Wandering Monsters in DW and WoDu
Once upon a time, I had TSR’s board game DragonStrike! (Feeling brave tonight?) There were four boards, each with a timer dial on one side. Every turn, the DM was supposed to advance a token on the dial; once the timer ran out, the dragon would show up. I could never consistently remember to advance the dial, but it wasn’t long before I was running my own adventures and hacking the game to embrace more role-playing, so the timer ceased to matter.
Today I was thinking about how I might create more tension in a DW delve, without all the bookkeeping of old-school procedural dungeoneering, and my mind turned to the lurking menace of wandering monsters.
I’m mindful that the GM moves handle this completely, and there’s no need for a separate system. I thought of one anyway.
Here’s my idea: Whenever the delvers are exploring a dangerous area where monsters may be lurking, create a countdown on an index card, and put it in the middle of the table. (Countdowns are explained in Dark Heart of the Dreamer.) The GM may use a Die of Fate (from World of Dungeons) to determine how many boxes are in the countdown, or just pick a number based on the how near and/or sensitive the monsters are.
Fill in a box whenever the delvers make a loud noise or otherwise draw unwanted attention without an immediate consequence. (This counts as “making your move elsewhere”.) Loud noises might include the din of battle, Bardic anthems, spirited conversations between delvers, or clatters caused by Tookish curiosity. What you count as loud depends on how vigilant your monsters are and what else is going on. You might also fill in a box whenever the delvers are taking their sweet time.
When the last box is filled in, wandering monsters catch up with the delvers. If there are more monsters lurking about, you might create another countdown right away.
Anyway, that’s the idea. Could it work?