He told me that if you come any closer he’ll kill the Prophet. He’s got him. He bushwacked me and my brother and I think Tres is dead and he took the Prophet from us. He said you’d know who he was. He had eyes like a serpent.”

Anadarch’s eyes scanned the rooftops, looking for the Demon in Josiah’s body.

“I am Anadarch, Watchdog of God, and I’ve come for you, Demon!”

There was no response but dust and goats.

“Are you a coward? Is one Dog too much for you?”

On a nearby roof he could see a shape. He still wore Josiah’s flesh and the clothes of a Dog-in-Training but something was different about him. Even the way he stood on the roof was inhuman. Then he slithered down the building as if he had no bones in his body.

Deuce pissed himself at the sight of the Demon and ran away to safety.

The Dog and the Demon faced each other for a pregnant moment before their pistols were in their hands. Josiah’s possessed body moved with blinding speed and his gun spit bullets at the Watchdog, tagging him in the shoulder. Anadarch’s scarred hand, covered by a black glove took out his father’s pistol and planted a bullet in Josiah’s chest, driving the Demon on his back at the same moment the Demon tagged the Dog in the shoulder.

Despite its prone state, the Demon slithered into a nearby saloon to nurse its wound, a bullet from the Left Hand of God. Anadarch spun with the force of the bullet that struck him from Josiah’s pistol. His brother Dogs entered Garden to find Anadarch on the ground, shot in the meat of the shoulder. Jeremiah had his pa’s trusty Winchester. Benny had an old rifle, holding it by the barrel for its use as a club. Cain had a pistol out and when he got down from his horse he took out his bowie knife.

Together they looked at the abandoned saloon and as one they ran in. Anadarch leaped through the doors, pistol blazing. Benny leaped through a pane-less window, ready to swing his rifle-club. Cain entered cautiously, remembering has former failure with Josiah’s Demon. He had his pistol out but his posture favored his knife. Jeremiah was behind a barrel outside, waiting to hit the Serpent with a shot from his daddy’s rifle.

The Serpent fanned Josiah’s pistol, causing the saloon to explode in a storm of bullets. None of the shots hit but they caused confusion and kept the Dogs off of his back while he slithered towards the back door. A broken panel of glass behind the bar exploded as the Serpent shot it and soon after a rusted chandelier fell, breaking the floor-boards but missing the Watchdogs.

In a final desperate attack the Serpent spat its venom at the Dogs. It was a spiritual venom, meant to harm souls weaker than the Dogs but none of their imperfections were great enough for the poison to take hold. When the Serpent spit its bile at them to no effect the Dogs knew they had him.

Cain’s knife flew true and pinned Josiah’s Serpent-possessed body to the saloon floor. Gun out of bullets, pinned to the floor the Serpent grinned through Josiah’s mouth. For a moment Josiah’s voice rang through. “Don’t shoot me, Dogs. I’m just a boy.” The Serpent smiled a wide snake-grin at his adversaries.

Cain began the exorcism and his comrades joined in. He called on Josiah to aid them. “You were almost a Dog, Josiah. Come and fight this thing!”

Josiah’s voice began sobbing as the Serpent left his body behind. “I’m covered in snakes. In a pit…covered…in snakes.” The demon slithered away and Josiah’s eyes turned from yellow slitted with black to his own baby-brown.

Benny walked outside and found Jeremiah slouched behind the barrel. A piece of glass had flown out of the saloon and taken him in the neck while he aimed his shot. He was split from neck to nipple. Gently, the giant Watchdog took the piece of glass from his brother-in-arm’s neck and miraculously the wound closed. It would take some stitching and he wouldn’t be able to ride hard for a few days but Jeremiah was alive and would soon be well.

Benjamin Ibex II, whom the people of Eden called Deuce, was gone. He had left Garden with the Prophet. The Watchdogs knew that a Serpent was in the boy’s body, coiled around his soul.

There was no indication of which direction the Serpent had headed towards with the Prophet as his prisoner and wearing Deuce’s skin. The goat-herder’s boy knew every trail and hill in these parts and the Serpent no doubt had put that to good use.

Once Josiah was situated and Anadarch and Jeremiah were on their feet the Dogs left Garden to deal out God’s Judgment upon the people of Eden.

GM’s Note:

Anadarch’s player, Aaron, is also rather new to our grou,p seeing how I’ve known Mateo and Mario for about ten years or so. I have played alongside Aaron in our weekly Riddle of Steel game for the past two weeks or so but had never GMed for him before. I am looking over this write-up and I wonder if I didn’t allow him to be first in line a bit too often. He seemed to be doing a whole lot, almost many places at once.

This could be the result of a player really rising to my pace and keeping up or it could be me being a lazy GM and letting an aggressive player be everywhere at once during a game. I don’t think Aaron was over-stepping his bounds but it is something I will watch for later.

The shootout between Anadarch and the Demon was one conflict that Anadarch lost but the Demon took more fall-out.

The final shoot-out, ending with Cain putting his knife in Josiah’s shoulder was a separate conflict that was between the Demon and the four PC’s. Mario tried to sit it out, saying that he was tending to the boy but I said that he had done all he could for now and should be there for the final showdown.

I’m not sure if we did the conflict right between 3 people. I need to re-read the rules now that I see how they basically work. Having done so, I see that we did a few things incorrectly but we all left having enjoyed how the die mechanics work. I am excited to play this game again with the rules firmly in everyone’s mind and the concept out of the way.

Judgment in Eden

The people of Eden gathered around the outside of the Temple and waited in the shade of the apple trees. The Steward waited on the steps too and the four Watchdogs of God were inside debating the sins they had found in this town.

The Dogs disagreed for a time and when the Steward and Benjamin Ibex I began getting into a loud verbal spat on the Temple steps, their different opinions coalesced into one strong feeling: something had to be done and now was the blessed time to do it.

When Cain tried to make it to the door before Anadarch the Dogs nearly went to fisticuffs to decide who would walk out the Temple doors first. Despite the tensions, the Eden-folk saw the four Watchdogs of God walk out of the Temple’s front doors together and to the congregation’s eyes four Dogs exited their Temple united in righteousness.

Benny looked at Benjamin Ibex I who was red-faced from screaming at the Steward. The towering Dog looked down at the goat-herder whose one son was shot and other son the puppet of a demonic Serpent.

“You lied,” Benny said simply, not knowing much but knowing what’s right.

The Dogs broke him down and by the time they were done he was sobbing his apologies to the town. They chastised his pride in trying to out-preach the Steward and they chastised his untruths that had allowed his pride to take root.

They decided the town needed both Benjamin Ibex I and the Steward. By the Watchdog’s decree, the Steward’s daughter had to marry an Ibex boy, of the Steward’s choosing to mend the breach of Eden. There were folk in Eden who were sure there was going to be righteous Watchdog bloodletting but they got none.

A local knitting circle had even placed bets on who would be dragged into the street and shot. Marjory Ellen Kline, sly mother of eight, won quite a length of gingham from the circle’s betting pool, saying that the Dogs would opt for mercy.

Having been mutilated, lied to, shot and spit on, the Dogs looked onwards where a Serpent traveled with a hostage Prophet towards unsuspecting congregations. The distant desert was a harsh white line on the horizon.

GM’s Note:

Dealing out their judgment is the most important part of this game and I wanted the players to make a decision. I think they don’t fully understand their power just yet. The game was running late and I was pleased with how it went.

We weren’t running conflict resolution, not understanding the back and forth of it but we’ll get it next time. I’ve re-read the book having played the game and I’ve got it now, clear as day.

It’s a great game, from the campaign shape suggested, to the conflict resolution that so beautifully displays the way conflicts escalate from words to blood and the wonderful implied world that is so rich and so danged wide open (excuse my language).

I tired to run a Deadlands game years ago in which the players were in a traveling circus and they traversed the west, going from town to town, putting on shows and helping local townsfolk. I realize now it is Dogs in the Vineyard that I wanted to be playing.

Real world epilogue: Aaron, who played Anadarch, was at his work on break and someone said, “That’s funny as hell,” and he thought a Watchdog thought. “You think Hell’s funny? Go find out!” *BANG*

It is my most sincere hope that we get to play this game again some time soon. Our schedules are all kindsa hectic. We'll see.
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Or call me Judd
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I edited some parts of the text that I found muddled upon reading it out loud to my girlfriend before bed (nice bedtime story).


Damaramu will regret this
Validated User
Paka said:
Benjamin Ibex II, whom the people of Eden called Deuce, was gone. He had left Garden with the Prophet. The Watchdogs knew that a Serpent was in the boy’s body, coiled around his soul.
That sounds like an awful quick getaway. The Dogs had no chance to stop him?

Paka said:
GM’s Note:

Dealing out their judgment is the most important part of this game and I wanted the players to make a decision. I think they don’t fully understand their power just yet. The game was running late and I was pleased with how it went.

We weren’t running conflict resolution, not understanding the back and forth of it but we’ll get it next time. I’ve re-read the book having played the game and I’ve got it now, clear as day.

It’s a great game, from the campaign shape suggested, to the conflict resolution that so beautifully displays the way conflicts escalate from words to blood and the wonderful implied world that is so rich and so danged wide open (excuse my language).

I tired to run a Deadlands game years ago in which the players were in a traveling circus and they traversed the west, going from town to town, putting on shows and helping local townsfolk. I realize now it is Dogs in the Vineyard that I wanted to be playing.
Great first game, I think.

I'm trying to pin down what I like about Dogs. The focus of the game really helps to make it work for me. I've seen fantasy westerns like Castle Falkenstein: Six Guns And Sorcery and Deadlands where the wide-open setting, with a kitchen sink full of different character types, magic systems and fantasy elements, simply overwhelms the GM and players. Dogs didn't need spellguns and steamtech and ghost rock to rock, and that's part of the beauty of it.

I personally like the conflict resolution system but my players are finding it hard to get used to the idea that you pre-roll all your dice before a fight. Some of them see it as a new challenge, some of them just find it weird. Also, giving extra traits and stat increases from Fallout is something that I'm being cautious with, as several players are powergamers who could really abuse it.

Right system for me, but not for all my players.


Retired User
Paka said:
Real world epilogue: Aaron, who played Anadarch, was at his work on break and someone said, “That’s funny as hell,” and he thought a Watchdog thought. “You think Hell’s funny? Go find out!” *BANG*
That's kickin!

Man, this game sounds so great. I want my copy now.

No. Now!
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