The top answer here perfectly explains how DW works. How not making a GM move when needed is breaking the rules.

The top answer here perfectly explains how DW works. How not making a GM move when needed is breaking the rules.

The top answer here perfectly explains how DW works. How not making a GM move when needed is breaking the rules.

I love it.

28 thoughts on “The top answer here perfectly explains how DW works. How not making a GM move when needed is breaking the rules.”

  1. Man. I really need to keep hearing this stuff, I’m still super-rusty at *World games. I read this stuff, and it’s awesome, then I super forget to do it while running!

  2. I have been running DW on and off for almost 2 years and I just started keeping a list of Gm tools in front of me. It jasmine GMing a much more relaxing and enjoyable venture. And these examples are a great help!

  3. Some questions I have around the examples:

    1. how can you “turn their move back on them” if they didn’t apply a move but rather offered a golden opportunity (?) or simply looked at you by “simply asking politely”.

    2. some of the examples imply having had a leverage. Would the Parley move trigger directly after the GM move?

    3. Isn’t it (that’s how we played it) that in reality there always is some leverage if interpreted broadly enough. Like the asking person being attractive and leverage then could already be using the fact that the asked person wishes to keep contact to the attractive person? Then it’s also part of the players’ responsibility to clarify why they believe to “simply ask politely” could work. The point under 2. hence is the default option for me.

    Generally, as much as I like the *World Principles, Agendas and Moves I don’t like them to be read like a doctrine.

  4. Gerrit Reininghaus​, if you don’t like to keep things ‘doctrine’ then don’t. So long as the table is all on the same page, and ‘wing-it’ is acceptable, then do it. But like Tim Franzke​ said, as core Dungeon World is concerned, moves are law

  5. Robert Doe​ I consider myself a fan of the Move approach but I consider for *World games as for any other game that nothing is perfect and surely not for every table. So like in my point 2, even if there is no move there “to be turned against them” I would still allow myself to turn it against them to speak loosely. Other example: definition of leverage.

    It sounds to me like intended design and it feels right in play so that’s how I go no matter if a move describes it slightly differently.

  6. Your point #2 is a good…well, point lol. I see how a GM move would then provide/emphasize a leverage for the PC. It’s a middle step between the GM move to the leverage the PC needs to Parley, but I also think the steps are necessary to make a great story.


    I cheat allot as a GM. something I’m working on to make better story telling.

  7. Good advice to help a GM out when they don’t know what to do. I think it’s hysterical to call “unstructured social exchange” cheating. It’s like something the oppressive father in Footloose would say to Kevin Bacon.

  8. The game seems to suggest that such interactions are entirely up to the GM, and sometimes it makes sense, like in the example provided. But often enough the GM doesn’t have a strong opinion on what should happen. That’s where dice come out in most other games, and skills like Diplomacy or Bluff.

    So the answer given just confirms that such interactions are up to the GM by giving a choice of a myriad of responses the GM can make and categorising it in moves. That does not really help, does it?

    While everything the guy said in the answer is technically right, I do not think making a move immediately is necessarily the only right answer.

    The player says something that does not trigger a move. There are a few options.

    1) The player fails and the GM makes a hard move. As noted.

    2) The player succeeds and gets to narrate his success. The GM then makes a new soft move at the same or another player. Again as noted.

    1and 2 may happen even if no player move is triggered. It just follows from the fiction. But I think 3 may be an interesting option:

    3) The GM asks questions untill a move is triggered. Is there really no leverage involved? Really? In many cases, if you pull on the threads till they unravel, cool stuff happens. The player may say, “Oh yea, you know, there was that time I saw you with the burgermeister’s daughter…”

    Is there really no imminent threat involved?

    Player: “May I have the sword please?”

    GM: “Why do you need the sword so badly?”

    Player: “Because One Eyed Bill said he’d kill me if I did not get it. Like now!”

    GM: “Since you ask politely and there is imminent threat, Defy Danger Charisma.”

    Or the imminent threat could simply be that the owner if the sword may be pissed off by question. Again Defy Danger Charisma is triggered.

    So while I agree mostly with the answer, I would add, question the fiction untill a player move is triggered as one possible course of action.

  9. Harrison s Lists. The Agenda and Principles and Moves always on top. Setting Impressions for every environment. Lists of names. Custom moves. Lists of potentially useful tags for locations and monsters and NPCs. Almost all of my prep is list oriented. When the PCs take an unexpected turn (and they are pcs so they ALWAYS do) I take a few minutes to make up more lists or cannibalize things from old lists. 

  10. I generally do not like super dogmatic approaches. As you can maybe tell from the post (which is not bad imho) it instantly leads to a hostile tone in discussions.

    As Robert said, as long as everyone is on the same page there’s no need to hold the book up like a goddamned bible of gospel truth. And I certainly hope this community does not go the way of yelling “you’re doing it wrong you heretic”.

  11. I think the problem is when the GM is doing it her way that is adjacent to what is on the book but still off in 1 or 2 important bits. Maybe she doesn’t know she is doing that or she thinks that way is better. Now she might not tell players. Maybe the players don’t pick up on it because they haven’t read the text or don’t care. It still creates a different experience. Now when you have a player that cares and wants the DW experience as advertised – they are out of luck.

    Another point could be that the game doesn’t work for the group then and they blame it on the game instead of on a player that cheated.

    Lastly we don’t know how your table rubs. I can only give you advice about what is in the book. When you have some hidden house rules/hacks then my advise might not work for you. Or you give advice to new players based on assumptions you have that are not supported by the text.

  12. Though I like a free style play, and by the terms of this post i am a cheater, I must say I support the original post for a couple reasons.

    1) if you are playing with a new group whom you are not well acquainted with, it’s best to stick with the rules and ‘doctrine’. Playing at Con’s and hobby shops is a good example of this.

    2) the post does a great job at explaining how to handle idle talk that doesn’t push the story along. Although, I feel a great improve GM can do just as well.

    So, the original post is fantastic in my eyes. You can learn allot from it, but don’t take it too seriously. If you and your table have fun improving like I do, then have at it.

  13. The “as long as we’re on the same page” argument implies there’s an understanding between the players and the GM about how the game will be played, i.e. which house rules they’ll play by, and that this has been settled before the deviation from the rules actually occur.

    This never happens in my experience. The house rules are usually agreed upon (or not) as the devations occur.

    Besides, when asking a question about how the rules work, it’s pointless to not provide an answer based on the rules as written.

  14. Sascha Müller​​, it’s common for people to forget they have house ruled and think they are playing an untampered with version of the game. Thankfully, I haven’t ran into this problem.


    Sorry for the report then un-report. I miss clicked X)

  15. Gerrit Reininghaus 

    1. Turn their move back on them in that case doesn’t apply to a literal move they made but to what they generally did. It’s not a perfect fit but it works. I would probably make another move in that situation. 

    2. I don’t really know what you mean with that, could you explain?

    3. In my games there is often leverage yeah. If the player can tell me what leverage they are using and it makes at least a tiny bit of sense its all okay. It’s not the job of the GM to deny them Leverage or access to their moves. 

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