So let me lay out a play example and then ask my specific question. The example:

So let me lay out a play example and then ask my specific question. The example:

So let me lay out a play example and then ask my specific question. The example:

Anya and her hirelings approach a mountain pass at night, where tribal drums were heard. They are here because a dwarven caravan of ales are overdue for a festival in a local town. Anya (a wizard) casts Invisibility and continues forward alone, as silently as possible.

Anya spots the silhouettes of two creatures (kobolds) with spears. They are talking but she cannot hear them because of the drumming echoing through the pass (she is flanked on each side with rocky climbs, her hirelings several paces behind on the path and the kobolds about 30 yards ahead). She continues forward and feels something catch on her foot, followed by a rumble up and to her right as a bunch of large rocks tumble down toward her.

Anya Defies Danger with DEX and gets an 8. She dodges the rocks, but they now separate her from her friends and the drumming has stopped. The kobolds are alerted but she is still invisible, so they think something is under the rubble. They move past her to the rock pile and poke with their spears. Then her friends, also not aware of her situation (and thinking she just got crushed), call out and the two kobolds hear. They begin to climb stealthily up the rock pile to look for her friends.

Anya asks if she has a flask of oil on her person. I ask if she has Adventure Gear uses left and she did, so of course she has oil. She throws the oil at the rock pile and the kobolds, then says she wants to cast magic missile to set them alight. I rule that magic missile is a magical force, not an ignition source. She asks instead if the force could possibly cause the rocks to shift and get them that way. I agree to that and the end result is still two dead kobolds and I tell her to take back the Adventuring Gear use because Anya the wizard would have known in advance that the oil trick wouldn’t work with magic missile.

So, with all that said, here is my question: should I have rolled with the idea and let magic missile set them on fire with the oil? It felt like a good narrative suddenly stopped because of a technicality that is somewhat open to interpretation, and I’m always looking to improve.

9 thoughts on “So let me lay out a play example and then ask my specific question. The example:”

  1. You could have asked the Wizard player IF Magic Missile WAS an ignition source. If so, then it is so forever and ever.

    The GM Ruling is also ok 🙂

    How’s that for being non-commital?

  2. I think I would have ruled the same way. Especially since there were other options to accomplish what the player wanted to do. Spells are fairly specific in what they do, so I have no problem with your ruling.

  3. If it feels like a good narrative stopped then you probably should have just rolled with it. Which does you no good at all after the fact 🙂

    I agree with Gordon Spencer that consistency after rolling with the new info is what makes it fun. 

    “You want to shoot a magic missile at the Kobold that is hiding in the same tall dry grass that is surrounding you? Interesting.”

    Dealing with things this way honors the players creativity and adds your own on top of it.

    It’s all about the “Yes, and” !

  4. Look at the GM principles and agenda. What elements of those rules applied and which ones didn’t? When the player looked at you to find out what happened, what move did you make? I think reviewing that should help clear up the decision in terms of fulfilling your role as GM.

  5. Thanks! I guess my problem was (after the fact) that I was leaning on D&D knowledge (magic missile is a “force” attack specifically) whereas DW is not quite so specific. I like the idea of letting the player say and then making it “law” thereafter!

  6. Adam Koebel good point. I just did that and you’re right about it clearing it up. The principles need to stay at the forefront with me, since they are the ultimate “rules” when it comes to the “is it possible” question.

  7. Be a fan of the characters says (to me) “let the spell ignite the oil.”  Think dangerously says “put barrels of explosives in the next encounter as hard move fuel.”

    btw I thought your Defy Danger result — Anya avoiding the avalanche but being isolated  — was rock solid.

  8. The first time a Wizard uses any spell (but especially magic missiles) I make a point of having them describe it in detail. 

    So for example: “What exactly ARE the magic missiles? Bolts of arcane energy, firebolts, shards of ice? Describe it to us.”

    The spell now does that every time. Do your bolts burn things? Cool, then you can ignite things on fire. Do they cut? Then sure go ahead and use your MM to cut the rope. Establish the fiction beforehand and then let the rest flow from that.


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