I said I don’t have time to work on this, and I don’t, but I did anyway.

I said I don’t have time to work on this, and I don’t, but I did anyway.

I said I don’t have time to work on this, and I don’t, but I did anyway.

Here’s a little bit of Drowning and Falling, a collection of oft-applicable custom moves for Dungeon World.

(EDIT: And alas, I now realize that there’s a game from Bully Pulpit making basically the same joke with the title. Oh well, consider this a working title.)


18 thoughts on “I said I don’t have time to work on this, and I don’t, but I did anyway.”

  1. “And it’s always obvious exactly how you should use GM moves and Defy Danger.”

    I think you meant “And it’s not always obvious”…

    Do you want to enable comments on that doc so we can give feedback?

    Edit: I like what you have so far. I think that the Design Notes and example GM Moves you have on each category will be super-useful as well. Definitely interested in seeing more (and would buy if you put it up somewhere for sale).

  2. I must admit to being in the “less is more” camp, that less rolls and rules are a good thing. That said, I like the Breath mechanic. It seems to hit that sweet spot of “just enough” structure to accomplish it’s goal. The extra details for being on fire might be overkill though. I think that doing anything besides actively trying to extinguish yourself is Defying Danger.

    I’ve seen mind control and chases come up before. I’d be happy to share what I have, and maybe my starvation notes too.

  3. Custom moves are also helpful to set the tone for the environment. Starving and dying from thirst shouldn’t be a problem unless you are in a desert. Drowning is not an issue unless you delve into the underwater temple etc. Great moves so far!

  4. Robert Rendell Thanks! Commenting enabled.

    Peter J No arguments from me. This whole project is sort of an exercise in overkill. I’ve got reasons for each thing I put in their so far, but it’s definitely a work in progress.

    I’d definitely be interesting in seeing your notes on any custom moves you’ve got. That goes for everyone. If you’ve got a solid custom move (or way to handle it as a GM) for a fairly common situation, send it my way. If I end up using it, or being inspired by it, I’ll be sure to credit you accordingly.

  5. Specific example/suggested GM Moves are great – it’s difficult to adlib everything and for me an extra level of detail to the GM Moves in the core book is really useful.

  6. Here’s what I have for a mind control move.

    When something attempts to control or manipulate your mind, roll+WIS. *On a 10+, you shake it off. *On a 7-9, choose one:

    • You’re stunned for a few moments while you shake it off.

    • You feel a brief compulsion, take -1 forward to act against the source of the effect

    *On a 6-, don’t mark XP yet. Instead, give the GM a notecard with your character’s name on it.

    When the GM hands you a notecard with your name on it, read the command on the back (to yourself, don’t discuss it with others). Then choose one:

    • Do what it tells you to the best of your abilities, then mark XP and tear up the card.

    • Drop to your knees, clutch your head, and the source of the command deals its damage to you, ignoring armor. Then tear up the card.

    For chases, there are two different versions. One resolves the chase in one roll, the other treats it as a contest of rolls.

    Chase (Quick version)

    When you are party to a chase, roll+DEX if you are in a complex area or +CON if you are in an open area. *On a hit, you either get away or catch up to your quarry. *On a 7-9, choose one:

    • Your foe gets a chance to strike back at you before the chase ends.

    • You attract unwanted attention.

    • It costs you something important.

    Chase (Complex version)

    When you are party to a chase, the GM will tell you the initial distance between the quarry and the pursuer on the following range of distances:


    Then roll+DEX if you are in a complex area or +CON if you are in an open area. *On a hit, increase or reduce the distance by one increment, your choice. *On a 7-9, choose one:

    • Your foe gets a chance to strike back at you.

    • You attract unwanted attention.

    • It costs you something important.

    *On a 6-, the GM increases or reduces the distance by one increment.

    When the distance is reduced to Hand, the quarry is caught. When the distance is increased to Away, the quarry has escaped.

    This is the “Run away!” move I came up with for the West Marches style game I’m working on, since it does not allow for characters to be left out at the end of the session.

    When you have not escaped a danger by the end of the session or are forced to flee for your life from the dungeon, roll+either DEX or CON, your choice. *On a 10+, choose one from the list. *On a 7-9, choose two. *On a 6-, choose two, and the GM will also give you an additional, much worse consequence.

    • You leave behind something important, the GM will tell you what.

    • The experience scars you, take a debility of the GM’s choice.

    • You get lost or are forced to hide; it takes you a long time to get to safety.

    Thieves and halflings always take +1 to Run Away! Yes, a halfling thief gets both. If a character has the advanced move Escape Route, they use that move in lieu of Run Away!

    For starvation, it would depend on how long you want people to be able to last. Without water, a person will only last a couple of days. On minimal food and water, it’s more like a few weeks. Likewise, the recovery time should be taken into consideration. The simplest version would be to take a debility for each day you go without eating.

  7. Peter J Heh. I recognize that index card one. Definitely one I was thinking about including. It’s a pretty specific flavor of mind control, though, like a post-hypnotic suggestion. I find that immediate compulsions tend to be more common in play.

    That’s interesting with the chase. I like how you’re combining both the cat and the mouse roles. I’m not sure it’s the best solution, though… the narrative structure of being the pursuer is very different than being the quarry, and success looks very different for the two different roles. There’s also the question of “how do you deal with multiple PCs involved in the same chase?”

    Hmm hmm hmm. More to chew on.

  8. An observation, so many games have rules for starving to death, when dying of thirst is a much more realistic threat. I always wonder why designers choose to include mechanics for eating but ignore staying hydrated. I imagine that there are water fountains scattered conveniently throughout dungeons.

    Rules for hypothermia/exposure might be good territory to cover, although since it’s somewhat of a gradual process possibly more flavorful if played out over a series of defy dangers.

  9. I added the I’ll lead the way move to the megadungeon section, I was originally writing it for freebooters, along with some input from others on the lampblack page. Could be a good starting point? I also posted up the labyrinth move that was discussed on the Discern Realities podcast.

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