Don’t you think, that Dungeon World lacks a move for Gather Information?
I think, the game should have a basic move for that, probably based on charisma. Reasons:
– it feels like a very elementary part of the game
– you do it before heading into a dungeon
– shouldn’t be a class move, because you might not have such a class
Of course you can always completely play through the information gathering, but it feels like a passed opportunity to not have a move here.
How would you tackle this thing … or do you agree? Or disagree? Why?
24 thoughts on “Don’t you think, that Dungeon World lacks a move for Gather Information?”
I don’t think the Move is needed. You can do a lot with Custom Moves and even Spout Lore. The Move would just cut away from PC NPC interaction.
And then you could also just say “i spend an afternoon walking through town and chatting people up” and the GM could just give you information.
You can gather information through the Carouse peripheral move.
There are additional class moves that give ample opportunities for the GM to give players job leads/mysteries/dark portents. For instance, Bardic Lore, Divine Guidance, Communion of Whispers, Heirloom, etc.
A possible reason why there isn’t a common Gather Information move is because it helps to preload the theme for the content they are about to generate. Carouse generally results in obligation tasks, which tend to be slightly more compelling than a smattering of unbound clues. This makes work easier for the GM.
Hmmm. You could use discern realities: I think rumor gathering is more about telling truth from falsehood than convincing people to part with local stories anyway, so IMHO wis instead of cha works well. “What should I be on the lookout for in this dungeon?” “What in this dungeon is not what it seems?” “Who’s really in control of it?” All choice rumor material, really.
Discern Realities is optimal if there’s a tangible situation going down – if caterers are actively setting up stuff for a dark ritual in the background, you could totally see what their deal is.
Discern Realities is not optimal if you’re looking for a long-term job, or if you want to know more about the rumored evil cult that serves wonderful roast beef at its soirees.
Sometimes Spout Lore can help. You’ve gotten a business card from an evil cult recruiter, and there’s a possibility you have an idea of their organizational structure – maybe you can spout lore to figure out if they have need of some foul management consultants.
The problem I’ve run into with Discern Realities is that the set of questions often doesn’t contain what my PCs are looking for, and what they’re looking for isn’t unreasonable.
I mean, you could always just fall back to “Defy Danger”, the Danger being “You don’t find what you were looking for”, but I’d rather either have another move or expand on Discern Realities.
“So dang, we need work. What’s available?”
That could easily be “What has happened here recently?” or “What here is useful or valuable to me?” for the situation of “what’s going on in this here town?” I recall somebody gave the advice once of “Let them ask any question they want, and then interpret it as one off the list” and there’s USUALLY one that’s pretty close to appropriate.
It’s also worth noting that whenever you ask “what’s going on” to an NPC in an AW game, it’s almost certainly an invitation for the GM/MC to conjure up lots of mayhem, and this doesn’t necessarily entail any mechanics.
I guess using this as a possible result of announce impending doom is me playing this game wrong?
The danger you ate defying is actually you not beeing able to intervene in the dark plot. You defy that danger with your charisma
Eric Duncan I don’t think tthat’s playing it wrong 🙂
Actually maybe all that would have been needed would be mentioning this in the DW core book.
For me, “Gather Information” isn’t a move – its a result. Several moves have been discussed that could provide it.
In the actual play, what was the fiction? Where was the issue? Talking DW in the abstract is fraught with peril.
At lot of modern games are moving away from hiding information from players behind skill checks. Just tell them – not that it will help them in the end! (evil cackle)
Yes, reveal all the unwelcome truths!
I think part of our thinking behind not having that move is that it’s so vague, and implies a difficulty that may not exist.
If you’re trying to blend in with a cult to find out where they meet, that’s “gathering information” but there’s a whole lot of interesting concrete actions that go into that, which we want to focus on a bit more.
On the other end of the spectrum, if everyone in town is talking about this horrible cult, why do you have to roll for it? Walk into the bar, ask someone, and they’ll tell you (because they hope you’ll take care of them).
This just means that Adam and I couldn’t make a good Gather Information move. I’d love for someone to show us how it could work!
There were some good suggestions, but I hope Defy Danger was a joke…
Those are good points, but those are also points that apply to other moves in the game. If the evil lich is protected by a series of linked abjurations that protect it from all injury, there are a lot of specific actions that need to take place before you can throw a fireball at it or hit it with an axe. On the other end, if you have a bound, helpless prisoner, you don’t need to roll to kill them. Those are arguments for when to trigger a move, not arguments against having Hack and Slash at all.
Since we’re having this discussion though, let me spitball something:
When you spend time collecting information from the common folk, roll+Cha.
On a 10+, you gather the information
On a 7-9, you gather the information, but choose 2 or the GM chooses 1:
*It takes you longer than expected; the information may be out of date, or you might have to act before you’re ready. The GM will tell you how this affects you.
*News of your questioning reaches someone else.
*The information is incomplete or partially inaccurate
*Gathering the information costs you something important or valuable.
and now i feel bad about the gather information move i wrote…
Joshua Heffner I really like that. Especially the “news of your questioning reaches someone else.” Classic!
This conversation reminded me of a custom move that I liked from one of my AW campaigns. It’s this:
When you read an extended situation with people or phenomena that’re up to something, spend real time observing things (hours at the least, but probably days or weeks) and roll+sharp. On a 10+, ask three questions and on a 7-9, ask one. Pick the questions from the read a person and read a sitch list, but you can swap one word out for another if you want to.
Christopher Weeks Very nice. I might have to steal that, if for no other reason than to patch some of the holes that Discern Realities has had in my game.
Mike Harvey Thanks! Just so happens I’m at a place in my campaign where it’ll be useful, so I might actually get to try it out.
Joshua Heffner This is a specialized Defy Danger. I love it! 🙂 I was going to suggest Defy Danger with the danger being “you are beat up for asking dangerous questions” or some such. Your 7-9 list is way better. Thank you.
Joshua Heffner Thanks! I really like that move a lot and showed it to my group. 🙂
And yes, that’s basically a specialized Defy Danger. And also yes: If the information needs to be revealed, you shouldn’t need to roll. However, if you go looking for additional information, because you feel you lack a hook, the right idea to tackle a thing, then this would be the way to go for us.
Mathew Mailer Absolutely agreed. That’s one of the things I like about DW in general; a 6- isn’t “You fail to accomplish your goal” it’s “The GM makes as hard a move as they like.” In a Gather Information scenario, if the PCs have multiple leads and fail to Gather Information, ok, sure, maybe they just don’t get it, and something interesting happens. If they don’t have other leads (or don’t think they do), well, maybe a 6- means that they accidentally stumble into the cult’s meeting place, completely unprepared. Or their bumblings result in their being sapped over the head and waking up on a sacrificial altar. Or they don’t find the cult, and that night they find a fresh sacrifice they can question via a ritual, but now the cult’s plan has advanced.
Bernd Pressler Aren’t all DW moves basically a specialized Defy Danger to a greater or lesser extent? (To me, this is a feature, not a bug.)
You can try to rephrase everything as a Defy Danger, but that’s just doing it for its own sake, l’art pour l’art: I know it can be done this way, so I will rationalize a way to do it that way. Then the Last Breath becomes a Defy Danger of Dying. And Hack and Slash becomes a Defy Danger of Them Killing Me First.
You can do that, but is it useful to design a good move? I think many of the moves presented here in themselves are valuable additions of how to think about information gathering from various angles – what does failure mean? What does success mean? What could constrain my success? What choices do I offer my players? Some really good answers to that came up in this thread.
I was going to say that I would run the gather knowledge move like the Operators moonlighting move in AW, where you would have abstracted information and roll. On a 10+ you play through how you get the information. You know you get it, but you play to find out how. On a miss though, you something goes wrong, there’s a spy on the room etc.
But, I see I’ve came to the party entirely too late. Now I would probably just use Joshua Heffner ‘s Gather Information move. That’s brilliant.
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