Quick query: How does one handle monster special abilities?

Quick query: How does one handle monster special abilities?

Quick query: How does one handle monster special abilities? Like, a Gorgon turning someone to stone with a glance, or a Scorpion’s poison sting? A Beholder’s Disintegrate beam? The debilities seem good for certain things, but I feel like the -1 only goes so far… I guess I’m just a bit confused, coming from a D&D background/mindset…

Also, is there an expanded Spell list anywhere? Our group’s mage is hoping for the versatility, or at least the breath of options, that his AD&D Magic User had. Where’s Lightning Bolt? Floating Disk? Burning Hands?

9 thoughts on “Quick query: How does one handle monster special abilities?”

  1. “A thin green beam emerges from the beholder’s eye, transforming the dungeon wall and floor it strikes into dust. It whips towards you, lightning-quick: what do you do?”

    “When you’re stung by a deathtail scorpion, roll +con. On a hit, you’re fine. On a 7-9, take -1 ongoing until you receive magical healing against poison. On a miss, make your last breath roll.”

    “Failed that hack and slash roll, huh? Okay, the medusa gets in close, rips off your blindfold, and stares you in your eyes before you can shut them. You’ve been petrified. Hey, Cleric, what are YOU going to do now that the fighter’s incapacitated?”

    Mind you, you should warn the PCs if you’re going to be fast and casual with the “save or die” type effects. Warn the players that death will be a frequent visitor if you’re gonna play that way, and be aware it’s probably close enough to count as a slight hack of the game.

    There’s no canon expanded spell list, but Ritual covers a lot of the noncombat options (in theory, all of them). And most spells wouldn’t be that hard to import? If it’s a combat spell compare the damage to existing DW spells and figure if it should be a bit more or a bit less depending on what you’re getting or giving up (more targets, less range, whatever).

  2. If a monster has a “Turn enemy to stone” move, the GM can use that whenever they get a chance to make a hard move against a character.  Then the character is turned to stone.  It’s pretty simple.  

    When can you (the GM) make a hard move?  Like

    Vasiliy Shapovalov says, you can make a hard move against a character when the player rolls a 6-, or if the player has given you a golden opportunity.

    A golden opportunity is when a player ignores your softer move.  Like, say for instance the GM uses the “Show signs of an approaching threat” move by describing a room full of terrified-looking warrior statues in various fighting poses.  If the party wanders in without taking precautions with mirrors, describes themselves examining the room in detail, and so forth, they’re giving the GM a golden opportunity  to hose them.  P.166 of the DW rulebook gets into this.

    If you want more of a D&D saving throw feel, you can pause just short of the petrification and ask what the player does.  If they describe something that might ward off the petrification, then you could give them a Defy Danger roll to slither free of it.  (EDIT: Or you could write a custom “When you are by ” move like Ben does above)

    Dealing with the aftermath of an accomplished petrification is an opportunity to Spout Lore and try Rituals. 

    Like Ben Wray says, don’t use really heavy monsters casually unless the players are into that.

  3. I’ve been thinking a lot about that mage class, particularly since it showed up in our last game, and I can’t help think it’s way unbalanced.  The main thing talked about in adding new classes is not to take spotlight away from other classes – and the Mage takes spotlight away from every other class.

    Think about it.  They can do anything with their magic, with no more downside then the usual wizard has.  This means they can heal like a cleric, open locks and detect traps like a thief, fight like a fighter… our mage exploded the heads of zombies, scared off killer bats with fireworks and offered to heal a wounded character in place of the priest…. Kind of makes everyone else redundant.

    This works in games like Mage the Ascension (you’ll notice they took the system out in the new mage game) because all the characters have this power, with different themes to flavour them.  In DW you end up with a group of regular adventurers and one guy who can do EVERYTHING.  

  4. I do agree that that can happen…but that’s where the fiction comes in. Mages have it rough in my games…if they even smell like they’re going to usurp spotlight, I usually hit them hard and fast with some good ol’ “Turn your move back on them.” Rolled a 6 on those bat-scaring fireworks? Well the lights explode right in front of you instead, blinding the entire party…

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