9 thoughts on “Hey Tavern”

  1. Michele McAllister here’s page 8 of Session Zero Issue 3. This issue was inspired by the Harry Potter universe, the Dark Forest in particular. This isn’t the greatest thing in the world but it went through a LOT of revision here on this community which made it much better than my initial draft.

    drive.google.com – SZ3 Page 8.pdf

  2. Michele McAllister If you wanted to handle that without a custom move, it’d basically be “soft move >> Defy Danger”, right? So, like…

    “The thing floating toward you just fills you with dread. You stomach lurches, and you feel cold, rooted to the floor, fingers trembling, your mind blank with just this overwhelming instinct to run or hide or hold very still so maybe it won’t see you, what do you do?”

    “Uh, crap? I grit my teeth, focus on my breathing, get control of myself, then draw my sword and attack! Hack and Slash?”

    “I think you’re Defying Danger with WIS, first. The danger being your fear, and WIS because that sure sounds like mental fortitude to me!”

    “Okay, sure. Uh… an 8!”

    “Cool. I’ll go with a hard bargain. You can attack it, but you’ll take a -2 penalty, as if it interfered with you. Or you can turn and run or try to hide… no penalty there. What do you do?”

    And if the PC had instead recited a mantra against fear (“I shall not fear, fear is the mind-killer”) then maybe that’d be Defy Danger with INT, and if they’d like cut their thumb on their blade to focus, that might have been with CON, and if they’d put on a brave face for their followers that might have been CHA.

    And maybe you could have gone with a worse outcome, like the thing getting closer and closer and grabbing on to the PC before they shook themselves out of it and drew their sword (but now the thing already has them!). Or an ugly choice, like “you shake yourself free, but not before it’s in and among your hirelings… who do you think it’s got in its clutches as you as you charge it?”

    On a 10+, yeah, cool, make with the hack and slash. On a miss, the GM has all sorts of stuff they can do.

    So: if you’re going to do a custom move for a fear aura, it should be somehow better than just doing soft move >> Defy Danger. Faster to resolve, or more/less favorable to the PCs, or somehow cooler than describing the fear and asking what they do to overcome it.

    Here’s one way you could do that:

    When you first look upon the Thing of Nightmares, roll +WIS: on a 10+, describe a deep fear from your past and how you conquered it; on a 7-9, describe an unconquered fear that still lurks in your soul, and then act; on a miss, describe an unconquered fear and take minus 2 forward to do anything other than flee or hide.

    This is kinda fun, and it gives you some nice psychological stuff to work with. It’s a good fit for a creature that dredges up fears (like the Thing of Nightmares). But it’s also pretty forgiving to the PCs, really… on a 7+ they get to act normally after revealing a bit about themselves. Even on a miss you get to act, but with constraints. Regardless, after that move, you’re probably not going to do much more than a soft GM move to escalate the situation (“it’s getting closer, what do you do?”).

    But! This doesn’t work as a generalized move, because holy crap it’d get boring if every time they met a terrifying monster we had to do a flashback to their greatest fears.

    So if you just want something like a “fear save,” you could go with:

    When you first encounter a terrifying monster, roll +WIS: on a 10+, pick 1; on a 7-9, pick 1 and the GM picks another; on a miss, you either flee now or freeze until it’s too late (your choice).

    * It takes time for you to control your fears; ask the GM what happens in the meantime

    * Take minus 2 forward to act against this thing, unless you flee

    * Mark the Weakened and Shaky debilities

    Or, for a (much) less brutal version:

    When you first encounter a terrifying monster, roll +WIS: on a 10+, you’re scared (who wouldn’t be?) but free to act normally; on a 7-9, pick 1.

    * Take a moment to control your fears; ask the GM what happens in the meantime

    * Act now, but take minus 2 forward to do anything but flee or hide

    Either of those give you a clear trigger, a consistent way to resolve scary monsters, and the opportunity for some interesting choices (and some hooks for future fiction or Q&A, like “Ovid, when you froze up facing that banshee… what was going through your mind?”).

    On the downside, they imply that WIS is the way you deal with fear effects and it’s pretty easy to overlook the experience of being terrified and just resolve the situation mechanically.

  3. Jeremy Strandberg the straight up fear “save” style move (the more brutal one) definitely fits my need. Its the finale to a campaign and I’m looking to assist the intensity and tone.

    I like to run games that are always touched with a little horror, regardless of genre, and I appreciate your thoughts on the application of the psychological move. Its not right for my finale, though I will apply it to investigative horror PbtA games I want to run

    Defy Danger is good on the fly, though mechanizes what I like to achieve through interaction and collaborative storytelling.

    I love the Tavern as a resource and the community is always great about helping.


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