Dungeon World: one book, two games?

edited June 2013 in Story Games
I'm having some trouble reading through DW as it seems that the text allows for two different interpretations to co-exist. If I read it coming from AW, I know what moves are originally supposed to be and I can see that notion hidden between the lines. However, if I read it coming from your average D&D background, it looks like just another "roll-to-see-if-you-make-it" in which moves are just not another name for class features. For example, a GM that understands how moves are triggered by the players' actions will keep them informed of how and when this or that monster is aware of their PCs so that the players can knowingly trigger Hack'n Slash. On the other hand, your traditional DM will wait for the players to possibly trigger the move and only then will decide if the enemy is aware of them for it to actually be Hack'n Slash (or just roll for damage).

Following this example, is the game suppose to turn into a sneak'n stab kind of dungeon crawl where you walk in the shadows laying all manner of traps and devices so that you can avoid triggering the moves and just get to roll for damage? Or does the GM just go "you know he has spotted you, what do you do?".
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  • Fairly certain I don't understand that first paragraph. How is "roll to see if you make it" class features? Especially when everyone has access to the basic moves you'd use to play out your scenario. If you're playing Dungeon World properly then nobody's waiting for anything. The fiction is happening and players or doing something or you're making moves to make them do something. I just don't get where this awareness thing is playing into the situation.

    Do you mean a scenario like:

    GM: Corum, what are you doing?
    Corum: I'm checking to see if the monster is aware of me.
    GM: Okay, how are you doing that?
    Corum: Uhh, well I guess I'm going to warily sneak by but be on guard in case it jumps at me.
    GM: Alright, then roll to defy danger as you slink past the beast.

    or

    GM: Corum, what are you doing?
    Corum: I don't know, is it aware of me?
    GM: If it is, it's certainly not doing anything about it, is it. At least not right at this instant anyway...
    Corum: Alright, well I'm going to whip out my bow and and loose an arrow in throat, don't want it making any noise.
    GM: Alright, looks like you're calling your shot, have at it.

    Even if they wanted to do the whole dungeon crawl as silent assassins, it seems to be there'd still be, at the very least, some Defy Danger moves involved (re: being spotted, sneaking past monsters in their homes, getting by traps you don't know exist, etc.) As a GM you're following your principles, i.e. to fill the characters lives with adventure so yeah, you're going to want to keep throwing dangerous and difficult challenges at them. If it was a players intent to slip by unnoticed I wouldn't take away their player agency, I'd just make it a tense and challenging right to achieve it - just like I would any other intent.
  • Your question makes sense to me, Ricardo, and my answer would be:

    Definitely play it "the AW way". I could see someone unfamiliar with AW picking up the game and playing it more or less like D&D (in fact, I'm pretty sure there was a thread about that recently... here it is.
  • You can play the game a number of different ways (like any game), but I think it's more effective when you play it "the AW way" rather than just assuming it's like 3E or whatever. I think the text points you in that direction but, sure, some people will just steamroll over that stuff and assume "I know how to play D&D."
  • Fairly certain I don't understand that first paragraph. How is "roll to see if you make it" class features?
    People that read DW looking for the "so what do we roll for tests?" will think it's 2d6+stat, TN 10, 7-9 it's a weak sucess and below that it's a failure. They will then look at the moves and think "so every hero gets these powers plus the ones specific to his class".
  • However, if I read it coming from your average D&D background, it looks like just another "roll-to-see-if-you-make-it" in which moves are just not another name for class features. For example, a GM that understands how moves are triggered by the players' actions will keep them informed of how and when this or that monster is aware of their PCs so that the players can knowingly trigger Hack'n Slash. On the other hand, your traditional DM will wait for the players to possibly trigger the move and only then will decide if the enemy is aware of them for it to actually be Hack'n Slash (or just roll for damage).
    I totally empathize with your reaction. My group had trouble with this too.

    I think the answer is that you must remember the GM Moves. I think the conventional D&D expectation is that the GM narrates in a kind of free form way, but only the players make mechanical decisions or "moves." That is not how DW works. The GM moves are required in order for the system to work well. GM moves are not merely general advice -- they are rules.

    So, while the traditional DM in your example "will wait for the players to possibly trigger the move." The DW GM is much more active. There is no waiting:

    1) The procedure begins when the GM makes a soft GM move (they are described in the book) and then says "what do you do?"

    2) The player then responds with his character's fictional reaction.

    2a) If the player's fictional reaction ignores danger, the GM may make a hard move as described in the book.

    2b) If the player's fictional reaction triggers a player move, proceed according to the player move instructions.

    2c) If the player's fictional reaction does not ignore danger or trigger a player move, proceed to 3.

    3) Repeat procedure.

    So, in your example about getting spotted by a guard, it would go like this:
    1) the GM might say, "you see a castle guard looking for you nearby with a loaded crossbow. You are still hidden, but if you get any closer you'll be in earshot and he'll probably notice strange noises. If you stay where you are, he'll find you. What do you do?" (The GM soft move in that case was "show signs of doom")

    2a) If the player says: "I walk right by him whistling." The GM should probably make it clear that such an action would result in getting shot with a crossbow -- if that's really what the character wants to do though, the GM can deal the crossbow damage (hard move).

    2b) If the player says: "I sneak by him," that's probably Defy Danger -- so, you roll the dice and do what the move says to do.

    2c) If the player says: "I back away while I'm still out of earshot and walk the other direction," then the GM proceeds to 3) and makes a new soft move: "you turn the corner and walk right into a second guard, he looks right in your face and is momentarily surprised -- he seems like he is about to shout and grab you, what do you do?!

    3) Repeat procedure.
  • You can play the game a number of different ways (like any game), but I think it's more effective when you play it "the AW way" rather than just assuming it's like 3E or whatever.
    People who assume it's like 3.x will still think it's new and different as they will notice that the DM chooses initiative instead of rolling for it and that you gain XP for failing tests. However, they will see it as a trade-off because they might get the impression that you want to avoid going for the dice as much as possible.

    On the other hand, it seems to me that, in AW, moves are based much more on intent and not on circumstances that are outside of the character's control. Therefore, they feel like pure player moves while, in DW, they seem to partially depend on the GM and so the players have more room to tiptoe around them.
  • I think the answer is that you must remember the GM Moves. I think the conventional D&D expectation is that the GM narrates in a kind of free form way, but only the players make mechanical decisions or "moves." That is not how DW works. The GM moves are required in order for the system to work well. GM moves are not merely general advice -- they are rules.
    Thank you for this explanation! It does help somewhat, although it becomes a matter of narrative control as the players may try to frame the scene in a way that's favorable to them before the GM gets to slap them around with soft moves :) A classic example is staging a distraction so that the guards are not there or can be easily killed. This usually leads to some lengthy planing, but there are moves involved in that as well, so I can see how it might work out.
  • Yes, I'd say that's precisely the point. (Or one of the things the game hinges on anyway: the fictional positioning.)
  • Yeah, fictional position is a whole thing. It can mean that you can do something without rolling a move (like straight-up murdering a dude) or are set up to do moves that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do (hack and slash a dragon).
  • I've only run DW once, and here's one thing that confused me: if the GM makes a soft move like "the owlbear lurches toward you, slashing at your face with its razor-sharp talons; what do you do?" And then the player goes hack and slash, do they take damage? If not, what is the advantage of defy danger over hack and slash?
  • I agree with the above. If the GM starts the ball rolling with a soft move and then the players do a bunch of stuff in the fiction to give themselves tactical advantages or avoid harm or whatever, that's not a flaw, that's the game.
  • edited June 2013
    If a player makes a player move, the move dictates what happens.

    If the player responds to the angry owlbear with an answering attack, it's probably Hack&Slash so on a 10+ you avoid its attack and deal your damage; on a 7-9 you'd trade damage. On a 6, it's a GM hard move (which is probably going to be either damage or some other monster move). Once the player move is resolved, the GM makes a new soft move.
  • Moves aren't comperable to each other, with one being better or worse. It just depends on what you're trying to do. If you're fighting the owlbear, it's probably Hack & Slash or Volley or a special class-based move. If you're diving out of the way, ducking behind an obstacle, or something else of that variety, it's probably Defy Danger or a special class-based move.
  • Jonathan is right: it's all about context.

    (But, in this specific case, mechanically, Defy Danger is safer: you probably don't take the Owlbear's full damage on a 7-9 result, which you will if you Hack & Slash).
  • John has a point. Hand-to-hand fighting is just inherantly more dangerous than getting out of the way.
  • I've only run DW once, and here's one thing that confused me: if the GM makes a soft move like "the owlbear lurches toward you, slashing at your face with its razor-sharp talons; what do you do?" And then the player goes hack and slash, do they take damage? If not, what is the advantage of defy danger over hack and slash?
    Just to add another two cents, my understanding is also that this depends heavily on fictional positioning:

    Just how scary is this Owlbear? Is it huge and overpowering, does it have greater reach than the PC?

    How armed and prepared is the PC? Are they already in position to just fight like that, or do they need to do something else first?

    I think that if the PC and the Owlbear were facing each other, weapons drawn, it would be totally legit to answer an attack from the Owlbear with a Hack & Slash roll.

    But if the Owlbear had twice the reach of the PC, they would need to get within range first, so Hack & Slash wouldn't be an option just yet.

    Similarly, if the PC didn't have their sword drawn, or was caught off-guard, or was busy doing something else (trying to untie a trapped prisoner, say), then Defy Danger would be the more likely choice.

    As you can see, it heavily depends on the group to reach consensus over how the fiction is flowing and what's happening, in detail.

    Dungeon World is not a game which will tell you, by rules, exactly which moves apply at which given point. It doesn't make sense to ask, let's say, "If my opponent has just damaged me with an axe for 8 points, what moves can I make on my turn?"

  • edited June 2013
    Thank you for this explanation! It does help somewhat, although it becomes a matter of narrative control as the players may try to frame the scene in a way that's favorable to them before the GM gets to slap them around with soft moves :) A classic example is staging a distraction so that the guards are not there or can be easily killed. This usually leads to some lengthy planing, but there are moves involved in that as well, so I can see how it might work out.
    In AW terms, the phenomenon you're talking about is called "Moves snowball". Ie., once you get rolling, like a snowball on a hill, things just tend to get bigger and bigger---either PCs get in more and more trouble, or they're acting on a bigger and bigger scale. Either way is bad ass and fun. When I play AW, I find that my players often expend a lot of energy on figuring out ways to avoid rolling the dice, so they can minimize their risk. That's okay by me, because no matter what they do, I'm still going to get Golden Opportunities to make their lives interesting. I haven't played DW but I have the impression it works in precisely the same way in this respect.
  • Thanks all for answering my newb question, and also I apologize for threadjacking.

    But what if, in response to the owlbear question above, the players says, "I quickly duck underneath the owlbear's reach and plunge my dagger into its belly?" Is that defy danger, hack and slash, or both?
  • It sounds like 2 moves: defy danger and hack and slash; but depending on the result of the defy danger, (which should be adjudicated first) the player may or may not want to follow up with the hack & slash :)
  • edited June 2013
    A classic example is staging a distraction so that the guards are not there or can be easily killed.
    Why else would you have put the guards there in the first place?
  • edited June 2013

    But what if, in response to the owlbear question above, the players says, "I quickly duck underneath the owlbear's reach and plunge my dagger into its belly?" Is that defy danger, hack and slash, or both?
    The conventional wisdom is that the GM should ask a bunch of questions to figure out exactly what is going on before determining which move is triggered. So, as @Paul_T noted above, I suppose there could be circumstances to support a variety of moves.

    In the heat of the moment though (assuming the player is squaring off with an Owl Bear that he can potentially hit and harm), if a player said that to me, I'd have probably deemed the "duck and plunge" maneuver to be a trigger for Hack&Slash. I would not have considered the good ol' "duck and plunge" to be two different player moves. Avoiding an attack while you put yourself in position to make an attack of your own is Hack&Slash -- that's literally what the move does.



  • edited June 2013
    I can see players trying to Spout Lore, Parley and Discern Realities as much as they can in order to find a way to position themselves within the fiction that gets them to roll for damage without the need to Hack'n Slash, Voley or Defy Danger.
  • Yeah, but if they fail those rolls they may have to do so anyway, and at a disadvantage, or even take damage themselves. That's the game. If you have better stats for Hack & Slash than for Discern Realities, a character may naturally use a more "ask questions later" approach. But in a party filled by magic users and tricksters, setting up traps and luring monsters into ambushes might be more common way to solve problems.
  • I agree. Rolling a 6 is bad no matter what the move is. The only reason Hack&Slash is arguably more dangerous than other moves is because you take damage on 7-9. But, a) 7-9 can be problematic on other moves too; and, b) if I have a +2 on my Hack&Slash and a -1 on my Defy Danger, Hack&Slash is still probably the "safer" move. Moreover, all things equal, jumping around in front of an Owl Bear might be less risky than stabbing it, but jumping around probably isn't doing anything to remove your angry Owl Bear problem. While it's certainly possible to play in a way that intentionally avoids rolling Hack&Slash, avoiding Hack&Slash at all costs isn't inherently optimal.

  • If a player makes a player move, the move dictates what happens.

    If the player responds to the angry owlbear with an answering attack, it's probably Hack&Slash so on a 10+ you avoid its attack and deal your damage; on a 7-9 you'd trade damage. On a 6, it's a GM hard move (which is probably going to be either damage or some other monster move). Once the player move is resolved, the GM makes a new soft move.
    I don't have my book to hand, but, IIRC, on a 7-9, you trade attacks. That could be a simple as trading damage. But I mostly think I'm falling down on the job as GM if it is that simple...and that, IMO, is what separates DW from D&D as it is generally played.


  • edited June 2013
    You do not want to roll a 6 in front if a charging Owlbear. Any 6.

    Ricardo, don't overlook the fact that the GM makes moves. Players don't get to just load up on advantages in preparation for the GM's monster. They either trigger a move or you do. And once you've showed signs of impending doom, that doom should be impending. They better not ignore it or it will impending all over them.
  • edited June 2013
    GM: the owlbear sees you and shrieks like a thousand dying hyenas. Then it charges, what do you do.
    Wizard: can I look around for something useful?
    GM: hello, owlbear! Very fast and bitey. Charging!
  • Ricardo, don't overlook the fact that the GM makes moves. Players don't get to just load up on advantages in preparation for the GM's monster.
    Sure, first they will try it on the spot and get slammed with a move by the GM. Next time, they'll try to do it outside the dungeon, but the same thing will happen. What they can do is start loading up on advantages when the GM has no fictional ground on which to threaten them immediately. They'll do it behind a barricaded door or back in town, looking for that favorable position in the fiction.
  • edited June 2013
    Good. They're supposed to be thinking. But Discern Realities doesn't work in another room. Spout Lore gives them what? A useful piece of information on a 10+ hardly game breaking. Then you get to make your move. Big thumping noises on the door as the wood starts splintering are always good.

    Besides, they only get to safely barricade the door if they have time and/or resources to do it.

    Fighter: I barricade the door.
    GM: with what? (Ask Questions)
    Fighter: Umm, I have iron spikes and a mallet in my adventuring gear!
    GM: cool, but it'll cost you one use and its going to be very noisy, like halflings in Moria kind of noisy. You sure? (Tell them the cost or consequence and ask)

    So, the fiction just moves on. You make it sound like these things are problems. They're not. You're a fan of the characters. If they come up with something clever that's cool. Make their lives not boring. Fill the world with the fantastical. Make moves and let them snowball.
  • edited June 2013
    And there's no rule that says they start in town. Start them in the dungeon with an owlbear charging them.
  • Sure, first they will try it on the spot and get slammed with a move by the GM. Next time, they'll try to do it outside the dungeon, but the same thing will happen. What they can do is start loading up on advantages when the GM has no fictional ground on which to threaten them immediately. They'll do it behind a barricaded door or back in town, looking for that favorable position in the fiction.
    GM moves don't always have to be immediately evident to the players or to their characters. Continuing with the Owlbear example, let's say the PCs are back in town, trying to find out all they can about Owlbears before they trek off into the forest to face one. The Wizard Spouts Lore while searching through the library of the town's College of Magic, but rolls a 6. The PCs are currently nowhere near the Owlbear. They're safe and sound behind the thick wooden walls of the town where nothing can happen, right?

    Wrong. Obviously the GM isn't going to narrate an angry Owlbear busting through the library's door to attack the Wizard (although that would be kind of awesome). Instead, the GM is going to make another move. Maybe the GM will Reveal an unwelcome truth. Turns out this particular species of Owlbear can only be harmed by magical weapons, which the party doesn't currently have. Or maybe these Owlbears form breeding colonies, meaning that there's not one monster, but a whole bunch of them. Maybe the GM will Use up their resources. The College of Magic's library is horribly unorganized. It's going to take at least three days to go through everything to find useful information. Or maybe this is the last favor the Wizard can get from the College of Magic for a while, since the PCs have already asked for so much. Maybe the GM will Turn their move back on them. There's another bad of adventurers in town, and they've already armed themselves with Owlbear knowledge. They're all ready to head off into the forest to deal with the menace, stealing the glory (and the gold) from the PCs.

    The point is, there is nowhere the PCs can "hide" from the GMs Moves. If they make a Move, and there needs to be a consequence, then there is one, regardless of where the PCs are. Sometimes you'll have to be creative about what happens, but something needs to happen. If there is absolutely nothing that can possibly happen as a result of the characters messing up, then it's not a Move. There's no need to roll dice, and whatever the characters are trying to make happen just happens.
  • Thanks all for answering my newb question, and also I apologize for threadjacking.

    But what if, in response to the owlbear question above, the players says, "I quickly duck underneath the owlbear's reach and plunge my dagger into its belly?" Is that defy danger, hack and slash, or both?
    Yes, as people wrote above, there's no certain answer to this one. Ask more questions, establish more details, and use your judgements (as MC, and as a group): just how fraught with danger is this situation? Is the Owlbear quick and furious? Does it have the drop on the PC, or was the PC prepared to react? Is the PC someone who could believably just coolly duck and lunge like that? (It's D&D and you're a fan of the characters, so probably yes, but not if this is in the dark, the floor is slick with blood, and the character is off-balance or terrified already...)

    That's what I was trying to get at in my previous post. It's a question of judgement, not rules.

    (You could also metagame it a little: do you want this monster to be really fearsome and scary? Then call to Defy Danger more often before the characters can roll for Hack & Slash. Is it relatively harmless and unimportant? Then go ahead and skip that. This is a way you can adjust the lethality of monsters, even when they have the same stats on paper. It's putting the cart before the horse -- as opposed to just using the details of the fiction to guide you -- but you can't pretend it doesn't exist altogether, either.)
  • You make it sound like these things are problems.
    I understand how the game works and I love how the moves snowball without these variations ever becoming a problem, but I was getting back to my original point on how DW can be misinterpreted by people who come into it from D&D. Even without interacting with the fiction, players (not the characters) can plan for hours looking for a way to roll for damage without triggering Hack'n Slash.

    In comparison, I don't think this issue ever happens with AW, because you either Go Aggro or Seize by Force, there's no escaping that web of moves :)
  • Ricardo, don't overlook the fact that the GM makes moves. Players don't get to just load up on advantages in preparation for the GM's monster.
    Sure, first they will try it on the spot and get slammed with a move by the GM. Next time, they'll try to do it outside the dungeon, but the same thing will happen. What they can do is start loading up on advantages when the GM has no fictional ground on which to threaten them immediately. They'll do it behind a barricaded door or back in town, looking for that favorable position in the fiction.
    I think this is a problem, and is a symptom that the game is breaking down. While this scenario didn't exactly happen to me, in a DW game I GMed the players kept withdrawing from dungeons to places of safety and it became exhausting for me to come up with ways to make moves. The point of the game mostly taking place in a dungeon is to give the GM lots of context to work from when they need to make moves. I think that there's an implicit player agenda in DW where the players need to play characters who want to explore dungeons. If the players are trying to "outsmart" the mechanics, the game isn't going to work. It's not possible to be a fan of the characters if they're doing stuff that's boring to you (the "be a fan" principle isn't an obligation to enjoy whatever the player contributes). Yes, to a certain extent there's a self-correcting cycle in the game where people are supposed to realize that hiding from the mechanics can actually expose them to more hard moves than just playing the game, but that mechanism isn't strong enough to convince a safety-obsessed character to be an adventurer.
  • Dan,

    I haven't run DW myself, but shouldn't the "safety-seeking" characters cause the various Fronts to advance until they intersect with the characters?

    For instance, if the characters are boarded up in some house up the hill from the village, shouldn't some Orcs attack and burn the village sooner or later (and so the MC's move might be "You see smoke from the window"), a plague fall across the land, the dead rise from the grave, etc?

    If that's not how it's supposed to work, do you think it would solve the problem or not?
  • I haven't run DW myself, but shouldn't the "safety-seeking" characters cause the various Fronts to advance until they intersect with the characters?

    For instance, if the characters are boarded up in some house up the hill from the village, shouldn't some Orcs attack and burn the village sooner or later (and so the MC's move might be "You see smoke from the window"), a plague fall across the land, the dead rise from the grave, etc?

    If that's not how it's supposed to work, do you think it would solve the problem or not?
    For me, doing nothing but constant escalation became exhausting. Burning towns down around PCs is not what I wanted to get from Dungeon World, I wanted to get a game about adventurers in dungeons. Turning the places of safety into de facto dungeons because the players didn't want to engage with the actual dungeons was not fun for me, even though I theoretically could have continued going through the motions of playing by doing that. If the players' response to escalation is to seek safety, then escalating when they seek safety doesn't seem like an especially healthy cycle.
  • Well, that's the default mode in Apocalypse World (the world is a dangerous place) as well as in a lot of fantasy fiction (the heroes try to seek safety, but inevitably some kind of urgent and present danger drives them to action - danger always finds them if they don't seek it first).

    I'd say that if you're going to a more typical "safe in Town -> dangerous in the Dungeon" D&D-adventure, you can't use the regular DW rules outside of the adventure location itself. Just narrate what happens, say yes to the players, and jump back into the next adventure location. Skip over the non-adventure stuff and fast forward to the next exciting bit (fantasy fiction does this too, sometimes: "He wintered in the Hills, but by the time the Spring thaw came, it became clear that war was inevitable..."
  • Well, that's the default mode in Apocalypse World
    Yes, the setting of the original game facilitated the gameplay.

    Dungeon World is a good game, and can be fun. If the participants aren't playing the way the game needs them to play it isn't fun, and the solution to unfun play isn't always "the GM needs to try harder!" or "the GM needs to use different techniques!". Yeah, maybe there were techniques I could have used to nudge the game into a less unfun place, but that seems like treating the symptom rather than the cause.
  • edited June 2013
    Dan's right, if the players don't want to play adventurers going into dungeons they shouldn't be playing DUNGEON world.

    Ricardo, I'm mulling over your statement about the difference between DW and AW in this regard. I've seen both games misread, but you may be right that DW mistakes differ.
  • [...] seems like treating the symptom rather than the cause.
    I don't disagree. So what do you see as the cause, and how might it be treated?

  • [...] seems like treating the symptom rather than the cause.
    I don't disagree. So what do you see as the cause, and how might it be treated?
    I think the root cause is one of player alignment/stance toward the game. DW does a good job of aligning the GM via the agendas, principles, and always-says, but leaves players to mostly intuit things for themselves. For the game to function well the players also have to embrace the game, e.g. they're playing characters who want to explore dungeons and they aren't trepidatious about engaging with either the fictional or mechanical parts of the game. (A technique-based way for a GM to guide things in that direction might be to ask players as part of chargen why they're living an adventurer lifestyle rather than leading a safe, boring life, and maybe end each session by asking whether each character wants to continue their adventuring lifestyle or is thinking about retiring.)

  • I think the game leans in favor of the heroic and clear-cut "you see him, he sees you, fight!" than the dark and gritty hide in shadows approach. A spell like Light is very accessible and I don't suppose you're meant to play around with fog-of-war very much. One character may use the frontal assault from other characters as a distraction to sneak'n stab, but that's mostly it. It's not by any means a tactical game of perfect information, but I think it works best with open straightforward combat. The GM has full control over initiative, line-of-sight and all that suff, so there's no game to be played within these parameters.
  • The GM has full control over initiative, line-of-sight and all that suff, so there's no game to be played within these parameters.
    I'm curious why the GM having "full control" over things like initiative, line-of-sight, and fog-of-war causes the game to lean more in favor of a heroic, clear cut approach for you. I'm not an expert at running the game, and there are lots of more experiences GMs here, but it seems to me that you can still run a "dark and gritty, hide in the shadows" game.
  • edited June 2013
    you can still run a "dark and gritty, hide in the shadows" game.
    As the GM, you can run it, but not really play it, I think. You're playing with yourself essentially, although with some input from the group.
  • edited June 2013
    The GM isn't supposed to play it. Everything the GM does is fan service for the characters.

    GM: Up ahead you hear the orc patrol coming round the corner. What do you do?
    Felix: I plaster myself up against the walls of the dark cavern and wait for them to pass, knife in hand.
    GM: Cool, that sounds like a Defy Danger using Int to me.
    Avon: I cast light behind that rock outcropping, bathing Felix in twisting shadows.
    GM: Okay, roll to aid. Felix take a +1, Avon looks like you're exposed to danger, which makes sense as the orcs come round the bend and see you lit up by the spell.
    Avon: Cool. I scream out "Can't catch me as I take off down the corridor.
    GM: Okay, Felix roll to Defy Danger. Success, what do you do as the orcs file past?
  • The GM isn't supposed to play it.
    The GM plays to find out what happens.
  • edited June 2013
    The GM isn't supposed to play it.
    The GM plays to find out what happens.
    That means the GM doesn't have outcomes planned. It means he doesn't have a preferred method for the players to progress through a plot. He wants to find out what the players do. What the NPCs do is all in service of that.

    He can totally have Ninja assassins ready to jump out and ambush the PCs. That IS playing to find out what happens.

  • Wait, do you mean there's no game of outsmarting the GM's tactics?
  • The "turtle, turtle, turtle" approach can be problematic; it's basically the same thing as the "fifteen-minute workday" in D&D. I definitely agree with the fact that you should be revealing unwelcome truths and using up resources. Or repopulating monsters. Heck--how are they maintaining upkeep on their stuff? If they dally and scoot around too long, it's not just Fronts that advance, they're going to have to start scraping together to make ends meet. They can't be vagrants forever. ;-)

    There's smart play, even to outsmarting the GM (you don't generally want to be Hack and Slashing regularly, after all--it's optimal to be able to flat-out deal damage by using your brain), and then there's paranoid tiptoe. The latter doesn't come without consequences.
  • edited June 2013
    Wait, do you mean there's no game of outsmarting the GM's tactics?
    I'm still going back specifically to Hack'n Slash and how the GM decides wether or not the move gets triggered or the character just rolls for damage. I don't think there's much of a game there, so I feel it's better for the GM to just state that the enemy is or isn't aware so that the players can just do the move (like they do every other move).
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