Hey everyone!

Hey everyone!

Hey everyone! I’m a fairly new GM for Dungeon World, and PbtA games in general. This week, I’ll be running my 6th DW game, and what would be around my 20th PbtA game, and I was wondering how people felt about using a move from one PbtA game to port into this one. Specifically, I run an infrequent City of Mist game and I wanted to talk about the Investigate move (which will be listed below for those unfamiliar.

My first question is this: Would porting this move into DW take away from a move like Discern Realities?

I’ve been operating, and have expressed this to my players, under the idea that Discern Realities isn’t quite the DW equivalent of DnD’s perception roll, but more like an investigation skill check if we’re talking DW-DnD comparisons. For one, I’m making those comparisons because I came from running Pathfinder, and additionally all of my DW players are use to doing DnD or DnD-esque game, so this is me just framing it in a way that we’re already familiar with.

My second question, which might be answered in the first, is in porting this over, should I just disregard Discern Realities? Is it a good idea to even do so?

The move as written in City of Mist (the +Power part would change if I did port it over to CHA or WIS or whatever to fit what the PC is doing):

When you use your abilities to seek answers to burning questions, roll+power. On a hit, you uncover as many Clues as your Power. Spend your Clues 1-to-1 to ask the MC a question about the subject of your investigation or ask another player a relevant question about their character. They must give you either a straight answer or a solid lead. On a 7-9, they can also choose 1:

-Your investigation exposes you to danger.

-The Clues you get are fuzzy, incomplete, or part-true part-false.

-Whoever or whatever you are asking the question(s) can ask you one question as well. You answer on the same terms.

6 thoughts on “Hey everyone!”

  1. Well written Moves serve the purpose of channeling the groups’ conversation, their fiction, into scenes evocative of the genre being emulated or empowered by the ruleset. When asking whether or not you can simply drop another PbtA style Move into your game, interrogate what kind of scenes it is forcing you into, and ask if those serve the Agenda, Principles, and Tone of your game.

    Does it suit the game and your table to, on a success, make getting answers dangerous? Because by default, Discern Reality does not imperil you on a 7-9.

    Does it suit the game and your table to, on a success, withhold information from the characters? Because, by default, Discern Realities gives limited but solidly actionable information on a 7-9.

    Does it suit the game and your table to, on a success, see characters involuntarily revealing themselves in some way or another to other forces? Because, by default, Discern Realities does not require PCs expose their own secrets on a 7-9.

    Looking at it this way, City of Mist certainly seems to tone down the heroics that otherwise inhabit Dungeon World — characters are, even when they succeed, having some would say harsh demands thrust upon them. This suits the tone of CoM, certainly, with its hard-bitten, two-fisted, dirty, noir aesthetic… but, you must ask if that is how you would describe your Dungeon World, and if using this move serves the expectations put before the GM in the rules.

  2. Alfred Rudzki Thanks! You’ve given me a bit to mull over. Charles Gatz, I’ll have to give that a read; probably here in a little bit actually.

    I think what I’m looking for for my specific context, Investigate and Discern Realities will probably do fine. We left off with a mystery and the players still talking about how they want to approach things (this entire discussion could be for naught if they decide to just go with sword in hand, which would be completely fine), but it seems like most of the party want to do a little digging. Investigating certain suspect’s rooms, I’ll probably still stick with Discern Realities.

    Asking around (which would replace +Power with +CHA), does in fact present some danger as to muddled information, or certain, powerful suspects catching wind that these adventurers are snooping around. I suppose I could just write a custom rooms tailored around CHA with some bit like, “When you ask around town about [insert details of the mystery]…”

    But again, you guys gave me a bit to mull over! Thankfully I have a couple of days to think it over before next session.

  3. Just food for thought, but you might be able to get away with Carouse (for just getting rumors, which might introduce some new NPCs), and Parley (if the NPCs are withholding some information, finding some leverage on them becomes the next challenge). Both of these are CHA rolls, iirc.

  4. Alfred Rudzki: solid, man.

    Kerby Lambert you can get pretty far in an investigation scenario with just Discern Realities, Spout Lore, and GM moves.

    They want to ask around town about the chief suspect? Sounds like Discern Realities. But before they roll, clarify the fiction. “Where in town are you asking? What sort of people? Are you being direct about it, or subtle, or what?” Tell them the requirements/consequences and ask. “Yeah, you can just hang around in dive bars and listen for rumors, not actually talking to people, but that’ll take days and who knows if you’ll get anything useful. Or you could spread some coin around and ask questions… that’d be faster, but if you want to do it without attracting attention, you’ll be Defying Danger with CHA before you even Discern Realities.”

    They decide they’re not that worried about drawing attention, and just ask around at the dive bars, spreading some coin. Cool, roll Discern Realities. They get a 7-9, and ask what here is not what it appears to be?

    I assume there’s some secret this guy is hiding, right? (Wouldn’t be a mystery otherwise). Work backwards from that. What would people hanging out in dive bars know about this guy and his secrets? Who exactly would know about it? Use that to answer the question.

    “After a few hours trawling through some of the roughest pubs you’ve ever seen, you find this middle-aged lady, well into her cups, probably a scullery maid by trade? Well, she says that her maam used to work for Lord Shadypants, back before she was born, and her maam, well, she always warned her away from him. ‘Darksome ways, that one has, me maam’d always say. And when I asked for details, well, she wouldn’t say nothing for a good long time, but once, when she was drinking, she told us of a secret room she found in the manse, hidden in the basement, with a strange altar to some bird-headed demon and robes of brown-and-yellow. Filled me maam with dread, it did. She slipped away, and never went back. Never been right around birds, neither, me maam.'”

    Now you’ve given then some details they could maybe Spout Lore about (“have I ever heard of a bird-headed demon, whose worshippers where brown and yellow?”).

    But they’ve also given you an opportunity, right? They weren’t subtle about their inquiries, so someone noticed they were asking around, and maybe noticed them talking to the scullery maid. Does word get back to Lord Shadypants? How soon? How does he react to being investigated? Does he turn the birds of the city against them? Does he summon some dark demon force? (This is where some Grim Portents would be helpful, plotting out the suspect’s actions & reactions.)

    Or, you just make a GM move right after answering their question. “On your way out of the pub, after talking to the scullery maid, well… maybe its your nerves, but you think that the pigeons in town are, like… watching you? There certainly seem to be more than you’d expect as you make your way back to your inn. What do you do?”

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