I was in my weekly D&D round yesterday (goddamn, I’m so bored by that system now since GMing DW..), but a question…

I was in my weekly D&D round yesterday (goddamn, I’m so bored by that system now since GMing DW..), but a question…

I was in my weekly D&D round yesterday (goddamn, I’m so bored by that system now since GMing DW..), but a question came to mind about dealing with situations as they have arisen in the D&D group in DW.

Our GM always makes everyone roll for everything – first person to walk out of the door, roll spot. Second person to walk out of the door, roll spot.. You get it. How would you treat that in DW? When the whole group of players has the chance to see or notice something if they act/think quickly, do you make everyone roll or just one person? E.g., party walks into a dungeon, who get’s to roll discern realities?

6 thoughts on “I was in my weekly D&D round yesterday (goddamn, I’m so bored by that system now since GMing DW..), but a question…”

  1. Well, it’s really context sensitive. Some things I’d get everybody to roll. Some things, I’d ask the party to pick one person to roll. Some things, I’d ask somebody of my choosing to roll. 

  2. I don’t have everybody roll since mechanically it doesn’t work well that way (what happens if everyone misses), and because context is different. What the fighter (and their player) finds important when Discerning Realities can and should differ than what the thief finds interesting. If anything, I’d get other players to Aid the “active” player.

  3. Usually if it’s a mass move (like everyone has to defy danger) I give them all their moment to describe their awesomeness and use their best stat. Watching players try to narratively explain their min-maxing is fun. 🙂

  4. The details are definitely going to depend on the specific scenario, but let’s assume there’s some sort of threat lurking on the other side of that door. That’s part of your GM prep, yeah?  You’ve decided it’s not going to spring immediately… it’s waiting for it’s moment.

    Ask who enters the room first. Now, tell them what they see, hear, smell, and in doing so make a GM move.  Probably “show signs of an approaching threat.” Then ask what they do.

    “Hawke, you step into the room. It’s maybe 15 ft deep, about 10 ft wide, with dusty shelves lining the left and right walls. In the flickering torchlight, you can see the shelves are lined with old jars and vials, all with a coating of dust. As your eyes scan over the shelves, you could swear you saw a pair of eyes looking down at you from the top shelf, but when you look again they’re gone. What do you do?”

    Does the character stay where they are and stair intently at the spot they thought they saw the eyes?  If so, they roll Discern Realities right then and there. No one else is in the room, and no one else is really able to do anything just yet.  And whatever the outcome of the roll, you’ll be making another GM move. It might hard move (if they roll 6-) and maybe the choker leaps down and face-hugs them! Or it’ll be a soft move in response to PCs questions (“What is about to happen?” “Oh, you hear a soft slither noise to your right and turn, seeing a horrible little rubbery form with giant black eyes, coiled and ready to spring at you! What do you do?”)

    Now, if the they step forward to get a closer look, then you might ask the other players “does anyone else come into the room?”  And if they do, that moves the fiction around. But you still go back to the first player and are like “Okay, you step forward and peer more closely at where you saw those eyes? Sounds like Discern Realities to me.” And maybe the other PCs can Aid. And maybe when the first player gets a 7-9 and asks “What’s about to happen?” the choker is about to pounce on Sigurd (who just walked in the door) instead.

    The important thing is: handle the game as a conversation in which you tell the players what their characters perceive, making a GM move as you do so, and then ask them what they do. If that triggers a player move, cool.  Resolve it.  If not, repeat (GM move, what do you do?). Don’t just ask each player to roll for Discern Realities as they walk in the door, because that’s not how it works.

  5. Don’t treat Discern Realities like a spot or perception roll, because it’s not. Rolling for everything is a bad habit from playing highly rules-heavy games like D&D (which, I also like too, but it’s a different game).Jeremy’s answer is excellent for how that actually works in game-play. It’s also possible for PCs to simply never trigger a discern realities even though they would have triggered perception/spot in another system. For instance, maybe the PC instead of looking closer decides to just shout “Come out here and face me you coward!” Maybe instead of eyes, you tell the PC they see some ancient runes on the floor and the PC tries to identify them (spout lore), or maybe they just walk right on up and touch them.

    As for multiple people making a move, sometimes I let them, but it’s  usually better to take advantage of the “aid” move, which is what it’s designed for.

  6. Moves all have a discrete trigger, and i’m not aware of any “when you walk out the door….” triggers on discern realities!

    in DW, we also skip past any boring scenes that don’t build the fiction.  Walking out the door isn’t necessarily interesting.  So as players of DW, we need to understand that if the GM choose to highlight that moment, the scene is RIPE for something interesting.

    So for the scene above, if i’m GM:

    Figure out who to spotlight first – maybe ask who is first through the door.  Describe the first impression of the scene as appropriate to the spotlighted character – and ask what they do.  If they trigger a move, including but not necessarily Discern Realities, go for it!  but do NOT simply call for a discern realities, even if there is something there!  It was your job as a GM to soft-move to let them know this is an interesting scene and they should investigate it.  If that isn’t what they do, don’t force them to!

    As you go through the spotlighting, IF someone triggers a move, as with the first character, play that out!

    If it was your decision that something specific would happen here if the players walked into the scene unaware of a looming complication, and nobody took a moment to identify or prepare for that complication, there is your Golden Opportunity to spring it!

    But after the fact, look back at the scene and talk to your players – did you properly soft-move to provoke them to take an active role in the scene?  What could you have done differently to get them more engaged?

    Possibly the biggest thing i’ve learned from DW that can carry over to any other game – check in with the players (NOT the characters!) regularly.  Have those OOC conversations.  Make sure we’re all having fun, and that even the most tense character-against-character action doesn’t become truly player-vs.-player (including the GM!  The GM is NOT the adversary to the players!).

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