A question for DW GMs:

A question for DW GMs:

A question for DW GMs:

How do you, in your group, handle advancing fronts?  

I’m working on an old idea for a campaign – I know that something I want to address (one of the great world mysteries for my players) revolves around artifacts that are at the core of kingdoms in the world.  I also want to emphasize that, while the players are heroic, they can’t be everywhere at once; when they have the option of pursuing several possible actions, the ones they don’t pick will get worse, which in turn will affect my campaign front – the one that I plan on being a slow reveal.

So.  What are your rules of thumb?  How do you reveal front advancement to your players?  What do you do to both incorporate what your players do and make the world seem alive?

3 thoughts on “A question for DW GMs:”

  1. You can have your list of portents and dangers, the things that will happen if your heroes do not intervene. For larger, slower moving,  or further away fronts, make these rumors of things the players will hear when they get back form an adventure. “The Tavern is alive with rumours of skirmishes along the country’s border with it’s neighbor nation” followed by “There is word that peace talks hav degenerated when our neighbor’s emmisary was killed in a duel” and finally, “All-out war has broken out in the west!”

    If the danger is more immediate, show the players the advancement of the portents as they continue on. “As the sun rises, you can blurred shapes on the ocean horizon” then “After dispatching the last cultist, you look out to sea and see several vessels speeding for the keep” finally “As you bring your loot out of the keep, you can see the colors the ships fly. Black Sea Raiders are upon you!”

    As the players interact with the world, use your Fronts’ casts’ instincts to figure out how they would react. Just continue to ask “What makes sense? What is Dangerous? What seems cool?”

  2. “Announce future badness” is as close as I get to revealing my fronts, but it really depends on the requirements of the fiction.  As the world changes, the fronts should change, but the players should be aware of it.

    There’s a great article on the F.E.A.R. AI that presents this important principle: if the players can’t see it / hear it / know about it in some way, it never happened.  The original AI would sneak through places and the player would never notice, assuming the game was just teleporting more enemies in.  The big realization the devs made was that just adding a sound clip or two (“circle around and flank ’em!”, “he’s in the ventilation shaft!”) was a much bigger win for making the players feel the enemy was acting intelligently.

    Definitely push that as a DM.  Make sure the players can actually see the depth and complexity you’ve created.  You don’t have to give spoilers in narration, but if the front’s effects are never seen, the players will never have the benefit of feeling the world.

  3. If players leave something (a person, a place, etc) that is connected to a Front, I’ll advance that Front while they’re away, if time makes sense, and drop the bomb when they return.  

    For example, if the Front says that Forward Camp Battlemoore is going to be overrun by Goblins if the PCs don’t intervene, the first time they visit it’s alive and vibrant with frontier excitement – folks bright-eyed and clean, with tools sharp and smiles on their faces.  When they come back, I do the same, but my Grim Portent, now checked, says “A Goblin attack unsettles the populace” and so I throw in a few injuries, some nervous looks and, if the PCs ask what’s up, someone tells a story about losing a friend to a raid that came in the night.  If they do nothing, and traipse back underground, the next Grim Portent says “Security is compromised” and the outer perimeter wall is cracked and broken on the next visit.

    Basically, for me, it’s all about goading the players – about saying “it’s getting worse, come on, you better do something” but then, presenting them with hard choices.  Save Battlemoore or go back and kill the cultists you know are being evil in the ruins, or go steal the unguarded gold that the dwarves left behind when Verthrimax the White ate their king.

    Hard choices = Front sauce.

Comments are closed.