This is an example of Vincent Baker running an Apocalypse World combat.

This is an example of Vincent Baker running an Apocalypse World combat.

This is an example of Vincent Baker running an Apocalypse World combat. 

DW and AW are not the same thing but i want to talk about one of the used techniques here. 

When I (and a lot of other people, i am sure) run combats in DW we cut to different characters, follow them for a while and then go to the next character. Sometimes we have 2 or 3 characters acting at once but that is rather not typical for me, especially because i run via hangout. 

What Vincent does however is get what everyone is doing, letting everyone roll at the same time and then handling all of that “at once” and then going to a next volley or round. 

I think the “follow single character around” comes mostly from advice in the guide. And it is good advice.

Reading this just makes me want to try the other way. 

How do you feel about this? 

Instead of going 

Setupmove to character A




Next setup move for A 




Swap to character B. 

Setupmove to character B




Swap to character C. 

Setupmove to character C




We go 

Setupmove for A 


Setupmove for B


Setupmove for C 


Everyone rolls their move

We resolve all of it at once


Originally shared by T. Franzke

Reading the Apocalypse World fight scene example (again) makes me so want to play/MC this game again. 

Just glorious. 

Example here: 

Example with commentary:’s%20Cut).pdf

14 thoughts on “This is an example of Vincent Baker running an Apocalypse World combat.”

  1. The following characters for a while and then switching is something I really like about the system.  Everyone acting at once may be how reality works but it isn’t the way I experience the world or stories.  

  2. I agree with Marshall.  When I run DW I see a movie in my head and I describe the action as such.  This seemed much more plodding and tactical.  Perhaps it was the structure of the example, but it seemed to drain the fun out it.  I prefer how DW is run, but I have had no experience with AW.

  3. This can work in a live game, but keep an eye out for pacing issues in a PBP game. I ran a large one last year and waiting to do a full roundup, with an action for everyone, undoubtedly contributed to people losing interest. It’s a tough balancing act and there’s no right answer so do what’s fun for you and your group.

  4. I like to start a situation with the “simultaneous action” approach, and then use the results of their initial rolls to guide the focus & camera as individual characters act.  If there’s a pause in the action or a significant change in the situation, I’ll go back to asking everyone what they do and rolling all at once.

    Example: PCs are at a clandestine meeting in the woods, at night.  They hear goblins (lots of them) approaching, surrounding them.  I ask what everyone does, get them to commit before rolling.  The fighter backs into the darkness, eyes closed and ears sharp for movement and intending to swing at any foes.  The ranger covers the dark with his bow, looking for targets.  The articer hunkers down and prepares to defend himself from any incoming attacks. 

    I have them all roll simultaneously: fighter Defies Danger (+Wis, danger being getting surprised), ranger also Defies Danger (+Wis, danger being foes closing on him and the artificer), and artificer Defends.

    The artificer rolls 7-9 to Defend, so he’s got 1 hold.  He’s wating.

    The fighter gets a 7-9, so we have a goblin leap at him from out the darkness with a spear; what do you do?  He turns and swings at it, triggering H&S.  7-9, so he kills it but gets stabbed.

    The ranger gets 10+, so he spots 3 or 4 goblins closing on him and the artificer.  He volleys at them (using blot out the sun), dropping one and wounding two others.  The two wounded ones rush forward and attack the artificer, who spends his 1 hold to defend.  He doesn’t take any damage, but now he’s got two goblins all up his grill.

    Notice that as soon as the initial dice hit the table and the PCs found themselves in seperate situations, the zooming in started.  But the whole thing got kicked off by the PCs all declaring their actions at once and rolling them at once.

    Second Example The PCs are mucking about with a sacred grove, a ring of trees around a clearing with a treant. The fighter has been tricked by a mean ol’ shaman into charging into the clearing, awakening the treant.  We mostly follow the fighter for a few moves, then when he gets swatted out of the clearing I ask what the others are doing.  The artificer jury rigs a spark-spitting device and tosses it into the grove, which pisses the treant off.  It smothers the device and animates a number of the trees around the clearing.  They turn and advance on the PCs.

    That’s a new situation, and no one PC has any momentum going, so I zoom out and ask them all what they are doing.  They all declare. The wizard magic missiled one of the baby treants, the artificer tried to punch one out with his kinetic amplification gauntlet, and the fighter charged back into the clearing and hacked at the papa treant again.  They all rolled, and the results of each put them largely back in a similar (though slightly more dire) situation: no PCs with any momentum, the baby treants advancing on them again.  So we went with another simultaneous declaration and roll.

    It’s really not that hard to juggle, at least not with 3 players.  I think I could handle 4 the same way, and I’d frankly rather not play DW with 5+.

  5. Oh, another thought: I think the specific rules of DW (notably H&S, Defend, Volley, and most importantly hit points) all push toward more granular, zoomed-in play than AW does. 

    As a result, I think if you tried to strictly keep to a “everyone declares something, everyone rolls, then we resolve it” structure in DW, you’d end up with the system fighting you.

  6. That system flows more like old dnd (2e and prior)initiative (whats everyone doing? ok now lets roll init and let it play out).  It obviously works for a gaming system but does totally change the feel of the quid pro quo in DW (imo, and without having tried it in DW).

  7. I really like this idea, though it does take some bookkeeping skills. My ideal medium is text-based, such as IRC. I have done similar before, at it does work. Thanks for the insight!

  8. No, no rounds for me then:) the switching is just great, it may not be as exact, but for me its where DW shows its strenghts – really fast, furious and fun.

  9. I saw the same post recently and was fascinated. In the past, I’ve often done simultaneous actions because it just felt right. I’m going to try this more often and pay attention to the results. Although, it does seem difficult to pull of when the party is split which some of my players do frequently (damn druids/thieves). We’ll see!

Comments are closed.