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powered by the apocalypse => Dungeon World => Topic started by: Quizoid on March 01, 2012, 12:41:20 AM

Title: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: Quizoid on March 01, 2012, 12:41:20 AM
I'm new to *W games. I've just run one session. I was wondering what some people out there are doing for 6- Hard Moves when PCs roll for Spout Lore and Discern Realities.

I understand that the hard moves should, "Follow from the fiction." Does that mean it should relate to the move, or are some people just throwing in other stuff?

Some things I did in my first game, or have thought of:

Discern Realities:
draw magical attention
those who you are looking for see you

Spout Lore:
you get improper information (-1 forward to something)

Any other ideas?
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: noofy on March 01, 2012, 03:15:24 AM
G'day Quizoid!
Good question :)
John Harper gives very good advice on making hard moves here: (

Though I would suggest that your ideas are spot on. Though try not to get too carried away with carrying -1 forward. Narrative prompts or questions are far more juicy! Before the players roll, get them to explain what they are doing and what they want. The 'knowledge' moves are rather special in that it gives the players overt authorship (if you want to give it to them, and I think that is really cool thing.)

The players are then risking not only an obvious hard move from you, but also that what they 'think' is true about a situation / place / person / monster / thing is not quite the way they imagined it....

Rather than just saying that they know nothing, say YES but.....

When they fail, go with whatever seems 'obvious'. Follow the consequences of the fiction. Do you have any particular DM or Dungeon Moves that you want to make? Then make them! I love Hard Moves handed to me on a platter, 'cause my notes are full of Moves I've been dying to make, especially Revealing Unwelcome Truths, or Announcing Impending Dooms!

I always try and re-incorporate stuff the players have authored, and throw the onus/responsibility back on them. So they are Spouting Lore, Why? What do they already know? What sort of info were they hoping to get? Ask them. Get them to tell you ALL about it. Details Details. Then warp it, twist it, make it more complicated or more dangerous. Ask one of the other players to fill them in!

When Discerning Realities the character must closely observe their target and interact with it in some way – or watch someone else do the same. – they have to look under and around things, be curious and investigate. Its about listening to intuition and picking up on the hints available as to the 'true' nature of the thing / place / person. So what is the obvious complication of intuiting the worst possible thing? Ask the player (or another player!) a question or two off the list and use their answer to inspire your move. Look for the 'downside' in whatever they tell you, re-incorporate their own narrated complications.

This way the player not only 'fails' but the get authorship and responsibility. You are showing them that what they say matters to you and the story. I've yet to find a player that would rather have me tell them the story I think they want to tell themselves.
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: Anarchangel on March 01, 2012, 01:14:40 PM
If I'm running a one-off on the fly, I'll often introduce signs of an enemy (often an extremely close enemy!) on a Discern miss. If I have planned enemies in a prepped game, that's a perfect chance for them to appear.

On Spout Lore misses, I'll often have them tell me something about the creature/person/place/thing anyway, then twist that thing to be dangerous for when they later encounter it.

If there doesn't seem to be an obvious hard move to make, I will often pick one of my fronts and foretell doom about a Grim Portent coming to pass.
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: sage on March 01, 2012, 01:18:57 PM
noofy nails it, as does John Harper of course (John actually gave us permission to rework his post into a section of the book).

Some other things to think about: when they're Spouting Lore they might be lost in thought, right? Who could take advantage of that? What did they miss while they were trying to remember that detail?

When they're Discerning Realities they're looking carefully and interacting, which again means they might miss what an enemy is doing something else. If it makes sense with the area they're looking through I'm always a fan of giving them what they searched for but adding a Cthulhu-esque twist: you find the wizard's spellbook, but it's full of these strange twisted images that you just can't get out of your brain (which I then come back to later for full effect).
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: sage on March 01, 2012, 01:20:38 PM
Cross-posted with anarchangel, who has another good point: whatever they're doing is taking some time, right? Time is an enemy. It's your opportunity to say "while you were trying to recall what your master told you about fighting worgs the howls have gotten considerably closer, they've got to be just outside the clearing now."
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: Quizoid on March 02, 2012, 11:08:12 PM
Thanks, everyone for these great ideas. I feel better prepared. I like the idea of, "You find out something you really don't like." That's very Cthulhu-esque, but appropriate enough, especially with my group's current Witchy antagonist.

noofy , I really like where you were going with the theory, so could you give me 2-3 concrete examples?
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: noofy on March 03, 2012, 03:29:30 AM
Sure! How 'bout some from one of my first sessions? You can read all about it here (

Spout Lore used to be a list of questions to ask from on a hit (as did the adventure hook move), so despite having a different writeup, the same principle of 'world authoring' moves still apply.

I try and encourage anyone I play with to tell me what they want in the game through the fiction, asking lots of questions. It can be a little strange to 'share' the GM scene-setting, but after a while, It became my preferred way of play. When it sounds like the players are on a roll and getting to 'Narrator mode', it's often a cue for me to ask the time-honoured prompt of 'Sounds like you are Spouting Lore about that?' or 'Hey, that seems like you have Discerned the Reality of the situation'.

Normally these moves allow the players to get tidbits of the situation setting prep that the GM has made with their fronts and dangers prior to interacting with them, but it also allows the GM to 'palm off' some of that responsibility to the players, trusting them to stick with the 'theme' or 'feel' of the game. If it gets out of hand, you can just revert back to the 'traditional' DW model.

On a miss, you can still work with what they give you though, rather than a straight refute.

What Brancino wanted was there to be an Assassin's guild in Dingledale that he could approach and get work murdering folks. I nailed down what he thought was interesting about the concept and what he wanted as a character from them. Note that I had no notes on the town, other than a Terry Pratchett-esque concept in my beer-addled mind.

So sure, an assassin's guild is cool! I could have just said Yes and let him go there, but I like the idea of a fictional consequence to the things that the players want in the story, especially for setting canon just like that. Later, I can re-incorporate this stuff with abandon, since the player has taken the responsibility and authored it in. Note that since then, Brancino has become far more than a simple thief, in fact he is the de-facto head of the thieves guild and involved in a gratuitous powerplay with the very assassin's guild he narrated into the story way back when.

Anyways, he missed his roll to spout lore about them. So instead of saying that there was no assassin's guild, or taking away his stuff or separating him from Tonks or any other GM move, I effectively asked him what was interesting and useful to him about the guild.
'Oh you know, they teach me stuff about killing folks for money and take me under their wing as their newest progeny.' Ahhhhh no.
I simply twisted what he wanted and got him booted out on his ear, with a curt 'don't come back, we'll contact you if you prove yourself worthy'.

Later, the boys discerned reality about the Party into the wilds, which (on a 7-9) rather comically became the the Bugbear DANCE party, authoring both the main antagonist and the location of their adventure.

Tonksey failed his Discern Realities as he tried to find a secret door into the caves (using Tony's map as inspiration), instead of just saying he failed and making a hard move (or a dungeon move), I took it and said sure you can have your secret entrance, but got him to tie the swamp and the entrance together as I asked him questions off the list.

What should you be on the lookout for? - underwater tunnels
What here is not what it appears to be? - the swamp is the 'hidden entrance' to the caves.

Thus they had to go through this treacherous obstacle first (the swamp tunnel - like Grendel does in Beowulf). This player authored 'fact' (from a failed roll) ended up splitting the party, losing the wizard's spellbook and caused no end of guffaws around the campfire!

I have many more, I really like the principle of letting the player's decide, or telling them the consequences and asking. The dice just dictate if the information is helpful or obstructive.
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: Quizoid on March 03, 2012, 05:10:00 AM
Sweet! I really feel like I have a good mental tool chest for these rolls now. (O:
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: sage on March 03, 2012, 12:25:09 PM
That reminds me, I cut an AW GM Move that I'm seeing effectively mentioned a lot in noofy's posts: Turn Their Move Back On Them.

Oh you want to know about the Assassin's Guild? Tell me about it, and I'll tell you what you don't know on top of that.

You're trying to find an entrance? What troubles are you worried about finding in your way? Oh, well, those are good things to be worried about, because they're all here.
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: Anarchangel on March 03, 2012, 03:04:29 PM
Ah! That explains why "Turn their move back on them" is on the move list (p.118) but not expanded in the section below (pp.120-1)!

Why did you remove that one, btw? I noticed that you'd folded some AW moves together, is this one of those?
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: sage on March 03, 2012, 06:07:31 PM
I actually didn't use it much in AW. noofy has totally shown me how it's useful, so I think it'll leave limbo and be definitely in the game.
Title: Re: Hard Moves for Spout Lore and Discern Realities
Post by: saintandsinner on March 03, 2012, 11:21:30 PM
Please leave 'turn their move back on them' in the game.  I use it like Noofy described all the time.