Where does the Idea steff from, that players never call out their moves in #dungeonworld?

Where does the Idea steff from, that players never call out their moves in #dungeonworld?

Where does the Idea steff from, that players never call out their moves in #dungeonworld? Is there something i am missing? It’s totally legit to say what move you want to use and then describe how you do it. 

I prefer it that way then the GM having to interpret everything and tell you what Move you may use now…

78 thoughts on “Where does the Idea steff from, that players never call out their moves in #dungeonworld?”

  1. It also puts way more mechanical weight on the shoulder of the GM. 

    Might work better if everyone is familiar with the moves and starts to use them more proactively. (don’t know if this is the right word) 

  2. If someone could correct me if I am wrong but in DW and I think AW you can’t call out what move you want to use as a player because the rules have it that the players just narrate and the GM either says “Yes, you do what you’re trying to do,” or “That sounds like X move. Roll the dice.” 

    This means players don’t ever make moves. They just narrate towards moves and the GM says yes or roll the dice.

  3. – if you control a PC you can talk about moves, only the MC/GM  have to follow the principle “Never speak the name of your move”, but the GM can speak about PC moves like any other character

    – as explained at page 16 its a duty of all players recognise triggers of PC moves, its not a GM only responsability

    – I think its more elegant if every player just say the fictional trigger, grab the dice, roll them and then everybody help whit results, but this is my taste. Its totally legit to ask others help whit the recognition of the triggers

    – teach the game its a GM duty, so its totally legit in the first sessions he/she is the only one who point when a move triggers, but only to follow this duty

    – if you play a DW campaign when only the GM decides when a move is used or not, nobody will complain. The Dungeon Police dont show up to sequester your manual, dice or character sheets. 😉

  4. In Apocalypse World anyway, you can call out which move you want, but to do it you have to do it and the GM can say, “Okay, how?” Then you describe the way you’re doing the move.

    I assumed that was how it works in Dungeon World but don’t have the text handy.

  5. Oh! I bet that’s it! Iacopo Benigni just pointed out the MC principle “Never speak the name of your move.” I bet people apply that to PC moves as well.

  6. Christopher Sniezak no. You don’T ever “say yes or roll the dice” either you trigger a move or you don’t. Most moves have really clear triggers and if it happens you HAVE TO roll the dice. It might be “make a player move or make a gm move” (possibly Tell them the consequences and ask)

  7. It’s probably because in AW there’s a long section of players naming moves and the MC telling them to tell him what they do. The section doesn’t end with a “oh hey it is okay to say the move, but also describe it” it just kind of ends after implying “don’t name moves.”

    Also, none of the examples feature players who name moves, I think? The MC always says “so you’re XYZ?”

  8. AW Moves Snowball: 

    Marie the brainer goes looking for Isle, to visit grief upon her, and finds her eating canned peaches on the roof of the car shed with her brother Mill and her lover Plover (all NPCs).

    “I read the situation,” her player says. “You do? It’s charged?” I say.

    “It is now.”

    “Of course not.” Once is what you get, unless the situation substantially changes.

    “Okay. I do direct-brain whisper projection on Isle.”

    “Cool, what do you do?”

    “Uh — we don’t have to interact, so I’m walking past under their feet where she can see me, and I whisper into her brain without looking up.” She rolls+weird and hits a 10+.

  9. pg 18. – Everyone at the table should listen for when moves apply. If it’s ever unclear if a move has been triggered, everyone should work together to clarify what’s happening. Ask questions of everyone involved until everyone sees the situation the same way and then roll the dice, or don’t, as the situation requires. 

    So it’s not the GM who says yes you do it or roll the dice because a move has triggered but everyone at the table decides yes you do X or a move is triggered and you roll the dice.

  10. But  thing like this isn’t really in DW from my quick scan of the book. 


    Moves Chapter, Volley 

    Halek: Kobolds and an ogre? Man, what’s going on here? Well, if they’re coming to get me, I might as well let my arrows say hello. I take a shot at the mob. I rolled an 8.


    Lux: Don’t worry, squishy Avon, I will save you. While Avon casts his spell, I swear to protect him—I slam my hammer on my shield and yell “If you want to stop him, you’ll have to come through me.” I’d like to defend Avon.

  11. It might be best to set aside “say yes or roll the dice.” That’s from some completely different games and I think it’s confusing the conversation a bit.

  12. Also what triggers a move is subjective based on the group.

    You can actually suggest the move your using so I don’t think its wrong to say your move as a PC. I think it’s wrong to only say your move without narration. So I think you are right. There’s no reason you can’t say your move and the idea of not saying your move as a player comes from the GM principle of never saying your move. Which is faulty.

    I’ve had move discussions at the table about what move players are angling towards and players including myself play the game just as the examples described. I think the game works better once you get into sync with everyone and you need to state your moves less and less but what you stated earlier is correct. You can say your move as a player. It just needs narration to go with it.

  13. It’s a hell of a lot more interesting for players to describe what they’re doing rather than fall back to going “okay, I use my Bend Bars Lift Gates move.” Not everyone does the latter, but it’s certainly prevalent enough that the former is worth enforcing, at least with new players.

  14. Pg 18 – When a player describes their character doing something that triggers a move, that move happens and its rules apply.

    So while I don’t think there’s anything wrong with stating your move you can’t trigger a move without narration. Narrate, suggest the move you’re angling at if necessary, discuss if necessary, roll the dice, and narrate the outcome.  I think that’s the operation for play concerning moves.

  15. I find it mildly annoying when players open by saying stuff like “I use move X”, instead of saying what they do and then what move it triggers.

    Sometimes you can’t help it though; it’s a habit hammered into our skulls ever since we picked up a PHB for the first time. Sometimes I step in it as a GM as well.

  16. You might not be able to help it but you can direct the players towards playing the game as it was intended because you can’t actually just say I use move X. You could say I Hack and Slash the Ogre with my sword but you can’t just say I Hack and Slash the Ogre if you don’t have a bladed weapon. Moves trigger off narration so the narration is important. After narration a player can suggest a move.

    Alternately if someone does say I want to hack and slash the ogre then you can prompt them for narration. You want to do X which is cool so now tell me how X happens. What weapon are you using? How do you use the weapon to Hack and Slash the Ogre? Do you side step and stab? Shield Slam the Ogre, stomp on his foot, and cut at his knee? Once you get the narration for triggering the move you tell the player now the move has triggered and we can roll the dice. It just goes along with the principle of Ask questions and use their answers?

    It’s a work around but it gets players back to how I believe the game was intended to be played based on the text in the book.

  17. Lead with the fiction.

    The game is more exciting with people describing their cool actions, and the moves slipping in and out of the conversation. It’s important for the GM not to speak the name of her move, it’s like drawing attention to the strings and pulling it away from the puppet show.

    Teaching players to focus on what their characters are doing as opposed to the names of their moves isn’t as vital, but still helps for an exciting game.

  18. Just to be clear, I don’t want players to just call out their moves. I love the fiction description. I am just a bit tired of being the interface between players and the moves.

  19. In my games, sometimes people say, “I go aggro,” and I say, “Cool! How?” Or they say, “I pull my pistol on him!” and I say, “It sounds like you’re going aggro.” It’s pretty fluid and we slip in between. I haven’t found any way to be superior to the other, and sometimes you’re looking to accomplish different things. Maybe you want to use a cool playbook move but you’re struggling a little bit to get traction in the fiction, or maybe it’s a move I keep forgetting to invoke as the MC. Or maybe it’s a new player who’s still figuring the game out. I think either of them is legit, and I give the side-eye to any proscriptions about it.

  20. I promise not one damned thing will explode and endanger the lives of your playgroup if someone occasionally says “I use Hack & Slash on the orc” because they’re having a bad day and don’t want to fart around with “to do it do it do it do it do it.”

  21. Tim Franzke: then don’t. No one is forcing you to do anything. Even if the rules said players can never name moves, there is no universal law that says you must obey all the rules slavishly.

    I am not seeing why or how this is a problem.

  22. It’s totally fine for players to name the move they want to make. The GM just has to go “Okay, how do you do that?” It’s super easy.

  23. In fact, it’s sometimes NECESSARY to do it that way because 1) people have different brains and what seems like obviously hitting a fictional trigger to one person may not even register to someone else, 2) all the PCs have different moves and the other players may not know the fictional triggers for all of your moves, and 3) the GM may be focused on parsing the fiction for their own agendas and doing the other stuff that they have to do, and just straight up miss a clear trigger, even a basic move trigger. It’s a collaborative thing! Players should work together to determine when a move is made (thinking about it in terms of dice is a trap because many moves don’t require rolling).

  24. Explicitly naming moves is not some degenerate “acceptable” way to play on the path to correct narration-only play. Page 12 of Apocalypse World is pretty clear that players are supposed to care both about the mechanical side of the move and the fiction-contribution side of the move, and leaving either one out is equally distant from the “intended” way to play.

    I suspect a reason that people tend to drift toward the “don’t talk about the players’ mechanics” side of things is that when other people are performing the fictional interpretation to invoke the mechanical move you get a cool, mechanically enforced “show, don’t tell” effect — your descriptions are especially important and consequential, kind of the same way that in DITV describing your Raise clearly is important for the other player to know what kind of Fallout they might be facing. Since people see how cool this “show, don’t tell” thing is they assume it must be the must important thing about the mechanic and it can overshadow the seemingly more boring and familiar mechanical initiation. Plus there’s the “fiction first” catchphrase, which people might misinterpret as “always contribute the fiction before even contemplating the mechanics”.

  25. Adam Koebel: what happens if the DM ever answers “no, there is none” to that question? Does the campaign setting start crumbling apart as colour slowly bleeds from everything, the horizon visibly contracting as a vast and infinite ocean of pure nothingness replaces everything? D:

  26. Alex Norris and that is how you ‘kill’* a player on a failed discern realities roll.

    *Send them on an awesome adventure into the Afterlife.

  27. For this house con, I pitched the idea of running AW and DW simultaneously, saying that the apocalypse was caused by some crazy fantasy MMORG that took over and destroyed everything, with the fantasy game bleeding into reality. The PCs would be two crews, one on the outside (i.e. from the real world) and one from the inside (the game).

  28. It’s weird, since an AW playbook has about a quarter of the total moves that a DW one has – it feels like it should be the other way around.

  29. “Sometimes, it feels like the game is more real than the mess they left us with out here…”

    Or perhaps it’s a case of the game is a fantasy world where players have more agency and options. When you overcome a challenge in the game, it allows you to hack something in the ruined world.  But you get addicted to the power in the game, it’s allure makes you want to give up on your flesh, and Go FullDig…

  30. David Silverman that is all true, but it’s also important for the players of the game to feel like they’re, you know, empowered to do what they want to do in the moment with their characters.  Sometimes that means starting with the move they want to make and expressing action to justify it.

  31. David Silverman where in the GM principles/agenda is it stated that its your job to decide if a move is triggered or not?

    Also starting with a move does not mean you get to chicken out of describing fiction. But sometime you don’t exactly know how to trigger move X right now. You are certainly in you right to ask what you have to do to trigger the move.

    It’s not the GMs job to hold the moves hostage.

  32. Excellent question! I was in a game last Sunday, where the idea existed that only the GM can tell you if and which move you make. We ended up not using Discern Reality, Parley and Spout Lore at all. Especially the last one hurt my wizard (I had even taken books to be good at this as starting equipment).

  33. Alberto Muti they are totally easy to play. I think as soon as players have internalised the moves they will aim to trigger them more often. My experience with my AW round. The more system knowledgeable player in my DW game yesterday also did this with his Thief moves.

    There is also a dichotomy with spell moves. They are really really easy to trigger and saying you cast a spell is basically saying to use the move

  34. “If the player says I hack&slash, they’re not describing what they’re doing”

    “I hack and slash that guy” is a description of me doing something. It’s not a sufficient description for DW’s purposes (since DW wants a more concrete and specific description than that, thus the “cool, how?” technique if that’s all the player says), but putting it outside the category of “description” seems to be based on a false premise, at least to me.

    “probably aren’t engaged with the “story” as much as the “game” … (which isn’t really the point of DW)”

    The story and the game are not in conflict or tension with each other in DW. Being engaged with the mechanics of the game doesn’t come at the expense of engagement with the fiction of what’s happening. It’s possible to be insufficiently invested in the fiction of what’s happening, and (not coincidentally) the game stops working well if you are. It’s also possible to get disengaged from the mechanical systems of the game, and that also has bad effects on the smooth flow of the game. The fiction/game dichotomy is a false one.

  35. Vincent Baker, that was what I meant: I never gave too much thought to it; sometimes I’d describe and roll, sometimes I’d announce and then describe, or even announce, propose a description, and ask if they think it’s cool enough, or if they have more scenic ideas.

    I guess I’m just surprised because I hadn’t even thought about that (plus, the comment served to subscribe me to the post)

  36. You can even completely reverse the conversation:

    Player: I hack and slash the Orc!

    GM: so you are whirling your staff around, becoming a dangerous tornado, blocking his blade and knocking him over the head?

    Player: yeah, that’s what I am doing! I got a 10

  37. David Silverman  I have relatively little experience with DW per se (much more with AW and Monsterhearts), but there’s something in this exchange that feels really wrong. 

  38. Player: I hack and slash!

    GM: sure you can do that but you would have to Defy the Danger of its claws and breath weapon before you even come close and with your normal sword you can’t just h&s the thing because its a freaking dragon and you have a shabby sword.

    If you want to H&S find a way to harm it with your sword and get bast his natural weapons – how do you do that?

    (Tell them the consequences and ask)

  39. …I think that saying “move first” is misleading, though. When i describe my character hitting things with his sword, i know i’m triggering a move. 

  40. The Moves and the fiction go together. Like Frank Sinatra said, “You can’t have one without the other”

    It’s perfectly fine for a player – especially a new player to say “I want to hack & slash the ogre.” and then the players and the GM and look at the fiction and decide what is required for the move to be triggered in the situation. As everyone becomes more comfortable with how the game is played, this will generally become less neccessary.

    The improvisational skills that *World runs on are like a muscle, the more you use them, the stronger you will get and your flow from fiction to rules and back again will flow more naturally.

  41. Thanks to anyone that contributed to this discussion! 

    I had a lot of fun and i think we all learned something. 

    And knowledge is approximately 50% of any given conflict (the other half is violence)

  42. I think, David Silverman nailed the “danger” of just stating your move.

    However, if the GM doesn’t get what move you want to do after you describe it, you are free to point out.

    Markus Wagner sorry to hear that you didn’t like that part of the game. I think I didn’t explain it well enough, the idea was that you can also point out the move you’re narrating. 

  43. I think after the session in question you already pointed out that you wanted to be able to roll for sprout lore and discern realities more often Markus Wagner and rightfully so. But I also would have had a hard time realizing when to let you make such a move, too. I think it’s sort of a matter of training as a GM.

    But in general I do not refrain from thinking that doing something in the fiction just to make a move distracts from the fiction itself. But I see that some players need to think that they’re obliged to be able to make any move they have on their sheets as often as they want any time they want to. Btw Sophia Brandt s session last saturday was one hell of fun because of the fiction not the system and especially because of the tension between the PCs in the fiction.

  44. But the thing is, players are entitled to make any move they have on their sheet, any time they want to, as long as they give a fictional explanation for it. 

  45. Alberto Muti yeah… You’re absolutely right. But does that really make for the better gaming experience? After all it’s all about the fiction. At least it all comes from the fiction and it all ends in the fiction. To me everything in between is just a necessary evil.

  46. I think that the best thing the Apocalypse Engine does is repair the fracture between “mechanics” and “fiction” that ails many games.

    Just “following” the fiction can lead to certain patterns, set in your player habits. Moves move you around. Moves come from the fiction, and end in the fiction, but enrich it with the unforeseen.  

    I have been in situations in which my natural reaction would have sent me down a course of action, but then my eye fell on the sheet, and I thought “mh, rolling this move now would actually be quite good”. And Boom! Unexpected results, and the story snowballing around at great pace. 

    Is this metagame? Hell, Yes. But these games have mechanics that are closely knit to the type of fiction you want to create, and build on it, so engaging with them is not detrimental to the fiction: on the contrary, it makes it stronger. 

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