I’m quite excited to be running my first DW play-by-forum game after a lifetime of D&D.

I’m quite excited to be running my first DW play-by-forum game after a lifetime of D&D.

I’m quite excited to be running my first DW play-by-forum game after a lifetime of D&D.

I launched my game by dropping my party of adventurers in a river and then throwing some giant leeches at them. Good times. It was a great way for us all to get our heads around moves and combat.

I did one thing in the combat, though, that (on reflection) was probably very “D&D” but I’m not experienced enough to know what the alternative might have been. 

We had the druid and the cleric in the middle of a river. The druid shape-shifted into the form of a horse, swims over to the cleric so he can hold on, and then head for the shore. The leeches attack so the cleric scrambles up on to the horses back and proceeds to swing his mace around. 

So, he’s riding bareback and in the middle of a river on a swimming horse. I figure he needs to cop some sort of penalty for that, so I rule that combat runs as normal but for every hit he has to roll his damage dice twice and take the lowest.

None of us had a problem with doing that, it just felt like an old-school solution, not a PbtA one.

Any thoughts?

8 thoughts on “I’m quite excited to be running my first DW play-by-forum game after a lifetime of D&D.”

  1. I probably would have left the damage alone. Instead the situation lends itself to all sorts of great hard moves on 6- rolls. If things get really tricky the Cleric might have to Defy Danger to get into striking position or not fall off after a wild swing.

  2. Fair enough. I’d already clocked the cleric in the head with floating debris for a 6- he rolled. And everyone was defying danger just to swim to shore, so maybe I should have stuck to that pattern.

  3. Defy Danger is the go to move. For everyone else, the stakes of the move are about reaching the bank or the river taking its toll. For the character in question, the stakes are about staying on the horse to get a good swing in or ending up back in the river.

  4. Ha! Weird. I never thought of dropping him back in there! And I think that’s why it’s been bugging me. I went straight to a mechanical solution, not a fictional one. Ah well, I’ll learn. Like I said, it didn’t feel like a bad solution, just not the best solution (particularly for this game).

  5. Must have been a giant leech.  And in this case you would not do a Hack&Slash.  I don’t think that it would trigger it.  Now, by your description, a swarm of leeches, a person on back of a horse swimming, the person swinging a blunt object at the water.  That sounds like he is trying to scare the leeches away.  So yeah, Defy Danger is your Go to, with STR.  Unless it is a big river, narrate as one big scene, with only one or two rolls, maybe an additional one if they fall off.   No need to draw it out, just ham up the descriptions a bit.  This lets you get to other action quicker and it also gives the players some perspective that this is about little mini-scenes, not a blow-by-blow of D&D.  The more you can emphasis the mini-scene concept the better.  You will get better descriptions for the game if they feel more comfortable.

  6. I’ll take the minority opinion: I think penalizing damage ([w]2dX, or just half damage, or giving the foes armor) is a fine choice for “hacking & slashing in suboptimal conditions.”

    That’s assuming, though, that they already worked to get into fictional positioning. Like, in your case, I’m guessing there was a Defy Danger for the cleric to drag themself up onto the horse’s back, yeah? In that case, I almost certainly would not make them Defy Danger just to start swinging at the leeches. I’d tell them the consequences (“you’re gonna roll damage twice and take the lower roll, and depending on your roll, you might fall or get dragged back into the drink”).

    Matrix Forby’s observation is also good: this might not even be triggering H&S. Like, if they don’t have a legitimate chance to hurt the leeches and are really just hoping to scare them off, a Defy Danger with STR (instead of H&S) is a good call.

  7. That’s interesting. More than anything I’m trying to work out why my approach didn’t feel Dungeon-World-ish enough. I think it’s because I just made an arbitrary decision rather than making an explicit move. So while the choice may have been appropriate my approach to the decision didn’t quite hit the mark.

    Thanks for all this feedback. It’s making things much clearer. I am sooooo loving this game. It’s slow, playing PBF, but that’s giving me a bit of space to think things through at each step.

    (It also means that when my thief went ‘off script’ last session and started skulking around the local town and I started giving him opportunities to Discern Realities and Spout Lore we ended up with some brilliant material that is starting to freak players out about what they might be up against. Would never have happened in any of my D&D games. Love it).

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