So here’s a question for the Tavern: what have you done with the monsters’ Special Quality tags?

So here’s a question for the Tavern: what have you done with the monsters’ Special Quality tags?

So here’s a question for the Tavern: what have you done with the monsters’ Special Quality tags? Stuff like a golem’s “Made of Stone”, that kind of thing. Looking for examples of how they informed what happened during your games.

18 thoughts on “So here’s a question for the Tavern: what have you done with the monsters’ Special Quality tags?”

  1. A Golem that is “made of stone” probably just straight up ignores normal swords and pointy objects, and if thats the case you don’t trigger Hack & Slash because you can’t hurt it.

    I’ve got some Copper Goblins whose special quality is “One with Fire” which is a cue to me that fire certainly won’t hurt them, and really anything else that could come from fire being an extension of their bodies.

  2. Ja. Generally one piece of the underlying language for special qualities seems to be “[Standard Tactic] does not work unless [Space intentionally left blank because player cleverness is unaccountable].”

    Like, sure, straight-up wailing on a golem with a sword won’t trigger Hack and Slash. But stone has weak points, and chisels driven into those weak points can cause serious damage. So a player could create an opportunity to trigger Hack and Slash by uncovering a weak point in the golem’s strata they could drive their sword into, via Discern Realities, Defy Danger or Spout Lore maybe. Or they could try something else, obviously.

    Trying to use fire against Copper Goblins probably just straight-up won’t work regardless, but I wouldn’t normally consider fire to be a standard tactic for most characters (and if I did have such a character, say a Firestarter from CW, I wouldn’t be inclined to drop a Copper Goblin in their path because kind of a jerk move).

    Or, again, player cleverness. Creating a bigger fire to use up all the oxygen so the Copper Goblin’s inner flame gets starved out would be pretty legit IMO. MacGyver did it once, so it gets a pass with me.

  3. Pretty much my view of it. Like Amorphous: giant sludge monsters are probably not going to care very much if you stick your standard pointy thing in them. At the very least anything that relies on slashing or stabbing isn’t going to cut it (pun very much intended).

    Fire on the other hand…

  4. True. It’s all about taking the implications of this or that descriptive element and running with it.

    Like, say you were fighting some kind of giant (Huge tag). At best you might be tall enough to strike at it’s legs, so regular Hack and Slashing probably isn’t going to work. The obvious answer is to either bring it down to ground level or go full on Shadow of the Colossus. Either way you’d end up Defying Danger a lot before you ever get to harm it. And those 6- results are gonna hurt like hell.

  5. I had the group encounter a Swamp Shambler with the Swamp form special ability so I had it emerge from the swamp multiple times, each time with a different body. 

  6. Arguably. Monsters do have their moves listed separately from their special qualities, and there’s more to special qualities than just moves. Unless you consider something like “Ignore fire damage” as a move, but at that point you could call Armor a move, and I think the term starts to lose meaning when it’s not active.

    Edit: Mainly I take issue with the word “just.” I would be fine with “also.”

  7. When I tell them “your fireball gets absorbed into its body without any effect” then this is 

    ‘Reveal an unwelcome truth

    There isn’t really more to special qualities then moves because nearly all things you say as the GM are moves. 

  8. No, Tim Franzke has got the right of it here. Special Qualities point to what style of moves you can make. You know why? Hang on to your hats.

    Special Qualities are hard-coded fictional positioning, dudes. What fictional exceptions are we making for these Giants, the Jellies, these Copper Goblins, these Golems. SQs set them up in the fiction as a reminder to is as GMs. So yeah! They’re pointers to what kind of moves to make.

    How do we reveal an unwelcome truth on a 6- with someone who is “Amorphous?” Hey, maybe when the GM had you drop your pack a while back, one of those Jellies crawled into a potion bottle.

    How you Separate Them on a 6- with some who can “Sing the Elements?” Probably you sing the earth up between them and make a wall, oh no.

    Monster moves are a subset of moves – Special Qualities say something about how a Monster can be used to make your normal GM moves make sense for a given time, a given place, a given monster. They allow and restrict what kind of GM moves make sense and can be made.

  9. Pigeonholing everything into one of your GM moves like that feels a little too prescriptivist and self-supporting for my tastes, but whatever works for you guys. I don’t really care whether or not everything can be (or is) called a move, so long as everything creates good stuff at the table.

  10. Since the Move is the basic unit of gameplay, and how the GM interacts with the world, calling it “pigeonholing” feels a little dismissive. Duh, being the GM is all about making appropriate moves.

  11. “What out of this list of GM moves does the thing I just said fall into” is what sounds like pigeonholing to me. As does calling everything that happens in the game a move. Beyond a certain point, the move list stops being a helpful aid, and starts pulling you out of the fiction and into the realm of thinking about game mechanics too much. Categorizing literally everything into something on that list is too rigid a mode of thinking. In my opinion, for my personal definition of fun, etc. etc.

  12. That is why we have the Make a move that follows principle 🙂 

    When you make a move what you’re actually doing is taking an element of the fiction and bringing it to bear against the characters. Your move should always follow from the fiction. They help you focus on one aspect of the current situation and do something interesting with it. What’s going on? What move makes sense here?

  13. Regardless, there’s still that extra step of thinking about things in terms of the move list. Helpful if you’re stuck, not necessarily helpful in other situations. I think we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on this point, if only because we’re going rather off-thread.

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