When you’re “thinking offscreen, too” how far offscreen do you go?

When you’re “thinking offscreen, too” how far offscreen do you go?

When you’re “thinking offscreen, too” how far offscreen do you go? When a player rolls a 6- do you always relate the move directly to what they were attempting, or do you sometimes advance a Front they can’t see right now and wait until they bring the spotlight?

I have definitely been trying to tie each of my moves to the moves the characters are making, but I’m wondering if that has limited me too much…

6 thoughts on “When you’re “thinking offscreen, too” how far offscreen do you go?”

  1. I often relate the GM move to the current action, but not always. I see the GM moves as prompts to develop adversity and opportunities for action, and bring them into focus.

  2. I like to put each grim portent on a small index card that I stack in order on a ‘front pile’ as each Danger is revealed in play. There are bullet points listed for each portent describing the things that happen in the fiction and basically derived from the danger’s instinct and GM moves. This will usually effect the PCs as a result, even if it doesn’t happen in their setting/situation.

     If I think offscreen and advance a front, I simply reveal the next grim portent for that particular front (and often have a nice little scene description with the players as audience). Apply the effects of the portent and stir the pot!

    If however this reveals the Impending doom…. Muah ha HA!

  3. I don’t think it matters how much off screen it is, as long as the players realize something horrible has happened.

    If you are spelunking in a cave, fighting some kobolds, then “off screen” might mean that the players hear the furious roar of dragon coming from the only way out they know. That’s pretty close for a “think off-screen” move.

    They might be travelling through the wilderness, finding their way to a city in which a contact has acquired a rare artifact they need. They might meet a refugee telling them to turn back, as the city has been sacked and nearly all the people in it has been butchered or enslaved. That’s a little further away.

    It might be rumors that the titans have awoken from their centuries old slumber, rising yet again in the other end of the world. That’s very far away, and will probably not have immediate (as in out of the game) consequences, but it is definitely “far away”.

  4. It depends on the context. I prefer off-screen moves for times when there will be consequences beyond the immediate vicinity. An action taking too much time is one of my favorite times to use an off-screen move. (Enemy reinforcements arrive, the next encounter has time to set up defenses, etc.)

  5. Generally speaking, the farther an effect is removed from what the characters are doing, the more obvious it should be how it linked up with what they were doing when you thought offscreen. 

    A couple of my party’s frontliners tried diplomacy with forest fairies and failed miserably, and I described the leafaport that got them out of the grove sticking slipping under their armor and vanishing. It didn’t pay off until much later when they fought a fairy-loyal creature and their armor sprouted spikes on the inside, making it effectively useless.

    I gave my party a kind of subdued Carouse (just roll +CHA) at a big party a town threw for them, and didn’t play up any of the consequences from a 7-9 or 6- until much later when they actually got to the next town they were trying to find out about, at which point trying to act on the information they received revealed some complications.

    You don’t even have to advance a front necessarily, just hold back on the consequences if it would make more sense for them to really show up later on.

  6. I usually make a move offscreen when there’s no intuitively clear onscreen move to make. Maintaining a fluid narrative momentum is important to me, so when I find myself hesitating for a moment too long, I take that as a cue to go offscreen. And most of the time I don’t tell them what is happening offscreen, I just tell them something vaguely threatening like, “the wheels turn.” Sometimes that means I’ve advanced a Front, sometimes it means I have no clue what move to make, so I make a little mark somewhere and use it as “ammo” for future moves. 

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