10 thoughts on “How do you deal with ‘instant death’ situations in DW?”

  1. When a situation calls for instant death (you get your head cut off by a guillotine, you ingest a terrible toxin, you’re speared through the face with a shard of obsidian) you die. You’re dead.

    Giovanni Lanza there’s room to argue either way. By design, Last Breath is sort of intended for anyone who is dead, but if you’re running a harsh and gritty game, maybe Last Breath is more about bleeding out.

  2. Adam Koebel fair enough. I tend to give my players a few chances (Avon, you’re falling out of the airship and the ground’s getting bigger, what do you do? Gregor, how do you intervene?) and in my games, Last Breath doesn’t get used enough, but I see what you mean.

  3. Giovanni Lanza yes! As we intended, there is wiggle room! I tend to have custom moves like;

    “When you drink the Count’s poison you die.”

    And then Last Breath often applies, because sure, the count put you there, but Death gets to say if you stay or not.

  4. Hmm, I’d never considered writing moves like that. Have you ever written one like:

    “When you swallow water from the River Styx, you die. Like, die forever. Your life essence is dissolved completely.”

    It’s harsh, but if it follows the fiction, is it still alright?

  5. GM: you see the goon sawing at the rope. What do you do?

    PC: I sprint for the far side! (rolls 4)

    GM: the rope parts when you are halfway across. What do you do?

    PC: I grab for a rope! (Rolls 2)

    GM: you miss but get a handfull of splinters and a nasty rope burn. 1d4 damage. You are now falling. What do you do?

    PC: I try to grab at a bush growing from the cliff wall! (Rolls 6)

    GM: you straddle it instead. Ouch! Another 1d4 damage and you now sing soprano. What do you do?

    PC: (in falsetto) there’s water right? I try to dive. (Rolls 3)

    GM: hmm. Seems there was a boulder just under the surface. Now a red cloud is spreading through the pool around your motionless form. Roll last breath…

    Basically treat it as an Indiana Jones movie. Note that whenever a character is free falling or otherwise facing imminent doom is an excellent time to switch to someone else… turn it into a cliffhanger. In fact if you need to end the session its also a perfect place to hit “save game”…

  6. Ivan Vaghi : too little context to judge.

    For example: is the GM allowed to use a Hard Move at that time or not?

    If not, the PC has time for a Move.

    If so, please note there’s no Move that says “kill them”.

    Anyway, keep in mind that: PC are VERY larger-than-life in DW,  they should be allowed a Defy Danger (or something else) no matter what implausible their chances are.

    “They put your neck on the guillotine”:

    1) “Defy Danger as I give the people a moving speech, I roll CHA”.

    2) “I push the guards aside and jump, hands tied on my back, in the crowd” -> Defy Danger on STR.

    3) “I have no idea on how to pull myself out of this mess… I roll Discern Reality as my eyes frantically search for anything that can save my sorry ass”.

    Also, “something that would kill” a person means 1d10 damage to heroes, if that makes any sense (ex.: falling from extreme heights).

  7. Thanks to everyone for their answers. I was considering mostly PvP situations where a GM preemptive intervention and fair warnings would not necessarily feel fair.

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