Still having trouble with Discern Realities and other games’ Notice/Perception rolls.

Still having trouble with Discern Realities and other games’ Notice/Perception rolls.

Still having trouble with Discern Realities and other games’ Notice/Perception rolls. If a player says, “I’m searching the room…” do I have him roll Discern Realities, or just let him find whatever it’s in the room (secret door, hidden map, etc).?

22 thoughts on “Still having trouble with Discern Realities and other games’ Notice/Perception rolls.”

  1. Most of the time, tell them what they see.  Tell them the obvious, be honest about it.   Discerning realities is a focused observation, examination, or search- because they are risking a roll, in the fiction it also means that they are focusing intently enough that, for example, something could get the slip on them.  You shouldn’t be rolling to see if they notice an obscure detail, if it would catch their attention just tell them honestly.  It’s on them if they want to risk investigating further.

  2. If it’s not clear whether a move is being triggered, ask questions. Interogate the fiction until it’s clear whether they are, in fact, closely studying a person or situation.

    (And you aren’t always asking questions out loud, of the players. Ask them of yourself… is this room really a situation? Or is it just a room?)

  3. The how of searching the room is the key to good fiction and triggered rolls. If there is nothing to be discerned, and you   keep describing in excruciating detail how you are poking and prodding every nook and cranny, well I’d just stare at you blankly and wait for you to make a hard move…. It is foolish after all.

  4. I make them roll to find out how they find it, and which one of us has more narrative control over what they find. They’re going to find it, either way– it’s just a matter of whether they get to tell me “and I’ve seen one of these before, so disarming it is easy” or whether I tell them “Snap– yeah, you found the trap!” as the floor slides out from beneath their feet….

  5. Oh, yeah– a general look around/search would be surface areas and obvious sounds and scents. Basically, an in-depth search means they’re probing, looking under stuff, poking things, moving stuff… the kinds of things that set off triggers if a trap had one, or which uncover information that is hidden.

  6. What Tim said. Describe, describe, describe. Let them ask questions to clarify. 

    But if you know this is actually a situation (there are traps, risks, bad guys lurking just outside their light), you might say “sounds to me like you’re closely studying the situation here, yeah? Roll to Discern Realities.” 

    At that point, they realize there’s something that could happen, a situation is unfolding.  And the result of that roll will help you decide how it unfolds.

  7. We are in this room here

    Is enough of a situation I think. Especially because in DW it can always go south in a heartbeat. And I don’t always know if there is a trap before I get asked that stuff. So for me you can roll that move whenever you like. It is restricted through time needed anyway.

  8. Yeah. In my game, if the player doesn’t roll, there isn’t a trap unless I’ve given some portents about it. If they roll and it’s 6-, there might be a trap.

  9. That is too much in the other direction for me.there might be a trap, especially if none of the characters pay any attention to e possibilities of here being one and when the possibility of traps has been established before.

  10. “The possibility of traps being established” would be the portents, though. So it would have been established in the fiction, either in a general sense of “hey, we are in the tomb of Asherak, who was known for his devious trap-making,” or in the more specific sense of the party having encountered some evidence of the impending trap.

  11. Sometimes though, there isn’t a trap in my mind for that location until the player’s hand me a golden opportunity. Or conversely I had the word ‘nasty trap’ written in my notes but decided at the table that it would serve the story better if the forlorn orphan orc baby made an appearance instead.

    I’m exploiting my prep, but since my prep only involved a Dyson map and a bit of daydreaming on the way to the session, its a little more ephemeral than a fully fleshed dungeon of front.

    Its not in the world until revealed through play at the table. Until then they are just ideas to be used.

  12. Right. I think the “portented trap” is the kind of thing where you wanted something to be there all along, and were giving portents and warnings so there would be dramatic tension, etc. And maybe you change it to the orphan orc, but if so, that orphan orc better have been making trap noises until they drew the curtain back.

  13. So we’re just getting started with our first session of a PbF adventure (so there are no fronts, portents, etc. yet) and the characters are in a cave investigating the disappearance of some miners. The very first move someone makes is a druid discerning realities and she rolls a 6. I wasn’t planning on their being anything right where they were, in the mouth of the cave, but it seems like failure should mean something bad happens, instead of “you don’t find any clues”, right? I’m thinking from the discussion above that a 6- on Discern Realities is not the same as a failed Perception check in Pathfinder, for example.

    Also, having rolled a 6, this means she gets 1 XP for failing at the end of the session, right? This also suggests that something problematic should spring up. I just want to make sure I’ve got it all straight!

    Thanks for bearing with me if the answers are obvious – I’m not only a first time GM for DW (have GMed D&D/Pathfinder for years), but I’ve never played the game (when six of us  online wanted to play, and no one else offered to GM, I figured I’d give it a shot rather than no one getting to play). 

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