A question and request for assistance with DW combat.

A question and request for assistance with DW combat.

A question and request for assistance with DW combat.

I love fiat initiative. Just go.

And I love that the moves carry fictional consequences. It lets me “evoke” player agency really easily. You jump out of the tree onto the ogre’s back and get an 8? Cool. You (maybe) don’t roll a damage die, but the ogre is now distracted and pissed because you’re hanging on it. And I can do that favor for every PC. (This is how I snowball combat, too.)

But I feel like I’m throwing outfield practice. During combat I (GM) get a LOT of spotlight. More than I want. The players are good; they describe actions and are invested. And the environment’s reaction to those things has to be brought to bear. But the PCs are throwing the ball back to me so I can throw it to the next person.

How do I avoid this? The answer seems to be “training” the players to not need me looking at someone and saying, “What do you do?” Maybe that can be built over time?

4 thoughts on “A question and request for assistance with DW combat.”

  1. Give them actionable choices instead of saying what happens. On that 8, ask them: ok you can jump on its back and distract him, or get it with your dagger, but you’ll be on your back on the ground. You choose, and tell me how it happens.

  2. Perfect. Love it when it’s right in the rules–I assumed I was botching something. This is my weak point for sure. 35 years of D&D will do that I guess.

  3. I think the GM role will always involve a bit more talking overall. If I need a quick breather, I’ll usually say something like “cool, what does that look like?” or “I’m curious, how does it feel to be a hawk in the middle of this combat?” You can encourage the players to narrate details that their character would experience, which both increases their investment in the narrative and gives you a short break from talking. This can include things happening in the world if you give them a basic context for the description: e.g. “Yeah, that kills the ogre; how does it go down?”

    Note that I don’t think you necessarily want the players to be throwing the ball between each other too much. The players looking to you is one of the triggers for making GM moves and making GM moves is what keeps things moving. You’re not just describing the immediate consequences of their action, but also making a move that follows. Granted, it can get a bit exhausting, but I think the real resolution to that is to take short breaks.

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