The move.

The move.

The move.

When reading Dungeon World this confused me slightly. I want to create my own compendium classes and monsters, but my definition of a “move” in my mind is vague. I struggle thinking them up (seems like it should take seconds).

Does anybody have a short sentence which describes the concept of the “move”?

9 thoughts on “The move.”

  1. Should be in the first couple chapters & probably the best way on writing up compendium classes/monsters is to look at examples. A short collection of compendium classes came with DW for me on drivethrurpg. Most compendium class moves are thematic to the compendium class but similar to the special moves for the basic classes in the game.

  2. It gets more complicated than that, though. That’s a short intro explanation. You can also think of moves as individual rules that fasten mechanical resolutions or predetermined results onto iconic genre circumstances to facilitate a particular mode of play.

    ie, thats why Apocalypse World has Seize by Force but DW has Hack & Slash. They’re both ‘kill the other guy’ moves, but very different. Why? because they’re facilitating different modes of play by representing different genre circumstances (AW’s SbF is all about who has what and who gets hurt for it; the violence is an afterthought vs DW where violence is in the foreground).

  3. there is actually a link someone put up about a week and a half ago that had fantastic move advise… but I dont remember the link.

  4. Moves are rules that tell you when they trigger and what effect they have. A move depends on a fictional action and always has some fictional effect. “Fictional” means that the action and effect come from the world of the characters we’re describing. In the move above the trigger is “when you attack an enemy in melee.” The effect is what follows: a roll to be made and differing fictional effects based on the outcome of the roll.

    When a player describes their character doing something that triggers a move, that move happens and its rules apply. If the move requires a roll, its description will tell you what dice to roll and how to read their results.

    A character can’t take the fictional action that triggers a move without that move occurring. For example, if Isaac tells the GM that his character dashes past a crazed axe-wielding orc to the open door, he makes the defy danger move because its trigger is “when you act despite an imminent threat.” Isaac can’t just describe his character running past the orc without making the defy danger move and he can’t make the defy danger move without acting despite an imminent threat or suffering a calamity. The moves and the fiction go hand-in-hand.

    Everyone at the table should listen for when moves apply. If it’s ever unclear if a move has been triggered, everyone should work together to clarify what’s happening. Ask questions of everyone involved until everyone sees the situation the same way and then roll the dice, or don’t, as the situation requires.

  5. Also read the Advanced Delving chapter, it has a bunch of information about it. 

    The Dungeon World Guide has more advice on writing moves.

    Apocalypse World has excellent advice, taking apart moves into their different parts and and phrases. Also the books is recommended in general because

    #1 it shows more things you can do with moves.

    #2 it is an awesome game. 

    Also some class creation guidelines 

  6. The trigger in general is really important. Moves shouldn’t trigger on you trying something but doing something. They can trigger on conditions outside of the characters (when the sun rises in the east…) but should be linked to something in the fiction. No “when the GM thinks you should do X” or something like that. 

    Something that triggers on the PCs doing something should not be instantly. They should trigger on an action actually requires at least a bit of time. Otherwise you can easily spam moves since they have no set up or opportunity cost. 

    The trigger should be really clear, there shouldn’t be a situation were you are thinking if you are triggering the move or not. The more obvious the better. 

  7. A “move” in the non-mechanical sense is “one or two sentences you say in our shared fictional story that describe something cool (or awesome, scary, stupid, noteworthy, etc.) that your character does.

    The mechanics just justify what that is (or if there are limitations/complications/restrictions on a 7-9.)

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