Hi. I’m new to DW and have a number of questions I can’t find an answer to. I hope you good people can help me out before my 1st game – in a few weeks time. In no particular order;

I often see the phrase “take +1” in the book (eg the fighter move, Seeing Red). Does that mean +1 forward, +1 ongoing, or something else?

The fighter move “Through Death’s Eye’s”. I just don’t get it. This seems a game breaker – and curiously, the 7-9 result appears stronger than the 10+ for the majority of situations. Fighter meets dragon, fighter uses TDE, dragon must die. What..?! On a 10+ result there’s the inconvenience or having to name someone to live but so be it (it can’t affect PCs hence why I don’t see how 10+ is better).

Hard/soft moves. I think I understand when to make a hard/soft move but unless I’m missing it, there’s nothing in the rulebook that lists the hard and soft moves. I see that “deal damage” is often considered a hard move, that can be applied as a consequence of a 7-9 attack by a PC. I thought only soft moves apply on a 7-9.

I’m new to DW but have been playing rpgs for the past 30 years (almost always as the GM). In my past AD&D 1st/2ed and Pendragon games whenever a PC would try a lore roll (say read languages or spot hidden) if they failed another one would try, and so on etc,. I always found this a bit annoying but so be it. In DW how do you handle this? Say a group goes into a room and wants to Discern Realities, do they do so individually or do you roll once and use the Aid move?

More to follow, probably. Any help much appreciated. Cheers!

16 thoughts on “Hi.”

  1. To answer the first question: Take +1 just means add 1 to the roll. Take +1 forward means to add 1 to the next roll (or whatever’s specified).

  2. When it comes to the spamming of dice rolls–like in your lore roll example above–that is best avoided in my mind by having them describe what they are doing, and allowing one of the characters (usually the more skilled character or the one who best describes their actions, knowledge, etc.) to roll with help from the others who would have the ability to do so within the fiction (generally the less skilled among them).

    Furthermore, you have to use the famous ‘Let it ride’ rule. One conflict or situation, one roll of the dice, result stands and no further rolls until circumstances have changed substantially enough to warrant another try.

  3. Re: lore rolls, one of your GM moves is “show them a downside of their race or class.” If the fighter wants to spout lore about a magical tome, that’s a great time to use that move. Another common way to handle this is to address the group with ” which one of you would be most likely to know something about this?” and give that player the roll. If they fail, it’s a great time to “reveal an unwelcome truth.” Like, “if the bard’s never heard that song, surely none of you have.”

  4. Let me see if I can help a bit here.

    1. Take +1 for Seeing Red is on the Discern Realities move that’s being made itself. So basically it’s a situational modifier only applicable when the player uses Discern Realities in combat.

    2. Through Death’s Eye’s is all about the mixed storytelling between players and GMs. Basically, on a 7-9 it ensures that something will die, but it doesn’t specify how or what will happen before that eventuality. On a 10+ it also lets you basically ensure that another NPC will live through the fight. It’s up to the GM to make it work if it’s feasible. So in your example yeah the dragon would die by the end of the fight, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t eat all your hirelings and potentialy kill a few PCs before it’s over too.

    3. Hard and Soft moves are described on page 165 of the rulebook, in the GMing section.

    4. Everything is meant to be affected by the lore and story directly in DW. For Discern Realities there is a clause in there that I think is pretty important; the character has to actually go around and look at stuff, messing with things before they start to figure out stuff. So sure, everyone might be able to take a look at a book and figure out what’s happening with it, but that doesn’t mean player B doesn’t accidently touch something they shouldn’t or make a ton of noise in the process (this is where soft and hard moves show themselves, usually as a result of a failed roll).

    After you finish reading through the core rulebook I would also suggest taking a look at The Dungeon World Guide available on the Dungeon World website as well; it gives a nice introduction to how it works in actual play and some tips for DMing it. You can find it here: http://www.dungeon-world.com/downloads/

    Anyways, welcome to the community and I hope you have fun with the system! If you have any other questions feel free to ask as well.

    Edit: and this is why I love the DW community: in the time it took me to write my reply 4 other people had already responded to this, showing multiple ways of handling some of the issues brought up (giving me a few ideas for the future as well).

  5. Yeah your players shouldn’t be going into a room and say “I Discern Realities”. It’s not D&D where someone says “I make a perception check to see what I see”. They describe what they are doing and if it matches the Discern Realities move then they roll dice

  6. Thank you everyone. This has been very helpful. Chris, thanks for the detailed reply. I have read the DW starter guide and intend to read it again.

    I still can’t quite square Through Death’s Eyes. Knowing the outcome of an encounter robs it of drama, I feel. Sure, you could say the dragon dies after it has eaten all the PCs, to maintain uncertainty, but that robs the move of any real worth.

  7. Hmmm, the move just says it reveals someone that will die in the combat. It doesn’t replace the combat. The GM is just supposed to take the results of the move and help ensure that it happens. I take that to mean that the combat still happens like normal but GM decisions and moves will be used to make sure that one npc lives/dies. Plus every time the fighter uses it he could kill himself…WIS is probably not a high stat for the fighter so I don’t see it getting spammed by the player

  8. Yeah; Through Death’s Eyes is basically prophecy. Also, it’s not useless even if the “dragon eats everyone and dies of indigestion” option stays on the table.  Because you need to design fights in which the two sides don’t just line up and punch each other until one side falls over.

    If, for example, a villain is trying to escape, Through Death’s Eyes means they won’t. 

  9. I think Mike Pureka​’s point can’t be underscored enough from my (entirely newbie) study so far. It’s my understanding if you just line up and hack and slash and volley against a GM move of deal damage through a whole fight, you are most definitely robbing Dungeon World of its punch.

    Remember that a failed hack and slash roll opens up for the GM to pick from ALL his moves (as appropriate to the situation). An earlier hack and slash move from your group’s Paladin failed and revealed the unwelcome truth that the dragon’s dodge caused it to slam into the side of it’s nesting cavern causing it to be unstable. This cave can’t take much more of this before coming down on you all. Then the Through Death’s Eyes prophecy can really leave stuff up for grabs. The fight isn’t over, but a death has been foreshadowed and it can happen from a cave collapse or some other unexpected way.

    To me that is really cool and scarily unpredictable enough that I would be wary, as a fighter, of always relying on it.

    At least that’s my admittedly limited understanding of the situation and likely how I would proceed.

  10. Thanks. That sounds excellent, and it leads me onto another point. On a 7-9 hack & slash result, the book says you deal your damage to the enemy and the enemy makes an attack against you. That’s fine I get that, but am I right in saying that it doesn’t always have to be damage, it could be another move of my choosing?

    If so how do you avoid being arbitrary. Say I have 2 PCs on 1 HP and they are both attacked by a large ogres. They both roll a 7-9 result. If I deal damage to one, and another move to the other, the (now)dead PC will be wondering why he didn’t get an alternate move too.

    Or am I just approaching this with the wrong mindset?

  11. Follow the fiction. If it makes sense for the ogre to kill one outright and to toy with another then the players should accept that. If one of the characters has been hurting an ogre badly then it might just want to kill that character. If that character has been largely ineffectual then I could see that ogre’s attack being something like grabbing his weapon or shield and throwing it away while laughing

  12. Andy W

    Yeah; I’d try to rely on player ‘narration’ for feedback on how hurt they are. 

    Also, one hopes that you won’t have two PCs in EXACTLY the same fictional situation either, so with any luck, there should be some sort of reason you can point to and say “Yeah, he just kicked you over against the wall because you were weaving around between his legs, but he squished you because you were standing right in front of his poking him with your spear.”

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