14 thoughts on “How do you handle stealth for a group?”

  1. Custom moves are a must, for me at least.

    When you sneak past the sleeping basilisk, roll+Dex.

    When you appear from the shadows, having waited for the Archduke all night, roll+Con.

    Even some for one character to roll for everyone, but only very rarely, like:

    When you lead your clanging armour clad allies along the corridor to the Goblin King’s bedchamber and make them shush for once, roll+Cha.

    In practise, these are just Defy Danger, but they look nice.

    You could also make a move that gives them control of the fiction, like:

    On a 10+, you have the opportunity to slit a throat without getting caught.

  2. A while back now, but I’ll bite.

    I think the absolute cleanest and most minimalistic way of handling stealth is through GM Moves, not with custom moves (CM), nor Defy Danger (DD).

    There’s nothing wrong with using CM’s or DD, but I think this is better (not objectively better), and for several reasons. First of all, because Defy Danger doesn’t actually trigger from hiding or sneaking, so a GM Move is more consistent with the actual rules. Second, because making CM’s takes time, time you might want to use differently.

    When using a GM Move, you have the unique opportunity to set the entire situation up, describing the actual dangers and telling people what is actually at stake. The following GM Moves comes to mind as incredibly relevant:

    – Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask (You’ll have to make a distraction to get past)

    – Give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities (That door is locked)

    – Offer an opportunity, with or without a cost (You could scale that wall with a grappling hook from your Adventuring Gear)

    – Put someone in a spot (That guard dog seems to have caught wind of something. It’s coming your way!)

    – Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment (Clank, clank, clank said the Plate Armor)

    – Reveal an unwelcome truth (Wow, that dude has hellhounds as guard dogs!)

    It’s a bit more dynamic, and it lets you improvise better. It also let’s the players use “smart thinking” and lets them choose when to make their gambles. Rolling dice is a calculated risk, and forcing it through custom moves can really mess up their situation on a bad roll.

    I don’t mind pulling out the miss-hammer, but it’s more fun (at least to me) when the player actually choose to take the risk.

  3. Haha miss hammer, I’m going too use that in my next session!

    But generally if the whole group is trying to sneak into a place, it tells me that the whole group is interested in spending time and energy doing so. So I make them act out the whole thing, and different checkpoints will call for different rolls from the players. “Fighter, you’re in the back and here someone coming up behind you, what do you do?” “Wizard, you feel the flow of magic shift all the sudden, what do you do?” Like the above said, GM moves are the way to go when the whole group is involved. If it was just a player or two, then maybe one roll is needed (supported with an aid ally roll).

    It really comes down to the situation and your group. Try different things and see what works the best! No one will blame you for trying.

  4. Kasper Brohus Allerslev Wow man, that is… really great!

    Thank you for the ideas. I will try it this way for certain. Any other good examples of this in practice you want to share? 

  5. As a group stealth thing? I think it happens all the time, which makes it hard to recall a specific “happening”. I mean, every time the players get a chance to set up a situation to their advantage, they just take it.

  6. Kasper Brohus Allerslev handles it pretty much the way I do. I don’t like using any sort of Stealth roll so I just put this in the category of GM move “when the players look to you to see what happens” and I make moves that feel appropriate. More often than not I reveal an unwelcome truth. 

    As a side note though I’ve noticed a lot less sneaking around in the games I’ve run using DW than other games. Not really sure why this is, just an observation from my games. 

  7. John Lewis Might be because of the “moves snowball” effect. It is all too easy to make the first miss in a dungeon into the “you get discovered!” miss. It is also the most obvious effect in many cases.

    Also, telling them explicitly that “apparently, they haven’t noticed you yet” greatly influences how players act.

  8. As the guard turns around to spot you, she reaches for neck and then falls over – dead. As you examine the body you find a tiny blow dart in the back if her neck.

    You are not the only ones trying to get in tonight.

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