Pacing and Portents

Pacing and Portents

Pacing and Portents

I’ve received a lot of good advice on writing grim portents, so now I’m looking for guidance on how to actually work with them during play. So, let’s say I have an Adventure Front Danger like this:

Danger: Madness with wolves

Impulse: To destroy

Impending Doom: Large demonic wolf pack is now roaming the lands

Grim Portents

– Druid senses the corruption near the energized portal

– Visible signs and encounters with individual crazed animals

– Individual wolves are seen to have some demonic characteristics

– A small pack of wolves demonstrates many demonic characteristics

So, given that this is intended to be something resolved over just a few sessions, I imagine I want to be advancing the ‘portent track’ on at least one of the currently active Dangers reasonably frequently. Thing is, when do I do this? Are portents pushed forward via hard moves or is it more that the moves you perform can advance the portent by virtue of the fiction now matching the description?

Also, let’s say I have a PC who triggers Discern Realities and rolls a miss, but I don’t have an obvious hard move to make yet. Can I use a hard move to advance the portent behind the scenes, to be revealed later at a better opportunity? It sounds like that fits with the rules, so I can just pass the spotlight to a different character to respond to the current looming threat, without advancing it? A perceptive player will notice that they rolled a miss and nothing obviously bad happened, of course. But maybe that’s even scarier?

One thought on “Pacing and Portents”

  1. You could advance the Grim Portents anytime someone fails on a spellcasting-related Move (the spell releases ambient arcane energy that feeds the portal).

    If a druid fails on a Shapeshifting Move, he disturbs the balance of nature – again empowering the demonic portal.

    In the scenario of the missed Discern Realities move, I would feed the player faulty info that leads the party on a wild goose chase.

    The delay in the players’ confrontation with the big bad is the impetus to tick forward the Grim Portents clock.

    That way, the advancement of badness is directly related to the player’s failed Move.

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