So I’m going to be GMing my first game with a few friends soon but there’s a couple of rules I’m having some trouble…

So I’m going to be GMing my first game with a few friends soon but there’s a couple of rules I’m having some trouble…

So I’m going to be GMing my first game with a few friends soon but there’s a couple of rules I’m having some trouble with and would appreciate some clarifications/interpretations 😉

1) Last Breath – The way I’m interpreting this is that the rule only applies in a situation where a last breath could literally be made (or thereabouts) ie. dying from a battle wound or a deadly poison rather than say, being disintegrated by magic or having your head chopped off in an execution because to be honest I don’t see how you could just get back up from that 😛

2) Bolster – The way the move’s worded seems to suggest that a player just has to say “Oh yeah, my character is practicing their whatever while we camp” every few game days to earn preparation but the way I’m interpreting it is that the “leisure time” is some downtime in a safe place dedicated to preparing. There’s a class idea that I’ve been playing with which might have some moves that build upon bolster, so I’d like to properly understand it first.

Thanks in advance to anyone who helps clear these up for me 😀

10 thoughts on “So I’m going to be GMing my first game with a few friends soon but there’s a couple of rules I’m having some trouble…”

  1. The way I work it is having the description of the atttack follow the damage roll.  Bolster is really just up to you.  I dont usually see it that much in my games but if the player is trying to put effort forward just let em have it. After all when you come down to it its about whats fun.

  2. I’d agree with both your rulings on those.

    #1) yeah if you are being hung for high treason, in the fiction you’re just straight up dead. You might make a last breath roll if there is a possibility they literally “come back from the dead” as  a vampire or something depending on how fantastical your world is or make a roll before hand to see if death (or something else) was willing to deal, again depending on your gameworld and it’s afterlife options.

    #2) I’d also agree that free time while making camp is NOT leisure time and therefore you can’t make the move since you don’t qualify for it. I might say you could Recover & Bolster, depending on how physically demanding your trains was.

    That’s just my two cents, but for the most part you seem to have a grasp of how the fiction dictates the moves.

  3. The Last Breath move is WAY too cool to deny anybody the right to make it, plus you could see rebellion from the player who lost out. I would find a way to let them make the roll and work with the results. 

    Bolster will not come up in a first session. You’ll be throwing them into the middle of things, moves will snowball–they’re not going to get into a situation where they can just sit around for a week preparing for something. (Just my prediction.)

  4. I’ve always treated last breath as completely supernatural. You are literally cutting a deal with death, and with that there’s always a way to cheat certain death. Others don’t treat the move that way. But I think it’s fine as long as you treat the character’s survival appropriately in the fiction. If you get beheaded in a public square and then your seen walking around perfectly fine (minus what you gave to death) it’s going to raise some questions.

  5. Complete bodily destruction probably trumps the Last Breath move.  But being a fan of the characters suggests taking advantage of any wiggle room the situation might present.  The hero was beheaded, then immediately went for the Last Breathe roll?  Death is timeless – he can set things back a moment earlier, have the axe shatter on the character’s neck.  [Maybe because (7-9 offering) his body should reflect his frozen heart and cold soul… and now his human flesh, frozen enough to shatter the executioner’s axe, starts to melt under the noontime sun.]

    Was she disintegrated by the magic bolt, or cast into a dark nightmare plane by it?  Even as she suffocates one of the million chortling, distorted and disembodies faces floating through the ether offers to send her back home, safe and snug in her bed… for a price.

    The party drowns in the ocean?  They wake up, barely clinging to life, on an island.  (Maybe the one from ‘Isle of the lizard god?’)

    But yeah, launched into space to tumble into infinity?  Fell into a volcano (most of the time)?  Probably no Last Breath.

    Bolster requires free, safe time and access to civilized assets (marketplaces, libraries, training space, chats with subject-matter-experts over coffee, etc) so I wouldn’t allow them outside of a decent sized town.  But my players went the whole campaign without using the Bolster move once.

  6. Always have them take their Last Breath.

    Because it is awesome.

    You get to play Death.

    They get to have closure and a peek into their version of the afterlife before they lose the character.

    Or they get to make a deal with Death and come back as a haunted suit of armour or marked with a skull tattoo and bound by Death to slay the Lich of Marros or whatever.

    Or Death takes a liking to the guy (who’s head has just been cut off), so It appears before the late heroes friends and gives them a silver choker; if they can put the guy’s head back on and lock it to the body with the choker, he’ll live again for as long as he wears it.

  7. What +James Mayse said.

    If your head is chopped off and your body is incinerated but you succeed your roll you live. The narrator had it wrong. The player can say, “That’s what you thought you saw, but what reeealy happened was…”

    But ultimately it is up to the table to decide.

  8. Ehi, Death is powerful! Even if your body was blasted out, no problem! Death can give you another body, for sure! Maybe not your old body, maybe the body of another poor soul near here, less fortunate than you! Now go, return to your pals, with your new body, telling “ehi, here I am, again!”

  9. The trigger for Last Breath is when you are dying. This is the soft set up move that snowballs into the Last Breath move.. The hard move is ‘you are dead’. The irrefutable narrative consequence that the GM follows with ‘what do you do?’

    If your character is incinerated by dragon fire or beheaded by their jaws, it just doesn’t happen in a vacuum – its the end result after a chain of moves (Player and GM) that culminate in this (fatal) consequence. What happened prior? Is it the result of a failed parley? A failed Defy Danger? Damage Dealt due to Hack and SLash? Have you told them the consequences and asked? Have you revealed an Unwelcome Truth?

    I think this is more more important to wrap your head around than making a hard and fast ruling on whether you get to make a Last Breath move on (particular) fatal consequences. Understand that the game is a conversation and the moves trigger as they need to with the players all helping to qualify these fictional events.

    Have fun! Oh and Personally? I’d trigger Last Breath as often as possible if I could… The fictional hooks and ramifications that come out through play are far more juicy than any I could have ‘pre-prepared’ in a traditional plot driven RPG.

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