On Discern Realities
Heya everyone, I’ve been having some thoughts about our resident Read a Scene move, and I’m looking for some insight.
Recently I’ve started thinking about how often I get to use it in my games and about the questions it offers – the first two in particular. Basically, they feel like they’re a little at-odds with how I naturally present scenes in my games, regardless of system.
Let’s use the example of a dingy tavern, full of scum and unpleasant folk. My players Discern Realities to look about the place and they ask “What happened here recently?”, so I tell ’em about how it looks like there’s just been a barfight – people are still picking up shards of broken bottle off the floor.
But isn’t that kind of information the sort I’d just tell the players anyhow? After all, I’m looking to Say What Honesty Demands (not a GM Principle in Dungeon World, but both implied and explicitly referred to) and heck, that seems like a perfect way to Reveal an Unwelcome truth (a GM move) and show the players just how unpleasant the tavern is. Even if the players are looking to investigate a mystery or suchlike, wouldn’t “What here is useful to me?” be a more appropriate question there? They already know what happened there – that’s how they know there’s something of import to Discern Realities in the first place!
“What is about to happen?” seems to run into that same issue. It seems like it fills the same role as “What should I be on the lookout for?”, just with a focus on the future rather than the present – but I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a situation in one of my games where that distinction was ever important. It’s also something that I feel like I’d generally cover with a GM move – maybe Revealing an Unwelcome Truth, maybe not.
Am I making sense, or have I gone mad? Help me, Dungeon World Tavern.