Some thoughts I had today on leveling and advanced moves.

Some thoughts I had today on leveling and advanced moves.

Some thoughts I had today on leveling and advanced moves.

I am wondering what the advantages of having a distinction between moves that are 2-5 moves and moves that are 6-10 moves are. I am unconvinced it is superior to eliminating that distinction and just letting the player choose any of the advanced moves on level up. 

I think if you just looked at balancing your moves, it wouldn’t be a problem to eliminate that distinction. Additionally it would go even further on the idea that in DW characters level horizontally rather than vertically. 

I think I am going to test this out. Any thoughts? 

21 thoughts on “Some thoughts I had today on leveling and advanced moves.”

  1. Tim Franzke: interestingly, one of Johnstone Metzger’s published adventures has CCs with 2-5 and 6-10 moves. Most don’t because they don’t exactly give enough moves for the split to be important.

    The point of the distinction is to allow you to make available to the player a bunch of moves that are more powerful than starting moves/2-5 advances, whether they’re more powerful on their own or are straight upgrades. Without it, you would end up having to make sure none of your moves are too powerful for 2-5 moves and that would be pretty boring.

    You can accomplish the same thing with prerequisites but I’m not a fan of having a million Replace moves, since it means the player doesn’t get +1 move, just one that replaces an existing move.

  2. Alex Norris I understand that the reason is to differentiate move power, but I think it does so in a very artificial way (also generally most of the 6-10 moves are just upgrades of the 2-5).

     DW doesn’t use character levels to design encounters with anyway, so I don’t know how a move could be too powerful for levels 2-5. Right after char gen, DW parties can basically take down anything in the book as is. 

    For example, looking at my Slayer, I don’t think any of the moves break anything if being able to be taken at 2-5. 

    Looking through the core classes I cannot really find any moves that would be game breaking. Through Death’s Eyes is probably the top candidate. 

    Going to think more on this. 

  3. As far as I’m concerned it’s not about balancing encounters (you’re right that in most cases 6-10 moves just have a wider impact instead of being straight up more powerful), it’s about giving players a sense of mechanical progression and something to look forward to. Same reason DW has levelling up with stats increasing and Wizards picking new spells, etc.

  4. One thing it does is encourage well-rounded characters. By making you wait until level 6 to get those moves that just replace another move by making it better (for example), it makes it so you can’t just focus on a single one for levels 2 and 3 and a second for levels 4 and 5, etc. You’re forced to diversify through levels 2-5, with 4 moves that are actually different, and then at level 6 you have the option to become a better, more enhanced version of the same thing.

    (How actually different those 4 moves turn out to be depends on how well-designed that list of available moves is, of course.)

    There’s also the idea that if you give PCs earth-shaking powers right from the start, the players have a harder time getting a handle on the setting, as well as their own PC’s place in it, and relationship to the other PCs. If they start out with limited powers, the group has the opportunity to build up their own sense of the setting as well as trust in each other about what they are going to do with powers that impact upon or alter the setting in sweeping ways. Most level 2-5 moves describe scrappy adventurers with possibly more ability than sense, always getting themselves into the middle of violence and trouble. Most 6-10 moves are the same, but some of them, like Reputation, Apotheosis, Self-Powered, or The Druid Sleep, for example, describe people who are more than that. These are influential movers and shakers on a grand scale. It’s not like it would break the game to be able to take these moves at level 2 or anything, but they do have a lot of potential to expand the game above and beyond the basic concept of what it advertises itself to be.

  5. Whether or not those things are going to matter to any individual group depends on the group, of course.

    If you get rid of level distinctions for moves, you might also want to let characters go to level 11+.

  6. Another risk is the character focusing on all the moves with the highest “cool factor”, so to speak, straight away, and then, at something like level 5 to 7, saying “oh man, all the moves I can get now are less cool! That sucks!”

  7. From a purely design perspective, the difference really helps, too. I can go “this move is a bit too good for a 2-5, so let me push it to a 6-10 and figure out a weaker version/something else that’s thematically related for 2-5” or knock the scope of a move down a bit to make it fit as a 2-5 advance. I find it easier to come up with moves with that structure in place than without.

  8. What Johnstone said. Plus: limiting choices makes it easier to choose. Having to read every move to find your second level move is kind of a pain (especially if you’re thinking about multiclassing).

  9. I think using requires/replaces is a good way of allowing players to specialize. If you give them a choice of three or more move “branches” in their class that they can follow, it makes for more interesting classes. In such a system the 2-5 and 6-10 differentiation is not necessary because a player will have to be of a certain level to get to one of the more specialized moves anyway.

  10. Related, but different: As you reach the higher levels within each “tier” (ie, level 4-5 and level 9-10), you’ve already taken the moves that you liked most. Want your Fighter to deal the most damage? You’re basially done at level 6. Want to be able to dictate who will live and who will die? Done by 6 or 7. By the time I get to elvel 10, I’ve taken the ones that fit the character the most.

    I don’t know, maybe there should be capstone moves for level 10 characters.

  11. William Nichols What you say is true. Again this could be accomplished by creating “Branches” of moves. The bottom moves in a branch are not very hot, but the player must choose them before he can get to the great ones at the end of the branches. Say you offer 5 branches, each with 4 tiers: That is a total of 20 moves to choose from, but only a choice of four each time you level up. The player can end up as a specialist in only two of the five branches after ten levels, or a jack of all trades. There could also be “capstone” moves that require moves from say the third tier of two different branches. This would give a player the feeling of accomplishment as he specialises more and more.

    It is important the the different branches should be more or less equally desirable otherwise it would defeat the purpose. 

  12. Wynand Louw your thought about Require/Replaces got me thinking about how to do World of Warcraft in DW (Warcraft World, anyone?) That’s how you’d do the talent trees! Now I really want to write that up…

  13. These Move Branches would work well in a vampire hack: Discipline Branches, Blood Potency Branch, Humanity Branch, Covenant Branches, a Beast Branch, Sorcery Branches….

    I’m totally going off topic now, but I thought a Changling the Lost hack would be a lot of fun with these types of Branches…

    Hmm,  to get back on topic, to remove those 2-5 and 6-10 limitations, you’d just have to remove them and play.  I mean, to do it, you have to do it, right?

    Additionally, or alternatively, I also recommend changing that 2-5 to 1-5.

  14. Wynand Louw Or, instead of a major hack involving trees and branches, for the “Capstone” move, you could have something like this:

    Fighter Capstone, requires level 10: Whenever you match arms with someone, you are superior. Period. No longer can you be challenged directly in weapon versus weapon against a single person – you are the grestest swordsman alive. Instead, to challenge you requires magic, divine intervention, or whole squads. Individuals will seek you out, to learn from you or to challenge you, and groups will show fear if you wield your blade. Your fame proceeds you.

    While this is for the fighter, it’d be easy enough to do something similar for every class. 

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