Hi guys, I’ve been perusing this Google community for a while but haven’t posted yet.

Hi guys, I’ve been perusing this Google community for a while but haven’t posted yet.

Hi guys, I’ve been perusing this Google community for a while but haven’t posted yet.

We’re just finished our 4th once-a-month session of DW with 4 players (wow that seems like a long time writing it down) and its been pretty good so far. One of the big hang-ups for me is keeping combat interesting and properly narrating things throughout a specific battle, which I know is something a lot of new DMs have trouble with. And I still feel like a complete newbie when it comes to this.

I’ve read that new players guide, but how do I make “well he’s still alive so I guess he’s… STILL trying to stab you” more interesting in subsequent battles? I find that after everyone gets off their opening attack, I can’t come up with anything without resorting to someone flanking or lunging or simply swinging again. One time I had a new beast join a fight as one of my hard moves, but then I am kind of back at square one after he makes his attack.

Does anyone have some common maneuvers that enemies might use? I just get absolutely stuck when one of my dudes gets the drop on the PCs, attacks/grabs/bits one of them, they free themselves, and then we’re staring each other down in a fairly neutral position and its back to “well, he swings at you again, what do you do?” (probably something along the lines of “I dodge out of the way”).

We all LOVE this game from a character building perspective, but it’s hard to tell how my players feel about the fights. I guess I should ask them, huh?

It’s frustrating because I want combat to be challenging, and it’s not even that it’s particularly easy for the PCs, (they still take damage!) but I feel like it’s very hard to keep it interesting after each monster makes their attack.

5 thoughts on “Hi guys, I’ve been perusing this Google community for a while but haven’t posted yet.”

  1. The orc grabs hold of your arm, it’s sharp talons drawing blood that drips down to your elbow. With its other hand it swings the mace towards your head. What do you do?

    The orc lands on top of you, almost knocking the wind out of you. It wraps its limbs around you as its claws find purchase on your faceplate. What do you do?

  2. James is spot on. Visualize it like a stunt coordinator / fight choreographer / Special Effects guy for a movie. Then describe it rather than label it.

    Rip off tree limbs, hurl boulders, fling nets.

    One trick is to look at the list of descriptors each monster has and just go 1 by 1 inventing some way to describe that descriptor inflicting damage.

    For instance a “gigantic” creature might crush someone with its weight…especially if someone just attacked it successfully — its attack could be falling on someone else.

    Red Dragons have Elemental Blood…what does that do. Sure you could have it fountain like hot lava on someone who wounded it. But you could also have it rip open its own heart scales to allow a river of lava blood to pour forth creating some cool fiery terrain that divides the location, cutting some characters off (divide the party) and catches several others in its wash.

  3. As far as monster moves go, one thing that really helped me is to think of monster moves like player moves, but backwards. Like, for a horde of goblins some sample moves might be

    -When a player is left vulnerable, dogpile them.

    -When a player is open to attack, thrust and then hide.

    -When you are harmed, retreat behind healthier allies.

    Having a few of these written down for each monster is great for when you need an idea right then and there. I try to have at least one ‘When a player is open to attack-‘ and one ‘When you are harmed’ move for each monster. Also, it’s important to keep these moves diverse for different monsters so that each encounter is unique and memorable. Courtesy goes to Captain Indigo of the DW thread on Something Awful.

  4. Thanks a ton for all the comments. I see now that my mistake was most likely skimping out on figuring out monster moves and actions during the monster creation process (I almost always come up with enemies using the “builder”, mostly on the spot.) kind of like trying to play a character with no motivations.

    I am definitely excited to build some monsters leading up to the next session, and have lots of moves to choose from if I run out of breath in the moment.

    Thanks again folks.

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