A Dirty World: A Very Thorough Murder part 1

this is totes Aaron's characterJoe Bilby was a bad man. Even his murderers underestimated how badly he deserved to die…until they found all that money in his office. The petty revenge of a deputy, an artist, and a country doctor has accidentally uncovered a criminal conspiracy undermining the entire town, and the snake’s nest is stirring. Many want to find the men responsible for Bilby’s death, but justice is the last thing they have in mind. Can the conspirators resist  temptation and scrutiny long enough to return to their regular lives? Or has their shared sin started a cycle of violence from which there is no escape? Find out in this A Dirty World mini-campaign featuring Aaron, David, and Tom.

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  1. so this is my favorite system written by my favorite RPG author run by my favorite GM with some nerds I like we haven’t heard enough from lately (Tom+Aaron y u no Batter Angle). with the promise of more built in. I dunno how much more tragically fanboyishly excited I could be, but I hope some day to reach those heights.

  2. I am happy to see a Dirty World game. This will be listened too very soon.

  3. Yeeeeees more Dirty World.

  4. Let the bodies hit the floor.

  5. Caleb, you evil sod; this is one of the most terrifying games you guys have ever done. It probably dosen’t help that Deputy Smith reminds me of a cop I once had to interact with in the USA.

  6. Glad to see you enjoyed Indy! I was one of the folks who accidentally met you, Caleb. Next year I’ll try to get in an actual game. 😀

  7. Caleb, “bends of the soul” is my new favorite term, thank you. Also, I soooooo can’t wait for this to escalate as it inevitably will.

  8. Btw David is slowly becoming my fav character maker. His PCs are diverse and well played. Fear not sweet Tom, you still have my nerd boners.

  9. @Burn I agree that David’s really starting to shine more and more, it might be due to having a smaller group that we get a chance to see more of him.

    Sidenote: I’d like to see A Dirty World done in the Dungeon World game, just for a lark. Good/Bad thing Titanicus has fallen, else Aaron could play with 0 understanding ALL. THE. TIME.

  10. Also, I got so happy at Tom’s mention of Blacksad! That comic is soooo good and I can’t wait for Amarillo, the next volume, to come stateside.

  11. I’ve been working as a diswasher for a good year and a half now, and that’s nothing as what I’ve heard/seen. Having a cook clap his hands to get the attention to the waitress is my personal favorite.

  12. Between Caleb’s soul crushing road stop rant (had me laughing so friggin’ hard) and the actions and attitudes of the PCs, this was a great session. This is gonna be good.

    Also @Caleb, you may think the midwest of America is shitty, but do you still have to worry about a snow storm when driving home at night… in late April? XD

  13. This episode may take the permanent place on my iPhone for most humorous game. The current residing episode is Fiasco: News Channel 6. I have a dark sense of humor.

    To reaffirm my position as “Crazy Rpprchivist/ Podcast Muse” I want to start the death counter on this campaign because:

    During the main topic of Episode 98 (from 00:10:30 to 01:01:30) the discussion turns to depressing games.
    When Ross tells Caleb “You would run A Dirty World with a two-digit body count”, Caleb counters with “I didn’t make the two-digit body count …(you) wiped out most of the town.” ( from 00:13:30 to 00:00:14:30).
    Because this game is referred to as occurring while Ross was away and the body count is attributed to Tom and David, I assert that A Very Thorough Murder is the grim campaign being described.

  14. The current body count is
    Player-induced deaths: 1.
    Phillip Connelly (Aaron): 1/3.
    James Haversham (Tom): 1/3.
    Bobby Barnaby (David): 1/3.
    Player Character deaths: 0.
    Population of Harrissee: 259.
    (Note, I created the population figure by averaging the populations of Haworth and Hardesty, the smallest Oklahoma towns starting with H on City-data.com).

    Make your predictions now, listeners. My lineup is
    Player-induced deaths: 65.
    Phillip Connelly (Aaron): 1/3.
    James Haversham (Tom): 32 & 1/3.
    Bobby Barnaby (David): 33 & 1/3.
    Player Character deaths: 1 (Phillip Connelly).
    Final Population of Harrissee: 175 residents (65 dead, 20 fled).

    Predict any of the player-induced death numbers exactly for 5 points, within 10 deaths for 1 point.
    Predict the Player character deaths exactly for 10 points , non-exact predictions for 0 points.
    Predict the final population of Harrissee exactly for 10 points, within 15 residents for 5 points.

    As is appropriate for A Dirty World, Points are worth nothing. Gaining the most points may leave you worse than when you had none.

    Caveat: Should an exact number for the population be established, any body counters will have the option to change their final population prediction.
    Post your predictions before part 2! Caleb and players requested to please not spoil.

  15. whoooa Mark Humble is a little too Matthew Shepard for my taste as a David-related NPC. sure it was unintentional, but I did blanch.

  16. so where do your terrible Dirty World property schemes come from, Caleb? I totally don’t do news, so for all I know this kind of scam is being uncovered in small-town America all the time. but I kind of prefer to imagine you sitting up late into the night poring over Mississippi police procedure and looking for ways to subvert it.

    this is glorious as usual. I was a little skeptical of putting so much agency in the hands of the players at first, but clearly the overall scheme was resilient enough to survive whatever they contributed.

  17. Apologies in advance Thesauradon but to our utter surprise every NPC in this scenario made it out to live out their lives filled with love and wealth. Except Joe Bilby as he did apparently have it coming. Plus we would not have a game without his untimely demise at our hands.

  18. I have to say, if I have never said it before, I LOVE (!!!!) your A Dirty World games! They are my favorite by far of all of your other games. I love the whole noir theme for games. I wish to gawd that I could only find some gamers to either run or play games of Dirty World.

    BTW, I leave on the right side of Missouri (St. Louis), but I really do feel your pain, Caleb. Because of my job, I have worked all over the US, mainly the ‘Old South’, and all I can tell you is it really doesn’t get any better anywhere else.


  19. I love the use of a civil forfeiture scam in this campaign. Even without using it for personal gain, it’s a “powerlessness tax” that the system needs because we have tax policies that are so warped by the political influence system that governments couldn’t function without it, and yet it’s almost completely invisible, so it’s great that some folks are learning about it through this game.

    Also you’ve done a really great job capturing the feeling of living under a corrupt system, where calling the cops is more likely to get your face smashed into the ground than to get you the help you need. I live in Buenos Aires, where people are very reluctant to call the police due to the massive corruption, but I’m know it’s the same in a lot of parts of the U.S. as well.

  20. I took an extra lap on my way to work to finish the recording.Caleb is good at turning up the dystopian elements of a setting for Noir games.

  21. Ah, civil forfieture.

    One of the creepiest abilities available to law enforcement.
    I have heard stories of it being abused in Mississippi and Tennessee.

    A similar thing we have in Tennessee:
    Legally, if you are carrying a large amount of cash on you, law enforcement can confiscate under suspicion of gaining it through illegal means. This one definitely has been abused, and fighting it typically costs more than simply letting the cops keep your money.

    I’ve personally never heard of any local instances of these laws being applied in the local city or county area, but the fact that they can be used is more than a little creepy.

  22. Case in point, interestingly, just a few hours after my last comment, someone was physically assaulted (robbed?) across the street from our apartment in view of our window, and when he was shouting and crying for help, my wife and I literally had the “should we call the police or not?” conversation before calling 911. The police never showed up. We did see the victim walk away, though.

    Here’s my prediction for how this campaign ends (possible spoiler alert if I’m right): in the end it turns out the victim, while he was a horrible person profiting from civil forfeiture and a slum lord, never actually broke the law ever.

  23. “God Damned Logans Steak House!”

  24. Caleb, starting with the murder having occurred was an excellent idea. Knowing the PCs were completely guilty of murder, or being an accomplice to it, made every interaction with any semi-offical person a nerve racking listen. I hope it effected the players the same way.

  25. Oops. I meant affect.

  26. I love this one so much. Not just because it’s a Dirty World game, but because of the sense of overbearing dread and malice. Also, I wish popular (US) culture would get on the civil forfeiture bad wagon more, or at least put it in more media. It’s one of the things that needs to be talked about a lot and then die.

  27. Not quite done with the episode and while I am enjoying it I am sure Caleb does not want to hear my two favorite parts so far are basically his asides.

    The description of the highs and lows a man can reach going to gencon and back was pretty great although it totally made me want to eat at that steakhouse. Poor sad small town steakhouse has its attraction.

    The other great part was Aaron thinking there was a CSI tech in the small town and Caleb’s comment that if they were all murdered in their house right now they would go unavenged. I would like to think that was not true since Ross, not being present and seeing his RPPR empire crumble with out players, would use your deaths to hone his body into a killing machine and seek revenge as some kind of Ozarks punisher but I agree the law would be unlikely to turn up a creditable lead. I guess my comment above presupposes that Ross was not the one that killed you all but … well even he is not that much of a horrible monster. Is he?

  28. @Tim

    All I can say is that it depends which of us were to die first. If we went down in a salvo of machinegun fire and died together, it’d be one thing; if the killer got us all in order, I hope that whomever is the last to go has the presence of mind to take a photo and that the cellphone’s “Send to all” actually works properly.


    “Hello, killer’s face. Don’t have time to label you as ‘Smoking Gun Slash Vital Evidence,’ but if I send you out to everyone in my address book SOMEBODY will get you to the cops. Go ahead and kill me now; it shows the message was sent.”

    The joys of living in the information age; our cellphones are close at hand, and we use them for pretty much everything except making phone calls.


  29. Ugh, that game made me want to take a shower. Excellent depiction of mundane evil, Caleb.

  30. I don’t know but if I was David, I would of stated I didn’t fire a shot and arrest the two other PCs and say that Joe was a friend and he called me. I arrived and saw the two killing him, stopped them then I was busy saving the mans life. After that I would of called for backup.

    Done and completely believable when the cops showed up.

  31. To be fair, Colton’s is one of the nicer places in Rolla.

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