The Bard, Bombardier, Dueling Wizard and the Witcher are at the fountain of healing in The Temple of the Middle of…

The Bard, Bombardier, Dueling Wizard and the Witcher are at the fountain of healing in The Temple of the Middle of…

The Bard, Bombardier, Dueling Wizard and the Witcher are at the fountain of healing in The Temple of the Middle of the Earth which is located on a sky island. The island rotates, but intermittently so every now and then (when I think it will cause most mayhem) gravity changes direction.

The bombardier sought the fountain out to have his ear fixed that he lost in an explosion.

Sky pirates arrive. They want to fill their barrels with healing water. When the Guardian of the Spring appears he kills the bombardier. (The pirates ran off)

The bombardier sees a black guy in a frilly shirt and shades approaching. Cool blue Jazz music playing. Death tells the bombardier: If you want to live, you have to dedicate your life to Jazz music. The bombardier agrees. Oh and one more thing: If anybody takes water from this spring you will die. Too much healing around is contrary to my interests.

The pirates return with their barrels. The bombardier destroys their ship by blowing it up.

And then the Witcher starts filling bottles from the spring. The bombardier says, no dude. If you do that I’ll die! He shoots the bottle from the Witchers hand with a called shot from his flintlock pistol. The Witcher takes another bottle. You know how much it is worth?

This time the Dueling Wizard (Harry Potter clone) knocks the Witcher over with flippendo.

The Witcher repents. He is in a real moral dillemma. Ok, he says. Is Death omniscient like God? The bard spouts lore: No. Then how will he know?

He stealthily takes a bottle and fills it. Rolls 7-9 on stealth. (Dex) Which is not good enough to fool Death. Duh!

The bombardier drops dead.

The Witcher will get rich beyond his dreams by selling healing water, but he now has guilt.

The player now wants his character to commit suicide…

20 thoughts on “The Bard, Bombardier, Dueling Wizard and the Witcher are at the fountain of healing in The Temple of the Middle of…”

  1. No. He died because Death said he would if someone stole the water. That was the bargain. The guy who stole the water knew it would happen if he failed the roll. Yet he went ahead and tried. I had decided beforehand that a 10+ would be needed for the stealth roll because this was Death he was trying to cheat, not the local barman.

  2. I’m not entirely sure about your logic for the roll. DW doesn’t have different target rolls to signify difficulty, it uses what happens when you fail. Killing the Bombardier on a miss might have been acceptable, but a 7-9 is a partial success … the player wanted water without killing his friend, a 7-9 should have given him that with some drawback. Deal Harm as Established is a very hard move, especially when you’ve established that the harm is death. 

    But on a more positive note, I really like the Death Jazz, it is eerily similar to a death in an AW game I played, where a player died and was sent back to earth by the Jazzguardians to be a servant of jazz. 

  3. I think it did in the situation, what I wrote was a very short paraphrase of about 30 minutes of intense roleplaying just on this issue. Unfortunately one cannot adequetely represent all the nuances of the conversation in a few lines of text. I think it was one of the most interesting sessions I ever GM’d.

  4. Death was able to notice the water leaving the font, because he was still watching. He isn’t omnipresent though, and generally requires minions to monitor his ongoing bargains with mortals.

  5. I honestly dont see what is so hard to understand? The witcher tried to hide the water…hide the water from death. Perhaps death could see through the eyes of the dead bodies of the fight? Perhaps he was there, but he was invisible? The point is the witcher was not careful enough, and the bombardier died because the deal he made with death was broken. Now please explain how that is so incredibly confusing?

  6. Thomas DP I think the issue that others are having is that the Witcher, according to the rules, achieved a success. In this case, the Witcher seemed like he was trying to fill a bottle without death noticing. On a 7-9, he is supposed to accomplish that goal, albeit with a cost. Having the cost be: ‘failing to do the very thing you set out to do’ seems to invalidate that success.

    At least, that’s the issue I see.

  7. Scott Velez I see that. It is just that, in effect, I made a custom move on the fly, deciding that he needed 10+ in order to get away with it.

    When you try to steal healing water from under Death’s nose roll + Dex.

    • On 10+ you succeed no problem.

    • On 7-9 Death sees you and you don’t die.

    • On a fail Death sees you and you die.

    I think that is totally wthin the rules.☺

    The only other question is, if the GM uses custom move, should the player know it before he rolls? If I cheated, then maybe I cheated by not explicitly stating the mathematical odds before the roll. But the player did know the fictional odds as well as the stakes when he rolled.

  8. Wynand Louw ok, I definitely see where you’re coming from in that regard. I’m a big proponent of letting players know up front what they’re up against, at least vaguely. “death has eyes everywhere, Witcher, this may be very hard to pull off” or somesuch. That having been said, I obviously wasn’t at the table so perhaps you DID communicate that.

    Generally a pretty hard move to make, even with the custom move, but some tables like that, so to each their own on that one, I suppose.

  9. They always should. Apocalypse World has the “Always say what honest demands” thing. That includes telling people what they would roll for. 

  10. Yes I remember that now.

    In other RPGs the DM would say “Save vs x” and then tell you what you rolled for after you rolled. In our weekly BESM campaign the GM often lets us roll for things without telling. (BESM relies heavily on GM fiat to determine modifiers based on difficulty)

    I suppose it boils down to personal preference as Scott said here above. One could argue that the fictional demands sometimes override the players right to full prior disclosure.

    I’ll meditate on it some more!

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