I hope this is the appropriate place for this as it’s not a move per se, but sort of a hack system I’m trying to…
I hope this is the appropriate place for this as it’s not a move per se, but sort of a hack system I’m trying to design. I’m GMing a game where the player’s recurringly taking a non combat approach. Which is fine of course, but last session I caught myself letting a fight drag on because I wasn’t sure how to decide when they had overcome the encounter. So I thought it might be interesting to add a “clock” like system into Dungeon World for overcoming encounters that doesn’t just involve taking away the enemy’s HP.
It’s entirely untested and quite ropey, but I’d love some thoughts on what I’m trying to do:
Clocks are a measure of non combat progress against an enemy obstacle. A bear, a group of cultists or an ancient evil force can all theoretically be overcome without a blade. However the difficulty has more to do with their intent and ability to be swayed than their actual strength or power.
Starting clock size – How forceful is it?
The enemy’s attitude is key in revealing whether they’ll back down/move on.
Docile and passive – 1
Indifferent but willful – 2
Stubborn or hesitant – 3
Forceful and aggressive – 4
Is this a group?
If the group has a unified instinct they are harder to convince, depending on how many there are. If they are not unified or motivated, do not apply this modifier.
A pair – Add 1
3 or 4 – Add 2
5+ – Add 3
What is the situation?
If the player is directly in the way of the enemy’s instinct, add 1
If the player’s kind is familiar to the enemy, subtract 1
If the player is frightening to the enemy, add 1, but note that intimidation will be effective.
If the enemy cares more about their instinct than the player, subtract 1
If the enemy is intelligent, add 1
If the enemy is known for deceit or trickery, add 1
If the enemy is difficult or impossible to communicate with, subtract 1 but note that the player reasoning with it will not work.
If the clock has been reduced to 0 or lower, consider if the player even needs to convince the creature. Perhaps it has no interest in this encounter at all.
Filling the clock
A successful action from the player against the creature should fill one segment.
Consider filling more than one if it seems appropriate. For example:
An action plays into the enemy’s instinct, either aiding or boosting it.
An action builds upon a previous action for a compounded effect.
eg. Back a person into a corner, and then your ally grabs them from behind.
A particularly clever idea that warrants added effect.
Remember that this is not HP, it’s a soft indication of progress.
If the player can tie up their opponent, it doesn’t matter that there are 5 segments left on the clock. Use the progress to remind yourself that the player has done well, and should ‘win’ the engagement.
As the player makes progress, fictionally portray their success building. An enemy at 1/4 health will be hobbled, so an enemy with an almost full clock should be losing heart.
Once the clock is full, the encounter is beat. By whatever means seems appropriate, remove the threat.