I have been working up new GM references for DW [very old school Courier with almost no formatting – just plain text…

I have been working up new GM references for DW [very old school Courier with almost no formatting – just plain text…

I have been working up new GM references for DW [very old school Courier with almost no formatting – just plain text files to give it that pre-desktop publishing look] for anyone interesting.

Any way I digress.

When looking up when to make a move, page 164, about golden opportunities. What is a golden opportunity in your games? Give examples of where you have a move based on a Golden Opportunity, and what kind of moves do you use.

I am particularly interested in when you consider a “golden opportunity” that isn’t a result of them making a poor choice after making a soft move.


7 thoughts on “I have been working up new GM references for DW [very old school Courier with almost no formatting – just plain text…”

  1. PCs were at a council of peace. Two of the PCs were on the perimeter, hiding and ready for shenanigans. The theify PC decided to follow an NPC away from the gathering, disguised as someone from from one of the opposing factions.

    Unbeknownst to the PCs, the Big Bad Faction had brought a bunch of stealthy subhuman wretches with them, and they were slowly encircling the gathering. The PC was riding right into some of them.

    I telegraphed with a soft move (“you feel like you’re being watched”) and he studiously did nothing and kept riding (didn’t want to blow his “cover”). Then something made him turn back (can’t remember what) and as he entered a ravine, I told him he noticed some scree falling from the edge, as though something was moving about there secretly. He ignored it again and kept riding.

    So… pounce! Three wretches leaped down on him and his horse, dealing damage and putting him in one helluva spot.

    The best part is that this character has a move that lets him ask “is there a trap or ambush here?” For free, any time. And he’s maxed out Discern Realities. He just assumed that he knew what was going on (that the totally human NPC he was following had doubled back and was trying to get the jump on him) and he was trying to bait the trap. Well, he sure baited it… just wasn’t the trap he was expecting.

  2. Everything Jeremy Strandberg said.

    Dont’ forget you can also interpret that trigger as:

    When a PC puts himself in a spot

    or even:

    When a player seems unwilling to remember how physics work

    So for example:

    Player: I unsheath my sword and point it at the King.

    GM: You do that, and then immediately realize you have a couple of quarrels sticking out of your torso. Take the best of 2d10+5.


    Player: I jump from the window directly on their heads.

    GM: Wait from the 2nd story? Are you sure? It’ll hurt…

    Player: Yeah

    GM: Ok, I’ll let you roll a Defy Danger, the danger being that you miss them, but you’ll take best of 2d8 damage no matter what, are you cool with that?

  3. Different campaign… the PCs had emerged from the dungeon and were getting ready to trek back to town. The Ranger was off hunting something to eat. The Fighter, Artificer, and their hireling porter Bilshi were looking for a good camp sight.

    They biffed a roll and the nice rocky outcropping they hoped to camp on (maybe 7 or 8 feet tall) turned out to be the sunning spot of a huge puff adder. It attacked the fighter, who biffed his Defy Danger and got an arm full of poison, plus falling off the outcropping. The puff adder turned its attention to the Artificer, reared, and struck!

    Now, back in the dungeon, the Artificer had ordered Bilshi the porter to do something dangerous and triggered an Order Hirelings move. It was a 7-9, and it involved Bilshi making some demands and being a little rude to the Artificer (maybe shoving him a little?).

    The Artificer was kind of an asshole, so when this puff-adder shot at him, instead of just dodging he grabbed Bilshi and used him as a human shield. Defy Danger with INT for quick thinking, 10+.

    So Bilshi (a good guy, really, family man, just here to make some coin to put food on the table) straight-up dies. Giant puff adder bite right in the throat.

  4. Jeremy Strandberg

    I like you second example because it is really engaging even though it’s maybe just a “Use up their resources”: it plays off the Artificer’s character and their relationship with Bilshi; it has consequences for the Artificer, like maybe they get a bad rep for when they hire people; also, the player can decide whether they even care about what happened – and if they don’t that has interesting consequences too.

    Did the players like the ambush example? I know some people would think it wasn’t very fun and others would be totally motivated by it. Personally, I think it is really cool as a situation and certainly seems to me like the character’s life has a bit more adventure in it.

    Overall, I’m not a big fan when GMs use “golden opportunity” as a mechanism to punish players for not being sufficiently engaged in the game (I can see the examples given by Stefano Casella ‘s as potential instances of this).

    Generally, I’ve found players do reckless or stupid things most often for reasons like these: They aren’t currently engaged in play or the story; they are frustrated and so act out; or they do not fully understand what is going on. (This stuff is pretty related to the murder hobo PC issue in my mind, but that is another story). In these cases, the goal with a golden opportunity move should be to bring them back in. If they aren’t engaged, do something that will hook; if they don’t feel like they have good options, give them an opportunity to act (eg: fitting of their class abilities, offer with or without a cost); if they don’t understand – well then just tell them (adjacent to Justin Alexander’s “always have 3 clues”).

    And, of course, as always – tell me why I’m an idiot, I’ll listen!

  5. Merrick Brown re: the ambush scenario, the player was definitely a little rueful afterwards, but he totally copped to it being fairly handled. Helps that he also had Escape Route, so he was able to get away. That particular player is very competence-focused, but he also has a tendency to forget how his moves work, so… yeah.

    Re: your general point about “punishing” characters… I agree. A golden opportunity shouldn’t feel like a “gotcha” or a reprimand, it should feel either like “whelp, I asked for it” or “yup, should’ve seen that coming.” Most of the time, before acting on a golden opportunity, the GM should telling the consequences and asking. “Um, sure, you can do that, but…”

  6. Merrick Brown you are absolutely right. You don’t deal damage to players that are not invested in the narrative, even if they do something that’s “fictionally stupid”.

    If players are not invested in the game there is an issue at the table, not in the fiction. It is best addressed between friends, by talking.

    I assumed all the above.

    The notion I wanted to convey with my ill-conceived examples is that in my opinion golden opportunity also means that as a GM you must not refrain from acting on behalf of the setting. It is part of your role.

    If a Gritty Dark tone was agreed upon, use all the opportunities to apply Grit and Darkness to the PC’s lives.

    Take for example Robb Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire:

    !!! Spoiler Warning !!!

    He offends house Frey by suddenly refusing to go on with the arranged marriage, because he had taken another woman’s maidenhood (while being engaged).

    Then he goes in person to offer excuses to Walder Frey in the form of… his uncle.

    If that isn’t a golden oppotunity for someone to be walking into a bloody trap I don’t know what is.

    Now, I don’t want to imply that you should be a fan of the PCs as Martin is… unless that’s what the players agreed upon in the first place of course.

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