I’ve ran a few adventures of my own with DW but I’m still fairly new to this system.

I’ve ran a few adventures of my own with DW but I’m still fairly new to this system.

I’ve ran a few adventures of my own with DW but I’m still fairly new to this system. I mainly have a question about fronts and how I am to use them. For example; I am looking at using John Aegard’s The Indigo Galleon (Introductory adventure). He has four different fronts listed. Under the location of HMS Relentless the last line says, “Recovering the whole treasure will take much of the day and will check off a number of Grim Portents.” My question is how do I manage the fronts and the grim portents?

I’m assuming it’s based on time and actions?

Like for example the party spends most of their time with the galleon I check off the grim portents of what’s going on there AND what’s going on in the other locations? For example the sacrifice process escalates since the party is spending time concerning themselves with the galleon and treasure, right? And then if the party never even tries to stop the sacrifice then all the grim portents would be checked off and thus triggering the ‘Doom?’

11 thoughts on “I’ve ran a few adventures of my own with DW but I’m still fairly new to this system.”

  1. I often introduce grim portents when someone rolls a 6-. Many of them are things that will be obvious to the characters, so if they decide to spend time hauling treasure you can have scenes where villages come to them for help, they see the tides rising towards the caves, etc etc.

    If you’re not comfortable adjudicating it on the fly, perhaps decide in advance which order grim portents will be checked off in proportion to the amount of treasure recovered. So maybe each 10% takes an hour and checks off one particular portent.

  2. Grim portents are the player facing clues that the danger is moving toward its pending doom.  They are set up like dominoes, before you know what the player is doing, and you start off generally thinking that the grim portents will start ticking off, one-by-one, provoking the players to action.

    Implementing the first Grim Portent

    Look at the list of portents, and at the Pending Doom, and early on start hinting around a that first Grim Portent.  Baddies are doing a thing!

    Maintaining the Grim Portents – Reacting to Players

    No plan survives first contact with the enemy!  You write (or adopt) those grim portents before the players start mucking about and interfering with the danger.  Once the players start acting, review and revise the Grim Portents that remain – how does the Danger change its plans as it still pursues the Pending Doom, but the Danger needs to account for meddling heroes?

    Using Additional Grim Portents

    Keep the list of Grim Portents in mind, revised as appropriate to the fiction, and look for opportunities as you play to reveal the next.  If the players accidentally give you a golden opportunity to tick off Grim Portents out of order, that’s fine!  The Danger has to react honestly, and sometimes that means scrambling to respond to the players.

    If the players completely ignore a Grim Portent, then the Danger accomplishes whatever was portrayed by that portent.  Now look for an opportunity to start working the next into the fiction.  This can be during any GM move – when the players look to you to find out what happens, when they give you a golden opportunity, when someone rolls a 6-…. I’ve never found myself waiting long for a chance to reveal a Grim Portent!

    Pursing Doom!

    The idea of the Pending Doom and the Grim Portents should have been drafted with enough “fruitful void” around them that they can be interpreted in ways interesting to what happened at your table.  As your players engage and shape the story, they might actually prevent your Danger from doing what it explicitly intended; in that case, the Danger will probably change its plans to simply killing the heroes out of spite!  

    Revising Dooms and/or Spotlighting New Dangers

    Just because the ‘day is saved” doesn’t mean the story is over.  

    You might just write a new Pending Doom as long as the Danger is viable. Or you might look at the Front, and decide a different Danger is now looming larger than before since the players have taken out its competition, clearing a path.

  3. Honestly, fronts confuse a lot of people. I think this comes from the way they are presented in the book and that none of the player mechanics directly interact with them. 

  4. Yeah, they’re strictly an GM-facing mechanization of stuff that many GMs do automatically: There’s some opposition force with a plan that they will carry out if the players don’t interfere.

  5. I think fronts would work better if they were a mutual Player + GM mechanic. I’d be in favor of a special movie that has some interaction with fronts or grim portents.

  6. I love that practically all of the rules in DW are player-facing.  But i don’t see Fronts/Dangers as rules.

    Rather, they are an organizational method proposed for the GM to be able to keep and revise notes of the factions in the world that are being discovered through play.

    I don’t want the Players to see the fronts, dangers, grim portents, or stakes.  I want these to subtly influence the GM’s perspective, and thereby influence the GM’s own moves, as the Players’ characters move through the world.

    As long as the GM keeps these close to his or her chest, they can be revised as necessary to keep consistent with whatever the Players have done.  This is why Stakes are specifically questions that intrigue the GM, rather than statements of fact about the world.  This is why Grim Portents are simply an outline of what the Danger is intending to do – it might all have to change before the Danger gets to do it!

    When a GM note is changed, the Players should not necessarily be allowed to “peek behind the curtain” to see the changes.  This is what helps maintain the dramatic irony that makes the game interesting and keeps a little tension and mystery in play.  

    By the end of a campaign, the fronts / dangers / grim portents should have wandered far astray from the initial notes.  The stakes should have changed as the session focused on new elements.  But the Players don’t need to know that!  All they know is that they had a great adventure in an internally-consistent world that magically reflected their interests and fit their characters’ actions perfectly!

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