Trying to come up with some good custom moves for exploring a huge, labyrinthine tomb complex.

Trying to come up with some good custom moves for exploring a huge, labyrinthine tomb complex.

Trying to come up with some good custom moves for exploring a huge, labyrinthine tomb complex. So far I’ve got this one…


When you pry open a sarcophagus, roll:

10+ Easy treasure lies within!

7-9 Choose one:

*You find nothing but dust and bones.

*The restless dead will not give up this treasure easily.

6- Not even the thief saw this devious trap coming!


I was also thinking roll +Wis when you try to retrace your path back the way you came and maybe +Int if you try to mark your way proactively and then get hold of something… Anyone done something along these lines?

11 thoughts on “Trying to come up with some good custom moves for exploring a huge, labyrinthine tomb complex.”

  1. There was a labyrinth variant of UPJ posted at some point…

    When you explore the maze, choose one party member as the spotter, one as the rear guard and one as the cartographer (the same character can only have one job). If you don’t have enough party members or choose not to assign a job, treat that job as if it had rolled a 6-. The spotter rolls+DEX, the guard rolls+WIS and the cartographer rolls+INT.

    On a 7-9, each role performs their job as expected; you do not blunder into any traps but you still have to deal with them, no one gets the drop on you but you don’t get the drop on them either, and you find a new room without getting lost.

    On a 10+:

    • The spotter can find a way around any traps on your way.

    • The guard will spot any trouble quick enough to let you get the drop on it. 

    • The cartographer marks an efficient path on their between the room you left and the new room.

    When you make your way back to a previously visited room, if you have an efficient path marked on your map you get there quickly without rolling, though you still have to deal with any traps left behind on that route.

  2. I don’t really care for that sarcophagus move for a few reasons. First, I don’t like how the move allows the dice to dictate the contents of a sarcophagus rather than the fiction. Regardless of what sarcophagus the PCs open, there’s a chance for treasure. I also feel it encourages the players to have the character with the highest Wisdom open everything, so that the chances for treasure are higher.

    As for the move itself, one of the 7-9 results is a failure rather than a mixed success. Finding nothing but dust and bones is a “nothing happens” result, which should be avoided as it does nothing to push the fiction forward. Also, and this is really personal preference, I try to avoid writing 6- results in my moves. They constrain what the GM is allowed to do on a 6-, which is often not the way to go. Like in this case, the only thing that the GM is allowed to do on a 6- result is spring a trap, even if some other GM move would be more appropriate or more interesting. I would just leave it off. 

  3. The move should detail player reactions, not facts of the world. The move options should be part of things that happen on every sarcophagus opening, with the players choosing to avoid one or more obstacles from the get-go.

  4. I will admit that I went back and forth on writing a result for the 6-. I was trying to go for something similar to the “Open a Sewer Hatch” example on pg 345 of DW, but I guess in that case something active always happens. Perhaps it would hew closer if I set it up like this:

    10+ Both, 7-9 Choose one:

    *You find a treasure within.

    *You avoid disturbing the sleep of the dead.

  5. John… is the idea that the PCs are exploring a big sprawling area that the GM has not mapped out? I.e. you’re using this move (and others like it) as a way to improv a dungeon on the fly?

    If so, maybe check out the Plumb the Depths section of The Perilous Wilds.

  6. Jeremy Strandberg That is basically what I’m going for – a few keyed areas with a lot of on-the-fly in between – and I have Perilous Wilds but haven’t read it enough to remember that section – thanks!

  7. The other problem is that the 6– result takes away the chance let the Thief be awesome.

    The sewer hatch move is in the rules, but I don’t really like it.  I think DW works better when the players focus on playing their characters as hard as possible and the contents of the world are the sole responsibility of the DM – see the discussion below about the kinds of questions the DM should ask ( from Christoffer Skuthälla).

    I prefer moves more like:

    When you’re lost in the dungeon, say how you deal with it and roll +WIS. *On a 10+, you’re okay and you get yourself oriented. *On a 7–9, choose one:

    – You put yourself in a spot.

    – You put an ally in a spot.

  8. What do you wish the moves to do? 

    Help you create the dungeon and suggest you the content of the rooms? 

    Give the players the idea that the complex is huge and labyrinthine?

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