I’ve been asked to MC a DW game for the first time.

I’ve been asked to MC a DW game for the first time.

I’ve been asked to MC a DW game for the first time. I’ve MC’d AW before, so I figured… eh. Having stupidly agreed, I’ve been reviewing the rules. The ration rules are giving me pause, though, and I was hoping some might help clarify. (Ordinarily it’s something I’d be tempted to hand-wave away, but one of the prospective players says he’s looking forward to a Hunter, and I don’t want to steal from him a situation he ought to be getting the spotlight in):

Salient points:

– Undertake a Perilous Journey suggests a journey costs 1 ration/day

– Human Hunter starting move states the character doesn’t have to consume a ration when making camp (in context X), suggesting rations are 1/character/day

-Make Camp consumes a ration, and again, its phrasing suggests 1/character/day

-Quartermaster skill, on 10+, reduces number of rations required by 1. On a 7-9, normal ration consumption.

Things I’d like to clarify:

1) It’s not explicitly stated, but it seems to me that the ration cost of Perilous Journey and the ration cost of Make Camp are the same cost; you make camp each night, and you measure your journey as 1ration/day. That is, this is a cost of 1/day, not 1/day of travel + 1/night of camping.

2) Again, I can’t find the explicit statement, but it seems to me the cost is 1 ration / day / character. A five day journey with a party of 3 ought to consume 15 rations. Right?

3) If I understand the above two, it seems like the quartermaster skill check is a bit odd.

A 10+ on trailblazer, if it saves even a day, will save a number of rations equal to the number of members in the party. If it saves more than that, it grows in multiples. Likewise, a miss would be measured in large proportions of total ration cost.

Scout 10+ can take a huge amount of sting out of an encounter; a miss can really hurt.

QM, on the other hand, on a miss can theoretically be crippling, and on a 10+ seems to have essentially no value over a 7-9 (e.g., a party of four traveling for a week, on a 10+, saves 1 ration off of 28; by comparison, a trailblazer 10+ saving even one day of travel would save 4 rations).

That is, trailblazer and scout each have a “oh shit,” “status quo,” and “nice!” category, depending on the roll. QM seems to only have “oh shit” and “status quo”. It just doesn’t quite seem to fit the magnitude of the other two roles, at least assuming I’ve understood the ration counts correctly, and the QM move correctly.

Any guidance?

12 thoughts on “I’ve been asked to MC a DW game for the first time.”

  1. Dunno if this will help, but I treat Undertake a Perilous Journey as a zoomed out move, and Make Camp as a zoomed in move. In other words, I use UaPJ when the party has to get from point A to point B but we’re not really focused on the journey. The action is somewhere else, and we want to get to wherever it is fast. It’s a montage kind of thing, like “It should take you five days to cross the Madcap Mountains.” We’re assuming the characters are making camp when necessary, hence the ration consumption.

    Make Camp is for when the action is right here and we want to stick with it. The characters are beat up and need to rest, but they can’t get back to a safe place. Time to hunker down, set a watch, and try to snack some sleep.

    As for the Quartermaster role? Yeah. The others are more exciting. The Trailblazer can make your journey quicker, and the Scout can make sure you avoid danger. The Quartermaster is just resource management. But that can be important if obtaining more rations for a return trip (or a trip somewhere else) is questionable.

  2. I’ve interpreted quartermaster as saving 1 ration per character for the whole trip. It does still mean that trailblazer has strictly more impact (unless it’s a short trip and doesn’t reduce travel time enough to reduce the ration count.)

  3. Chris Stone-Bush It’s not so much that the QM is focused on un-sexy resource management, it’s that the scale of his “successful resource management” is smaller than even the trailblazer’s contribution to resource management. I see people in a lot of places posting “rations are [very] important,” so it seems like it should be a time for QM to shine.

  4. Dan Bryant That seems like a reasonable interpretation. QM remains less potent than the other two, but not in an off-the-charts kind of way.

    Maybe it’s just something I ought to house-rule? QM Roll +Wis:

    On a 7-9, rations are consumed as per the norm. On a 10+, choose one:

    a) Ration requirements for the journey are reduced by 1 per character.

    b) Ration requirements for the journey are as per the norm, but the QM has acquired better-than-average fare. Take +1 forward on the first encounter during the journey, or on arrival.

    c) Ration requirements for the journey are reduced by 2 per character; the group arrives exhausted, and takes -1 forward on the first encounter during the journey, or on arrival.

    The options as I’m envisioning them are “QM made things a bit more efficient, saved resources,” “QM made things a bit more efficient; used existing resources for greater effect”, and “QM stretched out supplies when we didn’t think we’d make it back to civilization. We didn’t have to resort to cannibalism.”

  5. Chris Stone-Bush Thing is, QM saves food; trailblazer saves time and food, as food is a multiple of time. He also saves food at much higher numbers than the QM does.

    I am assuming that both are important for the sake of this discussion, since the player says he’s interested in a ranger. I don’t want to short-change him by neglecting his ability to contribute.

    Mind you, end-of-day, QM isn’t that big a deal: the PC can always choose to focus on providing his services as a trailblazer first and foremost. I just want to make sure that this is a “QM actually doesn’t contribute much” thing, vs. a “I’m not understanding how rations work” thing.

  6. Chris Stone-Bush The text suggests the former, at least to me, but I agree that the latter seems like the bare minimum for a QM 10+ not to be borderline irrelevant.

  7. I looked through the book to see if I could find a clarification, but I couldn’t. Best I could find is the bit about distances being measured in rations. But I would still say that a 5-ration journey means each character needs to consume 5 rations. Not the whole party only consuming 5 rations. So a good roll by the quartermaster reduce that to a 4-ration journey, saving everyone a ration.

  8. Remember not to interpret the moves’ results purely mechanically. On a 10+ trailblazer, perhaps the PCs gain some advantage from an earlier than expected arrival.

    Similarly, on a 10+ QM, ask that player how they saved rations. Hunting/foraging on the road? Stumbled across a caravan and struck a good deal? Make it more than a simple die roll.

    Where QM gets really interesting though, is the failures. They don’t have to simply eat more. Instead, how did the QM mismanage the supplies and how did it affects the party? Food poisoning? Do predators smell the bacon? Did they buy casks of fetid water to save a penny?

    Make the rolls matter, and you make the roles matter.

  9. Perilous Wilds does something like what J Stein​ suggested. The Undertake a Perilous Journey move is broken into Scout Ahead, Navigate, and Manage Provisions.

    Scout Ahead gives 2 picks on a 10+, and 1 pick on a 7-9.
    – You notice a sign of danger

    – You discover something interesting

    – You discern a useful terrain feature

    – You get the drop on whatever’s ahead

    Navigate doesn’t reduce travel time at all, a 10+ gets you as far as you can before needing to make camp. On a 7-9, the GM chooses to present a danger, discovery, or slow the party down or get them lost.

    Manage Provisions either reduces rations used by 1 per person or gives +1 forward to everyone who eats on a 10+, and has no bonus or consequence on a 7-9.

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