11 thoughts on “Can you give me some examples of when you used the GM move ‘Make them backtrack’ and it worried well?”

  1. The party is about to face the final boss, they roll a 6 … big reveal: the evil mastermind behind everything is not the “final boss”, that’s just a henchman. The REAL evil mastermind is the kind NPC that helped the party a few sessions back.

  2. I thought this was a dungeon move, not a basic GM move. In a dungeon, “make them backtrack” is basically a “you find evidence that what you want is back on the other side of that chasm where you destroyed the bridge to keep the goblins away”

  3. After slowly and tensely sneaking past a sleeping Giant the party made it into a passage way that later collapsed due to a failed roll. Not only did they have to backtrack, but they were afraid the noise of the collapsing passage way had awoken the Giant (which I didn’t even think about, but of course it DID wake the Giant because that’s what they were concerned about).

  4. Aaron Griffin you were posting your reply as I was typing mine so I didn’t see it. After I saw yours I went back and reread “Make Them Backtrack” and I see that my example wasn’t exactly what the move calls for (but it was fun in play lol).

    From page 169:

    Make them backtrack

    Look back at the spaces you’ve added to the map. Is there anything useful there as yet undiscovered? Can you add a new obstacle that can only be overcome by going back there? Is there a locked door here and now whose key lies in an earlier room?

    When backtracking, show the effect that time has had on the areas they’ve left behind. What new threats have sprung up in their wake? What didn’t they take care of that’s waiting for their return?

    Use this move the make the dungeon a living, breathing place. There is no stasis in the wake of the characters’ passing. Add reinforcements, cave in walls, cause chaos. The dungeon evolves in the wake of the characters’ actions.

    Here, too, is a link to a doc i created that has all 7 dungeon moves on 1 page for easy reference.

    docs.google.com – Dungeon Moves

  5. The example that is here about the locked door whose key lies in an earlier room seems problematic. If I put a locked door in front of a party, they will try to lock pick it or bash it open. I imagine they will feel off put if I railroad the problem by saying something like ‘Nope, it can only open with a key. Hey didn’t you see a key 3 rooms back?’

  6. Andrew Huffaker that’s how I’ve always used it. In the case of the Giant I was just going to have them try to sneak past it again, but it was much more satisfying to have the Giant be awake the second time around.

    But you can also add new threats to an already explored area by making the party go back for some reason. I think it’s good practice to reread the moves occasionally because after rereading them to make the Doc above I have been using most of them non-optimally LOL!

  7. Andrew Huffaker a locked door doesn’t necessarily mean “a door with a lock” and a key doesn’t necessarily mean “a metal key used to unlock a door”.

    The door could be “locked” magically, and they “key” to opening it is a series of runes carved into the base of that statue they stole the sword from…

  8. I need to do a thorough reread myself. I was watching a DW Actual Play the other day and some of the things I saw made me reread some parts of the book. A couple times I realized “oh wow, I’ve been doing that wrong!” I have another 3 hour flight coming up, hopefully I can pour over the book again on the flight!

  9. It’s also: “this way is shut to you now, better find another way.”

    Example from play (normal DW, not Stonetop): the PCs were investigating a ruined/haunted manor, with a bunch of tunnels and mines beneath it. After a series of biffed rolls, they find themselves waking from unconsciousness and hanging upside-down in some wizard’s lair.

    In the process of escaping, the Fighter Bends Bars/Lifts Gates and damages something important, the supports of the room. The druid turns into a blue whale (or something equally huge and unlikely) and further damages those supports. The room begins to crumble (put them in a spot) and they flee out the secret passage that leads outside while the rooms they were in collapse.

    The druid tries to use Elemental Mastery to get the spirits of the earth to reopen the collapse passages, but rolls a 7-9 and chooses to retain control. But that means the effect doesn’t come to pass and he pays nature’s price. The earth spirits are angry at him for calling on them so soon after the previous use of this power, and without having made tangible progress towards the task they gave him (a previous nature’s price). So they refuse to open the collapsed passage (and start to petrify his arm as a punishment), but they don’t, y’know, get out of control and wreak further havoc on the tunnels.

    In the end, I tell them that this path is now shut off… they’ll have to go back to either the main tunnel entrance (which they know is guarded by a bunch of orcs) or approach the manor from the surface (which they are hesitant to do, because they know the evil presence in the tower sees everything that happens above ground for miles and miles.

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