Something has been bothering me lately.

Something has been bothering me lately.

Something has been bothering me lately. I ran a game for a group of “good rollers” that was very anticlimactic. I wanted to increase tension and make moves, but they kept SUCCEEDING. I mean, I’m a “fan of the characters” and everything, and want to “fill their lives with adventure”, but I couldn’t DO anything. Merely, react to their awesome.

I’m not saying the games weren’t fun and that the adventurers didn’t have a good time. They did, albeit not a very climactic one.

This was also true in a game that I played last week. I was playing the fighter and rolling 10+ like a BOSS. The GM tried to CHEAT (what a dick, trying to bring some tension into a controlled situation 😀 ), but I had 1 hold left to negate his move and drive Deadeye (my awesome longsword) into the enemy wizards heart. I had fun, but you could tell that the GM had more stuff up his sleeve and was never given an opportunity to act.

Maybe that is what makes Dungeon World so much fun to play? When the Characters are doing well, they are doing WELL, and that’s fun.

My solution was to simply make harder moves whenever I could. The Skeleton King that I was running during my game had a move of “Impale someone on his magical sword”. If he get’s ONE shot to make a move, that should be the one.

Has anyone else seen this?

11 thoughts on “Something has been bothering me lately.”

  1. Yes. Remember this: you are under no obligation to offer a roll. If the fiction says bad stuff happens, then bad stuff happens, no matter the result of your Defy Danger roll (because you can’t make one). You are obligated, however, to make that fictional positioning clear (or at least visible).

    Example: “The biggest, baddest ogre you’ve ever seen charges to the front, he’s flinging his supposed allies aside, which is easy since he’s head and shoulders taller than them and swinging around a ten foot long stalagmite like a toothpick. He locks eyes with you, , what do you do?”

    “I run up to meet him in single combat! I roll hack and sla-“

    “Nope. He catches you in the chest with a swing of his solid stone club and hurls you over your allies’ heads. You hit the ground hard, take d8+5, he’s too big, too burly, and too fast to just run in at. While you’re getting up, , the ogre looks at you and brandished his weapon, a smear of fresh blood from the fighter’s face starting to mingle with many older but similar stains, he begins lumbering toward you, what do you do?”

    If they overcome that challenge they will feel awesome.

    What you can’t do is just say no for no reason. This example wouldn’t work if it had been “just an ogre,” you’ve got to talk the fella up first. Show how he’s more dangerous, first with prose and then with a GM move that follows from the PC’s (diceless and unsuccessful) action. You could call for Defy Danger and make some excuse about reach weapons, but for the truly epic? Pull out even more stops.

  2. I think you’ve got it how I would have done it. Since the NPCs don’t roll for their moves, they get to successfully do their moves whenever there is an opportunity. And the players, no matter how successful their rolls, are going to have a hard time covering every base.

    I’ve played games where the players kind of steam-rolled everything in their path, and it wasn’t really too bad. Eventually someone bungles something, and then you don’t even have to be pushing real hard. Failed to Defy Danger? That’s going to suck.

  3. You know that you should be making moves all the time no matter what they roll right? Every time it’s you turn to say something you make a move.

  4. Don’t forget you can warn your players how truly dangerous something is before you let them rush in to get blindsided.

    “As the ogre strides up, you see she is HUGE. She towers above the other enemies and her bellow causes pebbles and stones to rain down from the cavern ceiling. Her hide looks incredibly thick and tough, and her strength is undeniable as she brushes aside her allies. You know that if you try to just run up and try to hit her, you are going to meet a swift, bloody, and brutal end before you can strike. What do you do?”

    If the fighter then charges headlong into danger you bring those consequences you have honestly warned them about.

    Some PCs are hammers, and all hammers think that all problems are nails. But some problems are just bigger hammers.

  5. Yeah… the distinction is a bit vague in DW (as opposed to some of the other similar games), but I kind of felt like “moves” are “stuff GMs would do anyway” and you only really hit the players with the worst versions (aka “hard moves”) when they fail badly or leave themselves open fictionally. Moves are just… what you do.

  6. Yeah, not every charge is a hack and slash. Give them situations where their regular tactics are fruitless and they need to be clever or descriptive to be allowed to roll their moves as normal.

    Also, play up the fictional difficulties of attempting to do something. In the Ogre example above, if the fighter gets up and charges in again, this time saying he’s looking out for the club as he does so, now he needs to Defy Danger before he can Hack n’ Slash. Two rolls is two chances for failure. And maybe its not Dex, this time, because the enemy has a chain they are whipping around faster than one can see, and you need Wis to find the opening.

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