Does the characters gets XP mark for EVERY 6- roll during session or only one mark if he failed during session?

Does the characters gets XP mark for EVERY 6- roll during session or only one mark if he failed during session?

Does the characters gets XP mark for EVERY 6- roll during session or only one mark if he failed during session? I’m listening to Walking Eye AP game and it looks like they ruled the latter.

44 thoughts on “Does the characters gets XP mark for EVERY 6- roll during session or only one mark if he failed during session?”

  1. When our group first started playing Dungeon World, I was thinking “if failure doesn’t cause anything interesting to happen, you don’t get XP.” I’ve since decided that it’s much better to play it as written, because I’d rather assume that every failure will make something interesting happen.

  2. Ok, so what happens if during typical dungeon crawl every character tries to find a trap/secret door in every room? Thing that isn’t so uncommon in typical old school gaming 🙂 

  3. Jacek Brzezowski Well, for me at least…

    1. They can’t. One person tries. Whatever he got stands until the situation changes.


    2. the more people roll, the more potential failures, the more secret doors leading to rooms full of things that know the characters are there and ready for them there are. 

  4. When someone says “I want to search for traps/secret doors” you say, okay so how do you do it? They give you some explanation of what they do, and that will probably trigger Discern Realities. If they fail that roll, the answer isn’t “You don’t find anything” the answer is “you trigger the trap and spikes start rising from the floor. What do you do?” or “While you’re doing that you look up the stairwell and see an orc raise a horn to his lips and blow the alarm. What do you do?”

    Failure should not, generally, lead to a situation in which other players can simply repeat the same action until they get what they want. Remember, your job is to fill the characters lives with adventure!

  5. When player rolls, something is going to happen. Always. There is no status quo after the roll.

    This may look strange and feel a bit awkward – as counter-intuitive and illogical, when you keep thinking in terms of skill test. But makes complete sense, when you think how to push the story forward. So…

    Fail to find a trap – you trigger it – underground mushrooms start to release green, fluorescent spores.

    Fail to open a door – a golem smashes trough them.

    Fail to climb – an earth-slide reveals a secret door.

    Fail to make a raft – you make it any way, but the water spirits are angry and that calm river turns into a rushing stream.

  6. Yep, what Dylan Green said: they don’t just roll for every room. They say what their character does. If a move triggers you roll it.

    A few things that might happen:

    What they say they do might trigger the trap. If I say “yeah, I walk over to the statue and check it over for traps” and there’s a trap on the floor on the way there… uh oh. As a GM, depending on the players, I might tip them off to this a bit “so you’re not worried about traps on the floor.” That warning really depends on the group.

    Which brings us around to Trap Sense, which is great because it’s not per-room. The thief gets a feel for the area, makes a roll, and now can ask about traps throughout the area. good stuff! So the Thief might spend a hold and ask about the traps presents.

    If neither of those happens, it might trigger discern realities. If the players make the roll, they’ll probably figure out there’s a trap. If they don’t, it’s very likely the trap gets triggered. And, yeah, they get XP.

    So what does this mean for the hypothetical “search every room” XP bonanza? Well, first, every roll means a chance of failure. Because of the way moves trigger, doing things that makes moves happen means taking chances, which means bad stuff can happen. The characters have to be taking actions that are dangerous. Fishing for XP basically means taking lots of risks, which means you’re likely to get hit hard.

  7. The “hidden treasure in the room” situation is one where the OSR style games that Dungeon World emulates can come to the rescue.

    If the desk drawer has a hidden bottom, but the chest, walls, and other objects are exactly as they seem, you are doing an injustice if you just let the players Discern Realities and dive right for “What here isn’t exactly what it seems?”

    When the characters search the chest, or the walls, no need to roll, they find normal objects. And if they search the desk? They hear a strange rattle, or a hollow sound — but still no need.

  8. Fail to open a door – a golem smashes trough them.

    …or maybe the golem smashes through THE OTHER DOOR, and the PC are caught between a golem and a stuck door. ^_-

    No-one says that you have to do the Hard Move from the same item/room/whatever is the object of the failed Move!

    Anywat, “fishing for EXP” means that PC are looking for troubles (using their sub-optimal stats, for example, and failing moves), and that means more exciting adventures, which is what one assumes they want from this game. ^_-

  9. That’s why prepped scenarios tend to not work so well with Dungeon World…the rules really do fight you on it. Instead, think about various traps, monsters, challenges, and situations, and throw them in as needed.

  10. Failing to find the trap simply means that you as the GM get to make the move. That’s what the Ogre coming through the door (or other door :)) means. BY rooting around the room and making noise they “attract unwanted attention” or maybe just the amount of time they spend is enough for a wandering monster to come by.

    It’s always an opportunity for adventure.

  11. If you have a player who is really trying their best to abuse the rules, you can also do the ‘stop doing that’ hard move.  

    Player:  Ok now I’ll search this corner of the room for traps!

    Triggers Discerns Realities, Player rolls a 3.  

    GM: Ok well you’re paying such close attention to scanning each flagstone separately that you don’t notice the low-clearance archway right in front of you.  You bash your head into the carved stonework hard enough to make part of it collapse and fall on you.  Take 1d8 dmg.  

    Heavy-handed of course, but it illustrates the point.  Dungeon World is designed so that the GM has the flexibility to enforce the way the universe works.  When you go looking for trouble, you find it.  Even if that just means stupidly hitting your head on a rock.  

  12. Though really, when you make a habit of having failure create adventures regardless of preparation, then the players start to value those rolls more.  They will be careful what they use their moves on, because they know how crazy and unexpected the results of a failed roll can be.  You very quickly stop seeing players trying to abuse the rules.  

  13. Jacek Brzezowski I don’t think I’ve ever used a prepared module where I didn’t change anything at all. It’s not weird at all. And as the GM you don’t have to make the result of a failed Discern Realities be a missed trap that didn’t previously exist. You can make it something as consistent or inconsistent with the prepared content as you like.

  14. Failure to find a trap in a room that didn’t have a trap to begin with doesn’t mean one suddenly springs into being. I mean it can, but it doesn’t have to. Other things can happen. Sometimes a GM Move can look like nothing really happens to the players, when really the result just happens “off screen”.

    I’ve had “failure” to open a stuck door (resulting in the party pulling it open way too hard and causing a lot of noise) alert an entire dungeon complex to their location. The cultists then set up a bunch of ambushes, which the PCs blundered into later.

    A failure to Spout Lore about a figure in a tomb’s wall fresco has resulted in the Cleric getting an ominous feeling that something is watching the party. Which it was.

    A “failure” to Cast a Spell while in the Ice Witch’s Tower has resulted in the Light spell being cast, but also made a spiraling blue glyph appear above the Wizard’s head for a split second. It was a scrying spell, and now the Ice Witch (who was three levels down) now knew exactly where the party was.

    Sometimes the GM Move should be immediate. But it doesn’t always have to be. What it should do though is have an impact on the players. A failure in Dungeon World is never “nothing happens”.

  15. What happens at the game table, as directed by the GM and the players as a group is more valid than what is written down by someone miles and years away. I expect the GM to be able to control the throttle of a good adventure just as he expects me to do my best to come up with interesting solutions to the problems he throws at us. 

    Trust the fiction!

  16. The moves should always be considered as a way to look at the fiction and figure out what “something goes wrong” means in this situation. It usually doesn’t mean making up something new, it means looking at what you know and what the player did and figuring out where those meet and go wrong (for the player).

  17. I’ve run several modules with no changes as to what’s there and what’s not there. Just means my failures pull from a lot of other things. Oh, you’ve rummaging around the room looking for clues/treasure /danger and there’s nothing to find? Well, you’re looking at me to find out what happens! Now, where’s that wandering monster chart…

  18. Ok, thanks guys, you’re really helpful! I find that the actual play + answers “how to play DW from DnD perspective” is needed badly for more narrow minded people like me. Because the thing I missed is that I make a move on missed “find trap” and that can mean anything.

  19. No sweat Jacek Brzezowski. I came to Apocalypse World (the parent of Dungeon World) from a very traditional RPG perspective. It took me a while to understand that a “miss” wasn’t really a miss, but just a signal that it was time for the GM to make a Move. That GM Move should always flow from the fiction, but doesn’t necessarily have to be related to the action the character was attempting.

    I think it’s worth noting that only a few Moves actually have a listed effect that happens when the player rolls a 6 or less. If there’s no “6 or less” or “On a miss” clause, it just means the GM gets to do something. It seems so obvious now, but I thought a lot of Moves were incomplete when I first started reading. 😛

  20. I felt pressure that always something has to happen but I think I’ll take it easy and see how it’s going. I’m also so curious about tremulous but I’d like to get it in print and I can’t find it.

  21. I don’t know if tremulus is in print yet. I just got my KS backer hardback copy a few weeks ago.

    There can be a lot of pressure on the GM to “always make things happen” in Dungeon World. But it helps to remember that the players will only be making Moves (and rolling dice) when there is already something happening in the fiction for them to react to.

    It’s almost never the players making Moves in a vacuum. Instead, it’s you, the GM, describing some event that requires immediate reaction from the characters that triggers a Move. The situation at hand usually has obvious consequences for failure and hard choices based on the fiction.

  22. I give XP if a PC rolls 6- on an meaningful roll. I stress the importance of meaningfull (i.e. it needs to advance the storyline and/or result in the PC ending in physical danger).

    So, to take the exemple of the PCs searching room by room and missing, i would probably not grant them XP because searching an empty room does not really move the story according to me.

    Also, when my PCs search a room, only one roll is made (typically by the PC with the highest intelligence). If even he cannot find anything, why would someone else succeed?

  23. Ah but this is the old problem of meta-gaming.

    Your players enter a room and decide to search it. This would call for a roll of Discern realities, wouldn’t it?

    “Discern Realities

    When you closely study a situation or person, roll+Wis. ✴On a 10+, ask the GM 3 questions from the list below. ✴On a 7–9, ask 1.

    Either way, take +1 forward when acting on the answers.

    What happened here recently?

    What is about to happen?

    What should I be on the lookout for?

    What here is useful or valuable to me?

    Who’s really in control here?

    What here is not what it appears to be?”

    The players are after all closely studying the situation (the room). Let’s assume there is nothing of value in the room.

    Do you still make them roll?

    Would you actually make the roll for them (while the DM never rolls)?

    I would say yes in both cases because not making the roll or letting them know the result (especially a 6-) is an information in itself.

    Back in my D&D days, I used to make the perception checks behing my screen. I am simply applying the same principle here. 

    I think it is better from a story perspective to leave the players in the dark on this point. I prefer to leave them wondering about them finding nothing because a) they might have missed their roll or b) because there is nothing to be found.

  24. Again, why am I spending game time on people looking around an empty room? If they roll, they are risking a hard move from me. If they succeed, they get something–in this case, real answers they can rely on to the questions they think are important.

    Every roll has to carry real risk and potential real benefit. Otherwise, they shouldn’t roll.

    Thinking of “Discern Realities” as exactly the same as a perception check is a mistake, IMO.

  25. Maybe there should be just one roll for the whole search effort rather than one for every room, with one character leading and the others assisting. Success means you find what you’re looking for without running into trouble. Failure means you manage to put yourself in deep sh.t. Success with complications is you find it but there are strings attached. 

    If this is too easy, then make it that a successful roll brings you closer to your goal without trouble, and a failure brings you closer with a lot of trouble.

  26. But empty rooms full of goblins to fight are fun also.

    I agree that they should be the exception to the rule and you could consider that your PC are experienced adventurers and can search a room properly. Just give them automatically what’s inside once they have secured the room.

    How do you deal with PCs searching for secret passages in every single room?

    Make them roll each time (and miss often and mark xp)?

    Let them find the passages automatically (then why are thy hidden)?

    Roll for them secretly and use your best judgment to their advantage (“be a fan of the characters)?

  27. Radical idea: don’t roll anything in secret. Let your players relish the anguish of their failures and play their characters as being certain of information they themselves know to be false. If they try to use the information they failed to get, call them on their bullshit.

  28. If a move triggers you always roll it. Triggering discern realities all the time basically means they’re moving super slow to study everything as they go, so that when they do eventually fail its easy to see what GM moves might follow.

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