Success!  I finally got through, at least a little, to a friend on how the system should work.   A very tactical…

Success!  I finally got through, at least a little, to a friend on how the system should work.   A very tactical…

Success!  I finally got through, at least a little, to a friend on how the system should work.   A very tactical gamer and a game designer that is used to having minis, maps, and other toys finally understands DW a little bit better.

This is after 2 gaming sessions, The first one was a bit of a flop.  Because of a few issues.  With no Initiative and no clear order, and 6 players, things got a bit messy as I was following the action..Players didn’t know if they should just jump in and go or wait.  Mostly for fear of jumping on someone’s roleplaying.  Also, their is that word, “failure” and in the actual rules on the 7-9: the GM offer’s a worse situation.  While failure doesn’t mean the same thing it is hard to get someone past it, especially if they are used to designing games that are not of a narrative sort.  He understood it, at least a little with Feng Shui 2 and Prowlers’s and Paragons (P&P, a superhero narrative game) but with little to no structure, there were some obstacles.

First, I invented an initiative system of sorts.  I call it the Spotlight system.  I first printed out a card for each player.  On one side there is Spotlight, on the back “Sharing Spotlight”.  The idea is that everyone needs to have some equal chance in the spotlight.  So I started them all with “Spotlight” Side up.  When I ask, “What do you do?” I have them flip it over.  If a player helps another out with an assist, Aid, or Defend, something similar that is just helping, I had them tilt the card on the side.  If they tilted on Spotlight side they could assist one other time or have their own “Spotlight Moment”, once on the “Sharing spotlight” side they could tilt it once, then they are too busy and need for everyone else time in the spotlight.  When everyone is on “Sharing Spotlight”  we flip the card back over and I pick someone according to the narrative to “go” and ask, “What do you do?” outlining the situation.

Sounds complicated but it is simple.  It worked out great while keeping everyone involved and making it so that I don’t forget someone and pass them over in the action.  With a big group of 6 it was necessary to have some sort of order.

So, I did  a flashback and had them attack some Frozen North Orcs and Ice Wolves, with an Ice Shaman that summoned an Ice Elemental after a bit.  They  did fine.  I showed the game designer that a 6 or less isn’t the “failure” that he thought and that as a GM I had options rather than to damage them to death.  Story options.  On a 7-9 it is even a success but with a cost.  When he was aiding someone in a battle with Stone Golem, he rolled a 7-9 and I asked him what happened, he said that he got hit as he was defending and failed and took 10 points of damage.  So, I believe that I showed him how it worked.

He told me later that he was considering giving up and quitting but because of this session he isn’t going to and that he “hates the system less, now.  And that was accomplishing a lot.”  I also tried to point out to him that most of the fun things that happened were not because he succeeded all the time but because of the 6 or less or 7-9 results.

So, win on my end.  I look forward to our next game, but it will be in October.  Sigh.

3 thoughts on “Success!  I finally got through, at least a little, to a friend on how the system should work.   A very tactical…”

  1. No, not really.  He is a great guy.  It’s like the old adage, “The Doctor makes the worst patient.”  or in this case, because he is a game designer and used to evaluating a game form a certain point of view, “The Game Designer makes the worst Player.”  As he is trying to understand the mechanics and understand the style.  It can be hard if you are used to a certain path.  One misconception is, “You are telling me that I have been role-playing wrong all these years.”  While, no, not wrong as it is a very different style.  To me harkening back to my days of AD&D 2nd ed when we didn’t fully understand the game and how to roleplay and just tried things out and the DM rolled with it.  Going nearly freeform because we were not codified and trained in the thought patterns of the system.  Back in the days of excitement when we got up from the table and acted out the movement for the DM.  DW frees us back up from the chains of too many rules and compartmentalizes the basics in to small bites called Moves.  Then invites us to make up more Moves to fill out the system where WE need it.  Not where a game designer thinks we need it.  DW is freedom and a specific style that is unique.

  2. Glad to hear things went better this session, and glad to hear your friend stuck things out a bit longer. Different people have different play styles and different systems cater to those styles. It can feel like a game is telling you that you roll play incorrectly sometimes.

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