Should you roll dice to determine if something a player says about the world is true?
Rolling dice to determine if something a player says about the world is true has come up a few times lately in different guises.
On the face of it, this seems like a good idea: character players get to contribute details about the world and the dice roll messes with those ideas to make the game (hopefully) more interesting.
However, there’s a darker or, more accurately, duller side to this: the move may not be available to all characters and the dice roll slaps down a random selection of the ideas contributed to the game.
This isn’t a problem in games where the players’ contributions are entirely focused on their characters, and introducing ideas about the world is a privilege normally restricted exclusively to the GM.
But what about games where the character players contribute, not just to the character play, but to the wider world and adventure building as well?
– If a character doesn’t have the requisite move, does that mean their player can’t contribute ideas to the world?
– If their character has a low value in the requisite attribute, what effect is the high rejection rate for their ideas going to have on their willingness to contribute to this aspect of the game.
And, what about the ideas so good that arbitrarily killing them would be a waste? Or, so bad that they will undermine the character of that particular game if they become cannon? (Yes, I know you can always find a way to weave anything credibly into a game. But why do it the hard way, when that effort could be spent running with things that are a much better fit for that game.)
Technically, DW is written with a clear division between the GM, who runs the world, and the other players, who run their characters.
However, games where the players are encouraged to contribute to fleshing out the world are, in my experience, much richer and more enjoyable than those where they aren’t.
Which leaves me with the view that moves that restrict who can contribute details to the world or enforce an arbitrary failure rate on contributed ideas are not good for the game. But that’s just me.
What do you think?