I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a hard time with the questions with ‘discern realities.’  In particular,…

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a hard time with the questions with ‘discern realities.’  In particular,…

I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a hard time with the questions with ‘discern realities.’  In particular, my players avoid it because they don’t understand how to use the questions to ask what they want.  Has anyone found a way to explain the questions better? Or have some of you house ruled different questions in?  I’m all ears.

8 thoughts on “I don’t know about anyone else, but I have a hard time with the questions with ‘discern realities.’  In particular,…”

  1. The key to Discern Realities is its trigger:

    When you closely study a situation or person, roll+Wis.

    A character can’t Discern Realities just by having a quick look at a room, they’ve got to actively do something. That’s where your answers will come from; ask your players exactly what they’re doing and how they’re doing it, and the answers will come much easier.

  2. The questions are intentionally specific – it allows for advanced moves to expand on them, and the GM to interpret what the players are asking. It steers the fiction somewhat, but that’s not such a bad thing. I find it helps to ask how the characters are discerning – are they using their canny smarts, are they poking around, are they meditating and so on, this can then influence how you answer their questions, rooting them in the established fiction. 

    Also, sometimes disclaiming decision making and asking another player to answer the question can be quite liberating as a GM.

  3. As Nathan said! Also, here’s the difference in actually getting the player to become completely involved:

    Example 1:

    “I check out the cavern. Discern Realities. 11. What happened here recently? What is about to happen? What here is useful or valuable to me?”

    That’s really bloody difficult for a GM to answer well, as you’ve got to come up with a whole load of interesting things  on the spot. However, asking your players for more detail will make it much, much easier, be more fun and get people more involved! Same situation as above:


    “I check out the cave.”

    “Alright Karak, you’re wandering ahead of the party to look at the dusty, arid cavern. What exactly are you looking for, and how are you doing it?”

    “Scuff marks! I didn’t survive five years in the goblin-wilderness just to get dragged off by spider-hags. If I can’t find any of those, I’ll put my ear to the walls and listen for vibrations in the rock”

    Getting the player more involved makes the GM’s job much easier! Don’t be afraid to ask them what they think either.

  4. I guess my big problem is my players don’t know really how to use it yet, they’ll balk and do something else besides roll discern realities.  How did you get your players comfortable with rolling the move?

  5. Hint at lots of stuff! Fill your descriptions of locations with things like corpses filled with poison blow-darts, or strange indentations in the pillars, or a crumbly-looking wall. Once they start asking more about the environment, you can ask them how their characters are exploring, and the move should flow from there.

    If their characters aren’t paying attention to the environment when you give cool descriptions, that’s a Golden Opportunity right there!

  6. Charles, sounds like you are more comfortable with the move?

    Just remember that the players don’t have to get comfortable rolling the move (or any move for that matter), they just describe what they do remember? If they hit the trigger then they roll.  You primarily call that moment as GM, but the other players can provide input too.

    As James says, deepen  and enrich the roleplaying conversation  with lots of provocative questions.

  7. Carl Gerriets well, here’s some things I’ve given to my players for that question:

    “You pick up faint breathing from the other side of the door, and that distinctive bad breath of orcs. There’s definitely guards on the other side of the door, make too much noise and they’ll probably storm in. What do you do?”

    “When you look more closely, the bodies themselves aren’t nearly as old as the rusted armor would make you think. So there’s probably a rust monster around, I’d be on the lookout for that.”

    Both of those are pretty valuable: they lead to immediate changes on player character behavior to avoid potential bad stuff.

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