As Druid Week is oh so far away now, i thought i’d use this opportunity to ask for what you have learned about GMing…

As Druid Week is oh so far away now, i thought i’d use this opportunity to ask for what you have learned about GMing…

As Druid Week is oh so far away now, i thought i’d use this opportunity to ask for what you have learned about GMing for Druids. Any tips and tricks? 

Any memorable mistakes we can learn from?

Originally shared by T. Franzke

If my memory is not playing tricks on me, this will be the first time i GM a game of Dungeon World with a Druid in the mix. I am exited. 

28 thoughts on “As Druid Week is oh so far away now, i thought i’d use this opportunity to ask for what you have learned about GMing…”

  1. Looking forward to hearing the feedback. I’ve had Druids in every game I have run, and always have some trouble with them, particularly with how the beast moves work. My interpretation is that we define 1-3 actions that the creature can do (actions that exemplify its type). A hold lets the character do that thing successfully, as if they rolled a 10+.

  2. I think part of my uncertainty comes in judging what is an appropriate action, in terms of duration, power level, or narrative impact. Any folks have principles they use in picking actions?

  3. I fall back on Adam Koebel’s and Sage LaTorra’s Give Them What They Want (become a bear in a fight? Give them a fight move; become a bird while scouting? Give them a scout move), Give Them What Makes Sense (they’re a bear with Crush People, now what else does a bear do?; they’re an owl with Observe Minute Detail, now what else does an owl do?), and Give Them a Twist (maybe give the bear Climb a Tree! Or Protect the Weak! Maybe give the owl Regurgitate Something Small cause you want to see what small useful thing a player will now choose to steal!)

  4. a) When running a first session, run the game in the Druid’s homeland. Lean on the Druid player heavily to help define the setting. You can even ask the Druid why she invited all these bozos to come to her stomping ground.  I’ve used this trick in a bunch of Games on Demand games and it really gets things kicked off and focused.

    b) Alfred Rudzki speaks huge wisdom about how to do beast moves. Also, don’t hesitate to crowdsource the moves!  If I have to think about beast moves for more than five seconds I’ll ask the whole table, “what does a housecat do?”  If we get nothing good, I’ll just assign the one or two we can think of and leave the other one blank and we’ll just fill it in if it comes up.

    c) As a DM, a lot of my confusion about beast moves came because I was assigning monster-type moves, without mechanics, to players.  Player-facing moves always have mechanics! When I realized that beast moves with uncertain outcomes can just roll into a Defy Danger I was a lot less confused.

  5. This opens another question: I’ve assumed that these beast moves are just their “special” moves, and that they can still do any “normal” moves that they could do, while in that form (as well as anything they could narratively do). Is it more true that these are their only moves?

  6. Yeah, but if they miss in that form…… Ooooooh. Now we are talking. I AWLAYS have the animal fall back on its instincts and do something in its nature, but adverse to what the player wanted. If I can I combine it with a GM move (like take away their stuff or show a downside of their class).

  7. Beast moves – Since these cost hold to activate, I always treat them as a 10+. I let the player make them up on the spot, too, if he thinks of something in the moment that would be fun or appropriate. This way, we also don’t have to slow down the game to create the list of moves every time he changes to a new form.

    Shapeshifting – I’m a little more strict here. I force him to return to his normal form (elf) before switching to a different animal. I know the class move doesn’t require this, it’s just how we defined it at the beginning of the game. Does anyone else play it this way?

  8. When you’re in beast mode, you still have access to any of the basic moves and class moves that might makes sense. A jellyfish can’t parley, most days. It’s hard for GMs to just give the player what they want, but when the Druid expends a hold to “crush someone under hoof” then just crush that motherfucker. You’ll have more fun that way and there are always more NPCs in the world for you to mess around with.

    When the player shape shifts into a new form, usually I’ll start an index card if it’s the first time, or they can refer to an existing one. A druid in my last game had a little sheaf of ten or fifteen forms with moves on them. It’s always a fun experiment to say “what three things does a bear do?” and having people suggest things. It’s a neat mini-game you could play with a five year old – what does the cow do? what does the eagle do? what does the portuguese man-of-war do?

  9. If you have Doppelgänger’s Dance then definitely. If not, it’d depend, I think. I like to imagine the Druid becoming less and less tied to their form as they grow in power. That they come to realize that they, like the elements, are protean. Gender, race, species and even material form become less and less relevant. Maybe the highest of druids just merge with the oneness of the universe.

  10. I still want to try out the “racial” move i wrote that makes you transform into animal hybrids from the beginning, keeping 1 move from the last animal form you took. 

  11. I think the GM should decide so you can try but you are not guaranteed. 

    Also a Hippogriff might just be a natural creature that you could turn into anyway. 

  12. Chimera

    When you shapeshift, you may create a merged form of up to three different shapes. You may be a bear with the wings of an eagle and the head of a ram, for example. Each feature will grant you a different move to make. Your chimera form follows the same rules as shapeshifter otherwise.

    Hippogriff. Manticore. W/E

  13. I found asking the type of creatures the Druid would probably turn into and then looking at wikipedia to see what kind of things these animals do and then making a move from that has been helpful. For example a Hawk: I looked at wikipedia oh they seem to be good at seeing from far enough distances so scouting and flying seemed obvious and also for a fantasy game seeing magical aura was interesting. 

  14. james day flying (for a hawk) is the kind of thing that I would assume did not require a move, but was built-in. “Dive bomb an enemy unsuspectingly” would be the type of thing I would have historically made a move.

  15. A hawk’s flight doesn’t require a move, but implementing it to do something special might. A hawk might have “travel to somewhere far away with haste” as a move. They don’t all have to be combat or immediacy-based.

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