Jason Lutes: I seem to recall you’re working on a wilderness adventure supplement; you were asking around about hard…

Jason Lutes: I seem to recall you’re working on a wilderness adventure supplement; you were asking around about hard…

Jason Lutes: I seem to recall you’re working on a wilderness adventure supplement; you were asking around about hard moves for each role in a Perilous Journey.  You still working on that?

I’ve been rolling around alternatives to Undertake a Periolous Journey; I’d be interested in picking your brain.

17 thoughts on “Jason Lutes: I seem to recall you’re working on a wilderness adventure supplement; you were asking around about hard…”

  1. OK, I’ve got some time tonight so let me ruminate a little and then maybe ask some questions.

    Here’s my assessment of Undertake a Perilous Journey (henceforth UPJ). To me, the purpose of move is to encourage us (the GM, the players) to “montage” over the journey.  We say who’s doing what, each player with a role rolls, and the GM interprets the results. And the fact that it’s 3 rolls means there’s a really good chance that someone misses a roll, and something interesting happens.

    There’s a lot to be said for the move-as-written. In play I’ve seen UPJ generate some really interesting situations and details that I don’t think we’d have come up with on our own.  Notably, it makes the # of rations you brought with you to the dungeon (or whatever) less predictable. The journey might consume more than expected, and that can have some important ripple effects in longer-term play.

    I’ve got some complaints, though.  The big ones are:

    No one is safe going it alone, not even a ranger, because some of the roles are going unfilled (and thus automatically a miss). That strikes me as odd and jarring with the fiction.  The larger the party, the harder I think it would be to find resources for them, keep them all moving, and avoid detection.

    – It’s always the same three roles (and thus rolls), regardless of the terrain or threats the party faces.  But is the trailblazer’s roll even relevant when your traversing the Flats (with it’s sneaky hunting drakes and ghost-haunted nights) towards Titanbone Hill (the only landmark between you and the horizon)?  Is a trailblazer’s +WIS check going to get the feeble wizard up Suicide Ridge? 

    Trailblazer and quartermaster are kind of boring. On a 7-9, it’s basically “nothing interesting.”  They can affect the game on a miss, but their 7-9 or 10+ results don’t really generate situation. 

    There are some minor beefs, too.  Like, you can end up making better time or using fewer rations on a perilous journey but not on a safe one.  And the wording of the scout roll, how it implies that any threats you encounter will be sentient & hostile and not treacherous terrain or weather or, say, stampeding sauropods. But those are pretty minor; I can live with them or tweak them on the fly. 

  2. And so my questions, Mr. Jason Lutes…

    In that past post, you talked about splitting UPJ into three separate moves (Scout Ahead, Manage Provisions, Blaze the Trail, yes?).  

    What are your reasons for splitting them out?

    Were you thinking that every time there was a perilous journey, all three moves needed to be made?  Are they basically the same as UPJ on their 7-9 and 10+ results?

    Were you, perhaps, thinking about any additional moves to go with them?  Or GM procedures/advice?

    Thanks in advance!

  3. Here’s the current draft of the section of the book that will cover moves related to travel and exploration:


    I’m not radically altering the base move, mostly trying to clarify/codify moves as they relate to travel and exploration, and folding encounters (“Dangers” and “Discoveries”) directly into the moves. I separate out the three sub-moves from the original Undertake a Perilous Journey to accommodate this idea, but also in the interest of clarity and consistency.

    And yes, you can see I’ve added a few more moves to cover things like travel across “safe” terrain, exploration (as opposed to destination-oriented travel), and foraging. 

    Besides this section — “See the World” — I currently have two other sections — “Draw the Map” covers collaborative world-building, and “Ask the Fates” is a collection of tables for generating Dangers and Discoveries on the fly.

    Feedback is welcome!

  4. First impression: very cool.  More detailed thoughts later, but for now, one question: when would you use soft GM moves for Blaze the Trail or Manage Provisions? Seems like the structure of those moves doesn’t leave an oppening for GM moves other than on a 6-, and I’d be expecting a hard move there.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Y’know, it looks like that’s a playstyle thing. I sometimes make soft moves on a 6-, depending on the circumstances. Rereading DW, I see that I’ve drifted from the rules in that respect. I’ll edit accordingly, thanks Jeremy!

  6. Eh, I don’t think you’re drifting.  It’s there in the When to Make a Move section:  “When you have a chance to make a hard move you can opt for a soft one instead if it better fits the situation. Sometimes things just work out for the best.” 

    I personally prefer when player-facing moves to give me (as GM) solid guidance on when to make soft vs. hard moves. I know, follow the fiction and all. But it seems especially important to prompt soft vs. hard with moves that operate at such a “zoomed out” scale.

    Some more thoughts:

    – I love how you worked Scout Ahead/Manage Provisions/Blaze the Trail into Travel, Explore, and UPJ. That’s really elegantly done.  I also think you did a really nice job of setting up not just a series of moves but a procedure for exploration. It feels like a very DW version of hexcrawling.

     – I like how Scout Ahead, on a 10+, puts the choice to encounter danger in the player’s hand. I’m particularly intrigued by the scout getting to mark XP if they encounter a danger, even though everyone in the party might have to deal with. I also wonder how often will the scout’s player choose Danger vs Discovery vs. Safe Passage.

     – Maybe reconsider the wording on Scout Ahead’s 10+? “You get the drop on whatever lies ahead” works for some Dangers, but not really for Discoveries or finding your way safely.  Maybe make the choice come first, and then indicate the readiness in relation to the choice?

    – Would you always call for Blazing the Trail? Like, if the way is obvious but still dangerous, does this move make sense?  I’m thinking of situations like following a river or road, “just keep going east toward the mountains,” etc.

    Thanks again for sharing this.  Now please finish it so I can give you my money.

  7. My pleasure. I will make a beta pdf available for review/playtesting once the doc is complete.

    Thanks for the feedback. Finding the right wording is so key to making *World moves work — you want to encompass the contingencies without spelling everything out or having too many moves. There’s a kind of poetry to it that I love. Good point about Blaze the Trail. I may rename and reword it to accommodate gray-area situations between “safe” and “dangerous” territory. 

  8. Hey Jeremy Strandberg, your comments above are getting me to take another look at Blaze the Trail and Manage Provisions. You note that nothing really interesting happens on these moves on anything other than on a 6-. I think that has to do with the fact that they feel like “skill check” or “maintenance” moves, unlike most of the others in DW.

    Do you (or anyone else) have any ideas about what could make these moves more interesting?

    Maybe something like…

    When you seek the best path through unknown territory, roll +WIS: on a 10+, the journey takes less time than expected (ask the GM how much less); on a 7-9, choose 1 from the list below: 

    * The journey takes the expected amount of time

    * You happen upon a Discovery missed by the Scout

    * Mark XP, and stumble into a Danger missed by the Scout

    This is off the cuff, but I’d like to hear reactions.  

  9. I was just working up something along those lines the other night. I’m traveling, so don’t have my computer handy, but I think it was something like:

    When you seek the best way through unknown territory, roll +Wis. On a 7+, you find your way but the GM might have you pick 1 first. On a 7-9, the GM will have you pick 1 or 2.

    – It takes longer than expected

    – There’s an obstacle or danger in your path

    – The weather takes a turn for the worse

    – It’s exhausting; everyone takes -1 ongoing until you make camp

    – Something picks up your trail.

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