32 thoughts on “Has anyone implemented a momentum type mechanic into DW?”

  1. Aaron Griffin but in short, it’s like advantage/disadvantage that increases and decreases as you play (there is a “track”). Some moves will give you the opportunity to exchange it (to cancel out a potentially unfavorable dice roll, for example) – that’s called “burning” momentum.

    So…. Sort of like Inspiration in D&D, but with more mechanical opportunities.

  2. Aaron Griffin well it can be negative as well. If you have negative momentum, your “move die” gets zeroed out (Ironsworn has three dice that are rolled in a combat move).

  3. So here’s me spitballing without really reading the Ironsworn stuff.

    Momentum: When you have a combat advantage, replace one of your dice with a d8 on your next combat action. You can gain two advantages at a time, rolling 2d8. When the opposition has the combat advantage, replace one of your dice with a d4 on your next combat action. They can have two advantages at a time, forcing you to roll 2d4.

    Maneuver: When you move to gain higher ground, better positioning, or similar type of advantage in combat, say what you’re doing and roll the relevant stat. On a 10+, you or an ally gains an advantage; on a 7-9, you can give an ally an advantage if you put yourself in danger; on a 6-, your opposition gains an advantage.

  4. City of Judas has the advantage die (I think that’s what it’s called), which is a d6 sitting on the table. It starts at 1 and increments as PCs accumulate success. At any time, any (?) player can swap one of the dice they just rolled out for the advantage die, but then the die resets to 1. I don’t recall if there are other things you can do with the advantage die, but it seems like an obvious space to design in.

    Andrew Huffaker what in the fiction are you hoping to reflect with a momentum mechanic?

    What part of game play are you hoping to improve? Because if you can’t answer either of those… then why would you want a momentum mechanic?

  5. Jeremy Strandberg see, I’d argue that the “as long as the GM is good” shouldn’t be a requirement if you can help it. I think there’s a good place for mechanics that help model interesting fights so that you don’t need a really good GM.

  6. Aaron Griffin sure, I get that. And I generally agree. But there’s like a minimum proficiency that GMs/MCs generally need for the game to actually flow, right? If you run DW as a “turn-based” game or you call for rolls rather than asking “what do you do?” or don’t actually make GM moves (or don’t make interesting ones), then the game doesn’t work.

    But if you do do those things, i.e. you run the game as it’s meant to be run, the boxing-match momentum is there. No?

  7. Yochai Gal there’s an argument for the psychology of rolling bigger dice (assuming you meant my d8/d4 with the advantage comment).

    It’s also worth noting that +1 forward isn’t really stackable too much. Once you hit +3 forward, it’s guaranteed success for anyone with a +3 stat.

    Also, it’s not something I’d play with, I’m just answering the question.

  8. The reason I asked about Momentum is that I like that there is a machanical representation of how things might be going narratively. In Ironsworn there is a move that I think is really missing in DW that has to do with securing an advantage. Its kind of like waiting for the right time to strike, but it takes some work to mechanically do in the game.

    Jeremy Strandberg​, in my games it feels like there isn’t any room to support ‘waiting to find an opening’ and just ‘running in swinging’ because mechanically it’s just mixing words and than rolling hack and slash. If someone wants to fight more judiciously, but not like in the defend move, than it doesn’t really exist outside of narrative. I like that someone could choose to use their ‘turn’ to just size up or get a benefit later. Kind of like with Fate aspects.

  9. I’m not a fan of +1 because it only ever makes a difference on a 6 or a 9 and it doesn’t give players control of when they use it. If they could spend that +1 like Hold, than sure. +1’s are also kind of underwhelming feeling. I think City of Judas basically does the same thing as Momentum, but Ironsworn has the built in option of increasing or decreasing M as an extra resource for the game to manipulate.

  10. Any mechanical advantage wil have a cut off as to when you “see” its benefits. +1, sees its contribution when a roll is a 6 or a 9 sure, but thats how any of the modifiers work. Advantage dice also have a cut off to when you would see its benefits on the average.

    I always have my players add the +1 forward and their modifiers to the roll at the same time, just as a psychological way to make the +1 forward not feel lack luster during the roll.

    Hands down, the bests way to grant advantage and avoid the target range cut offs that every mechanical system wil have, is to provide fictional positioning and advantage. That way no matter the outcome, the story has been affected

  11. +Andrew Huffaker so you’re looking for something like Fate’s “create an advantage” move, yeah?

    First: I agree with you about Defying Danger for a +1 forward being bad. I did the math once, and any time you have to make 2 rolls to accomplish a single task, that’s roughly the same as rolling once with a -2 penalty. Not exactly, and on the edge cases (like, +4 or better bonuses) it falls apart, but that’s about where it lies. So, making a move (with a roll) to get a +1 forward to another move is like a net-1 to that second move.

    Regarding your specific scenario of “waiting to find an opening,” that sounds like Discern Realities to me! That does give you a +1 forward, but it’s a considerably better bet because you only need to get a 7+ and there’s no built-in “downside” on the 7-9 result.

    You are ceding the initiative to the enemy, though. Like, if you were in my game, facing off against a skilled foe and said you kept your guard up and made probing attacks and looked for an opening, I’d be like “cool, Discern Realities.” On a 7+, after (or as) I answered your questions I’d make a pretty aggressive GM move that you all but had to react to. Like “what here is useful or valuable to you? Well, that banister looks pretty rickety… it certainly wouldn’t hold his weight if you pressed him back against it! But just as you’re making that observation, he feints low and then lunges high, right at your eyes, what do you do?”

    Now, you can still totally act on the answer I gave you and get that +1 forward, but you’d have to visualize the action and come up with how you do it! E.g. “I’ll parry his lunge with a bind and smash into his hilt, corp-a-corp, shoving him back towards that banister!”

    Now, let’s take a different example, where instead of hanging back and looking for an opening you try some clever maneuver to gain an advantage. Like, take that sword fight on the balcony again… maybe you grab one of the candelabras on the wall and fling it in his face as a distraction. “Cool, sounds like Defy Danger with DEX or INT, you’re choice!”

    On a 10+, totally works, fire and hot wax in the eyes (gah!), he leaves himself open, what do you do? Oh, you stab him? Roll damage!

    On a 7-9, I’ll go with maybe worse outcome… he steps back and blocks but he’s on his heels and his guard is way high, what do you do? You lunge and stab him? Cool, roll H&S (cuz he’s still able to fight back, right?) Now, here’s the important part: I don’t give you a +1 bonus, I simply consider the possible outcomes based on fictional positioning. If you get a 7-9 on your H&S (or a 10+ and choose to expose yourself to attack), his attack will be a soft move and not a hard one. Like, normally a 7-9 H&S means you’re taking damage, right? Not this time. This time, you’ll do your damage and his “attack” will be something like “You did 6 damage? Cool, as you lunge at his gut he manages a panicked parry downward and your blade lances into front leg. But before you can recover he slashes at your throat, what do you do?”

    (Of course, if you really got a 7-9 when throwing candles in a dude’s face while swordfighting on a rickety balcony, I’d really just give you that 10+ result but the candles would totally set the damn place on fire.)

    Which kinda gets back to my comment about DW and AW already having a lot of that momentum built into their fights, just not with an explicit mechanic calling them out. As Robert Doe points out, the best way to make the player’s maneuvers or strategy matter is to reflect them fictionally.

    Though, as I write this, I realize that what I’m describing is probably more than just “running DW proficiently.” There’s almost certainly some GM skillz involved, putting in that area Aaron Griffin was warning about.

    SOOOooo… if you want to really to encourage players maneuvering for advantage, you could just go with this move:

    When you roll for a move with a distinct advantage, roll normally but treat a miss as a 7-9, treat a 7-9 as a 10+, and treat a 10 or 11 as a 12+ (if it matters).

    That keeps the advantage/momentum solidly grounded in the fiction, but gives players a solid understanding of the value such an advantage gives them. So now, there’s a real incentive for (e.g.) the bard to do something clever and Defy Danger with INT in order to set herself up for a Hack & Slash with STR.

    Yeah… the more I think about that, the more I like it. Lots of design space, too. Like, a Fighter move like “Terror on the Field: When you dispatch an enemy in a particularly brutal way, you gain advantage on your next action against any foe who saw your bloody work.”

    I don’t think I’d do the converse, BTW. I.e. I wouldn’t have a move like “when you roll for a move at a distinct disadvantage, treat a 10+ as a 7-9 and a 7-9 as a miss.” I really don’t think that’s necessary, because you just make harder GM moves and/or lean heavily on tell them the requirements (‘oh, you want to put an arrow into the chink in the dragon’s armor? cool, but before you Volley, you’ll need to draw a bead and wait for the right moment as the two-ton living furnace of destruction bears down on you and your hands shake… you do it? Okay, that sounds like your Defying Danger with WIS to me!”)

  12. Ironsworn’s momentum was inspired by the advantage die from City of Judas by Davide Pignedoli. I’d definitely give it a look as a potential hack for use in other PbtA games. I believe that Davide has mentioned that the impetus for that system was his players constantly forgetting to use their +1 forward, or the +1 lacking some mechanical teeth.

    I love City of Judas in many ways beyond that mechanic, so it’s worth having in your library!

    As for Ironsworn, there is intentionally some additional resource management and mechanical systems, including momentum, beyond what you see in typical PbtA games. Especially for solo and GM-less play, these cogs and gears help “gamify” the experience in a (to me) satisfying way, and they also push the fiction in interesting directions. Not for everyone, your mileage may vary, etc. etc.

  13. Aaron Griffin fair enough!

    When you act with a distinct advantage and roll a miss, treat it as a 7-9. If you roll a 7-9, treat it as a 10+. If you roll a 10 or 11, treat it as a 12+ (if it matters.

  14. Jeremy Strandberg great move. I know that I have done something like this with players in the past when I was experimenting with advantage moves, but I never conceptualized in that way. Great thinking. On this same note, have you seen how Ironsworn uses initiative? Its not initiative, as in, who’s turn is it. Rather, who is the aggressor/upper hand in he action. It’s nice to see it mechanized.

  15. Jeremy Strandberg​​, you really do have an elligant way of putting things. This “move” had been discussed previously in the tavern, but i was totally against the idea. However; after your examples, and to be honest my inability to find any better way, i really like the “Bump-Up” maneuver.

    Good stuff!

  16. Jeremy Strandberg wrt “I agree with you about Defying Danger for a +1 forward being bad. I did the math once, and any time you have to make 2 rolls to accomplish a single task, that’s roughly the same as rolling once with a -2 penalty.”, do you have a spelled-out version of this handy? Or could you elaborate your method a little? I’d like to understand this because it’s an easy design trap to fall into.

  17. Rob Alexander huh… I thought I had it all spelled out somewhere, but it’s not where I thought. I’ll try to recreate later this week. I could be remembering completely wrong!

  18. And the award for best simple solution to DW challenges is…

    Jeremy Strandberg !

    (no, really, your solutions for pretty much every thread is friggin’ awesome. Simple and effective, all the time! tips hat)

    On the matter at end though, I have to agree that the closest MECHANICAL solution to Andrew’s “problem” is the Advantage dice from City of Judas, although, Jeremy Strandberg’s solution is the most painless and seamless to implement.

    The City of Judas Advantage dice reflects better the Fate Core concept of stacking aspects (advantages) and invoking it for a big Boom!

    Although, I didn’t test it but I have a gut feeling that downward spiral isn’t actually fun at the table. The more you fail, the more you’ll fail doesn’t exactly sounds like appealing to me. Indirectly, they also fastens leveling up (fail = xp).

  19. Vince Arebalo I’m not sure? This thread is the only place I can recall talking about “momentum” in DW or any other game. If you’re referring to Addramyr Palinor’s reference to “Jeremy Strandberg’s solution,” I think he just referring to my comment earlier in this thread.

    If you mean something else… maybe give me some context?

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