Here’s a little custom move I was thinking about (after consulting with Iacopo Benigni ).

Here’s a little custom move I was thinking about (after consulting with Iacopo Benigni ).

Here’s a little custom move I was thinking about (after consulting with Iacopo Benigni ). It’s for playing demos and one-shots, but mostly demos.

The point is: in a demo, if you’re showing the game to someone, you want them to understand how cool their characters can be. But what if they are really unlucky with rolls? I mean, of course you mark experience that way, but what do you need experience for, if we’re playing a demo?

So, I thought about giving some “luck point” (a la Monster of The Week) that you can expend to turn a 6- roll in a 12+. Iacopo came with a better idea: what if instead of “luck points” we made the Experience Points expendable in that way? So, if you’ve had little luck before, for the rest of the demo your character will surely have at least one shiny moment!

What do you think about it?

38 thoughts on “Here’s a little custom move I was thinking about (after consulting with Iacopo Benigni ).”

  1. You should make the player spend 2 XPs for that, else it would be just using the XP received for the 6- to get a 12+. (Why not a 10+?)

    Apart from that, I didn’t feel the need for the action points in DW, but this would be a reasonable trade.

    I think there is some RPG that allows to spend XPs like this, but I am unable to rimember it right now.

  2. loosing is part of the game though, any game. No need to sugar coat it for people. It might even create false expectations. 

    Also XP don’t mean anything in a One Shot since you can’t keep the character. Therefore they are not a valuable ressource to spend. 

  3. that’s what I said: they don’t mean anything. And of course losing is part of the game, but if you’re playing a wizard in a demo, you might want to see one, just one spell to succeed. If you’r lucky (and I mean, average lucky) you’ll probably have no problem with that. But in two of the demos I GMed there was… let’s say a general lack of luck at the table. In one particular situation the party had a very hard time, one of them rolled Last Breath (and that was cool at least). It wasn’t paricularly funny and it didn’t show the potential of the PCs. It was just a carnage.

  4. Well there is help. 

    And still, you could cast your spell but something bad happens while you do it. If you want to be a fan of the charactr and see them cast spells, then let them do that. It is fully in your control what follow up move you make. 

  5. How about spend XP to make a GM move as you like? You can’t avoid the golem’s fist smashing towards you, but you can:

    * say it’s made of crumbly sand (reveal an unwelcome truth)

    * say the golem’s attack is slow, and leaves it open to counterattack (showcase a -class-monster’s drawbacks)

    * say it accidentally crushes some goblins with its heavy steps (use up their resources)

  6. Of course it’s in my control. I should also follow the fiction. Maybe casting a spell is not the most straight forward move in this case. If they are fighting though 6- means bad stuff. Which is OK, but not all the time, for the whole demo. That way it gets not really funny or enthusiastic, I can assure you. I could of course describe things in a cool way, and that’s what I try to do all the time, but a failure is a failure. That doesn’t mean that the PC is not able to fight or cast a spell or walk, but it means that you’re not getting what you want. Doing otherwise would be bending the rules,  and I don’t see that to be a good way fo conducting a demo.

    Expending XP is not about sacrificing a precious resource for the player, is about “balancing” the excessive bad luck of someone (since if you have XP in a one-shot, you most probably failed some rolls).

  7. But then the player needs to understand GM moves and you are not supposed to talk about them at the table. It makes the whole thing more confusing i think. 

  8. James Hawthorne that would be cool, but it would also be a little bit complicated and disorienting for the average person I play with. There are games that do that (Donjon and On Mighty Thews are the first two names that come to mind), and they’re really fun. But they’re not DW.

  9. Still DW, right? 😉

    I said I didn’t feel the need of roll editing (even with unlucky streaks of bad rolls) because the game stays funny anyway (actually, more interesting), not because I see something wrong with it.

    Instead of dealing damage as your hard move, you could do something else, like splitting the party, breaking equipment, killing redshirts, etc. 

  10. But “HEY! This is this cool game! We are not really playing that game in particular but it is pretty close! And here, there is extra stuff you need to think about during play instead of just playing your character”  does not a good demo experience make. 

    In my opinion.

  11. Nikitas Thlimmenos I hear you.  I’ve had a table get an amazingly improbable series of failures before.

    I have two solutions:

    One is to lower the XP needed to level up. These characters don’t survive the demo, so XP isn’t important UNLESS they can do something with it.  Lowering the XP to, say 4 or 5+level allowed the PC to learn something new while failing.

    Another option, mentioned above, is to use different hard moves besides straight damage.  Separating, giving a debility, having them lose their stuff, etc. all work.  In the really bad convention game, after the last in a series of bad rolls from everyone, I said: “Goblins swarm you from seemingly every door, window and crack in the wall.  You go black. You all awake in a dingy cell, your gear is gone, and two goblins are pointing and laughing at you through a slot in the cell door.  What do you do?”

  12. I get your opinion, and disagree with it, Tim. On a side not “we’re not really playing that game in particular” is not a fair point, since the Appendix tells you you can (and maybe should) create custom moves for one-shots. I mean, it’s not like I’ve banged my head and came out with this totally crazy idea “let’s invent some moves for DW! Because I’m smarter than the authors!”…

    James Hawthorne you’re right, repeated failures don’t have to kill the characters (and most of the time, they don’t), but sometimes following the fiction honestly brings you to some unpleasant places.

  13. I most surely have to do that more often (using different GM moves than dealing damage). But if i set the stage like “so, this gem encrusted golem dashes toward you trying to punch you in the face because you are stealing from his master” I admittedly find it difficult to do some other stuff than dealing damage.

  14. You’re only debating with yourself with that golem situation, Nikitas Thlimmenos!   🙂

    The DW GM has a lot of power to set how grim the game will be, especially during one-shots with strangers.  I think your instincts are good — damage or worse is an obvious outcome.  It’s usually best not to pull punches!

    BUT… if this is a demo and the player doesn’t look like she’s going to enjoy having her character’s face smashed in?  Use a softer, gentler GM move.  It’s okay.  We won’t GM-shame you.  😉

  15. I talk about golems because that’s what happened in an actual game, but I get your point. My point is: if I set the stage using soft moves in a particular way, dealing damage is the most obvious outcome. You’re saying (if I’m getting this right): “then use soft moves in another way”. And you’d be right, I guess…

  16. Even in that situation, you’ve still got options! On the physical side, the jewel encrusted golem can still grab ’em and hoist them into the air, pin them against the floor, try to stuff them into its mouth. Maybe instead the golem’s touch smashes them into a pillar that causes the roof to collapse on the golem too, or the golem’s touch is magical and starts turning the character into rubies. A sumple deal damage can be good, but look at the golem’s motivations: what’s it trying to do by rushing at this one character in particular?

  17. Yeah, what James Hawthorne said!

    Especially with the ruby infection.  That’s cool.  Or maybe have the golem suck her soul into one of those gems, where she finds a bunch of other people-souls who were trapped… maybe one she knows.  

  18. And just to be clear, I’m not advocating “pulling punches” for DW generally.  I only think it’s appropriate in a few situations, like maybe a demo game where players are unhappy.  

    Still… It’s pretty fun to create punishing hard moves that don’t “just deal damage.”

  19. yeah. golem explodes as you hit it with magic missile – showering you all in strange red powder. 

    After a while – your skin starts to feel tingly…

  20. I would do something similar to the Gumshoe system and use expense of luck points to raise the result of a roll (1:1, not to bring a 6- to a 12+, which seems a bit overpowered).

  21. Here’s an idea: On the playbooks you hand out to demo players, create a Bonus Moves section. Include in the section 3-5 advanced moves (or custom moves carefully chosen to be of use in this demo).

    Include text something like: To use a bonus move, spend an XP.

    I think that would be a great feature for demo play.

  22. On of our home game hacks is that we can spend an xp (ro two)  to roll an additional d6 per xp (before the roll) to roll 3 or 4d6 and take the best two results. A failure is still a failure though, and garners no ‘extra xp’ on a miss.

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