I’ve been struggling with coming up with a name for a basic move for my *W fantasy hack, to the point where I am now…

I’ve been struggling with coming up with a name for a basic move for my *W fantasy hack, to the point where I am now…

I’ve been struggling with coming up with a name for a basic move for my *W fantasy hack, to the point where I am now approaching the wonderful creativity of the Dungeon World hackers for help. What would you guys call this?

When you tamper with forces beyond your understanding, roll+MAGIC.  *On a 10+, the results are useful to you, though not necessarily what you expected. *On a 7-9, you get much more than you bargained for. The GM will tell you how.

16 thoughts on “I’ve been struggling with coming up with a name for a basic move for my *W fantasy hack, to the point where I am now…”

  1. Research or Bold Experiment. Alternately, look at Apocalypse World – many moves were named by trigger alone, such as when you open your mind to the psychic maelstrom, roll +weird .

  2. Research fits a large number of uses of this move, but I also want to cover those moments where I’m like “this place radiates chaotic power” and my player says “I draw that power into myself to do ______“, and other situations where the player is directly tapping into a magical force, but does not really have the knowledge of how to do so (ie, they don’t have the moves from the magic-using playbooks)

    As you mentioned, “Tamper with Forces” is currently my best-running idea, though I haven’t done the “obvious name” technique anywhere else because I like the redundancy of description that results from a different move name and trigger, because then you avoid the problem where, for instance, the phrase “Go Aggro” is meaningless to a specific player.

  3. I think you should do something appropriate to your setting. If magic is called the Source, for example, you could call it “Tapping the Source.” I definitely think you should try and do some flavor-loaded name, rather than something generic.

  4. Relevant to the source is good because it makes you consider how magic is represented in your world. Fantasy typically describes magic as a river or a well and it’s often associated with elements – mage-fire or a maelstrom. Sometimes its about the power of names or the essence of life.

  5. Fair enough! As it stands right now, the tone of the game is that of heroic adventure. The setting could be considered “generic”, in that it allows for a variety of worlds to be portrayed, but at the same time it really isn’t, as I am narrowing down on a specific feeling of fantasy that I’ve felt lacking both in many of the games I play, both tabletop and otherwise.

    The setting assumes a world that mostly evokes a medieval history, but with wonder and magic lurking around every corner for those who are willing to look for it. Think urban fantasy (like WoD or the Desden Files), but set in the past. There aren’t Wizards running around everywhere in public knowledge, but that doesn’t stop the townsfolk from telling stories about the mad sorcerer who lurks in the abandoned tower in the Whispering Woods. 

     The tone is centered around the cultural monomyth of a scrappy collection of heroes working together to achieve their dreams, with inspiration running from early folklore, to the obvious Tolkien, to modern things like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and Doctor Who. The playbooks represent the well-loved archetypes that these stories repeat endlessly, like the wise Sage (Gandalf, Dumbledore, Obi-wan) trying to prevent a future catastrophe by manipulating others into doing the dirty work, or the charming Scoundrel (Han Solo, Regis the Halfling, Malcolm Reynolds) with flexible morals and an irresistible smile, or the noble Champion (Samwise Gamgee, Ron Weasely, Xander Harris) who is always there to back up and support their friends. 

    The working collection of basic moves (I have yet to playtest the current revision, so I don’t expect them to stay how they are) is:

    Aggress (attempt to create an opening in melee, mechanically halfway in between H&S and Go Aggro)

    Open Fire (force an opponent to take cover, or get hurt)

    Hold Steady (resist/defend against something)

    Court Peril (pretty much just Act Under Fire)

    Evade Attention (sneaking about and panicked hiding)

    Get Out of the Way (dodging, fleeing, etc)

    Use a Skill (demonstrating expertise in a field) Manipulate Someone (like in AW, MH)

    something along the same lines of Spout Lore

    I like the idea of “Tapping the Source” or another flavor-loaded name, but I need to keep it open enough that it can keep with the variety of worlds that the system current allows for. I don’t want to start the game with notions about what “magic” is in the world, which is why all the moves I’ve written for it so far focus less on how it works, and more on what the (harsh) consequences for it are. What the system assumes about magic is that it is mysterious, scary, and dangerous, but it doesn’t necessarily describe how it works, or what people call it.

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