53 thoughts on “Hi all”

  1. i would say they fail, unless they have some sort of history for it…or have learned it during play. A roll might be neccesary if there is a trap to dofge of course. That might seem harsh, but that’s why you need a thief!

  2. Personally, I’d treat it by how it is described in the fiction, but likely make it a custom move.  Depending on what they’re doing, it might just not work as David Benson mentions – for example, if that same fighter tried to cast a spell.

  3. Interesting answers; thanks!

    Seems like there isn’t a standardised procedure. Following the fiction seems appropriate, maybe with defy danger to avoid nasty consequences.

  4. No no no. The characters can try to do anything. Even if it’s covered by another class’s move, such as a Fighter trying to pick a lock.

    However, unless the character has the class move in question, they don’t get to use it. So a Fighter trying to pick a lock would not trigger the Tricks of the Trade move. They’d have to find another way to do it, possibly a Defy Danger with Dex as Nikitas Thlimmenos suggests. Or maybe with Int. Or maybe they have a set of lock picks and they get it open eventually, but it takes much longer than if a Thief did it. Or perhaps the lock is simply too complex and they have to find another way to open the lock, like smashing it.

    It’s the same if the Thief tries to smash something open . They don’t trigger the Bend Bars, Lift Gates move, because they don’t have it. Maybe they have to Defy Danger with Str.

    Not having a class move does not prevent another character class from trying to do the action in question. It just means they won’t be as good, and will probably have very little control over the outcome.

  5. I would first ask, “Cool, how do you know how to pick a lock?” Find out where they learned it, who taught them, what they’ve stolen. Make a note of the answers for later use and then ask for Defy Danger with Dex. They don’t get to trigger the Thief move unless they have it.

    If the answer is “I don’t know how, I’m just going to wing it,” then I’d make a move before asking for the roll. Tell them they can try but if they fail the lock will jam and can’t be picked, maybe. Something that makes it harder or risky for someone with no training.

    There are a lot of options, but a flat “No, you can’t,” should be the last one to consider.

  6. “I attempt to pick the lock before the guards can enter the room and catch me.” (Defy Danger). I’d probably just use bend bars, lift gates to destroy the lock or the door. Depending on how subtle I was feeling.

  7. That’s what I was thinking – there has to be some danger to trigger a move.  Heck, every time the dice are rolled, there should be something at stake, and aa interesting consequence for either success or failure.

    Perhaps then, “Roll +Dex; on a 10+, holy shit, it opened.  You’re as surprised as everyone.  On a 7-9, choose, the lock is broken and won’t open, or some kind of trouble is coming up behind you.  On a miss, both.”

  8. I think we’ve had this discussion before, Tim Franzke. I use Defy Danger as a “this isn’t an auto-success,  but another move doesn’t cover it” move. Which I know you disagree with.

    I read the “danger” in Defy Danger very broadly. The danger in this example could be taking a long time to open the lock. It could be making a lot of noise. It could be leaving evidence the lock was tampered with. It could be breaking your tools. It could be any number of other things depending on the circumstances and situation.

    Just like any other move though, if there is absolutely no possible consequence from someone failing to do something, there is no roll. It just happens. You don’t roll for everything, only the things that are interesting and/or have consequences.

  9. Think dangerously. When you roll there is always the chance of something going wrong. And if it is off screen. 

    Also missing a roll is not about not succeeding. You could succeed gloriously but that triggers something bad happening.

  10. It’s a matter of not only the trigger, but also the fiction. Does the fighter have a set of lockpicks on him? How does he know how to use them? Why pick the lock instead of just breaking the door down?

  11. In this case as GM I’d probably ask if he has the tools and  the training and (assuming he has neither) then ask how he intends to do something requiring tools and training without tools and training. Maybe he’s got a plan! Maybe he doesn’t, in which case the answer is “you can’t do that.”

  12. Some advice I’ve heard around here somewhere before: if s character is trying to do something that would normally be covered by another character’s niche, but that niche’s playbook is being played by another player at the table, they should have far less of a chance of doing it.

    Your fighter wants to pick a lock, but the rogue is just behind him? Don’t be obvious about it, but penalize that fighter – that’s the rogue’s job. If the rogue playbook isn’t in the game? Well, that’s a different story. Then you’re not stepping on someone else’s feet.

    That said, obviously story first. If the fighter can come up with a good reason why he’s be at least okay at picking locks, sure, let him roll. Otherwise, let heads roll – that’s asking for a gm move, and a hard one, too.

  13. To echo what Tim Franzke said: it triggers a GM move. 

    PC moves like Tools of the Trade or Bend Bars/Lift Gates give the character agency to act with predictable outcomes.  If you (as a player) say that you do something that doesn’t clearly trigger one of the player-facing moves, that’s the GM turn to make a soft move. 

    As with any GM move, the one you make should be informed by your principles and the fiction.  Maybe you ask questions and use the answers before you make your move, but ultimately it’s your job to make a soft move.  All sorts of options are good.  You could give them a hint that they’re about to spring a trap (show signs of an approaching threat), or tell them it’ll take a half hour at least and there’s a risk they’ll foul things up (tell the requirements/consequences), or even say “this lock is beyond the amateur tinkering of a woodsman like you” (show a downside to their class).   Then ask “what do you do?” 

    When you (as a player) try to do something that isn’t clearly covered by one of the player-facing moves, you’re basically saying “hey GM, what happens if I do X?”  And that means giving up agency to the GM.

  14. Two more cents: I won’t say that the fighter can’t pick locks, but it is counter to the stereotypical fighter’s methods of handling obstacles. Smashing the lock, etc., is more natural, so to speak. Even when silence is advantageous, I think of Han Solo’s attitude: “bring ’em on, I’d prefer a good fight to all this sneakin’ around!”

    Clearly, one’s concept of a fighter can vary, so that’s why I say “stereotypical.” Personally, you don’t have access to another class’ move, period, unless you have taken it in advancement. It may sound restrictive, but DW is based on the old D&D and by virtue of using a class-based system it IS restrictive. You can change that in your own game, but Tim Franzke and others are right to question the Defy Danger use. DW is hackable and every gaming table is likely to vary, but if you’re discussing this by the book, given the basis of DW and games like it, I’d say the thief has this on lockdown and other classes are excluded unless they multiclass to get it. There are other games, which do not use classes, that allow you to customize however you wish. RuneQuest comes to mind.

  15. This time, I’m not with Tim Franzke . 

    I come from “Apocalypse World”, so I use “defy danger” like a “do something under fire”.

    Of course, a character shouldn’t take the spot from another (played) class, so IF if the fiction the warrior COULD had learn to pick locks in the past, why to not let him  to try?

    In those case, if the moment is tense, I break the action in a couple of rolls, following the fiction: Warrior, do you have lockpicks? No? Then defy danger on INT to find something useful around. Now, you need defy danger on DEX to complete the task. 

    Any failed rolls? As always, maybe the warrior overcome the obstacle, but I make my moves (think offscreen, bring a new danger etc.)

  16. My first step is usually asking questions to get a sense of why the player thinks this is plausible, fleshing out the fiction. Depending on the situation, I may tell them the requirements or consequences and ask. The consequences may create a threat, (say making noise, injury), so I fall back to Defy Danger.  If all else fails, I “make a custom move,” by which I mean I just punt to Defy Danger and don’t feel guilty about it no matter what other people think. Also, I remember that someone without the class move is probably facing more serious consequences for a low roll.

  17. Andrea Parducci 

    When you are picking a lock in the apocalypse, what is your fire? 

    It is the same problem really. In a way AuF is even more restricted because it doesn’t get rolled when you suffer a calamity. 

  18. When I first started plying DW I found myself calling for a lot of “generic” stat checks to cover other things characters were doing. More recently I have been focusing on only allowing/requiring die rolls when a specific Move is triggered. My players have grown accustom to these things being covered by the fiction (GM). A great fictional justification will in all likelyhood result in a cool result. Of course as the GM I’m going to factor a bunch of stuff in like how long this would take and what outcomes are probable. Also I frequently offer options to a player that does something other than a listed Move.

    This stuff works pretty good. I had a dwarf fighter open a lock a few months ago with a crowbar from his adventuring gear. OK, no problem.

  19. Jeremy Strandberg

    What he said. Just defy danger dex will give a character with high dex the same chance as a thief to roll success. Therefore it should not be used. So Jeremy is right. Such a situation should trigger a GM move.

  20. Wynand Louw probarbility is a weak excuse there i think. Having a high Str means you are as able to hit as a fighter. 

    Those things are neither equal nor comparable. 

  21. Just as a motorcar mechanic cannot even begin to try to do brain surgery there are certain specialist stuff that certain classes simply cannot do. So, sorry to say, there are times when the GM just says no. A fighter will never be able to cast a spell unless he takes a move that allows him to and he will never pick the lock of a bank safe unless he studies safecracking and gets the move. So often the GM just says “No” and makes a move. “As you wiggle your toothpick in the keyhole the guard comes around the corner. What do you do?”

  22. Tim Franzke what I mean is: Lets say you have a druid with a high dex. He has no fictional reason to be able to pick a lock. Allowing him to try on DD gives him the same chance of success (10+) as the thief. Sure, on a 7-9 the GM may bring in complications, but the chance of a full on success is still the same.

    So: A druid can TRY to pick a lock but he should not be allowed a roll that gives him a reasonable chance of success. He should fail. Period. And the way to handle it should be by GM move.

  23. Unless it is an urban ratform urchin druid. Simply saying never is just to easy. 

    Most times though you will be showing a downside of their class.

    Edit: The druid might also call on the knowledge of all the druids that came before her to remeber how to do it. Avatar style. 

  24. Yeah. I stand by the “no” because that is the inherent caveat to classes. Else why have them? Just let a player pick a certain number of moves that their character has: let’s see… I’ll have Cast a Spell (and associated moves), Bend Bars (etc.), Shapeshift and…I want my character to pick locks, too.

    I get that it seems restrictive – that’s what classes inherently do – restrict access!

  25. I think as Tim and others are stating, when the players look expectantly at you, make a GM move.  Any number of options would be applicable in this case, depending on the fighter’s background, gear and situation that compels the lockpick in the first place. I just go with my gut, and in this case either “show a downside of their class” or “offer an opportunity with a cost” seem like likely candidates. No defy danger ever need be rolled until you make your move and then say “what do you do”. Its a conversation, first and foremost, not a move-matching-to-fiction game.

  26. This (from Nathan Roberts):

    “No defy danger ever need be rolled until you make your move and then say ‘what do you do’.” 

    And before you (the GM) make your move, you can and should interrogate the fiction (ask questions, use the answers) to find out how the PC is picking the lock. “Have you ever picked a lock before? How’d you learn to do that? What are you using as a pick?”  Be a fan of the PC as you do so, but eventually you make your GM move and ask “what do you do?” 

    Saying “yeah, OK, defy danger with dex to open the lock” is forfeiting part of your job as GM.

  27. I’d start by asking the fighter, “Do you know how to pick locks?” and the go from there. Depending on how their response goes and how the conversation develops, different moves might kick in. Or, alternately, they might just jam the lock straight up, again depending on the answers. 

  28. “I attempt to pick the lock” “Cool, i mean, if you know how. Still, you’re not exactly skilled like a thief, though, right? So you might bust your lockpicks. Defy that danger with your manual dexterity.”  Or maybe, “I attempt to pick the lock.” “Good job! You jam the lock with your tools.” Or “I attempt to pick the lock” “Enh, you mentioned your background as a safecracker (and there’s no thief in this party, and there is nothing important going on). Yeah, the lock pops open.”

    I can probably come up with about 50 more exchanges, if’n ya need?

  29. Also, we have to be “Fan of the characters”. So, with the good fiction reasons… Why not? You can use the reasons to “fill their life with adventures”, and in the next city complicate the warrior life with a obsessed she-thief that want to join the party ’cause she knew the warrior time ago, while both was wannabe teen thieves 😀

  30. Tim Franzke A lot of time I saw Vincent make examples where he says “ok, you want to open the lock, roll Act under Fire, and the fire is…”

    Then, you can come with a lot of options, following what is appening in the fiction:

    … No fire indeed, the situation is calm (then no roll at all, this is not AuF)

    … You need too much time, probably Trashcan and Speedo will be on you soon.

    … Completely lock the room, breaking your low quality self made pic looks in the door. Someone will find out this thing AND you have to find another way in.

    … You will be in, but you’ll break the lock. Soon they’ll find something odd.

    Etc. Etc.

  31. Aaron Friesen

    You said:  “Defy that danger with your manual dexterity.” 

    The problem is he then has the same chance as a thief of an unmitigated success. (If he has the dex,) That should not happen. The other examples you give, I am with you. 

  32. Andrea Parducci Take +1! Very good examples of GM moves in this case. I would just add one restriction: Don’t give anyone who does not have the move the same chance of success as somebody who has the move. Which Defy Danger does. Otherwise class moves become meaningless. It makes no sense in the fiction either. 

  33. Note that just because the probability of the roll is the same, it does not mean that the probabilities of the move is the same, because you can offer a different set if outcomes. (There are some good examples in the Guide of clean and messy moves.) A thief gets to choose between danger, suspicion, and cost; a fighter might just get a choice between which kinds of suspicion and danger.

    The way I handled this problem last time a Paladin tried to smash a door down was to give them all of the negatives from Bend Bars, Lift Gates instead of a subset, and then asked if they still wanted to do it.

  34. Wynand Louw I’ve got no problem with  the similar odds. at 10+, I’m really not concerned. The 7-9 is where the difference between the two kicks in. The thief I have to give two options between suspicion (not “caught”), danger (which might then be defied by other means), and cost. With DD, the fighter has what I give them, which might be a choice, but it’s my unrestricted GM choice as to what the range of result there is. If that’s not a terrifying difference, I haven’t been doing my job as GM right.

    Heck, if the fighter says, “nah, I’ve never done this before” and tries anyway, sure he can bust that lock open on a 10+, but he’s choosing from a broad list of consequences anyway, and those lockpicks aren’t working again anyway. The 7-9 then gets enormously fun.

  35. Wynand Louw

    As I wrote before, I never steal the spot from another class. Usually I make the things more difficult (and interesting, if I can), make the non-proficient class rolling at least a couple of times to obtain a minor vesion of what the proficient class can make, better, with a single roll.

  36. Andrea Parducci I hear you. The problem is that the rules state and the players expect that 10+ should be an unmitigated success. So your druid picks the lock and rolls 10, but you say “OK you are successful but the lock is not open yet because…! Roll again!”

    You could do that but you break the rules if you do and your player will feel cheated. So my answer is, do not allow him the roll in the first place. Make a GM move.

  37. Wynand Louw Well, it’s a good thing there’s no one right way to run DW 😉

    The rules state that “you do what you set out to”, so as long as the GM sets the expectation right no rules have been broken and expectations have been met. And saying, “well, you’d be defying two dangers, and you’d only be able to do a crap job of it” is a GM move, likely showing the downside of their class in this case.

  38. Wynand Louw well, if my warrior defies danger with INT to understand the type of lock, then he defies danger with DEX to physically thinkers with it, he deserves to open that lock! No problems if the player gets a couple of 10+ 😀

    Well, naturally It’s simpler for the warrior to make just one roll +STR to destroy the lock, but this can bring other problems (some noise, a track the enemies cold follow etc.)

  39. Andrea Parducci Well that definitely makes more sense. It is definitely better than letting him roll just once!

    I actually like this solution because it makes at least some fictional sense and reduces the chance of success exponentially. 

    But you could give me an hour and I would still not be able to figure out how to pick a simple 2 lever lock. And I am definitely not stupid. So I still do not think it is fictionally appropriate for anybody without the skill to do it. 

    But that is just my opinion. 🙂 

     I read the biography of Harry Houdini. He could open any police handcuff and any lock available at that time. How did he do it? By taking hundreds of locks apart and studying how they worked. It took him many months of tinkering with the insides of locks before he became a lock picker. 

    Bottom line:  DW is fantasy. So if your fighter is an amateur lock picker and you are a fan of your characters, then absolutely go for it!

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