When you’re “thinking offscreen, too” how far offscreen do you go?

When you’re “thinking offscreen, too” how far offscreen do you go?

When you’re “thinking offscreen, too” how far offscreen do you go? When a player rolls a 6- do you always relate the move directly to what they were attempting, or do you sometimes advance a Front they can’t see right now and wait until they bring the spotlight?

I have definitely been trying to tie each of my moves to the moves the characters are making, but I’m wondering if that has limited me too much…



OUCH! A while back I convinced my whole group that we should support local talent (we’re from Vancouver and so is Adam) by buying physical copies of the book. Since none of the stores around here had any, we ordered 5 copies from IndiePress Revolution. Shipping was $25, which isn’t great but seemed reasonable since we were splitting it up.

The problem was, IPR shipped via UPS and we got charged $47 in brokerage and taxes!

My wallet is crying a lot right now 🙁

Further adventures in Dungeon World…

Further adventures in Dungeon World…

Further adventures in Dungeon World…

Aldara put the finishing touches on her ritual to suppress the mind-controlling altar and the group decided to crawl down the tunnel Gorm found rather than figuring out a way to explore the rest of the water. Thaddeus came out of the reverie that had occupied so much of his attention during the first part of their adventure and swore a sacred oath that he would neither sleep nor eat until he had found the missing guardsmen. Mab did a little scouting in wolverine form and had some fun scaring a horde of rats that had made their nest in part of the tunnel. He wasn’t able to do much about the smell, however, and the long crawl was extremely unpleasant for his larger companions.

While they were happy to stretch their legs, the foulness of the long tunnel was quickly outdone by the vile stench of the troglodytes who occupied the cavern the heroes stumbled into. Gorm managed to spot them before they could complete setting their ambush, but the vicious creatures dealt some fierce blows nonetheless. Thaddeus, protected by the Maker’s grace, shook off several blows from stone axes, but still suffered a few wounds from claws and teeth. Bolstered by Ramonde’s songs, Gorm and Thaddeus managed to kill three of the creatures and drove off the fourth. They decided they’d had enough of vile smells and chose not to give chase.

While the others recovered from the melee, Gesse did a bit of scouting and discovered that the cavern had four other exits. Three were obvious: a passage to the trog lair to the north and two medium tunnels to the east – one sloping up, the other down. The group was much more interested, however, in the hidden door Gesse found in the south wall. Gesse’s skullduggery proved useful again when he located a deadfall trap a short distance down the passage beyond the hidden door. Gorm misunderstood the term deadfall and charged enthusiastically into the trap. Fortunately he managed to absorb most of the damage with his head, so the long term impact wasn’t too bad.

Beyond the trapped hallway, the passage descended steeply to an underground lake. Mab flew up to do some scouting and, before he could return, three abominations burst from the dark water to attack the rest of the party. Massive humanoids with terrible claws and the heads of sharks, they threatened to overwhelm the heroes before they could establish their defences. Ramonde’s music again bolstered his companions, but it drove the shark-men into a frenzy for his blood. The distraction proved their undoing, however, as Gorm, Gesse and Thaddeus struck the beasts down as they pursued the bard all the way back to the deadfall. Several nasty wounds had been suffered but when Ramonde attempted to alleviate them with a healing song, the shrill horn notes caused the already weakened stonework around the deadfall to collapse further. The party found themselves divided: Gorm, Thaddeus and Ramonde on one side of the cave-in and Mab, Aldara and Gesse on the other.

Despite Gorm’s help, Thaddeus and Ramonde managed to move enough stones create a small passage and they were soon back at the lake. Gesse had found an invisible canoe and decided to paddle around a bit while he waited for his friends. Mab completed his scouting and reported back that a dozen or more of the shark-men were lurking upstream. Deciding discretion was the better part of valour, Gesse was hastily returning to the rest of the group when Gorm arrived at the shore. Gorm’s relieved call of greeting aroused the shark-men from their slumber and the heroes were forced to retreat back to the trog cavern. Fortunately, the shark-men were not able to stray far from the water, so the companions were able to avoid what would surely have been a disastrous conflict.

After waiting several hours for the shark-men to disperse, the group made their way back down the passage, triggering a massive cave-in behind them that blocked that route once and for all. Mab flew across the lake once again and dragged back another boat which the party used to cross the ominous body of water. The far side had a carefully worked stone dock and a set of stone stairs so perfectly formed the party concluded they must be of dwarven make. The room at the top of the stairs held multiple secrets, but Gesse made short work of them. He uncovered a poison gas trap (recovering a sample for future analysis), unlocked a secret door and solved a puzzle-key to lower a stone drawbridge. Before leaving the room he also gathered several chunks of stone from the magically lit ceiling to use as heatless torches.

Across the drawbridge, the heroes entered an abandoned but perfectly preserved dwarven town. Before they could begin exploring, the party was ambushed by a dark elf sniper. Poisoned crossbow bolts slammed home in both Gorm and Thaddeus before Gesse finally spotted their assailant and returned fire with poison bolts of his own. The sniper covered his retreat with a globe of inky darkness.

A more cautious advance proved no more effective as the wily dark elves used one nasty trick after another to torture and divide the party. The final blow came in the form of an ancient spell of betrayal reminiscent of the altar they encountered earlier. Ramonde was suddenly unable to recall ever having seen his companions before and he fled the stone settlement as fast as he could. Thaddeus, on the other hand, interpreted the spell as an invitation and he wandered off aimlessly as the rest of the group fought a desperate retreat.

Gesse caught up to Ramonde at the edge of the lake and managed to convince him to stay by appealing to the bard’s ego. Partially re-united, the heroes are left wondering what has become of the missing paladin…

Thought I’d sneak this in before Paladin Week takes over ;)

Thought I’d sneak this in before Paladin Week takes over 😉

Thought I’d sneak this in before Paladin Week takes over 😉

Here are a couple of moves intended for my Ars Magica hack. I’d love to hear what you think.

Spells recorded in a spellbook are often referred to as formulaic spells (as opposed to spontaneous spells). By their nature, formulaic spells are less flexible, but they are also safer and more consistent.

When you spend a few weeks researching a specific magical effect, come up with a cool name for the spell and roll+Book. On a hit, record it in your spellbook and on a 10+ choose 2, on a 7-9 choose 1.

*The spell is slightly better than you anticipated. Work with the GM to add a bonus effect or tag.

*Research takes less time than you were expecting.

*You learn something new about the nature of magic. Mark experience.

On a miss, you either fail to develop a viable spell, or record it in your spellbook but choose 2.

*Your research attracts unwanted attention. The GM will let you know what kind.

*Your research takes twice as long.

*The spell is weaker than you intended.

*The spell has a nasty side-effect.

*You gain +1 Warping.

When you speak the name of a spell from your spellbook and channel the corresponding technique and form, roll+Casting. On 10+ the spell works exactly as written. On a 7-9 the spell works and/or choose one. On a 6- choose two.

*You let the spell energy diffuse with no effect.

*You draw unwanted attention. The GM will explain how.

*The casting takes longer than you hoped, exposing you to a threat of the GM’s choosing.

*Take -1 forward to Casting or Book (which ever comes first).

*You gain +1 Warping.

*The magic does 1 harm to you.

Session two of my new campaign:

Session two of my new campaign:

Session two of my new campaign:

New Characters: 

Mab the Druid

Wild haired, wild eyed dirty halfling. Carries a spear. Raised by wolves. Always has wolf ears even when in halfling form.

Ramonde the Bard

Wild eyes, fiery red hair, tall and thin. Storyteller. Plays a magic horn.

Gorm the Glorious (Barbarian)

Loincloth ONLY. Long dark hair. Comes from the north. Huge sword.

As well as the three previously introduced heroes: Gesse the Thief, Aldara the Wizard, and Thaddeus the Paladin (aka Sir Not Present for This Session).

Spent a few weeks in Dunspur mostly living off Grand Mayor and Captain of the Guard Cornwallis. Accepted a job from him to investigate what happened to the guards who went missing after he sent them to check out an underground passage revealed by a collapse in his wine cellar during construction.

After a few minutes of travel, the passage opened to reveal an ancient stone bridge over a steep-sided ravine with a stream running through it. Mab took the shape of a wolf and his keen nose detected a lurker under the bridge. As they crept closer for a better look, a long rubbery arm shot out and grabbed Aldara’s staff, flinging it (and their best source of light) down into the crevasse. A chaotic melee ensued, with Gorm tumbling down the slope while attempting to grapple the beast (a choker) and dodge arrows and bolts from his friends at the same time. Bolstered by Ramonde’s warbling horn solo, Mab (as a polar bear) knocks the beast from Gorm’s back and the group inflicts enough nasty wounds to drive it off.

They had little time to recover, however, as the ruckus drew the attention of a cave yeti. This fight was intense but brief as Gorm took advantage of the beast’s initial fixation on Gesse to land several strong blows, eviscerating it messily with the last.

A search of the ravine bottom revealed a few coins, many bones and some scraps of a Dunspur guardsman’s armour (as well as Aldara’s staff).

They pushed on down the dark, narrow passageway for half an hour before encountering another stealthy foe – a roper. Against Ramonde’s advice (admittedly delivered a bit late) Gorm charged the beast as soon it was pointed out. The heroes made short work of their stationary foe, suffering only a few moderate wounds for their trouble.

Their next obstacle was a confounding maze of interwoven tunnels worked over the ages by the seasonal passage of water. Gesse’s keen eyes kept them out of the maze’s many pitfalls, but Gorm, fired up by the earlier bloodletting, insisted on chasing down every shadow just in case it might be something for him to slay. His antics cost them several hours but he did eventually find a minotaur to “play” with. Mab’s wolf nose once again pinpointed the danger before it appeared and the group made short work of what could have been a nasty monster. Unsurprisingly, Aldara kept immaculate notes on their path through the maze – they’ll be able to easily retrace their steps should they need to.

The maze ended in the largest space they had encountered so far – a cavern nearly 100 feet long, 50 wide and 20 high at its broadest. The passage of time had weathered the chamber severely, but there was a sense of design to the place. The most striking feature, however, was a perfectly preserved black stone altar. Merely drawing near to it was enough to rattle Mab and Gorm, but it was Gesse who most clearly heard its siren call. Overwhelmed with love for the beautiful object, Gesse grievously wounded Mab in an attempt to quench the altar’s thirst with his companion’s blood. Ramonde took a certain amount of pleasure in “subduing” Gesse by smashing his head into the altar, repeatedly (for his own safety of course). Ramonde then managed to summon and hold the perfect note with his horn so that the other heroes could break free of the altar’s enchantment.

While Aldara focused her attention on a more lasting solution to the altar, Gorm wandered off to explore the rest of the cavern. He immediately noticed that it terminated in a pool of water, which he decided to investigate. As he approached he was startled by three grotesquely bloated flesh golems who shambled out of the water. With Aldara locked in the depths of a ritual and the rest of the party injured and scattered about, Mab decided to ignore his own wounds and take care of these new antagonists himself. In the form of a raven, he flew to the highest point above the golems then quickly shifted into an orca, falling and crushing all three of them. The impact was devastating to Mab as well though, and it was only luck that kept him from death’s cold hands.

A quick song, a prayer and some bandages later, however, and the plucky halfling was back on his feet and into the water, where he did some exploring in the form of a squid. Not one for rational decisions, Mab deliberately drew the attention of the snakelike creature he encountered and he lead it back to his friends. There was a brief exchange of magic between Aldara and the lurker that left part of Aldara’s flesh withering, but her answering blast of searing light was enough to chase the creature off, for now…

The other day Kasper Brohus posted a move for navigating a labyrinth.

The other day Kasper Brohus posted a move for navigating a labyrinth.

The other day Kasper Brohus posted a move for navigating a labyrinth. I really liked the concept, but came at it in a slightly different way. Any thoughts on how this might work?

When you explore the labyrinth, choose one party member one as the trap expert, one as the rear guard and one as the cartographer (a character can only have one job). If you don’t have enough party members or choose not to assign a job, treat that job as if it had rolled a 6 . The trap expert roll+DEX, the rear guard roll+WIS and the cartographer roll+INT. On a 10+ all three. On a 7-9 choose one.


You clearly mark the correct path so you could get through the maze again easily.

It doesn’t cost each character 1 use of rations.

It doesn’t cost you 1 use of adventuring gear.

Trap Master

You don’t miss finding any of the traps.

You disable all of the traps you find before they can effect anyone in the party.

It doesn’t cost you 1 use of adventuring gear.


You aren’t surprised by any of the patrols you encounter.

You manage to avoid most of the patrols.

You get the drop on one of the patrols you do encounter.

I was desperately searching for a DW adventure that involved either:

I was desperately searching for a DW adventure that involved either:

I was desperately searching for a DW adventure that involved either:

– ne’er-do-well spellcasters in a grotto; or

– nasty subterranean magic users; or

– wicked warlocks in a rock formation; or even

– unpleasant necromancers in a pothole

When lo and behold, I stumbled upon:


Started a new DW campaign last night.

Started a new DW campaign last night.

Started a new DW campaign last night. Only three players could make it, though I’m generally hoping to have four for most sessions. Two out of three are actors with strong comedy backgrounds so the tendency was to get a bit gonzo. I ran with it for the most part, but managed to maintain a bit of decorum when it seemed necessary.

Meet Aladra the Wizard; Thaddeus Sanguinius, Paladin of the Maker; and Jesseo de Champlain de Rockefellier (aka Jesse the Thief).

We first happen upon our heroes as they are getting shot at by the town guards of Dunspur. Turns out they had gotten into a bit of a scrap when Aldara read out a legal document about Jesse’s family’s role in some unpopular re-development decisions in town. Thaddeus tries to calm things by calling on his divine authority. In response, Guardsman Thomas shoots him with rusty crossbow bolt.

They take cover in the town square, hiding behind the fallen Great Oak of Dunspur that Jesse’s family had cut down recently. Jesse climbs up and cuts loose the town water reservoir and it washes away both the guardsmen and his friends. Jesse then steals some horses to assist in their retreat.

On the road out of town, they encounter two armed riders. Jesse recognizes the riders (Bronson and Charles). They are bandits but Jesse claims they are Rockefellier contractors. Their boss, Ysfaren is looking for help. The Maker reveals to Thaddeus that these men are evil and he attacks, killing one immediately. Jesse takes a bolt from the other while preventing Thaddeus from getting shot. Aldara blasts the second foe with a magic missile and Thaddeus finishes him off.

Thaddeus heals Jesse but suffers a lot of damage, some of which Aldara is able to heal in turn, demonstrating the Maker’s favour upon her in Thaddeus’ eyes.

A large group of bandits approach and Thaddeus swears an oath to slay their leader. To everyone’s surprise, the Maker responds to Thaddeus’ vow, granting him immunity to ranged weapons until he slays the bandit captain. Thaddeus charges and all 10 bandits fire bows and crossbows at him. The Maker bends the projectiles around his champion, leaving him unharmed. The bandit thugs flee when Thaddeus bellows his challenge, leaving Ysfaren to stand alone. There is a brief skirmish between Thaddeus and Ysfaren and Thaddeus wounds his foe badly, causing the coward to flee toward town, holding his broken, bleeding ribs. Aladra briefly pauses her cataloguing of the fight to nearly finish Ysfaren with a subtly cast magic missile.

During the fight, Jesse ambushes a fleeing bandit and knocks the man from his horse by cutting his saddle strap. Before he can gather his wits, the bandit finds himself staring into the business end of Jesse’s crossbow. He doesn’t have much money, but he quickly spills the beans about the coin and treasure map in Ysfaren’s saddle bags.

Spurred on by righteous rage, curiosity and greed, respectively, Thaddeus, Aladra and Jesse converge on Ysfaren in front of the town gates, where the bandit leader wheels his horse about and surrenders instead of facing the town guards. Jesse attempts to knock out Ysfaren to prevent revealing the fact that they know each other, but his blade slips and he accidentally kills him instead.

Grand Mayor and Captain of the Guard Cornwallis witnesses the heroes slaying the archvillain Ysfaren and he not only forgives all their sins but berates his men for mistreating the heroes earlier.

I really want rituals to be an interesting part of my Ars Magica hack. Any thoughts on this ritual move?

I really want rituals to be an interesting part of my Ars Magica hack. Any thoughts on this ritual move?

I really want rituals to be an interesting part of my Ars Magica hack. Any thoughts on this ritual move?

When you spend time in your lab figuring out how to create a powerful magical effect through a ritual, describe what you want to accomplish and the GM will tell you what you’re going to need, based on the scope and scale of what you describe.

Vis (at least two rooks, possibly more)

Time (certainly an hour, could be as long as a whole season)

Mastery (at least two arts, possibly more)

Materials (might be a special kind of moss; might also be the still-beating heart of an ancient dragon…)

Expertise (you might need to skim over a book on stonework; or have a master sculptor assist you; or you might need to sacrifice the world’s greatest living architect…)

There will be more granular rules in the GM section, but I think the basic concept comes across.

For reference: vis is raw magic in physical form. A rook is a measurement of vis (it’s the smallest unit players are required to track). This is a significant but deliberate variation from Ars Magica.