So a query.

So a query.

So a query. I feel like maybe I’m taking it too easy on my guys. When is it appropriate to pop “surprises” on them, like previously unseen archers or traps or what have you. How do you set up a sneak attack by an enemy thief, is it just “allowed” if nobody has “discerned reality” or what? From the examples I’ve seen, I feel like I almost have to give somebody warning about what’s going on. Thanks for your comments and suggestions.

8 thoughts on “So a query.”

  1. Man, one needs to lose the D&D mindset…

    When players look to you to see what happens or when one rolls a 7-9 on anything, you do a soft move. 

    GM: “You hear a faint rustle behind you and you glimpse the flicker of a knife about to be thrown from the corner of your eye. What do you do?”

    When a player rolls a 6- for anything it is hard move time.

    GM: “You hear a swish behind you and the next moment pain explodes in your back. It has to be something sharp that hit you… Something is stuck between your ribs. You gasp as you take 1d8 damage. What do you do?”

  2. I found it’s  easy at first to stick to the moves as listed in the book, then expand once you’re comfortable. So Wynand Louw is doing: revealing an unwelcome truth, as a soft move, and dealing damage as a hard move.

    He could also have put someone in a spot, for the soft (or hard, depending on the choice) move, which would be more like: “You hear a faint rustle behind you and you glimpse the flicker of a knife about to be thrown from the corner of your eye. You can dodge the knife, but it’ll fly past you and sink into ‘s chest.”

    The ‘spot’ means it’s time for a hard choice, which are particularly fun to give.

  3. I use the carrot and the stick method , you dangle something nice in front of them and while they are looking at that I beat them with something else while they are looking the other way


  4. I think it depends on the fiction. Would it be better to have the enemy thief land an attack without warning or do you think the character(s) in question are unlikely to be caught by surprise? If the Thief lands that move the party is likely to be far more anxious about his appearance. If they have time to react, they are likely to feel superior because they caught him sneaking in the first place. It all depends on what type of mood you’re trying convey.

  5. I find that Dungeon World works just fine if you share way more information than you would usually do in your D&D sessions. (I also have no problem letting players know things that their characters don’t, so I’m coming from that perspective.) Don’t keep as many secrets, it can work just fine if you lay most of your cards on the table. Think of it as Texas Hold ’em instead of Stud Poker if that helps. If the fiction allows for a surprise, I’d go ahead and surprise them, but it depends on what kind of surprise you mean. 

    Understanding the rhythm of hard and soft moves helped me get a feel for the flow of the game. Generally, you want to setup your hard moves by using the soft moves to lay a fictional foundation for them.  

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