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Dogs in the Vineyard

Things for IllFlower’s Dogs in the Vineyard campaign.

Setting details

The campaign takes place on Mars in the distant, but not too distant, future. As Earth finds itself in the grip of ecological decline caused by over-industrialization, refugees have begun flooding onto established colony worlds in a long, gradual exodus from a homeworld that is becoming inhospitable to all but those who can afford their own floating biosphere domes. You, of course, are not one of those lucky few. Instead, you are a member of the (as-yet-unnamed) faith, which has emerged in the midst of this catastrophe believing that God has punished humanity for its overreliance on industrial technology. You and other adherents have committed yourselves to living a largely pre-modern (say, 19th century) lifestyle on the Martian soils, away from the larger cities that are beginning to form on the planet’s surface.

The general technology level of the faith’s settlements is best described as “schizophrenic.” On the one hand, the faith has renunciation of modern, industrial technology as a central tenet; but on the other, it’s virtually impossible to survive on Mars without relying on localized terraforming and advanced surface transportation, and withholding contemporary medical advancements just seems cruel. “Acceptable” technology use is a constant source of debate among adherents, and some towns refuse to acknowledge each other as part of the faith for exactly this reason. (Or at least that’s the cover story; some suspect that the real roots run deeper…) Everyone, however, can agree on one thing: Non-ballistic weapons are verboten. Bullets, not lasers.

Most of the residents of these settlements were born on, and have substantial memories of, life on a decaying Earth. They were born poor, and had to toil at menial jobs to save enough to make the trip off-planet — or stow away on an outbound colony ship, at great risk to themselves.