[EDIT: updated to v1.1.

[EDIT: updated to v1.1.

[EDIT: updated to v1.1. I describe the changes in a post below.] Here’s a compendium class I call the Acrobat. I tried to build it around the idea of flipping acrobatically out of harm’s way. It probably works best for Rangers and Thieves; one of its advanced moves, Acrobatic Attack, is designed to work with Backstab and Called Shot, and doesn’t have an obvious mechanical effect for the other classes [EDIT: or maybe not; see Giovanni’s post below]. But the other moves could be cool for anyone who qualifies.

I began writing some reflections on the moves that I thought I would post here, but they ended up getting so long that I’d have felt like I was cluttering the forum with walls of text if I’d posted them. Instead I’ve included them as notes within the document.

If you’d like to discuss anything I wrote in the comments, great. Alternatively, if you want a version of the file without my voluminous notes, I think most pdf viewers have an option to “print to file.” If you “print” a pdf of just the first page, that will give you the CC by itself.

If you use it in play, I’d love to hear about it.

21 thoughts on “[EDIT: updated to v1.1.”

  1. Actually, Acrobatic Attack would be useful to other characters: it lets them just deal their damage, as opposed to rolling hack and slash. But I agree, it would be better for the rogue-type characters. Overall, looks great!

  2. “You surprise them unless it makes no sense” 

    makes no sense as a move. You need to decide that when writing the move. The “it makes no sense” part is implied in the fiction anyway. An arcane construct for example might not ve able to get confused but then this is a part of the creature itself and the fiction. The GM should also tell people when they attempt the maneuver that this will not work here. 

  3. I really like Artful Dodger. I think it could be phrased better, but I like it! A simpler option might be: “When you DD with Dex, on a 7-9 you dodge the danger but land somewhere you’d rather not”, though that removes the choice aspect, which I do like.

    Acrobatic Attack seems like it should be handled with the fiction (maybe as a starting declaration for the class if you want it to be explicit).

    Harrier is fine. I wouldn’t choose it personally as a move though! Perhaps as a CC bonus when you take the class? I’d prefer to see more options for defend if you do have it as a separate move, or a defend themed acrobatic move about defending via repositioning yourself/ your opponents

    Leap Chasms is damn cool, but I feel that 3/4 and 2/4 options is too many. As an example, here’s the custom move I’ve got for characters jumping between rigging/ masts during a ship battle:

    Risky Crossing (Dex)

    When you jump between rigging, ship decks or masts, or run along a boarding ladder, roll +Dex. On a 10+ you succeed! On a 7-9, choose one:

    * the route collapses behind you

    * you gain an enemy

    * you lose an item

  4. I would also change Leap Chasms to make you choose the problems your move will create, not choosing what problems are not created. It speeds up the conversation because

    A: you state your choices, the GM then asks what options you didn’t choose and you tell them. 

    B: you just state what option you didn’t choose

    C: The GM has the move memorized and doesn’t have to ask. 

    A takes the longest time and in the end just leads you to B. C is okay but it increases the workload of the GM. Make it easier for the GM. 

    Just let the player choose their problem directly. So. 

    10+ choose 1, 7-9 choose 2. 

    – It takes longer then you would like 

    – Your stunt draws unwelcome attention

    – It is a one-way trip only 

    – You loose something important or precious on your way

  5. I also wonder if there is an easier way to phrase artful dodger. I needed to read it a few times to fully figure out what was going on. 

    Maybe like this: 

    When you Defy Danger by using acrobatics, roll as usual. On a 7-9  choose 1 

    – The threat comes to bear

    – You land somewhere you don’t want to be 

    However, the first option makes little sense if the threat was aimed at you. I can’t really see many options where that option would be choosen over the other. 

  6. James Hawthorne Oh, neat. Thanks for this! I had seen a preview before, but then couldn’t find it when I started thinking about this. I think the focus is a little different? My impression is that my CC is more dodge-y and less hurl-y than the Pirate, if that makes sense. 

    Looking forward to seeing Pirate World when it’s done.

  7. Yeah! The focus is definitely a bit different; the Pirate is mainly aimed at causing chaos and jumping about in it, while repositioning himself/ enemies for maximum advantage.

  8. Tim Franzke re: “You surprise them unless it makes no sense.”

    Yeah, I wondered whether that clause was necessary. I left it in because I wanted to make it clear that the move doesn’t provide, like, automatic surprise under any circumstance. But I guess you’re right that “it has to make sense” is always an implicit rule in DW, so maybe I’ll take it out.

  9. Tim Franzke James Hawthorne re: Leap Chasms. Sounds like you’re both saying the same thing, more or less? Picking a bunch of options slows things down? I hadn’t thought of that — I was just modeling it directly on Bend Bars Lift Gates. 

    In that case, it looks to me like what Tim proposes is a straight-up improvement on what I have. But why isn’t Bend Bars, Lift Gates phrased that way? Does it produce some difference I’m not seeing?

  10. Not really. It is maybe moddeled after some other move in Apocalypse World (that move is not as bad because there are only 3 options instead of 4). If you ask me BBLG should be changed as well. 

    The version where you choose what does not happen maybe feels better psychologically since you are in control of what definitely works. That might be a thing. 

  11. Tim Franzke James Hawthorne re: Artful Dodger. Yeah, this was a move that started really simple and got more and more weird as I got in my head about it. Maybe I need to start again from a blank page. I will think about the phrasings you’ve suggested.

  12. I agree with James and Tim on the CC trigger. Defy Danger seems far more narratively ‘open’ than just avoiding danger. Also, it allows for some clever concepts of the character too….

    Imagine I defy Danger in a spectacular fashion by being deft and acrobatic with my thoughts? Or my magic? Or my silvered tongue? Which of course leads into artful dodger…

    Sure the default idea is of a ‘classic’ acrobat leaping about with abandon, but for me it could also be an advanced form of ‘escape route’ ie:

    When you’re in too deep and need a way out, describe your artful dodge and roll+appropriate stat ✴On a 10+ you’re gone. ✴On a 7–9 you can stay or go, but if you go it costs you: leave something behind or take something with you, the GM will tell you what.

    I really like leap chasms as is, except maybe add ‘dangerous obstacle’?

  13. OK, as I noted in the original post, I’ve updated this in light of the excellent feedback from this thread.

    Artful Dodger

    I think I’ve made this clearer by using most of James’s wording but preserving the element of choice. However, I don’t ever seem to be able to let this move go without adding something weird. There’s now  language about how you can choose to apply the move “instead of letting the GM say what they normally would [on a 7-9].” This is meant to make it quite clear that if you don’t pick the dodge-and-end-up-somewhere-bad option, Defy Danger works normally. But I dunno, am I overthinking it again?

    Leap Chasms

    Just made Tim’s changes.


    I added a positioning element to the Defend options, per James’s suggestion. Maybe now it’s really too strong? But the idea of moving the enemy around is definitely cool for the character. Should produce the right kind of story elements.

    Acrobatic Attack

    Removed the extraneous language about plausibility. Phrased so baldly, it really does look like something you could just do in fiction, like James suggested. But the thing I wrote in my notes about its making a certain outcome predictable still applies, so I guess I’ll leave it in.

  14. Nathan Roberts That’s a cool idea! But it kind of sounds like a different CC. “Escape Artist,” maybe? I wanted this one to be about literally flipping around and doing sommersaults.

    Do you know, I actually spent a long time thinking about whether Leap Chasms needed to read “dangerous obstacle”? Particularly since it’s a replacement for a certain sort of Defy Danger. So I see why you suggest it. But I ended up thinking that danger is included in the idea of obstacle. If there weren’t the potential for the thing to pose danger of some kind, even just the danger that you won’t be able to get past it, it wouldn’t be an obstacle, right? So I figured “dangerous” wasn’t needed, and leaving it out would help to avoid confusion about whether a given obstacle is dangerous in itself, or only because of the circumstances it’s encountered in. (Correct answer: doesn’t matter.)

  15. My Street Rat class is an urban acrobat/thief. Think parkour. Here are his basic acrobatic moves. They get upgraded mechanically with advanced moves.

    Urban Acrobat

    You don’t wear armor since it hampers your movement. When you fall from a height and do a roll to break your fall, subtract 3 from damage taken.

    Roof Runner (Dex)

    When you run the streets, rooftops and built structures of  the city, roll+Dex

    On 10+ : You run, jump and tumble over obstacles to where your want to be or to escape pursuers.

    On 7-9: The GM also chooses one

    •  You bail once and take 1d4 to 1d10 damage, depending on how high you are. (subtract 3, or 6 if you have Feather Fall)

    •  You draw attention to yourself, causing complications for you or your friends.

    Freestyle Fighter (Dex)

    When you do an acrobatic stunt to defy danger during combat, describe your stunt and roll + Dex.

    On 10+ Take +1 and +1d4 damage forward to hack and slash. On 7-9 Take +1 forward to hack and slash.

    The freestyle fighter works pretty well in play: It forces the player to think up new and dramatic stunts in the fiction  in order to get his +1 forward. (“describe your stunt”) And because he can get a dramatic advantage on the following hack and slash he has incentive to use this move a lot. So the result is that it changes his fighting style dramatically in the fiction.

  16. Acrobatic Attack: a suggestion. The are some circumstances where a player has to defy danger merely to get close enough to attack an opponent – reach, or missile weapons, or tongues covered in poisonous spines. Could the move be about that?

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