I’ve been tinkering a lot with the basic and special moves recently, for use in #Stonetop.

I’ve been tinkering a lot with the basic and special moves recently, for use in #Stonetop.

I’ve been tinkering a lot with the basic and special moves recently, for use in #Stonetop. Figured folks might like to see where I’m at. Questions & feedback appreciated.

High-level changes, for those who don’t feel like poring over it in detail:

Aid and Interfere: replaced with two separate moves; no longer tied to bonds

Defend: unchanged

Defy Danger: slight tweaks to descriptions on when you use each stat; removed the “stumble, hesitate, or flinch” statement

Discern Realities: super minor tweak (“Who or what is really in control here?”)

Hack & Slash: rephrased the 10+ for clarity; mechanically unchanged

Parley: no more talk of leverage or promises; very close to the AW 2e Seduce/Manipulate

Spout Lore: you have to explain where you could have learned this before you roll (as opposed to asking you after the fact), so that the GM can couch their answer in those terms… this is very Stonetop specific; I wouldn’t necessarily advise it for most DW games)

Volley: rephrased the trigger to apply to thrown/non-aimed weapons; changed “take what you can get” to roll twice and take the lower; removed the descriptive “have to take multiple shots” from the lose 1 Ammo option (because reconciling that with reload sucks)

Struggle as One: new basic move, for defying danger as a group

And more changes to the Special moves than I care to write out. Plus the Follower Moves (originally seen in Perilous Wilds, but originally written for Stonetop).

(Layout by the esteemed Jason Lutes!)


11 thoughts on “I’ve been tinkering a lot with the basic and special moves recently, for use in #Stonetop.”

  1. Aid: “If you get accept,” is a typo.

    I like the flavor, but 3d6-keep the best two gives an average of 9, so this would be the equivalent of a +2. Might be too much.

    Volley: For a thrown weapon, how about replacing “reduce your ammo by 1” with “the weapon is broken or lost for good (otherwise, you can recover it). I’ve always felt thrown weapons were a little weak in this regard.

    Last Breath: Interesting change. I like it, but could we have some examples of how your brush with death has marked you? Also, please specify what a “bad spot” entails. Are you unconscious, or can you get right back up on a hit?

  2. Peter J the [b2]3d6 on Aid has been working fine, but I’m keeping an eye on it.

    Regarding Volley & thrown weapons: maybe? I’ve never really felt it was a problem.

    Regarding Death’s Door… the “mark” could be anything: a scar, a lost limb, nightmares, a connection to the Dead, and lingering curse, etc.

    As for “in a bad spot,” that’s straight-up the same language as in Last Breath, and I think it’s brilliantly and appropriately vague. Whether or not your conscious or not, or when and if you get regain consciousness, it’s all up to the fiction and pacing. I think that’s spot on.

  3. I really like your changes.

    Peter J IMHO the +2 equivalent for rolling the extra d6 when Aiding is offset by the fact that that version of assistance has to be done in advance of the roll, and you automatically expose yourself to the consequences. It looks like it would work well. It also looks like it would scale up nicely – several players could aid the same action, each rolling a d6 and the player doing the action has several d6 results to choose between when deciding which to substitute into their roll, without it inflating the actual range of the result.

    In the “Call for Assistance” follower move, it says “When you Hack and Slash or Volley with the assistance of a follower, roll all your damage dice and use the highest die.” So that means you roll the damage dice of everyone doing the attack (the PC and the follower(s)) and then keep the highest die result? I’d find it slightly clearer if it said “use the highest die result.”

    Can I also suggest a small amendment to the Parley move – “say what you want them to do, give them a convincing reason, and roll +CHA”. I feel that’s not as front-loaded as the leverage requirement in the original Parley move, but it does explicitly call out the GM judgement call about whether parley should be rolled in the move text, so it doesn’t become mind control. As written, a player could give an unconvincing reason which was nonetheless true.

  4. Aaron Griffin we’ve used this Interfere in play twice so far. First time, the Seeker tried to keep the Would-be Hero from getting belligerent with a band of slavers. Rolled+WIS to interfere (cuz he totally saw it coming) and biffed. I basically chose to separate them… the Seeker grabbed for her she shrugged it off and he lost her balance, and she stepped up and gave a blistering speech that provoked a fight.

    The second time, the Fox (rogue) was moving forward to investigate a grove of sacred trees that had been corrupted by a sorcerous ogre (to Discern Realities). The Would-be Hero thought this was a bad idea and interfered, grabbing him and pulling him back away from the grove (rolling+STR). Got a 7-9, and the Fox chose to relent but the WBH was off balance/exposed. So the WBH is standing between the Fox and grove, barring the Fox’s way, and the Fox sees the nearest tree’s branches lurch and reach for the WBH. This prompts the Fox to Defy Danger to tackle the WBH out of the way, and he gets a 7-9 and succeeds but gets grabbed himself. It was actually a pretty cool scene, with each of them looking out for the other.

    Only downside I’ve noticed is: what if the Interfere gets rolled after the move they’re trying to Interfere with? That happened in the example above! And the Fox had rolled a 5 to Discern Realities, so of course he relented.

    Not sure how big of a problem that actually is. In actual PC vs. PC conflict, there should be a fairly careful discussion of who’s doing what. And in this case, it basically served as a way for the WBH to “save” the Fox from his own miss, by putting herself in danger instead. That might be exploitable, and I’ll keep an eye on it, but I think it’s probably okay.

  5. I prefer this simplified Parley to your new revision 4, with the adjustment that Robert Rendell specified above I think it’s perfect. It’s not mind control if it’s unreasonable and the move doesn’t trigger! 🙂 I also still think the name of the move is a misnomer now, but there may be too much baggage associated with the move to rename it.

  6. Can only one player Aid? It doesn’t say – which suggests everyone could dogpile for Aid, which disincentivises playing with less than loads of players. There’s also the other issue that when we’ve had several people trying to Aid, we could always have the people who asked last roll to Aid the next helper in line. There’s a further problem that now any Aid for Defy Danger ALSO triggers Struggle As One. So now there will be an argument at the table because both moves trigger at the same time.

    I like a lot of the rewording. Aid is fairly confusing though and Struggle As One makes a complete mess of the existing moves. I like to hand the narrative back to the player after they roll well, but with Struggle As One they have to sit there and suffer my monologue because it’s such a messy solution.

  7. Aaron Steed, as a rule, yes, only one person can Aid (same as in the standard Aid/Interfere move… it’s not in the text of the move, but it’s in the detailed description). I can imagine cases where I might let multiple PCs aid before the roll, taking the highest D6 among them but exposing everyone to the consequences (e.g. 3 PCs wracking their brains on a subject in order to Spout Lore), but it’d definitely be an exception and not the rule.

    In play, it’s not complicated at all.

    * You announce that you want to Aid before the dice hit the table? Cool, get involved and roll a d6. They can swap one of their dice for yours if they like. But now you’re involved.

    * You want to Aid after the dice hit the table? It’s only going to matter on an edge case (a 6 or 9 or maybe an 11), and the GM gets to make a hard bargain with you.

    It’s actually way, way more streamlined in play than the original Aid move, where you have to juggle and interpret the results of two separate rolls.

    I’ll look at the wording, though. Might be able to tighten it up.

    Regarding Struggle As One: I hear what you’re saying, and I’ve scratched my head a bit about to clarify the trigger for it. When it’s used, it’s actually super elegant in play:

    * GM describes the obstacle/threat/danger, asks the party as a whole “what do y’all do about this?”

    * We establish that they’re tackling this as a group, and call for the roll

    * If everyone gets a 7+, there’s just a brief description (if any at all) and cut to the next scene/situation

    * If anyone gets a 6-, we zoom in on them (and the player gets to frame how they’ve screwed up/gotten in trouble). Folks with a 10+ get to narrate saving the day.

    * If there’s a 6-, and no one is able to mitigate it, we stay zoomed in on that situation and it’s normal play.

    You don’t do much (if any) GM narration on good rolls. If everyone succeeds, you can just be like “Okay, cool, everyone makes it across the rickety bridge just fine. You’re at the mouth of the cavern, a yawning black pit that swallows up the light. What do you do?”

    Or, if you want more detail, you ask the players some questions. “Cool, everyone makes it across just fine, but there was a tight moment there. What happened?”

    As for when it triggers, I’ve used for all of these:

    * There’s a big, treacherous ravine that everyone needs to climb down (everyone aced it, next scene!)

    * Three of the PCs are running through the woods, back to the village, trying to get to the Blessed’s sacred spear and rejoin the party before the sun sets. The Blessed rolls a 6- and is just totally out of breath. The Would-be Hero rolls a 10+ and describes how she keeps him talking, keeps him going, keeps pacing himself. The ranger rolls a 6- and says she twists her ankle. “Go on without me,” she says! So the party gets (further) split up.

    * The PCs set out toward Titan Bones during the dead of winter, to light the signal fire and summon the Hillfolk and warn them that there’s a sorcerer on the loose! I tell them that it’ll be cold and arduous, that they risk exhausting themselves or their supplies. I’m expecting this to be Struggle as One, but they build a bonfire and the Seeker brandishes the Azure Hand to suck it up and carry it with them, and rolls well enough that it works. They’re travelling with a blazing bonfire staff, so they’re toasty warm! (I probably had the Seeker defy danger himself, the danger being that he’d drop the staff or accidentally burn something, but if I did, he nailed it.)

    * The PCs have summoned their Hillfolk neighbors and warned them about the sorcerer. Etiquette demands that they share a meal and swap stories with the Hillfolk, rather than just say “see ya.” But there’s a lot that the PCs don’t want to reveal to the Hillfolk, and a lot of tension, a lot of ways things could go wrong. So we use Struggle as One with CHA. The Seeker biffs it and ends up telling a terrible, inappropriate, offensive story and the Heavy (his best friend) gets a 10+ and bails him out, passing the Seeker off as a senile old man who doesn’t know any better. The Would-be Hero, however, biffs the roll and decides that she accidentally reveals her identity as the daughter of the biggest slave-lord among the Hillfolk, a figure reviled and hated by all the other bands. No one’s able to bail her out, so we zoom in on that interaction and watch things devolve.

    I do admit that the trigger is wonky and probably needs some work. It’s more a move that the GM calls for based on wanting to handle a threat in the abstract. As such, it might be better placed as a Special Move (rather than a Basic). But when its invoked, it works quite well.

  8. I like the Aid/Interfere in the Fourth World Dungeon World Seed, it goes like:

    Aid or Interfere

    is move replaces the Dungeon World move of the same name. When you help or hinder someone, say how. You may do so either before or a er they have rolled, but before the outcome of their action is known. If you do it…

    • …using brute force, roll+STR

    • …with speed, agility, or physical nesse, roll+DEX

    • …with vitality, toughness, or vigor, roll+con

    • …through emotional manipulation, roll+CHA

    • …through analysis, logic, or book-learning, roll+INT • …some other way, roll+WIS

    On a hit, they take +1 or –2 to their roll, your choice. On a 10+, you also choose two from the following list:

    • you do not expose yourself to danger, retribution, or cost

    • instead of taking +1, they take +X, where X is the stat you rolled

    to aid them.

    • in addition to taking -2, they take -X, where X is the stat you rolled

    to hinder them.

    • you gain a karma point

    the karma point thing is just for Earthdawn, but I think this is a much better format for aid and interfering with another move.

  9. I really like your revamped Aid and will be using it going forward. One thought I had thought: what if everything stays the same but you add modifier where appropriate? For example, someone is trying to keep a large object from falling on them by pushing it out of the way (Defy Danger with a +STR). Then the hulky barbarian in the group decides to jump in and add his strength as well. What if you did the extra die roll plus his STR modifier? It might encourage players to jump in when they can make a strong contribution, because they get to show off their special talents.

  10. Anthony Dunn adding a second modifier to the mix would make Aid ridiculously effective.

    Like, letting the barbarian aid roll d6+STAT and replace one of your d6s? That shifts the bonus from something like a +2ish on average (which is what the “advantage” did gives, and which is already really high) to more like +3ish to +6ish. Aiding in advance would become a no brained whenever you could pull it off fictionally, because you’d skew the probability so far that you were never really risking anything.

    As for adding the mod (instead of a flat +1) when you Aid after the roll, it massively increases the window in which Aid might have an effect. A retroactive +1 can change the outcome of a roll about 25% of the time. A +2 or a +3 could shift it much more often, making rolls less about taking risks and more about negotiating who can help and what’s it cost.

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