Recently I found myself struggling with the “Down Time” moves in DW.

Recently I found myself struggling with the “Down Time” moves in DW.

Recently I found myself struggling with the “Down Time” moves in DW. Bolster, Recover, Supply, etc. are all fairly boring “non-moves” that just describe how things happen. There is no trigger, just a lot of GM handwaving when people come to a consensus that “yeah we take a few days off” (or shudder, a month). In addition, so many of the downtime moves are so straightforward, I thought they could just be combined into one comprehenseive move.

SO! I made an “R&R” party move! Let me know what you think!

“When your party takes some time off, roll + days spent. Every player should choose one from the list. Only one roll needs to happen for the entire party. Regardless of outcome, the party heals completely and can purchase any readily available items.

– Restful Care: On 10+, heal 2 debilities. On 7-9, heal 1 debility.

– Preparations: On 10+, gain 2 hold. Spend hold to add +1 to any roll (max +1). On 7-9, gain +1 forward.

– Shopping: On 10+, discover how to obtain a hard to get item. On 7 – 9, you discover something similar, but not quite what you wanted.

– Catching up: On a 10+, find someone you know. On 7-9, you find them, but things are complicated

Remember, your enemies don’t take time off. Things deteriorate without your intervention, but on a miss, your enemies make significant progress in their goals…”

12 thoughts on “Recently I found myself struggling with the “Down Time” moves in DW.”

  1. Interesting… allow me to piggy-back on this by throwing another issue I’ve run into w/ my group: selling loot, both magical and mundane, but valuable. They haven’t tried to sell magical loot yet, but they do have a gem worth “about” 800 coins… I had the player roll + CHA, and don’t recall the exact result, (I think it was a miss, but I didn’t want to hit them with a hard move when I just wanted to get this bookkeeping stuff out of the way), but the player wasn’t happy with the result I gave him, “you find a buyer, but he’s only willing to pay 400 coins for it”, so he kept it, and they’re frustrated by not having enough coin to comfortably pay for inn stays/etc, but swimming in minor valuables.

  2. Charles Gatz hmm, interesting. I think I wouldn’t make selling a move, unless it was illegal goods that they need to fence. Or you could actually just barter with them and not roll. Plus, your players are just being silly. They have money, they are just greedy.

  3. Good points, what do you mean by “actually just barter with them”, like play out an interaction w/ a merchant? I can’t say that sounds like fun.

    As to how they knew, I don’t have a GM screen, and they roll all the dice, so when they had a treasure roll and I had them roll a d8 or something, I simply didn’t want to have to keep track of that myself, my notes are for names and answers to questions, not tracking things like “opal, 800 coin, orc bone necklace, X coin…” Not to mention, all the valuables they’re finding on the orcs are normally hard to find a buyer for (who wants fancy orc “art”?), but with the horde approaching the major city, the supply of such things will also probably increase. They were actually trying to bargain outlying city leadership to pay them per slain orc (like, for ears? yeah…) I wasn’t too pleased with this, and the PCs thought 1 coin per wasn’t worth it, so they basically fled to the major city.

    How do you handle “get stuff appraised”? The extra bookkeeping might be worth it, to be more simulationist (they’re all trad players, first time trying something new), and avoid the “400 isn’t a good enough deal, I guess we’ll just stay coin-poor” problem.

  4. Charles Gatz​​ Is the characters going through danger to get treasure and then not being able to do anything with it an interesting outcome? They’ve already made a lot of rolls to get the treasure; making another one to see if they really got the treasure just seems like not being a fan. The purpose of valuables is to be valuable; you need a really good reason to take that off the table.

    Tl;dr: just let them sell the loot. If they’re rich and feel poor because you won’t let them feel rich, you’re probably doing something wrong.

    Greg Soper​​ I disagree that all of those moves are boring. Recover is something that you need after a long and bloody adventure (after which you’ve more than earned a few days or weeks off, no need to “shudder” over it). Your version is the same thing, you just made a roll out of it, which doesn’t really do anything aside from potentially screwing them out of their recovery. Would you make them roll to drink a potion or Make Camp, too?

    Making everything one roll is a bad call. If everyone is doing something different, they shouldn’t arbitrarily have the same kind of results.

    Bolster is pretty dull, but that’s just because +1 moves are pretty dull. And a +1 forward from a downtime move like you suggest seems like really poor payoff.

    Your version of Supply just takes one of the options off the table. That makes it less interesting. Pretty dull change!

    Catching Up is the only move here that brings something kind of new to the table, but even it doesn’t really create any new action. You find someone you know; so what? What happens as a result of finding them? Focus on answering that question and you could have something cool.

    Other than that, I think you’re trying to solve a non problem (PCs taking time off to rest and recharge). If they want to take time off, embrace it! It’s a golden opportunity to advance your Fronts, it can give the other characters something to do while the Wizard performs a Ritual that takes a month to complete, and it gives everyone the opportunity to get to know the people of the town they’re resting in. You know, so it’ll sting more when you threaten them later!

    I’d take a step back and think about downtime again. It’s not as bad as you seem to think it is.

  5. James Etheridge Thanks for those points. I will say that I envisioned this move to be used more as a “quick refresh” move than a “resting between successful campaigns” move. If the players just got their asses handed to them, they could use this to try and get ready to make another go at the castle.

    Players are guaranteed to recover their health, it just comes down to what they’d like to do in addition.

    Making each player roll is certainly feasible. It does make more sense.

    I could easily make the wording of Supply more closely match the original.

    I think maybe a more core issue that I have is that there just isn’t a lot of GM inspiration in the RAW text when it comes to “taking time off”. It is simply described as “this happens when you rest for these arbitrary amounts of time”. In addition, there isn’t a clear trigger that makes a pretty party focused activity come into play. I feel that by condensing the various “non-moves” into a triggered, party focused move, the players can clearly see the potential benefits of resting.

  6. I see your point that it doesn’t give a lot to the GM fictionally to work with, but it’s not for the GM to trigger. The players should be describing the fiction of what they are doing during their R&R. It could be anything, but you listen for the triggers: “go to buy something with gold on hand” “do nothing but rest in comfort and safety” “spend your leisure time in study, meditation, or hard practice”. It’s on the players to describe something fictionally interesting to trigger the moves, not the GM.

    Unfortunately, I also struggle to see how your version makes it less boring. Seems to just be combining them and then adding some crunch, no additional fictional descriptions required. In fact, it requires less fiction from the players because they just have to say they are taking some and R&R and then pick from a list. This takes them out of describing a scene of what their character is actually doing, which in my opinion is what adds interest.

    Doesn’t feel like the place to add a role because the players shouldn’t feel like they are taking a risk when resting. Fronts continuing to progress is enough here.

  7. Andrew Alwood In discussions with others over on the Discord Channel (shameless plug), I’ve come to the conclusion that the issue isn’t about condensing, but rather messaging. The “Downtime” moves are just lumped in with every other special move. I find that for new players, the concept of taking time off is very jarring, so without a clear trigger (that the party decides to take time off collectively), when does one get time to rest for 3 days to a month? Many players will simply wait for the GM to give them something to do. Better formatting and expectations could help with that.

  8. Greg Soper A fair point. It’s not codified in the rules. It puts it on the GM to assist the players in knowing the special moves enough to understand what is allowable in the fiction.

    However, I’m not sure your current move, as drafted, would eliminate this need. The GM would still be required to show them your suggested move, or the three separate ones.

    The messaging issue could be solved by laying out a couple print outs of the special moves when the players arrive in town and asking them: “what are each of you getting up to while in town?”

  9. For Shopping how about includiing the Prosperity into the Shopping moves roll?

    Dirt: -3

    Poor: -2

    Moderate: -1

    Wealthy: 0 (Any mundane item can be found for sale. Most kinds of skilled labourers are available, but demand is high for their time. )

    Rich: +1

  10. Wanted to thank people for feedback. You are definitely correct. I feel that I have identified a real issue (even if it is minor), but creating a single move is not the correct solution.

    I do believe that simple reformatting, re-labelling, and setting expectations in regards to “town-time” would definitely help out newer players.

Comments are closed.