“Aid Another Exploit”: I ran a DW game at the PAXEast convention for my friends last week and after hearing about the rules system and the XP generation, they came up with an easy way to generate XP. It stemmed from the fact that the Aid/Interfere basic move doesn’t note what happens on a 6-…
Aid or Interfere
When you help or hinder someone , roll+bond with them.
✴On a 10+, they take +1 or -2 to their roll, your choice.
✴On a 7–9, they still get a modifier, but you also expose yourself to danger, retribution, or cost.
Initially, I was running the game more dice-based to have them get familiar with their basic and special moves (I started the game with a Grim Portent of a nearby mountain erupting Mt St Helen’s style and I had them pick three of their six party members to Undertake a Perilous Journey to the nearest steading of Trendorfell.). The three non-participatory party members decided that they wanted to Aid the trailblazer (who failed his roll with a 5.). One of them succeeded with a 7,, but the other two failed.I think he picked “danger” since the situation didn’t seem immediately threatening.
By a strict reading of the Aid, they felt that a 6- would be “low risk, high reward” since the only stated outcomes were “success or modified-success+danger/retribution/cost.”
However, I saw it as a golden opportunity to have some GM moves happen offscreen. They didn’t arrive in time for a bandit ambush on a merchant caravan or the subsequent twist (a second ambush by zombies!) as they slogged their way though the ashen landscape. A subsequent earthquake and aftershocks weakened the bridge that the caravan would placed on was dangerously damaged to the point of near collapse. The monsters (zombies from Trendorfell, recently turned as a result of the earthquake breaking open a tomb of a long-forgotten plague) would be alerted to their presence and strategically placed for another ambush…
This all happened in the first few rolls of the game while they were going around the table, describing their characters to each other and their bonds.
However, because the three failures were silent, they felt encouraged to continue Aiding each other for all of their near misses (5 or 9 rolls). My initial DM instinct was to make up how they were aiding the character, but later on in the combat I remembered the principle of “Ask questions and Use the answers” and threw the Aid mechanic back at them: “ok, so how are you helping him?”
This led to some hilarity as Élan the Bard kept flubbing his Aid rolls to others (how fitting is that?!?) and when the bridge collapsed with half the party standing on it holding some zombies at bay, when he threw a rope at the falling party members, his feet were tangled up in the other end and he ended up falling in as well.
I think they started to realize at the end that any opportunity to roll dice and fail is an opportunity for the GM to make the character’s lives worse (but hey, more XP!)