The Barbarian and the halfling Thief have been descending a crumbling stairway that juts out into a vast, cavernous abyss. The stairs come to an abrupt end, and stone crumbling off under their weight and fall-fall-falling into the darkness. Out there, at the edge of their torchlight and maybe 5′ below them, they can barely make out the “next” stair. A gap of maybe 15′ lies between them.
As they take this in, they think the hear a scraping noise from above, then some rocks or pebbles clattering down into the abyss. The Thief shines his spotlight lantern in that direction, the Barbarian holds her torch high. They Discern Realities, the Barbarian aiding the Thief, and get a 7-9.
What should I be on the lookout for? “Oh, crap… you spot a a big winged demon-looking thing, perched on a ledge up above. At first you think it’s a statue but no, its eyes open, and quick as anything it’s diving toward you, what do you do?”
The halfling Thief flings his dagger at it, triggering Volley but rolling a miss.
“Your arrow flies wide and WHOOMP it just snatches you off the ledge, out into nowhere. Barbarian, you’re blinking after the gargoyle that just flew off with the halfling when you hear a another rush of wind and barely spot something diving towards you, what do you do?” (GM move: show signs of an approaching threat.)
The Barbarian’s like “I whip my broadsword at it, gutting it as it attacks me! Hack & Slash?” Yup. She rolls a 7-9, and 5 damage, forceful and messy, but it’s still up.
“Okay, you don’t gut it, it gets its arm up in the way, but you do cleave through its arm and check its momentum.” (Not really a move, just narrating what happened and including the Barbarian’s tags. NOW I make my move, the gargoyle’s attack with the element of surprise) “Unfortunately, whoomp another one lands behind, unexpectedly, and rakes across your back. Take d6+2 damage and you stumble forward on the stairs towards the first one, what do you do?”
The Barbarian lets herself fall forward and uses her momentum to gut the first gargoyle, getting out of reach of the one behind her. Hack and Slash again! She rolls a 10+, chooses to deal damage and evade the enemy’s attack. Rolls 7 damage (messy and forceful). it has 3 HP and 2 armor, so that’s plenty of damage to kill it.
You’re the GM. Let’s say you decide to stay on the Barbarian instead of flipping over to the halfling Thief. Do you say…
option A: “Yeah, just like you said, you run it through and stumble out of reach of the other other one. You even manage to get your blade free, flinging the dead gargoyle into the abyss. What do you do?”
option B: “Yeah, just like you said, you run it through and stumble out of reach of the other other one. You even manage to get your blade free, flinging the dead gargoyle into the abyss, then twisting around just as the other one leaps at you, trying to bowl you over the edge of that last stair. What do you do?”