I recently ran a couple of sessions of Funnel World with my group (big love for Villagers faced with certain doom).

I recently ran a couple of sessions of Funnel World with my group (big love for Villagers faced with certain doom).

I recently ran a couple of sessions of Funnel World with my group (big love for Villagers faced with certain doom). I’ve found that I’ve been overly keen to declare actions as ‘Defy Danger’ especially using DEX (in response to lots of jumping out of the way and/or reacting in time).

Whether this reflects the play style of my players or the nature of the obstacles, I’m unsure (both in some way guilty I suspect), however I feel that I’m overly punitive on less Dexterous characters because of it.

Is this a sign that the obstacles I’m throwing need to be more diverse? Any tips for encouraging less dodgy evasion from my PCs?  

10 thoughts on “I recently ran a couple of sessions of Funnel World with my group (big love for Villagers faced with certain doom).”

  1. Interesting thought, Max. I, too, find myself (over)using the Defy Danger move when it involves DEX.

    I’m curious and eager to hear what the experienced tavernites will say about this.

  2. I’ve found the same thing in regular Dungeon World. Two things:

    1) Say what the fiction and rules demand. There are a lot of physical obstacles, hazards and traps to deal with in Dungeon World, and if you’re dealing with them by getting out of the way or acting fast, well, there’s a move for that, and it’s the one you’re picking. That does put a lot of weight on dexterity, but…

    2) As a player, if I have low dexterity (and come to think of it, I usually do), it’s because I have a high something else, and I try to frame my reaction as playing to my strengths. If I’m high-INT, I’ll try something clever; if I’m high-CON, I’ll grit my teeth and bear it, and so on. You could call that metagaming, but I think there’s some verisimilitude in having a character instinctively react in a manner that has historically worked for them.

    Now, some situations will practically require a certain stat, or at least rule out certain others; I don’t care how big your smile is, for example, you can’t charm your way out of a pit trap. Unless it’s a living pit trap, maybe.

    Point being, you won’t always be rolling at your best. And also, if you’re low dexterity and are generally terrible at avoiding traps, letting the rogue-y villager go in first while you stay back and act paranoid is good professional training for your future adventuring career (if you survive that long).

    Besides, failing can be interesting, and it earns you xp (or goodwill, or whatever Funnel World does). I regularly tried to cut incoming arrows out of the air as a negative-dex barbarian. It never once worked, but it was fun trying!

  3. James Etheridge I can’t see that as meta-gaming, really (which is not to say that meta = wrong in all circumstances); of course a given character is going to try to play to their own strengths.

  4. When I plan out an adventure, I try to make a variety of encounters. I also keep a tick mark track for which starts I’ve called for. If something’s running really low on the tick mark track, I rifle through my index cards to make sure it comes up in the near future.

  5. It’s notable that Defy Danger was originally a CON-based move (see Apocalypse D&D) but a lot of the default things people use it for lean towards DEX, particularly in situations where characters are being cautious rather than pro-active. The AW move Act Under Fire, which it is based on, uses the stat Cool, which is probably closest to DEX while also having elements of being cool-headed in tense situations. So I don’t think this is unusual, especially for beginning chars, but could be something to keep an eye on and try to vary more.

  6. Curiously why are you calling out for Defy danger rolls ever? Your players should be calling what rolls they want to do. Your job is to present them with the option!

    “The giant boulder is hurdling down towards you, what do you do?” is the correct question instead of  “The giant boulder is hurdling down towards you, roll defy danger dex to get out of the way”.  It is fairly hard to restrain yourself from doing this especially coming from other RPGs where you develop the changes. As to what the players suggest….if it fits the fiction let it happen. Sometimes you will make the call whether the resulting skill check for defy danger goes to strength, dex, wisdom intelligence or con (wisdom and intelligence often have an interesting overlap). 

    Remember the Game master presents problems, the players present solutions.

  7. Here’s my thing: I save my dice-throwing for informing the story, not existing in it. In Rami Finkelshtein’s boulder example, I wouldn’t ask “What do you do?” because the answer is pretty friggin’ obvious: the players are going to get out of the way! So either let them get out of the way automatically (thus making the boulder trap a soft move) or have the boulder roll over everyone and inflict damage (a hard move). 

    When it comes to Defy Danger, I don’t like letting that move trigger unless danger is actually being defied. Getting out of the way of a rolling boulder isn’t defying danger; if anything, it’s avoiding danger! A fighter standing his ground, holding up his shield and hoping to stop the boulder with his sheer awesomeness? Now that’s Defying Danger.

    Here’s the TLDR line: “Only pick up the dice if the answer is capable of surprising you.”

  8. Ed Gibbs Me and you actually said the same thing in different ways. If the answer that your players will always have to “The boulder is coming…what do?” is “jump out of the way” then thats not very interesting. You are correct in this case rolling the result isn’t too useful. However I ask because maybe the players can come up with something (and I want to give them the opportunity to do so) maybe the mage wants to turn the stone into ice using one of his spells but that requires some very quick thinking and that would be a defy danger + Int. Your example of standing up with a shield is great. Now wanting to jump off the wall onto the top of the boulder and ride the boulder (loony toons style) into the rest of the enemies that were also running from the boulder. Those would be defy danger. Just jumping out of the way would probably not even be a test.

    My point was more of that it is not my place as a game master to tell my players “this is the only way out of this predicament” which is what the issue that OP was talking about by saying he “favours” Dex based defy danger. It is just your job to ask questions never invoke moves. Other than that I agree Defy Danger is when you are facing danger and you respond with something that is JUST crazy enough to work but wouldn’t be very good if it failed.

  9. Yeah I wasn’t disagreeing with you, Rami Finkelshtein. Sorry if I sounded like I was. I was just trying to phrase my answer in a more strategic way, removing the “shoulds” and the “your job is this, not this” kinda talk.

  10. remember that alot of stuff people refer to as dex checks really shouldn’t be dex checks. sneaking isnt a dex check… it isn’t even a move. the defy danger for sneaking should be all narrative.

     Int is the “quick thinking” stat.  when an arrow flys at you and you need to duck (not a very agile action ducking) that is quick thinking not dex.

    when you walk through a door and a trapped anvil starts to fall on your head, the question isnt “am i flexible enogh to jump out of the way?” the question is “do i notice the anvil?” wis check

    when i am sneaking past a blind rat monster in a dungeon and i need to hold my breath to slip by. not dex. con.

    when need to outrun a guy that is chaseing me. it dosnt matter how delicate and nimble i am. i need to be worried about weather i am going to get tired and slow down. con check. 

    i want to do a standing back-flip to grab that rope and climb into that window… ever tryed to climb a rop or do a back-flip?  all strength babe

    and on top of all that give your players the information they ask for.  if they ask you “i look at the door and try to figure out if maybe a big anvil will fall on me if i open it” if there is an anvil tell them. if your characters are dodgeingalot that means one of two things, they arnt asking questions or paying attention to what you describe to them OR. you are not describing what they look at and they are falling into “invisible gotta traps” which are the worst kind

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