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Messages - HyveMynd

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Dungeon World / Re: Running Chases
« on: January 07, 2013, 06:24:50 AM »
I treat Defy Danger exactly like the Act Under Fire move in Apocalypse World.
Whenever a character does something that obviously demands a roll, but you don’t quite see how to deal with it, double check first whether it counts as doing something under fire. Come here first.

On a 7–9, when it comes to the worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice, you’ll need to look at the circumstances and find something fun. It should be easy to find something; if there weren’t things to go wrong, nobody’d be rolling dice.

That last emphasis is mine. If there really and truly is no danger or consequence being risked, then you probably don't need to require a move at all.

You could absolutely use a single Defy Danger move to resolve the entire chase if that's what you want to do. It totally works, as the danger being defied in that case is 'the Orcs get away'. If that's too "zoomed out for you" you could break the chases into several smaller legs, each requiring a separate Defy Danger move. There's no right answer here other than which one you prefer. It's worth pointing out though, that each Defy Danger move you require for the chase needs to have some sort of consequence. It could be as nebulous as 'the Orcs are farther down the hallway' as Nifelhein suggests, or it could be something like 'you need to drop item X to keep up'.

Dungeon World / Campaign Starter Booklets
« on: January 06, 2013, 10:45:41 PM »
Hey guys, I have something of a selfish question. See, I'm thinking about putting together a "published" campaign starter, sort of like an adventure module. I'm thinking it'll contain a short description of an area, notable locations and NPCs, a few Fronts with related Dangers and Grim Portents, new items and monsters, and a bunch of set up questions to get things rolling. Mease19's dungeon starters are great, but I really don't just want to just copy what he did.

So, my question is this: When you've run a Dungeon World game from a "module" what have been the most useful elements? I realize different people get inspired by different things, but I want to be sure that I'm including enough material for module to be useful while still leaving "blanks to be filled in".

Monsterhearts / Re: Cold as Ice
« on: January 06, 2013, 09:57:14 PM »
I think this has been discussed elsewhere (or maybe I heard it in an interview), but none of the moves in Monsterhearts really solve anything. They don't resolve problems, only delay them or just end up making them worse. That's kind of the point, as the game is all about petty teenage drama. Only the Growing Up moves end that cycle.

So yeah, the Vampire's Cold as Ice seems like it'd cause more problems. But that's arguably the point. :)

Dungeon World / Re: Running Chases
« on: January 06, 2013, 09:07:40 PM »
Eh, if you want to look at it that way AmPm, that's fine. But as written the Defy Danger move is already open ended. The 10+ result is "You do what you set out to, or the threat doesn't come to bear." The fictional result will always be "customized" based on the situation that triggered the Defy Danger move. The text of the move even calls out the fact that this is a catch-all move for "when it seems like you clearly should be rolling but no other move applies."

Dungeon World / Re: Dungeon Starter example play?
« on: January 06, 2013, 08:56:04 PM »
This isn't specific to Dungeon World, but can apply to starting any game especially one shots. Just start the characters in a situation where they know what they are supposed to do.

To give you an example, here are the three set ups I've used so far.
  • After exploring the local temple and discovering it was really a front for the horrible Snake Cult, you're hot on the trail of some cultists and the poor villagers they've kidnapped. They're not bothering to hide their trail, are about a day ahead of you as far as you can tell, and are headed right into the Rushmoor swamp.
  • You've been following the strange tracks through the Wildwood for two days now. The trail leads directly from the village of Nordmark through the forest and out onto the ice shelf, heading in the direction of Whitespire Tower. Rumor in the village is that the Ice Witch has somehow taken up residence there again.
  • As you follow the passageway down, it suddenly opens into a long rectangular room about 20' wide and 50' deep. Two rows of humanoid statues with upraised swords form a sort of aisle down the center of the room, the last two flanking a door. The Annulus, a legendary magical helmet, must lie somewhere further into the tomb of the Faceless One.

From there I start in with the questions to determine fiction. I ask loaded questions that will give me something to work with regardless of what the response is. Who sent you to go retrieve the Annulus and what does it do? How long ago was the Ice Witch defeated and what happened to the knights sworn to prevent her return? How  did the villagers not know the high preist was actually a Snake Cultist? Etc., etc., etc. Build on the answers by asking other players for details or clarification.

Yes, this is railroady. You're forcing the players to follow the Snake Cultists, to go explore Whitespire Tower and deal with the Ice Witch, or to search the Faceless One's tomb for the Annulus. But I think most players appreciate a clear direction and a clear goal for the adventure right from the beginning of the game. Especially for the first session. Drop the characters in the middle of a situation where the players can say "Ah ha! That's where I'm supposed to go" and just go.

Dungeon World / Re: Not sharing Moves Sheet with players
« on: January 06, 2013, 08:21:36 PM »
I have mixed feelings about this. During the first game of Dungeon World I ran I handed out the Basic/Special Moves sheet to each player so they could see what the moves were like. Two of the players (veterans to RPGers) glanced over the moves and then pretty much played without referring to them unless one was triggered. The other player (an extremely casual player) always looked down at his sheet when I asked him what his PC did. He saw the listed moves as his only options available. I tried to break him of this habit by prompting him with "Don't worry about what's on the sheet. What would Galadiir do in this situation?", but it didn't really work.

So yes. If I ran the game with this player again I would probably not give him the sheet of basic moves. It only limited his creativity, and I want to try and get him off that crutch. However, as many moves require the player to choose one or more options, as the GM I don't want to read down the list of choices every time someone makes a move. It's much easier, in my opinion, to simply point to the text of the move and say "Pick one of these options". Also, when running any game my eventual goal is to have the players internalize the rules, and some people do that by having constant access to them.

Lastly, if a player accuses you of hoarding information by not giving them the moves sheet, they probably won't like playing Dungeon World all that much. Many rules and situations have to be adjudicated on the fly and I know that would drive "rules lawyer" type players crazy. :)

Dungeon World / Re: Running Chases
« on: January 06, 2013, 06:58:10 AM »
noclue neatly summed up what I was trying to articulate before; that leaving the decision of who wins up to the fiction doesn't automatically mean that the PCs will win. You're supposed to "Play to find out what happens" and to "Fill the characters' lives with adventure". Additionally, as the GM you're allowed to "disclaim decision-making" as stated in the Apocalypse World book.

Also, I don't think that anyone is saying to ignore previously established fiction, AmPm. If it's already been established that one side is indeed faster/slower than the other then, unless something changes in the fiction, in my opinion it makes perfect sense for that side to win/lose. No one's saying to suddenly make the Fighter's chain hauberk heavier than it's been before, or to have the Orcs magically sprout wing on their feet and be as fast as the Flash. Sometimes you just have to make up stuff on the spot that hasn't been established yet. Has the Fighter been in a footrace while wearing chainmail before? If not than I don't see it being a problem to have them Defy Danger with either STR or CON to keep up. Again, this all circles back to the "Fill the characters' lives with adventure" agenda. If the action being taken doesn't have any possible chance of danger either a) you aren't looking hard enough, or b) the action isn't worth making a move over.

All that being said, if it's been established that the PCs and the Orcs are both relatively the same speed and the Orcs have a huge lead down a perfectly featureless hallway, I don't see the PCs having much of a chance to catch up.

Dungeon World / Re: Trip, knockback, disarm etc?
« on: January 04, 2013, 10:17:54 PM »
Yeah, I think the only tag I see for that sort of thing is Forceful, as azrianni said. If you jump to page 379 there's a description of what the tag does.

There also isn't a move to trip or disarm, or to knock people back or down. That all needs to be established in the fiction. Either as an action a character is trying to take, or as a result of a GM move.

For example, if a character attempted to disarm a foe, I would probably call for a Defy Danger move with either STR (if they were using brute force to just knock the weapon away) or DEX (if they were using a precision strike). The danger in this case is they don't disarm their opponent, and probably take damage. I would handle trips and push backs the same way; a Defy Danger move, with the danger being you don't trip or push back your opponent.

If a weapon has the forceful tag though, knock back or knock down is just part of the effect from being hit. Let's say the Fighter chose the Huge enhancement for their signature weapon. Now it has the forceful and messy tags, so when they hit something make sure to narrate the target staggering away with a ragged wound from the force of the blow. Or send it sprawling on the ground.

The same thing goes if the enemy has the forceful tag. Knock the PCs back a few steps when they get hit. If the monster gets a really solid hit on them (like when a player misses their Hack & Slash move), have them Defy Danger with either Con or Dex to remain standing. If they got hit by something big, don't even give them that opportunity. If a PC gets walloped by a Grey Render, just narrate them coming to on the floor a few heartbeats later with the thing's massive claws descending towards them.

Dungeon World / Re: Running Chases
« on: January 04, 2013, 09:52:57 PM »
I've done a single chase scene while running DW so far, but it was the reverse of your situation, SarahNewton; the characters were trying to get away from a pack of Winter Wolves. There were on only one or two Defy Danger moves resulting in misses, and the characters got surrounded. Oops. Although your situation is different, I don't really think you need to create a custom move (although I too love making them), as Defy Danger already covers everything your Stop the NPC move does.

Basing the custom move on the Aid/Interfere move works too, but unless the character has a Bond with the entity they're chasing, the player will always just roll+0. That's not a bad thing, it just seems harsh to me (like the Last Breath move). Also, as NPCs never roll dice, you have to find another way to give them the bonus or penalty that might result from the move. Monsterhearts does this well with it's Advantage/Disadvantage mechanics.

I'd also respectfully disagree with AmPm and samuraiko a bit. The players shouldn't know that they will catch the Orcs simply because you're leaving it to the fiction. If the fiction dictates that the PCs will catch the Orcs with little to no trouble, then why have the chase scene at all? If, for example, the GM has described the Orcs as being heavily wounded or otherwise slowed down, then the GM could just narrate the characters catching up with the Orcs and go from there. The chase isn't important. What is important is what happens next. If you really wanted to make a move, Defy Danger could be used to see how well the Orcs prepare themselves (if at all) before the PCs get within striking range.

Conversely, if the Orcs have been described as being excellent trackers and woodsmen or being in territory they know well, then they'll probably get away from the PCs if left to the fiction. That's where another Defy Danger move can be used as the characters attempt to find shortcuts, predict where the Orcs are headed, or just try to put on an extra burst of speed. My point is, you don't know who is going to win the chase, unless you've established that one side or the other has a commanding advantage. Play to find out what happens, remember?

Also, as Archangel3d said, chases are rarely just a simple race. There's all kinds of dangers and problems to deal with. noofy is dead on with the suggestion to "zoom". You could resolve a week long chase with a single Defy Danger move, or you could zoom way in and have characters make moves for each  "comic book frame". What dictates the "scope" of the action is player enjoyment. Sometimes we want to see each and every little thing that happens, other times we want to get right to the resolution.

Dungeon World / Re: Fractal fronts
« on: January 03, 2013, 11:03:46 PM »
After running two one-shot DW games over the New Year's break, one with a (very small) Front and one without, I see what they bring to the table. As you said azrianni and as the book says, Fronts provide the GM with an answer to the "Now what happens?" question.

During the game I ran that I'd made a Front for (OK, it was really just a single Danger) I was rarely caught flatfooted when I needed to make a move. If there was nothing in the immediate vicinity of the PCs that could cause them trouble on a miss, I just crossed off one of the Grim Portents and found some way to make the characters fictionally aware that things had changed. The game world had a sense of life, as the Danger was actively pursuing it's own agenda.

In the game that didn't have any Fronts or Dangers (just a dungeon with a treasure to be retrieved at the end), things felt very static. The world responded to the characters' actions, but never took any actions on it's own and thus never felt "alive". Additionally, I found myself more uncertain about what moves to make on player misses when there was nothing currently threatening them.

So basically Fronts are there to give you, the GM, a logical progression to the action going on "behind the scenes". A plan for the big bad evil guy, or signs of the approaching disaster. If you find a way to organize those things other than what's described in the DW book, I don't think Saga and Adam will track you down and chastise you. :)

Personally, I refer the countdown clocks from Apocalypse World.

Dungeon World / Re: Fronts, needed for a one shot dungeon crawl?
« on: January 03, 2013, 09:39:35 PM »
If you are going to base the adventure on the unleashed demons and the portal, start with the witch already bein dead, they are standing over her corpse as the laughter of her demonic pact-holder rings around them. That makes the front simply the demon prince and his hordes.
That was definitely something I considered, Timon. The game would have been very different if I'd started them over the corpse of the Ice Witch and went from there.

Instead, I started them about two days journey from the spire (to have them make an Undertake A Perilous Journey move) and asked a bunch of questions to establish how the Ice Witch escaped her prison, how long before the village was completely deserted, why the villagers were unable to protect themselves, etc. I figured that they'd get to the tower fairly quickly and dispatch the Witch. Little did I know that they'd:
  • meet a friendly Ice Elf patrol who'd escort them to a secret tunnel to the spire's lower levels;
  • be ambushed by a pack of Winter Wolves;
  • make it to the secret tunnel just before the wolves, due to the sacrifice of their elven companions;
  • fight a demonic yeti, and make camp in it's lair to recover;
  • encounter one of the 13 cursed knights who had broken their vows and released the Ice Witch;
  • discover the knights wanted to be released from their curse;
  • and have the knight lead them right to the spot where the Ice Witch was completing her ritual.

In other words, nothing went as I expected it to but that only made it all the more awesome! The session ended with the Dwarven Cleric bull-rushing the Ice Witch into the demonic portal she was conjuring. The player got a weak hit on his Defy Danger move, so of course the choice I gave him was a) knock the witch partially through, merely delaying her for a bit, or b) get her all the way through by hanging onto her and going through himself. The player chose option b, and the screen faded to black with the Elven Bard composing a ballad for his heroic companion while settling in to wait for his (hopeful) return. Awesome sauce.

Luckily I have plans to expand the adventure into a "campaign starter" with a few more dangers, and so had a vague idea of what steps the Ice Witch would take as she was ramping up to the final summoning. Those turned into quick and dirty Grim Portents during the adventure, which gave me a few moves to make (mostly Show Signs of an Approaching Threat) on player misses.

I also ran another game (with a different setup) that didn't have a Front or a Danger. I won't say that game was a failure, as there were a lot of other factors to consider (more players, reactive instead of proactive monsters, pure dungeon crawl, etc.) but comparing the two, things go a lot smoother when you have a Front and a Danger to work with. Lesson learned. Make Fronts. Even for one-shot games. Also, Dangers that can't further their own agenda are boring. Don't bother with them.

Dungeon World / Re: Fronts, needed for a one shot dungeon crawl?
« on: December 28, 2012, 10:20:10 PM »
Thanks guys. My game is tomorrow and I'm still stressing about it a bit (mostly because it's with people I've never played with before), but your advice has been very helpful.

I decided to go with a single danger, with plans for eventually turning this into a full-fledged Front. Possibly even as a "published" adventure. As suggested, I'm going to start the session mid-way though; either in the middle of confronting the Ice Witch as she's casting the Lay of Eternal Ice, or trekking through the yeti-infested ice tunnels that lead to the lower depth of the spire.

Adventure Front: The Lay of Eternal Ice
Danger: Hordes of the Frozen Devourer
Type: Hordes - Humanoid Vermin (the hordes are actually demons, but the impulse fits what they'll do)
Impulse: To breed, to multiply and consume
Grim Portents:
  • The binding magics are disrupted
  • The portal begins to vomits forth an endless torrent of icy horrors
  • The tunnels beneath the spire become impassable demon haunts
  • The spire is entirely overrun
  • The Devourer's Hordes spill forth, claiming the area around the spire
Impending Doom: Rampant Chaos

This may be a dangerous assumption, but I figure that the characters will attempt to stop the Ice Witch's spell; either through capturing or killing her, or by somehow countering the spell. Rather than solve things, that just makes them worse as the demons she had a tenuous control over go rampant when the spell ends. Hence the first and second Grim Portents. To give the characters a "dungeon" to explore, the third Grim Portent cuts off the shortcut they used to get to the Ice Witch. The tunnels lead right to the bottom of the spire; closing them off (or making them really dangerous) means they'll have to ascend the spire to escape. The fourth Grim Portent gives the demons full control of the dungeon, giving me an excuse to throw demons at the characters as they try to escape and hopefully giving them a sense of urgency. The last one has the demons boiling out into the surrounding area, causing all sorts of nastiness.

On the one hand, this setup feels somewhat railroady to me. I'm expecting to drive the characters forth along a preset path. We all know players do what you expect them to do exactly 0% of the time though. :) But on the other hand, the Grim Portents are the logical sequence of events that would happen if the PCs weren't present; demons come out of the portal, take over the spire, and then start to spread.

Well, we'll see how things go tomorrow. Maybe I'm over-thinking it.

Dungeon World / Re: Fronts, needed for a one shot dungeon crawl?
« on: December 27, 2012, 07:18:35 PM »
Dude. mease19. That's even better. Screw starting the session with the PCs heading into to kill the Ice Witch. They've already done that. Now they're at the bottom of the tower (it's sunk deep into the ice from a past age) with the Ice Witch dead at their feet and they have to get up and out.

Of course without her controlling magic holding them in check anymore, the ice demons she'd summoned are going ape shit...

Dungeon World / Re: Fronts, needed for a one shot dungeon crawl?
« on: December 27, 2012, 01:11:17 AM »
Maybe part of my problem is that I'm creating "bad" (for lack of a better word) Fronts. Fronts that aren't dynamic or that don't have an agenda. I'll put my example here so people can see my thought process and maybe help me out.

After fishing around for ideas and tossing several out, I "borrowed" the premise from one of the old Dungeoneer card games I have; an ice witch has been gathering magical power to cover the region in perpetual winter (Hmm, that sounds like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe). She's made a deal with some kind of infernal prince and the area around her icebound tower is now crawling with frost demons.

This has the potential to be a Campaign Front, but as it's meant for a one shot it's just an Adventure Front for now (maybe I'll flesh it out later). It needs 2 to 3 Dangers, with 1 to 3 Grim Portents and an Impending Doom each, some Stakes and the general cast. This is where I start running into trouble.

The one certain Danger is, of course, the Ice Witch herself. She has an agenda that will cause trouble if the characters don't intervene. She could be a Planar Forces: Demon Prince (opening the gates of Hell is part of the deal), or an Arcane Enemy: Power-mad Wizard (seeking magical power is why she made the deal). The Impending Doom could be Rampant Chaos (perpetual winter breaks the laws of reality) or Impoverishment (surrounding areas of civilization will be enslaved). So I've got those under control.

I run into trouble when trying to come up with the Grim Portents though. Is just one enough? "The Ice-Witch completes her spell" doesn't allow for much of a setup or a chance to stop it. Just 'boom', and it's done the first time I advance it. I feel like it needs more steps, but I have no idea what they should be.

The other Danger(s) are stumping me too. Mostly because I expect the characters to spend all of the session in the Ice-Witch's tower and so I feel like other Dangers don't really matter. The demon-infested area around her tower seems like a great Cursed Places type of Danger; Unholy Ground, Dark Portal, or Shadowland all seem fitting. The magical curse could be a Danger too, maybe Hordes: Plague of the Undead as it grows and spreads. The GM moves for Hordes make sense for an expanding area of magical winter if read very loosely.

But as I said, this is a one shot and I feel like the characters will never interact with any of the Dangers besides the one. However, in the intrest of getting better at running Dungeon World, how would people write Grim Portents and Impending Dooms for non-sentient things. Like locations and magical curses?

This isn't uber-creative or anything, but there were two missed Discern Realities moves in the game I ran a few weeks ago.

The first one was when a character listened at a door (which, upon retrospect, didn't require him to make the move at all). I told him that he heard gently lapping water, as if there was a large body of water on the other side. Which there was; the "room" on the other side was a 30' diameter underground lake with an Otyugh lurking in it.

There really wasn't anything else going on in the location the characters were in, I had already used previous misses to set up stuff in other locations (thinking offscreen), and I couldn't think of a move that fit the consequences of the action (which is why I probably shouldn't have required the move at all). So I just "banked" my GM move for use later. I then used it to deal damage with the Otyugh when the characters turned their back on the open door. Or rather I tried to. There was a mix up in player/GM communication and it turns out the characters had closed the door before they turned. I turned it into a Defy Danger move to get the door shut before some tentacles came through.

The second one was when someone went to explore a dead end hallway. It was getting towards the end of the session, and so I decided to go nasty; I put a Green Slime on the ceiling to put them in a spot. I guess the move wasn't that hard, as I gave the character a Defy Danger move to get out of the way before it dropped on him. I suppose I could've just dealt damage as it reached out and engulfed him with it's pseudopods, but that seemed unfair.

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