DW GM First Impressions (part 2)
There were goblins in the barracks beyond the secret tunnel, and they were prepared for the party’s arrival. I did not predetermine the number of goblins, but rather suggested that there were a bunch of them. I used the characters’ failed Defy Danger and Hack and Slash rolls to Put Them in a Spot and have them menaced by two or more goblins.
The fight took a surprisingly long time. Kyle had a horrible run of die rolls, and while he was racking up XP like crazy, I found myself challenged to keep coming up with bad things that weren’t simply more damage. The goblins’ special moves all involve bringing new goblins to the fight, and I felt that the last thing we all needed was the arrival of MORE goblins.
Instead I opted for things like having one of his characters slip and fall prone, with a goblin about to ram a spear into his chest. I wasn’t sure about this, though. On a 6- I was fully justified in making a hard move, but by this point the character had already suffered a bunch of damage. The “slip and fall prone” thing struck me as more of a way of delaying a subsequent dealing of damage, rather than anything interesting.
Kyle’s spectacular run of bad luck resulted in the Cleric’s staff flying across the room (Use Up Their Resources) and a lot of (failed) Defying Danger attempting to reclaim it.
Rob’s Dwarf Fighter and Halfling Thief were having a better time of it, though ever here there were a lot of 7-9 rolls that required me to come up still more negative effects. I opted for a goblin jumping onto the Dwarf’s back and putting a knife to his throat. The Dwarf responded by Defying Danger and slamming the goblin into a wall.
The fight eventually wound down, but I’d estimate that it may have taken an hour of real time. That was much longer than I expected from DW.
At this point, the party had two complications to deal with: a lot of spear wounds and a captured goblin.
One concern that I ran into was how to adjudicate the Cleric’s Cure Light Wounds. Was he allowed to spam the spell over and over until everyone was fully healed? While I presume that this sort of thing is discouraged by the possibility of multiple failures (full or partial), it concerns me that a group of players could conceivably argue that any time they Make Camp in the presence of a Cleric, they could easily have him Commune multiple times as needed until they were back to full health.
The characters Parlayed with the goblin, offering not to kill him if he revealed who was in command. He told them about the Goblin Orkaster in the next room. (This imminent threat did help to discourage any lengthy attempts to heal up.)
I’m not going to go into detail about the fight with the Orkaster, though here too there were a bunch of partial and full failures. As much as I didn’t want to rely on Dealing Damage, I found myself resorting to it when I’d run out of ideas. I did, however, have a moment of fun when I had the Orkaster ignite the Bard’s prized mandolin. But I felt that even this was more of a way of delaying an eventual dealing of damage.
The party was well and truly bloodied after this second fight, and they retreated out of the dungeon to Make Camp. That’s where we ended things. We’d spent about two and a half hours of real time, including character creation.
(concluded in part 3)