Interesting problem I detected: How would you handle these two things?

Interesting problem I detected: How would you handle these two things?

Interesting problem I detected: How would you handle these two things?

1) Sandboxy play: We had some group turnover recently (one of our members moved away; and we had a new member join this time as she just moved to the area): This was “session three” of a campaign, so there’s not been a ton of bond change:

– How would you handle the issue of a new player joining with new bonds, vs the older players with their bonds already set?

– How would you handle the issue of the bonds with the characters no longer attending the game, with new characters appearing in the game? (cross out the previous one, freeing it up for the new character, etc? Pull extra bonds out of supplements and books?)

2) We played for four hours and had a blast. Lots of drama, exploration, worldbuilding, politics, inter-character drama, high adventure and chases and action; …but there was no combat (just didn’t feel right given the players’ actions and decisions. I was thinking about shoe-horning one in the end, but it was really unnatural).

No problem, right? Well, the thing about Combat is that’s where the dice rolling goes from “maybe one roll per scene” to “many, many rolls in quick succession”, which leads to “high potential to fail a lot more” which leads to “more XP”.

In my situation, at the end of the session, since everyone was ON FIRE and just missed the opportunity for a bag of XP because I didn’t push a monster fight, I just told everyone to move up a level, flat out. It worked for the session, as a lot was accomplished, an “adventure” was complete and there was downtime int he end.

Still, was a tad unsatisfying. Any one else have other suggestions, or other alternative or supplemental XP award methods?


5 thoughts on “Interesting problem I detected: How would you handle these two things?”

  1. Andy Kitkowski You’ve addressed one of the issues I find with DW: it works beautifully for a dungeon crawl, but as a storytelling system it does tend to shortchange characters.

    There are two guidelines I use which I feel are well within the spirit of the rules which you may find helpful. I’ll try to relate them to your questions.

    First, let the fiction be your guide. In the case of bonds, I think it’s safe to assume that the characters may have lots of bonds with lots of other people, but the ones listed on their sheets are the ones relevant to the story.

    This being the case, when a player leaves and/or a new one joins, it’s reasonable to allow some reshuffling to make sure the bonds in play are the ones relevant to the game.

    Secondly, and at the GM’s discretion, experience is lived, not rolled. When the players take the initiative to add something of value to the fiction, work out puzzles or engage in captivating roleplay it it totally warranted to reward them in whatever currency makes sense within the fiction.

    It is as entertaining to outwit the evil demon as it is to fight him. It’s just as fun to engage in a battle of repartee as rapiers. Why should the players be penalized experience for adding to the fiction enjoyably?

    I hope these help! Congratulations on having such an awesome group!

  2. On 2) bonds, alignment, and the end of session questions can net a lot of XP at the end. You shouldn’t be hinging on failed rolls because those will begin to fade as stats go up.

  3. I’d be inclined to not short-circuit the leveling mechanic (though I also wouldn’t call it wrong), but instead consider that leveling doesn’t have to be the only source of goodies. If the session’s play suggests some other reward — even a new move, that should arise out of the fiction, I’d aim for that.

  4. Hey folks, thanks for the responses.

    Indeed, the end-of-session 3 questions are huge, as well as the alignment question; and we always “squint our eyes” or “accept metaphorical/allegorical results” for each of the 3 questions and alignment questions (so out of those 4, almost every player hits at least 3, if not all 4 of them). So no problems there.

    It’s just that with combat, there’s a lot going on in a short window, which means more dice rolls and also more opportunities for the players to defy danger with stats they’re not as good at (to both increase the drama/interesting things that happen, as well as aim for those Eeps!).

    In the last session (as well as many of my sessions, I think!) the single most rolled thing is often Discern Reality, because we all love how that leads to peeling away what’s going on, what’s happening next, and world exploration/creation. It usually happens 1-2 times per scene.

    But, at the same time, after thinking about it last night: I haven’t been pushing my two Fronts as much as I could have. I think in this last session one sort of appeared in the background (“their piece got put on the board”, basically), and the other ramped up a step (basically an Aztec Elf invasion, and I did show signs of their upcoming incursion); I think it just may be that, while I like to run sandboxy sessions, this last session was a piece in a bigger picture, and it just so happened that it was in the valley between two mountains of combat/action: In other words, it’s very likely the Next session we’ll see LOTS of combat (perhaps on two fronts!); and the session after will be back to a balance.

    In other words, it might “naturally sort itself out” in a session, and I just needed to sit tight.

    Still, I’m excited to hear more ideas and alternatives.

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