Thinking about a move that covers “the adventure so far” for my first game. Comments and ideas are welcome.

Thinking about a move that covers “the adventure so far” for my first game. Comments and ideas are welcome.

Thinking about a move that covers “the adventure so far” for my first game. Comments and ideas are welcome.

The hunt for the smoke giant

Three weeks ago you witnessed the first attack. You saw an entire village consumed by flames and smoke, and you were certain you noticed a vaguely humanoid form emerge from all that dark mist. You decided to take arms and deal with that, as you don’t want something like that to happen to another village.

As you researched about it and talked to some wisemen, roll +CHA or +WIS (depending on how you approached the problem). With 10+ pick two; with 7-9 pick one; with 6- you found nothing useful.

= Receive +1 forward against the creature

= Name one thing you discovered about the creature that is not true.

What do you think?

21 thoughts on “Thinking about a move that covers “the adventure so far” for my first game. Comments and ideas are welcome.”

  1. I have concerns! In the move, you tell the PC what they observed, what they inferred from it, then put them on rails to go and discover it. This doesn’t read like you are paying to find out.

    Similarly, you say this is for a first game. I wouldn’t start a game like this. Maybe start them fighting the creature, or on the road after the village burns. Either way, play to find out what happens.

    Sent from mobile. Please excuse the brevity.

  2. William Nichols, the idea is having the fight scene as the first one. But one of the questions I’ll ask them is “Why have you decided to confront this creature?” (the preamble is just for context). Is there a better way to tackle this?

  3. So, you start them … with the village burning? With a fight to try to save the village? Confronting a monster they cannot possibly stop that burns the village and flees, then they must decide to pursue?

    Definitely start in media res, yeah. Dungeon World works well that way. The problem with “Why have you decided to confront the creature?” is it makes a decision for the players — that they have decided to confront them. It removes their say-so, rather than encouraging it.

    “The people of the village beg you to find the monster and protect them. What do you do?” is one other way to go.

    And maybe they won’t go fight the monster! PCs are unpredictable, and that’s part of playing to find out.

  4. I don’t know if this adventure will be just a one-shot or if it’ll become bigger. Considering this, I’ve decided to present the situation as “the story so far” in order to give them some background on what’s happening. What comes from that, we’ll play to find out. 😉

    By the way, “confronting a monster they cannot possibly stop” will be mitigated by naming something they discover it’s not true about the creature. Maybe it’s not true the monster is impervious to metal, maybe it’s not true it wants to destroy the village… I don’t know. My players will tell me.

  5. I’m going to disagree slightly with William Nichols here and say I am OK with the question “Why have you decided to confront the creature?” Yes, it does dictate the characters’ course of action somewhat, but it allows the players to say why they are doing it. In previous games I’ve used similar questions to good effect. It hints at a goal and gives the players a direction, but lets them chose how they go about it.

    However, I do agree with that it is a bad idea to dictate what the characters saw, what they inferred, and how they responded. Definitely do not do that.

    If you want to have the fight as the first scene Marcelo Paschoalin, then make it a fight scene. Start the game in the burning village with the giant right there. That’s exciting!

    Also, don’t make moves that have “nothing happens” as a possible result. That’s boring, and it dead ends the game. The game and the narrative should always move forward regardless of what the players roll.

  6. Chris Stone-Bush As per usual, we disagree in minor ways that mean I would like to play in your games, and would very much welcome you to play in my own. The diversity of opinion would increase my own capability, and I hope mine would do the same for you.

    Which is to say: We have some disagreement, but I am pretty sure your view is out of a place of experience and joy and that makes me happy.

  7. Chris Stone-Bush (and everyone else), how would you change this move in order to make it more exciting? This is the first move I’m creating, so I’m pretty sure I rolled a 6- in my “Create a New Move” move…

  8. Yeah, Marcelo Paschoalin , Chris Stone-Bush is absolutely right and I missed that: the 6- result should never be “nothing happens”. Never ever ever.

    A 6- should result in as hard a move as you want. If you as move designer want to decide how strong that is, then put it in the 6- line. Otherwise, it needs to be a golden opportunity for the GM.

  9. I see. But you are missing the point (or, probably, I am not expressing myself clear enough since English is not my first language): it’s up to the players dictate what is not true. I don’t know anything about the creature but its raw stats: I’m allowing the players to create the creature with me using this movement.

  10. That is a very classy response William Nichols. Cheers! 😀

    That the fact this could be a one-shot game means you can provide more backstory to jump start things Marcelo Paschoalin. When I’ve run one shots or con games in the past, I ask one leading question per player to provide backstory. The questions are worded so that they establish facts I feel need to be true, but also let the players contribute.

    For example:

    – “Wizard, in addition to being impervious to metal, what else do your ancient tomes say about smoke giants?”

    – “Ranger, what do the tracks of the smoke giant look like?”

    – “Fighter, what has your training taught you is the weakest part of a giant?”

    And so on.

  11. I nearly always leave the 6- results of my moves blank Marcelo Paschoalin. That allows me (or whomever might be running the game) to make whatever GM move they feel is appropriate for the situation. Only in very rare, very specific cases do I write a 6- clause.

    I wouldn’t make this a move at all. Instead I would just ask the players questions. When running a one-shot, especially for new players, the first move I make is Undertake a Perilous Journey as the characters get to the adventure site.

  12. I think the problem we all have comes down to the oddity of the moves structure.

    >Its set in the past rather than currently happening.

    >It explicitly says nothing happens on a fail. When thats the time for bad things to happen.

    >And the move is assuming alot from the players without detailing thier responsibilities.

    A rewrite:

    When you research a topic regarding the strange black mist

    If you research by old documents and scholarly activities, Roll+INT

    If you ask around the inner circles of oldtimers and hobbiests, Roll+CHA

    7+ You have learned something that is not true. What is it?

    10+ You gain a +1 forward when acting on this information.

    6- The information you gather is contradictory and misleading. Name two things that are not true. One of them is in fact true. Take -1 forward when acting on this information.

    Or you can leave the 6- [BLANK]

  13. Imma throw in with Chris Stone-Bush on this one: asking the characters why they’ve decided to hunt the thing down is totally fair. It’s really no different than starting them at the door to a dungeon and asking “what are you hoping to find here?”

    In my experience, the best way to kick off a game is to present an interesting location as a given, and ask questions of the PCs that establish the following:

    1) Motive: why are you here? what are you hoping to find? why is it so important?

    2) Danger: what have you heard lurks here? what dangers did you have to get past? what do the rumors say about ?

    3) Urgency: who else is looking for it? what will happen if you don’t find them soon? who is waiting anxiously for you return?

    Tailor the questions as you like, to set tone or to imply details. E.g. asking “Why have you followed Dougl, that dog, to this cesspit of a city?” leads to a very different feel than “What are you hoping to find in the Temple of the Three Vipers, and who sent you to retrieve it?” But both assume an interesting location and prompt the PCs for motive.

  14. Marcelo Paschoalin I think I’d do something like this:

    The hunt for the smoke giant

    Three weeks ago you witnessed the first attack. You saw an entire village consumed by flames and smoke, and you were certain you noticed a vaguely humanoid form emerge from all that dark mist.

    Which one of you vowed vengeance on this creature, to hunt it to the ends of the earth? What moved you so?

    Whoever makes the vow, they hold 3 Vendetta. They can spend 1 Vendetta at any time, to turn a miss they have rolled into a 7-9, but only if they describe how their vengeance keeps them going.

    Who among you picked through the ruins, trying to learn what happened? Roll+WIS. On a 10+, answer 2 of the questions below, and tell us how you came to know that? On a 7-9, answer 1. On a 6-, answer 1, but also tell us why this is so much worse than it first appears.

    * What manner of creature was this giant: a savage brute, an elemental spirit, a fiend from beyond, or something entirely different?

    * Aside from its strength and size, what terrifying power does it appear to posses?

    * What does it seem to fear or shun?

    Who among you helped the survivors, bleeding and burnt and sick with horror? Roll+CHA. On a 10+, pick 2. On a 7-9, pick 1. On a 6-, pick 1 but also tell us who you couldn’t save, and why that haunts you so.

    * A grieving father gifts you with the shield of his fallen son, who stood against the beast. It is strangely untouched by the flames.

    * The old wise-woman tells you a charm, which will hide you from evil spirits for as long as you whisper it aloud

    * A young woman, her family killed, wishes to join you. A steely fire burns in her eyes.

    Now, three weeks later, you find yourself looking up at the crumbled ruins on a fire-scorched mountainside. You’ve tracked the creature here. But answer me these…

    * What other atrocity has the creature left in its wake?

    * Who else is looking for this creature, and why do you fear that they will find it first?

    * Aside from the creature you hunt, what other dangers are known to lurk in this area?

    * According to your studies, what civilization left these ruins here, and what sort of place do the scholars say they once were?

    * Why are you certain the creature is here, in these ruins?

    * What was that noise you just heard, in the half-burned brush to your left?

    * What do you do?

  15. Marcelo Paschoalin the stalwart fighter move is a great example… but I don’t think it’s enough! It only sets the tone for one PC. You’d want to do something like that for each PC… or at least a few of them.

    If I’m writing “love letters” like that, I want everyone to be involved.

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