Hey all, I’m trying to create my first custom move.

Hey all, I’m trying to create my first custom move.

Hey all, I’m trying to create my first custom move. The idea is, the players are venturing into the Tangled Sea, a gigantic jungle that exhibits some properties of an ocean. I want there to be the sense that it’s unstable and flows, like water. So when the characters go to sleep, I want them not to be certain that they will wake up exactly where the laid down. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

When you wake up after spending the night in the Tangled Sea, roll +CON. On a 10+, you somehow managed to keep yourself and your stuff stable. On a 7-9, you stayed where you were, but choose 1:

* Something in your possession drifted in the night and now you can’t find it.

* Staying in one spot cost you a good night’s rest; take -1 ongoing until you sleep again.

A few worries: first, I’m not certain CON’s the right stat. Second, I’m worried that the results are too harsh. Third, I’m worried that since I’m using the Perilous Wilds rules for travel, this will result in a bunch of rolls when they make camp and set out.

I’ve considered just using the Die of Fate instead, but I’d be interested in some feedback.

12 thoughts on “Hey all, I’m trying to create my first custom move.”

  1. It could be more like Defy Danger. Ask them “Okay, so what are you doing to keep your location and your stuff stable as you sleep?” and base the stat on that.

  2. Does it need a move? Why not just have it happen, and the players just need to think of a way of keeping their stuff together. Now the first time you need to either go easy on them, (they weren’t to far in so only a ration is missing) or give them some kind of warning like crazy hermit that tells them stuff moves, and to watch out for trees “they might carry you away.”

  3. I definitely agree with Ben Wray, while your options are great for sparking tactical play, you should let the fluff determine which stat is rolled.

  4. I like the idea, but I feel like the -1 ongoing is a weak choice that no one is going to choose.

    I’d scrap it and make more flavorful options that make it a debility instead. “You couldn’t keep the biting insects away, you are shaky (-1dex)” or maybe “you swallowed something in your sleep – it was slick and hard, and now you’re sick (-1con)”

  5. Before anything else, I love The Tangled Sea as a name for this location, awesome 🙂

    Based on my feel of the ambiance from your description, I don’t think there should be any stat applied to the roll. What stat actually applies to something that happens as part of the world when you’re unconscious? I’d deal with this the way Last Breath does, no + at all. You go into the Tangled Sea, you take your chances.

    However, I certainly would allow the players’ fiction to add modifiers. For example, if they tied all their junk to themselves, you could have them do a roll+DEX (as a Defy Danger as Ben Wray suggests) which could give them a +2 through -1 on their on-waking roll.

    The first choice makes perfect sense in the fiction, it should remain. As to the second option, I’m not sure how it fits in with the setting. Along the lines of Aaron Griffin’s suggestion, you could say that they wake up disoriented (Stunned/Confused) by what’s happened and that continues until they leave the Tangled Sea (or until they learn its secrets?). I do think you’re missing a third option where they’ve become separated from their party (and perhaps get to describe their new surroundings).

    Excellent start!

  6. That’s for the comments everybody!

    To make something clear: This place is the core of the setting, so I’ve told the players upfront that it doesn’t stay still like a normal jungle would. Before they set out at the beginning of our next session, I’ll make it doubly clear, I think, because this is core setting information their characters would already have.

    Ari Black Thanks for the compliment! Not adding a stat to the roll does make sense and I had considered it. I might go with that. I actually did have that exact third option just before posting this, but I don’t think my players would ever make that choice. Getting separated from the party means they’d have to a)spend time and effort reconnecting with the party and b) might run into monsters on the way, which makes it feel like the obviously worst choice. I suppose I could put it there anyway. I had also considered the application of a debility and I think you’re right that it makes more sense fictionally. I like Shaky or Sick the most, since they evoke seasickness.

    Patrick Schenk You know, I’ve been thinking this as well and I’m not sure that it does. The only worry is that if doesn’t have to move my players may feel cheated, and it’s a bit more work for me to come up with the results on the fly. That’s why I wanted the options (and wanted them in the players hands) – to reduce my cognitive load.

    I think what I’ll do is rework the move a bit to change the second option and make it be the Sick debility instead. I think I’m going to keep CON as the modifier, since in my mind it represents the inner solidity of the character counteracting the chaos around them (in this case). In terms of the fiction modifying the roll, I think I’ll just let whatever preparations they do effect my options on a fail (so that if they tie their stuff onto them, I won’t have their stuff disappear in the morning).

  7. What about breakage from failing to “stow for sea?”  Sure, it might still be tied to them, but the shifting could have caused tipping and/or damage.

    On a 7-9 option:

    *A fragile item is damaged, and will require repair before it functions predictably.

    *Your supplies shifted during the night; lose 1 ration to scavengers or the elements.

    Of those, I think the first is more interesting, because it sets up further fictional complications (potentially).  The second is just numbers, but if foraging is a major factor in the Tangled Sea, it could become serious.

  8. Alright, here’s the revised move:

    When you wake up after spending the night in the Tangled Sea, roll +CON. On a 10+, you somehow managed to keep yourself and your stuff stable. On a 7-9, choose 1:

    * You drifted in the night and got separated from your companions. It’ll take some time to find them again.

    * Something in your possession got lost or seriously damaged in the night.

    * The swaying and lurching put you out of sorts – take either Shaky or Sick until you’re back on stable ground.

    I stuck with roll + CON because, as I said, I like it representing your inner stability holding back the chaos surrounding you. Also, the player we’ve got with the highest CON (a Paladin sworn to an order that worships the one safe path across the Sea) is the least chaotic character and it makes the most fictional sense that he would be best at resisting the vagaries of the Tangled Sea.

    As for the options, in my mind, the second is the one they’re most likely to pick, because I’m leaving the choice of what they lose up to them (so they’ll probably go with something small at first, like rations or ammo). But they can only do that so often before the only stuff they’ve got left is important and then they’re faced with a tough choice: Become Shaky (DEX is the most important stat for two of the players), Sick (making them less likely to succeed at this next roll) or lost (potentially leading to way more complications). I think that gives a good natural escalation to the tension involved in the roll.

  9. Thomas Berton  I like it, but how about if either you or another player picks what they lose. I love turning narration over to other players, it’s so fun. “Storen, you were jostled awake around 2am, what exactly did you see tumble down among the vines from Elard’s pack?”

  10. Aaron Griffin That’s a good idea! The phrasing in that option is ambiguous as to who decides what’s lost, so I think I’ll do that on a case by case basis. Most of the time I’ll leave it up to the player in question, but there may be situations where it makes more sense for another player to know. Also, I want to keep the actual mechanism of how things move around deliberately vague, so that it’s less “you see all this stuff writhing and flowing” and more “you wake up and things are different.” Sort of like how in The Legend of Zelda, the Lost Woods keep changing and moving you back to the same place, without ever letting you know exactly how one location connects to another.

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