Two questions/uncertainties from my first game, and I’d love to hear how the other DW GMs have been dealing with…

Two questions/uncertainties from my first game, and I’d love to hear how the other DW GMs have been dealing with…

Two questions/uncertainties from my first game, and I’d love to hear how the other DW GMs have been dealing with these:

First:  Do you ask for a roll if there’s a situation that isn’t strictly meeting the trigger condition of a move, yet has the obvious potential for either good or bad outcomes?  

A stealth-type check is an example that came up in our game, as the Dashing Hero tried to sneak in the horse paddock while the orcs were eating by the fire.  It doesn’t meet the strict “by getting out of the way or acting fast” qualification of Defy Danger, but a roll+Dex was a pretty obvious choice.  Would you have done a roll in this case?  Defy Danger?  Or make something up and narrate based on the roll?  Or spell out a new move?

Second: Is it fair to take “When the players give you a golden opportunity” as license to make a move as part of a 7-9 result?  Specifically, there were a few situations where a 7-9 result came up, and the move description allowed for the players to choose something very little effective downside, no true “complications or trouble”, just a slightly less-than-optimal result.  Is a karmic soft-move in order, or do you let it go?

19 thoughts on “Two questions/uncertainties from my first game, and I’d love to hear how the other DW GMs have been dealing with…”

  1. I’d say sneaking past someone is defying danger by getting out of the way.  Alternatively, you could have a custom move for that counter.

    When you sneak past the horse paddock rol+Dex.

    On 10+ you sneak past unnoticed.

    On 7-9: Choose one:

    You draw attention to yourself why sneaking past

    You snag something  (GMs Choice)  on a nearby bush and must leave it behind to go unnoticed

    (This isn’t a very good move, just a quick example)

    For your second question. If there no danger, then there is no need to roll, and you’d treat it as a automatic success so long as it’s supported by the fiction.  

  2. In this case, he wasn’t really getting out of the way, he was trying to move quietly and without catching attention, and getting paddock gate open without making too much noise.

    Yes, I could write specific move, but since the paddock had only come into existence a few minutes prior as the character scouted the camp, detailing a specific move seems like overkill and a waste of time that only disrupts play.

    I guess what effectively did was made this move part of the game:

    If there’s no specific trigger being met, but the character is clearly doing something move-like that would have interesting/exciting outcomes on both success or failure, then roll + something sensible:

    – 10+: You do it with little trouble

    – 7–9: You do it, but with complications or trouble

    – 6-: The GM says what happens and you mark XP

    As for the second point, yes, there was a need for a roll in these cases.  The Mage (which I otherwise really like)’s Black Magic move might need some tweaking, as the 7-9 result of removing a non-range tag seems to be a pretty light cost.  On the other hand, I think I’m okay with it as is, using a broader interpretation of the Basic Move “You do it, but with complications or trouble” result including “you don’t do everything you wanted, but succeed in part”.

  3. As for the other thing. The complication doesn’t have to do with what the players are trying to accomplish.  You can anything that fits within the fiction.  Someone posted a great example where a player rolled a 7 and stepped on a snake as a complication.

  4. I’m okay with Defy Danger being a catch-all, the book does a good job of identifying it as such, I think I just need remember to explicitly flag it as such to players when going over the player moves reference sheet with them.

    The problem with the Mage’s Black Magic move is that there is no call for a complication on a 7-9, other than losing 1 damage and taking away a non-range tag.  For example, if the Mage cast it with Near and Forceful tags, rolls an 8, he does -1 damage and there’s not Forceful effect anymore.  In the case where the hit is probably going kill the target, the 7-9 result is effectively identical to the 10+ result.  A missed roll would certainly have consequences (spell fizzles or misses, etc), so a roll is warranted, but it seems like a karmic soft-move could be added to differentiate the 7-9 from the 10+, even if the move doesn’t call for it.

  5. Alex Wilson

    In the case of the Mage I think it’s because that’ what the mage does, the same way a Druid can always shapeshift even on a 7-9 or even a 6. They still do it, just the effect is lessened or complicated.

  6. The “Example of Play” on page 44 of the Dungeon World books shows an example of Defy Danger (Dex) being used for just such a “sneak through the shadows” situation.

    Personally, I’d avoid coming up with a hyper-generic move such as the “no specific trigger being met” example/draft above for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that it seems like it might infringe on the GM’s agenda of being a fan of the characters to some degree.

    At least one more piece from the text that I think is relevant to this topic is from page 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.”

  7. I seems to me that mage may be a little over powered. Druid can shapeshift on a 6- because the shifting of shape itself doesn’t solve any problems, (Sage LaTorra’s words) So the druid needs to still trigger a move to do anything with the shapeshift.  The mage is getting to attack with no real downside.  I think that it needs the standard 7-9 rules to balance that out. 

  8. Scott McGougan Agreed. In the example of the sneak situation, we did come to an agreement that it was a Dex-based Defy move, and went from there.  I’ll make sure to cover Defy being the official catch-all for future sessions.

  9. Since it is dangerous for a hoard of orcs to see/hear you as you are sneaking into their horse paddock it would be wise to defy that danger by staying out of sight (or out of the way). 

    Sneakiness isn’t really important unless it’s dangerous and it’s almost always feels dangerous to the person doing the sneaking. Don’t believe me? Throw on a ski mask and sneak into your neighbors house and try to keep your heart from going a mile a minute.

    Defy danger reminds you of this fact, and helps you focus on the fiction instead of some arbitrary “skill” called stealth. It may be that the situation was not dangerous enough for the players, that’s cool don’t make ’em roll and then complicate the situation by having an orc walk their way. I’m pretty sure they’ll be “getting out of the way” now.

    If this still doesn’t work for you, somebody in the community made a custom move that applies to all sneak moves if you want to use that.

    For your second thing I’d need a specific example to be of much use. Long post. sorry!

  10. Mh, a couple thoughts.

    Don’t introduce a general “it seems this is relevant, I think you should roll” move. The moves system works so well because it’s simple and precise, and rolls are called for by the game’s fiction, not by the instinct of appropriateness of someone at the table.

    Besides, that move is already there: as they said, Defy Danger says it all in the name. You’re not sure about what stat to have them roll? Ask them: “it seems you’re defying danger: how do you do this exactly?” Ask them to describe, and follow the fiction. I think what you described fell quite logically under the purview of Dexterity, but there might even be other solutions…

    As for the 7-9 results… A GM move is what you do when “they give you the occasion”, or when they miss a roll. A 7-9 is not a miss. A 7-9 is a success, If one that has suffered complications. Sometimes the complications are severe, sometimes they get off lightly: good for them, no? You are a fan of the characters, and they’ve just courted risk, and come out successful: cool!

    This does not mean that you should never follow up with a move after a 7-9: again, and this is the best guiding principle ever, follow the fiction. They say something, the move kicks in, the dice roll, and something happens. Don’t focus on the dice rolling, focus on what happens. Does the player, in the game fiction, give you a good reason to make a move? Excellent, go for it. But go for it because of what happens in the fiction, not because they got out lightly with what is, in the end, a successful roll.

  11. To clarify a little, a GM move is what you do when the players look at you to see the results of a (their) move: you’re almost always going to make a move on a miss, or either kind of hit.  The difference is that on a hit, you use a soft move (“shows sign of impending danger” or “put someone in a spot”) and set up the consequences, but on a miss (or “golden opportunity”) you can use a hard move (“deal damage” or “separate them” or “use up their resources”) and cause those consequences to come about.

  12. Jon Kroeger Right — but when a move has specific outcomes on a 7-9 result that don’t really include a soft move, is it fair/expected/intended to add one in?

  13. Alex Wilson

    I wouldn’t take away a players options on a 7-9 move that expressly states “Player pick one from list X”. I do however have no issue with making a move in place of something like the “deals damage” of a Hack n Slash.

    I’d rather replace the damage with a move that makes the combat more exciting or puts someone at a greater threat that allows for more awesome or creative moves form players.

  14. As a general rule, I would say “no” to the question of whether or not an unspecified soft move is expected or intended on a 7-9 result.  The effects for a 7-9 are generally prescribed in the move text (although I’m sure there’s an exception move somewhere that “prescribes” the GM’s choice or the like).

    p 19.

    “The results always fall into three basic categories. A total of 10 or higher (written 10+) is the best outcome. A total of 7–9 is still a success but it comes with compromises or cost. A 6 or lower is trouble, but you also get to mark XP.

    Each move will tell you what happens on a 10+ and a 7–9. Most moves won’t say what happens on a 6-, that’s up to the GM but you also always mark XP.”

  15. Agreed.  I think in this case it’s best to tweak the Mage’s Black Magic move to make the 7-9 result to be less effective than the 10+ result.

  16. Alex Wilson  Eric Lochstampfor  Oh, I definitely wouldn’t take away or replace the prescribed results.  The player makes his or her choice (“Well, I suppose I’ll just deal less damage with my volley”), and then looks at you for the result: that’s the opportunity for the move.  If it was a hit, follow up with a soft move (“The goblin is certainly surprised to see the sudden arrow sprout from his shoulder and  his yelps of pain seem to have alerted the wargs below the tower, who are now sniffing the air curiously.  Thief, you’ve been skulking about the base of the guard tower, what do you do?”)

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