Some questions:

Some questions:

Some questions:

(1) What’s the mindset behind having the GM not make any die rolls?

(2) Has anyone run or played in a DW game with only two PCs? The book says 2-5, and if I do this thing I’d like to do, I’d only have two PCs, the minimum. Any tips for such a small party?

(3) This is going to sound like a very D&D-ish question, but when it comes time for combat, is there a rule of thumb for “balancing” the number of monsters against the size and/or average level of the party?

12 thoughts on “Some questions:”

  1. re: (1), I as GM am not in fact willing to let the players have all the fun, so I insist on rolling monster damage.  I think the point of “GM generally doesn’t roll dice” is to focus attention on the characters’ actions where it belongs.  Nobody actually cares what the monster’s Wisdom is, or what they choose to do on a partial success. 

    Also, if the monsters don’t have attributes and stats and so on, they don’t need a whole paragraph of numbers to describe them, and it’s much easier to just make them up on the fly as needed.

  2. re: (3), I don’t think there really is anything.  I’m sort of figuring it out empirically by throwing things at them and seeing what they can handle.  Old-school D&D is less concerned with “balanced encounters” anyway, since players are expected to be smart enough to figure out what they need to run away from.  Plus, how you play the monsters makes a huge difference in how dangerous the fight is.  There’s a DM skill to learn in making monsters really threatening in this game.  (Read Stras Acimovic’s 16-hp dragon thing, and I think also the classic Tucker’s Kobolds editorial.  That’s the spirit you’re looking for.) 

  3. (1) For one it speeds up the game immensely. For two, the players have all their notes and armor and such onhand. I find that not having to roll really keeps things moving (I use the moment to assess the board, figure out where the spotlight should go next, and take a glance at my moves/agendas to keep them fresh in mind).  Finally, it displaces the badness off the GM (same with six minuses). It’s not the ST being a jerk, it’s just the drop of the dice, you’ve got nobody else to blame.

    (2) Yes. You need to make sure not to make 30 room dungeons where HP management is a huge issue since 3-5 bad rolls in a row will wipe the party with no chance of recovery.  We had a druid in the party, and I wrote a custom move for herbing and making poultices, and made sure that they could buy potions and such frequently to supplant their stores.  Things were dangerous (they had to give up on a few plans/adventures) but it also meant they played sharper, more clever, and really in tune with each other.

    (3) What does ‘balance’ mean in your question? (this is not a trap, I need to understand your question to answer fully)

  4. I ran a demo for two players, and it went pretty well. It was a wizard and a rogue, and the only thing I needed to remember was to reduce the number of enemies they encountered. I didn’t need to adjust monster stats at all, and the game ran really smoothly.

  5. (2) Two players is fine. Like any other RPG, you’ll have to adjust the number of opponents, but…

    (3) like Colin, I don’t really care about balance…. until I begin to see anxiety in players’ eyes. Then I try to keep that atmosphere all along till the final scene. And because they’re only two of them, it’s good to make them feel surrounded continuously.

  6. Thank you to everyone who replied. 🙂

    Stras Acimovic , I am speaking of “balance” in the sense of providing a good but not insurmountable encounter to the party. In 3.x D&D, you had metrics like Challenge Rating and Encounter Level to balance an encounter against the avg. Party level of the party. I understand that there is a certain “old school” vibe to DW, but like you said re: question 2, 30-room dungeons may be too big for a party of 2. I hope that helps.

  7. My take on your questions:

    (1) When I GM I roll dice with either the hope that the monster misses or hoping to be a good adversary, but usually I want the monster to be a good challenge. My adversarial side is enhanced by the dice, having them rest on the players shoulders makes me happy.

    (2) I haven’t run for 2 people in a long time, and certainly not DW, but when I did I had an NPC in the party, complementing their abilities, and made sure the number of creatures fought wasn’t too much, usually no more than twice the party unless the situation starts without combat or far away from each other enough to give them a chance to tune down numbers or run away.

    (3) I am planning a DW game that I may have a chance to start this weekend, I plan to start with some large, unique monsters instead of the small ones in hordes, I find it easier to gauge the system when I have a single creature to control, a lot of smaller opponents take more tracking from my part and require more care to not wipe a party. In general they can take any numbers, given enough time and preparation, but you would not have a way of knowing unless you already are familiar with how they interact with great dangers that WILL kill them if they are not smart/careful.

  8. The thing that I like to think about when deciding how many monsters there are is: what makes sense? Like, if these goblins were real living things, what woud they do?

    Well, their stats say their horde, so they appear in large numbers. They’re not going to dedicate everyone to just a bunch of adventurer’s they’ve got other things on their minds, so if we’re thinking of “what’s the first group of goblins they encounter?” it’d probably be more than 5, but not too much more. I might go with 6.

    They’ll fight. It might be easy for the players, in which case the other goblins are going to be smarter: they’re going to have larger numbers, better defenses, etc. When their patrol doesn’t come back they’re going to assume that 6 gobbos isn’t enough and start being smart.

    The players might beat a retreat, in which case the goblins are likely to be more aggressive—they know they can win.

    The players might die, in which case they’ve learned. Make up some new characters and avenge the first batch!

    Action in DW moves quickly, so none of these options will be a lot of wasted time. Start out with a number and type of creatures that makes sens for the situation and adapt from there, as the creatures themselves would.

  9. I ran a game of DW for two buddies that had never played before a few weekends ago, and it was a blast. It plays kind of like a buddy cop movie, where the serious, lawman paladin and the crafty, self-interested thief hunted down a group of zombie pirates for wealth, glory, oh and to protect a ravaged village I guess.

    By the time they’d battled through patrolling zombie pirates and started a forest fire they were looking pretty beat up, so I gave the necromancer that was controlling the zombies the “incompetent” tag. As the players fought with him and tried to shoot a flaming arrow into a stack of powder kegs, the necromancer is waving around a magic orb and shooting blasts of force and trying to order about his minion while his base burns. The paladin finally chops off the necro’s hand holding the orb at the same time the thief’s flaming arrow strikes the small barrels of black powder.

    From the wreckage, the two heroes emerged scorched, battered, but victorious surrounded by sone nice loot and the towns pillaged supplies.

    If you react to your players and their situation you can keep it exciting and dangerous no matter the number of players.

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