Another discussion of Discern Realities from the archives of the Tavern.

Another discussion of Discern Realities from the archives of the Tavern.

Another discussion of Discern Realities from the archives of the Tavern. Originally a discussion prompted by Gerke Bouma.

Discern Realities v. Spout Lore v. Just Describing Stuff

This is another retrieval from the archives of the Dungeon World Tavern. Gerke Bouma posted about how “I still struggle sometimes with when to use discern realities and spout lore, and when to simply provide information or make them do a different type of roll.” This was my response.

4 thoughts on “Another discussion of Discern Realities from the archives of the Tavern.”

  1. I still feel like getting rid of DR and just using GM moves would make for almost the same game. I find the value in DR to be having a list of meaningful questions, but maybe each playbook could have a list of interesting questions that fit the playbook – fighter: who is the strongest opponent? / thief: what here can I sell easiest?

  2. As much as possible I like to stick to telling them whatever is available to their senses, and if they have further questions, telling them the requirements (“you can’t tell from here, you’d have to reach in and feel around,” or maybe, “you remember something about this from your training but you’d have to spout lore.”)

    This is the central loop of exploration play for me lately. I present what is immediately obvious in a space, usually two or three things, in brief. The players then investigate, asking more questions, interacting with the imagined space and learning about it that way.

    Discern realities interrupts this loop and asks you to work backwards from the answer to decide what happened in the fiction.

    Discern realities gets triggered mainly when the players give up on exploring the space and want to skip to the answer. That’s fine with me, I’m not here to enforce some particular level of difficulty, but it is essentially a cheat on what I consider to be the main game here (you get what you want by exploring and interacting with an imagined space.) Sometimes its fun to play with cheats, it lets you focus on other parts of play, like story, etc.

    By default though, I’m going to try to keep to the basic loop, and encourage players to find the answers by interacting with the fiction, not with the answer-button on their character sheet. I let the players be in charge of when they want to skip to the answer. If I wanted to skip to the answer, I’d just tell them.

  3. Dirk Detweiler Leichty sure, that makes a lot of sense. It’s a very OSR-ish style of play, where the exploration of the environment is the game, right?

    It makes me think of Michael Prescott discussion of “tangible” obstacles vs. “instant” obstacles.

    The style of play you describe is very much in line with a tangible environment, where the contents of the dungeon (or whatever) are basically predetermined. Maybe you’re determining it seconds before hand, but I find I’m more comfortable with this style of play if I’ve got a fairly well-established “place.”

    Whereas in a totally (or substantially) improvised place, I as the GM find it much easier to deal with if the players jumping straight to the “cheat” and Discerning Realities. Their questions tell me what they’re interested in, and I can work backward from those questions to something concrete. In a lot of ways, it’s the players saying “HEY GM, MAKE THIS KIND OF MOVE PLEASE.” It’s very conducive to an “instant” style of play.

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