I ran my first game of DW last night. It went pretty well.

I ran my first game of DW last night. It went pretty well.

I ran my first game of DW last night. It went pretty well.

My primary questions for you veterans:

How do you keep your hard moves varied enough in combat? I find that I keep defaulting to my old ways of making each response about the combat itself, and not off screen or environmental things.

When people are exploring rickety dungeons, it seems like every defy danger roll is DEX based. Jumping out of the way, catching your footing, etc. How do you vary this more?

How do you prod players to use Spout Lore and Discern Realities?

11 thoughts on “I ran my first game of DW last night. It went pretty well.”

  1. Regarding varying your moves: a lot of GMs keep the list of moves handy and put a tic next to each one each time they use it, giving a visual cue of which ones they’re neglecting.  

  2. Keep a list of the MC moves ready. I usually tic the moves I make to be sure I am not constantly using the same ones.  

    For the Spout Lore and Discern Reality issue, there is, in my mind, two ways to hit the mark :

    1) be evasive about your descriptions. That is NOT saying to lie (remember your principle), but you don’t have to say every thing. Instead of saying “You see two goblins in the room waiting for you”, say something like “As you reach the bend in the corridor, your hear scratching noises and whispers coming from the room in front of you, like if something were waiting for you. What do you do ? “

    2) Have them fight monsters with immunities : “You see a Golem 10-ft. tall barring the way to the hoard, what do you do ?

    – I charge with my spear head on !

    – Okay, since your spear can’t harm the golem like that, the point of your spear just clink on the golem

    – Damn. Wait, how do you harm a golem ? 

    – Are you pondering about that ? Time to Spout Lore.”

  3. I find Discern Realities a lot easier to encourage than Spout Lore, mostly because of what Antoine Pempie is suggesting: describe what they see and hear and feel, but leave some things ambiguous.

    Point to an approaching threat or present an opportunity, but don’t actually spell out what that threat or opportunity is.  “You hear something creeping through the brush, what do you do?”  “You see a glint of yellow metal in that cocooned mass hanging in the spider webs, what do you do?”  Give them enough detail to make them afraid, or curious, or greedy and they’ll do the rest.

  4. I’m going to suggest Evil Hat’s Master’s of Umdar setting for Fate…they have a system there referred to as “Cliffhangers” to handle designing dangerous environmental situations such as disasters and death traps.

    They use the FAE approaches rather than the skill system that Fate Core uses. FAE has six approaches, they aren’t the same as DW stats, but the rational used is easily able to be adapted.

    The basic idea is that each danger would have one ideal method of dealing with it, two good methods of dealing with it, two bad methods of dealing with it and one method that is hard to see how it could apply at all…though if the player comes up with one, go with it.

    Not that the difficulty aspect works for DW, but the book gives a couple of good examples for figuring out a rationale for various methods of approach ranging from decyphering runes, weathering high heat, pushing debris out of the way, using willpower to resist, etc.

  5. My goal in every game is try to encourage every player to roll all 6 six stats at least once.

    Also to avoid the always Defy Danger + DEX issue I usually find myself using these most commonly to encourage different stats to be used.

    -“You feel an unwanted presence creep into your mind” 

    -“A snare (enemy grabs, large rock, etc.) pins you”

    -“As your sword cuts open the enemy, choking gas emits from the cut”

  6. My advice? Don’t be afraid to do things to your players.

    You’re totally allowed to say things like “The bugbear comes crashing in through the door, wrapping its burly arms around Rognar the Paladin and squeezing him in its mighty grip. Rognar, you can feel this thing’s arms crushing you and pinning your sword-arm and shield to your sides…what do you do?”

    But don’t be arbitrary about this. Remember that your moves should follow from the established fiction. So if there’s a bugbear, make sure you “Show signs of an approaching threat” with things like bugbear droppings, strange sounds, and so forth. Or maybe you “Reveal an unwelcome truth” during the fight with the Wizard where he reveals that the only way to obtain his magical secrets is to scoop out the innards of his Bugbear familiar.

    Keep in mind that one of the fictional triggers for Defy Danger is “when you suffer a calamity.” This allows you to use Defy Danger more like a “Save vs (Spell, Poison, Reality-Warping, Etc.)” rather than just getting out of the way of everything.

    The world is a dangerous place. Your mental and physical fortitude is just as important as your ability to get out of the way.

  7. Ditto on marking used moves. I actually make my own list of hard moves and soft moves, so I can keep track of them separately.

    For discerning realities/spout lore, I think the key thing to encourage the players to attempt these is to reward the successes (in a way that a traditional system like D&D never would)

    In terms of discerning realities:

    My advice is do not use discerning realities to further analyze a soft move: So if you make the classic soft move of showing signs of an approaching threat, then that move should be clear enough in itself to give the players enough info – if the players ask something else about it (“You hear footsteps.” “How many?”) then you should just flat out answer it.) My reasoning for this is that if the disc realities roll also fails, you either have to make another soft move (which usually does not escalate to anything) or a hard move (which causes a quick escalation in the sense that the party hears something, tries to understand what it is, and gets ambushed in the midst of it)

    When do you use it then? Either before the soft moves (just entered a room, looking around) where a failure would trigger a soft move…but a success could also trigger a softer move (You see goblins camping on the other side of the room, they have not noticed you yet); or after several hard moves that cascade, when the party is hopeless (basically when they realize they’re losing and they start asking questions like “is there anything I can use around” etc) Having them the drop on the baddies is such a reward for them that they usually pick up the habit of “looking around the room” explicitly.

    For spout lore:

    I try to outright make this an “imba skill” – if you catch my drift. I just make up some flavor text about the monsters and give an arbitrary +1 to the party if a player asks me more about the creature and succeeds on a spout lore test (of course they all get to attempt the move if they like; but only once for a creature) For players who have not yet tasted the delicious +1 of the spout lore, I ask them flat out “Hey Bard, you probably remember horror songs about this spider, no?” They make up something, I make them roll – the next time they themselves come asking “Do I remember anything?”

    Encouraging the use of spout lore during combat basically allows me to make logical moves in an easier fashion – during a combat, hard moves follow easily; but it can be really jarring if a player tries to remember some knowledge in the middle of nothing and you suddenly come out with a move (even a soft one). It is of course possible to make moves in response to a failed spout lore outside a dangerous situation, but I find that very difficult.

  8. Regarding defy danger rolls I let the player choose how they are going to attempt to get out of the situation.

    My warrior was obviously stronger than he was quick. If a Boulder came at him instead of dodging it he might try to hold it back.

Comments are closed.