Talk to me about how you use monster moves in your game.

Talk to me about how you use monster moves in your game.

Talk to me about how you use monster moves in your game.

Any defy dangers to avoid them?

When to choose them?

Do any just “deal damage”?

How do you determine the effects of them?

I think monster moves are one of the best parts of the game. Easy to whip up and not a complicated rules. However, for the same reasons I can imagine they also have a wide variety of how the actual play of them is implemented. I think it would be interesting to hear that?

For those working on their own hacks of the game? What have you done, if any, to change the RAW? Why or why not have you changed them?

Have you had players in your game get upset when you used them as not fair because they don’t require a dice roll? What did you do to resolve?


6 thoughts on “Talk to me about how you use monster moves in your game.”

  1. Soft move followed by hard move. That’s pretty much how you should always do it. This gives the players the chance to respond to things. If they don’t then it’s their fault, not yours, not the systems, that something happened without there being a roll. But this rarely happens and when it does it’s best practice to try and point out to them that what they’re doing doesn’t act against whatever is about to happen.

    How this pertains to monster moves is fairly straightforward. Firstly, determine if a soft or a hard move should be made. It’s my feeling that usually it’s gonna be a soft move. But say the player just rolled a six and the bad stuff that happens is they failed to notice the monster and it got the jump on them. This situation maybe lets you lead with a hard move. If so, just do it. If a player complains about a lack of roll (in my experience they won’t) point out there was one and that it was bad.

    Usually though you lead with a soft move. So look at the monster move and instead of describing it happening. Describe something that leads up to it happening. What does the monster do in preparation to make the move? If it’s a pretty immediate action describe the monster telegraphing what it’s about to do. Then ask the players “what do you do?” If what they do triggers a move well go from there. If it doesn’t but it makes sense that it stops the monster that’s fine too.

  2. Ok so a simple example I think that also addresses your question about damage would be the hellhound from pg.310. It has a move that is simply “spew fire”.

    So clearly that move has some fictional consequences and probably if someone has the fire spewed at them they’d also take damage.

    For the sake of our example we’ll say that your adventurers come upon a cave and peer into it. Unluckily for them there’s one of these bastards standing guard just inside the entrance. You decide now is an excellent time to Think Dangerous and Use a Monster Move, namely, “spew fire”.

    But it’s not very sporting to just have the beast coat your players in flame without giving them an opportunity to avoid it. So instead of making a hard move like that, you make a soft one. You describe how as they peer into the cave they hear a low growl and two flaming eyes appear just above a widening maw also filled with fire. Then you ask what they do. They’re going to respond with some action and you continue play from there.

    Now consider if they were already running from the hellhound. Probably someone will end up making a defy danger check to see if they can evade the hound in one way or another. Let’s say they roll a 4 on that check. This is a point where you could, if you wanted to, use “spew fire” as a hard move. The player is aware of the danger and they’ve just rolled poorly. The consequence of that can absolutely be something like, you dash through the woods but your foot catches on a root and you fall to the ground. Before you can scramble back to your feat you feel searing heat upon your back and the underbrush around you catches fire. Take 1d8 from the hellhound’s fiery breath. See the difference?

    Let’s talk about the hellhound’s other moves. I think “summon the forces of hell on their target” is pretty similar in how I’d use it to “spew fire” actually. So instead look at “follow despite all obstacles”. Now that move is interesting because it’s not something that works well in the short term. If someone makes a 7 or better trying to get away from them you shouldn’t take this move as an indication that you can ignore that right? That wouldn’t be being a fan of the players for one thing, and for another it would feel to them like you had robbed them of their result. Just not best practice.

    Instead I see this as a way to bring them back later. Later when the action has slowed down a bit and you’re looking for a move to pick things back up you remember the hellhounds. You remember that they follow despite all obstacles. And you make a soft move informing the players of this. You describe the familiar howling they hear coming from the nearby hills…

  3. ^this. I use them as prompts for soft moves. They’re essentially undefined tags for the most part (occasionally there is an actual custom move). I also use them in – “deal damage as established”. How the monster does its default damage may be determined by its moves.

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