I ran another session tonight.

I ran another session tonight.

I ran another session tonight. This makes 4 total sessions and 2 with this particular group. Things went well, I think. We’re still becoming accustomed to the flow of DW as opposed to other roleplaying systems.

One question: Is it necessary to roll spell casts out of combat? Specifically, we’re talking about the cleric, who wanted to heal people (he did so on two occasions in combat, and then another after). On the one hand, I’d expect this to be like taking 10 in another system. Given enough time, the thing can be done properly. On the other hand, doing a spell with no cost seems problematic for the game system as a whole. I considered using time as the cost. In the end, I ignored the issue for this time and decided to find out what I should do.

18 thoughts on “I ran another session tonight.”

  1. I’ve always considered using magic to be risky. If you want something safe and reliable, use bandages instead. Make them roll.

  2. The danger doesn’t always follow from the action. Casting a spell can be dangerous but even if it isn’t done under duress, sometimes the mechanics serve to move the narrative forward and past whatever slump your players have found themselves in.

  3. Justin Ford has the right idea. Failure shouldn’t just mean the spell doesn’t work, and that’s it. Failure makes things more complicated.

  4. Well, naturally, it’s your game and you can do whatever works for you 🙂

    However, to honour the spirit of the game, if the move is triggered, the move is triggered, so you roll.

  5. Alternatively look if they aren’t actually triggering the “making camp” move. It taxes their resources a bit but doesn’t involve as much rolling. More time passes too and you can advance your fronts.

  6. Fair enough. The cleric did heal one character who was a bit low. In that case, he actually rolled an 8, so he tripped as he healed the person and fell into a small chasm (which they failed to realize was a crumbled, overgrown city street). After that, we had the discussion about using skills when not in immediate danger. I ruled for the time being that he could heal the rest of the group without rolling, but it would cost 10 minutes per person. They decided to make camp instead.

    This incident also sparked some amusing conversation about the cleric’s collateral damage. He had charged in to help the fighter, but instead he tripped and laid both of them in a tangle on the ground. Then he tries to heal someone and gets “blown backward” by his “explosive healing”. So, that was fun.

    Actually, the druid had been (properly) rolling every time for her shapeshift, and she failed occasionally. The one time, she shifted into a wolf but her nose didn’t shift, so she couldn’t track. 🙂 Then the ranger trampled the whole area and obliterated the tracks, so the whole party started bungling around to track the orcs.

    So, I’ll keep them rolling the spell casts, but try to come up with creative things to happen rather than “you get hurt” type of situations.

  7. Player usually choses, though I could see those as hard moves (damage as established if you want to be rules lawyery. In combat I tend to pick them quick resolution as a player, out of combat I pick the interesting one… Had a bard healing the party on the run once, rolled 3 adjusted 7s in a row, by the end of our trip, the whole damned town was chasing us

  8. In all of the pbta games, those boundaries are there to guide and reassure people until they trust their gms and players to pick what is interesting. Then they quit being as important. (See also fate compels… A lot of experienced groups self compel almost exclusively because they have learned “shit goes wrong” isn’t the D&D “the party dies”

  9. Fundamentally, I think the right answer is what Peter J said:  magic is always dangerous. If you want to be “safe”, Make Camp and wait two days.

    But mechanically, making them roll is also part of what balances the game.  Even with a +3 WIS, the Cleric can’t expect to get more than a few full successes before having to choose something off the partial success list.  Then they either lose the spell (and are done for the day) or they start accumulating –1s to cast, or they “draw unwanted attention”, which is the best kind of attention.  That’s the DW equivalent of a wandering monster check:  your safe place is no longer safe.  

    And of course, if they roll a failure, then there are still all the same options, but you as GM get to pick instead of them.  I think the key to good DMing in DW is to instill a healthy fear of failure into your players.  They should always be thinking twice before picking up the dice.

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