Does anyone have a “favorite” GM Move?

Does anyone have a “favorite” GM Move?

Does anyone have a “favorite” GM Move? My favorite is Put someone in a spot. I think tough choices really drive and/or reveal character, and I love to see how my players deal with them.

My most recent use (several months ago now, unfortunately) resulted when the thief missed a DD roll while attempting to sneak into an Orc camp to recover something the tribe had stolen. As he made his way through the camp he rounded a corner and two orc children playing in the mud with rocks looked up at him and he froze. He REALLY didn’t want to kill the children, but knew he had to deal with them so they wouldn’t betray his presence. At one point he even considered bolting and resorting to “Plan B” which was a full assault of the camp by the entire party.

In the end, not wanting to harm children (despite them being orcs), he poured all three doses of his Oil of Tagit onto his last 2 rations (I let them be apples instead “rations”) and offered them to the pair who gobbled them up instantly. The children quickly fell asleep and he carried them out of sight.

I later got to “Think Offscreen” and have the children wake and sound the alarm when I was given a Golden Opportunity right as the thief was grabbing the jeweled sword he was there to recover. END OF SESSION. I can’t wait to pick up there when (IF) we get to continue! He doesn’t know it yet, but the alarm will draw the other orcs away from his position, making his escape easier.

Anyway, that’s my favorite and why. Does anyone else have a “favorite” that they use often?

11 thoughts on “Does anyone have a “favorite” GM Move?”

  1. I’m glad you’re angling for the alarm to draw the orcs away from his position. If not, the lesson the player would take away is that he should’ve just killed the children — and that would bother me, if I were the player.

  2. Charles Gatz that’s why I’m doing it that way. I’m rewarding him for not killing them, but he doesn’t know that yet because we ended the session right as the alarm went off!

  3. And I’m glad you mentioned that Charles Gatz. When all is said and done I want to make sure he realizes that THAT’S why they’re being drawn away. It’s clear in my mind, but I need to put some thought into making sure he knows knows that, even if it’s something like the children pointing in the wrong direction (because they’re young and were just knocked out)…

  4. I’ve been trying out a “writer’s room approach”, after hearing it discussed in The Gauntlet community. Having a fictional way to convey that knowledge would be best, but if you can’t think of a way to make sense, maybe just mention it, like, “Unless you [player] can think of a fictionally appropriate way your character would know this, I’m just going to say that this is player knowledge, and I liked how you handled that situation.”

  5. Tell the consequences and ask. For almost every action they do – “we go to the store” cool, there’s an angry mob there yelling that might not let you through – still wanna go in? “We head north toward the cabin” cool, there’s a fresh rock slide between you and it, and it’s gonna be sketchy terrain getting there – still interested?

    I find it the best move for keeping choices meaningful.

  6. I think tell them the requirements or consequences and ask is probably the most important GM move, as it allows you get everyone on the same page and paint a rich, plausible world.

    But the most fun move is probably reveal an unwelcome truth.

    “Oh, you cast light but rolled a miss? Well, the light spell works… and reveals a bunch of awakened baboons in the trees ready to pounce on you!”

    “What should you be on the lookout for? Well, you rolled a 6- to Discern Realities, so I think that pressure plate you just stepped on is something you should’ve been on the lookout for, for sure.”

    “So you’re Spouting Lore to see what you know about quicksilver, but you rolled a miss? Well, why do you tell me about the quicksilver wretches that the slavers from the South sometimes had with them, and why they unnerved you so much?”

  7. I do love “tell them the requirements or consequences and ask”. It covers so much that other games demand a roll for, and it gives the GM something so much more interesting to say in a difficult or impossible situation than “no”.

    In a recent session, our Ranger followed a trail of clues to the Black Gates. On her way there, a throng of shades collected around her. When she reached the Gate, it was locked and there was no gatekeeper—the dead could not pass on.

    In that moment the player looked at me and said “what about this Super Holy Relic I have (the only thing we know of that can hurt this evil witch that is after us)? Can I use this to break the lock? What do I roll?”

    I never imagined they would use Super Holy Relic on the Black Gate, and I had to think about it. “What do I roll?”

    Well, she didn’t have Bend Bard Lift Gates, and it didn’t seem to fit Defying Danger. But it seemed like the Super Holy Relic should be able to do something here.

    Then it dawned on me. Tell them the consequences and ask.

    “You don’t have to roll anything. You can use it to break the lock, but you will shatter the Relic as well. What do you do?”

    The player anguished over that decision for a third of the session—and she did it! It really created a meaningful and engaging decision point that we were all gripped by.

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