So I have several issues with Discern Realities. Maybe you can help me out?

So I have several issues with Discern Realities. Maybe you can help me out?

So I have several issues with Discern Realities. Maybe you can help me out?

1. It is difficult to work a Discern Realty into the narrative of the game, since it is a reactive move. We have to stop and say “what do I know about this?” rather than saying what I do.

2. The move is only as good as my GM. The GM has to come up with something creative and useful-which can be tough in-context. Then, the player has to agree that the information IS useful.

So in actual play, I find the narrative halted by “I guess I’ll roll discern reality” and then staggered when the GM cannot come up with something that is both useful and interesting.

This wouldn’t even bother me that much, except that it seems to reduce the value of intelligence for anybody other than intelligence-based classes.


11 thoughts on “So I have several issues with Discern Realities. Maybe you can help me out?”

  1. Do you mean Spout Lore? If you do, the GM can ask you what’s interesting; it’s entirely within their power to do so. And it’s not a reactive move, you have to say “I take a look at the sigil on the door and flip through my grimoire, trying to find any information I can about it.”

  2. You know, you’re totally allowed to ask your players “what kind of information would be useful and/or interesting, and how are you trying to remember it”? 

    If they can’t tell you that much they probably shouldn’t have been Spouting Lore in the first place.

  3. For (1): I don’t trigger Spout Lore if it is obvious or if the character doesn’t have any knowledge about the subject. 

    Obvious = If the druid asks “What tree is this?” I just say “It’s an oak.”  No knowledge = If a druid says “which of these 12 forks is the salad fork” I say, “How would you know about the etiquette of forks?  If you don’t have accumulated knowledge, no Spout Lore.” 

    For (2): The move is only as good as the players at the table, yes.  Giovanni and Paul’s comments above are helpful.  

    Be cool with a GM that is taking a moment to think.  It sometimes takes a minute to come up with something that is interesting and makes sense in the fiction.  AW-style games encourage this, and GMs that practice will get faster as they play this style more.  It makes for a better game, imo.

  4. I did mean Spout Lore, thanks!

    What I’ve been discovering is that we look at something and say “what do we know about this?” We haven’t been so specific as to detail what exact information we’re looking for, that’s not in the move as far as I can tell. But I don’t see a problem with doing it that way.

    Good advice!

  5. Spout Lore is actually pretty straightforward to narrate – generally you want to say how your character might have general knowledge of a thing, then say “I try to remember details” or “I think I know something about that…” and roll away.

    Since the GM has control of the flow of information, it’s a move that should be “allowed” 9/10 times, regardless of how the character might know that. Especially because the GM can always ask, right?  I had a player explain that his character was raised by Genies, so of course he recognizes what type of Djinn nobility built this castle. It’s a really fun way to work in details about the history of the characters.

  6. I usually let players Spout Lore about whatever they like without rolling and add it to the world. If it’s something they only have second-hand knowledge, late knowledge or risky knowledge about then we roll, and on a 7-9 the information might be dodgy. Often they aren’t sure how until they go to rely on it! If players ask you, it can be a good way to add depth to the world via mechanically useful stuff, like enemy weaknesses or environmental boons.

    Discern Realities (while we’re here!) is a move where it’s really important to follow the trigger properly and usr it to drive the fiction. Ask how the character is paying special attention and you’ll get some good ideas for answers and ambushes.

  7. My first foray into DW last Sunday may made appreciate how spout lore and discern realities add to the narrative of the game and let the characters share in building rather than just living in the fiction of the world.

  8. Gosh, the more I play, the more I dislike these moves. I’m glad you’re having a positive experience. Every time somebody DR or SL I find myself (or the GM when I’m a player) struggling to make the moves flow naturally.

  9. Hmmm…. I’m playing tomorrow so I’ll try to remember to write some specific ones down. But generally what happens is that a player is trying to figure something out about a sitch, then we stop and look at the questions, and try to figure out answers. It’s a bit hard to explain so I’ll try to get some specifics for you.

Comments are closed.