Making moves...

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Making moves...
« on: June 08, 2012, 11:03:50 AM »
This topic comes up a lot and I've read a lot of threads on it, but I'm still not quite sure about this.

I know I can make a move when players look to me to know what happens, and I know I make moves when I'm given a golden opportunity.  But what if the players know what they want to do, keep making moves, and continue to roll well?  Do I interject moves that the fiction dictates anyway?  (I was listening to the Walking Eye podcast after this week's game, and I noticed the DM there struggled with this as well.  His creatures seemed to be inactive because the players kept rolling well.)

For example, the players were essentially surrounded by worgs, and had more or less worked themselves into a natural turn order, as part of the conversation (admittedly, they are used to D&D and Shadowrun, etc), and although there were many threats looming (the worg's masters joining the fight, being grossly outnumbered and surrounded), they navigated successfully through continually rolling well.  That itself isn't the issue (because I'm a fan of the characters!) but rather than in the fiction, it seemed like all the worgs were just standing there ready to be slaughtered, because I didn't want to interrupt the flow to interject a soft move, especially when the players had done so well.

Is this merely fictional?  Should I have depicted the worgs as, for instance, attempting to snap at the players but being successfully turned away or avoided?


Re: Making moves...
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2012, 11:10:25 AM »
This is one of those things I've learned to do well, but have a hard time explaining to people in writing. I'd love to see something in writing from someone who can explain it that way.

But, in a nutshell, the game is a conversation and there is no turn order as you know. There may be lulls in the storytelling you're not quite picking up on yet. Or opportunities for you to put a soft move out there to threaten the PCs, forcing them to deal with it. Even on a 10+ H&S, they're going to roll damage and look to you to see if the thing is dead. If it's not, soft move!

Re: Making moves...
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2012, 11:16:31 AM »
Even on a 10+ H&S, they're going to roll damage and look to you to see if the thing is dead. If it's not, soft move!
Okay, actually, that's pretty close to exactly what I was looking for.  I'm still trying to make them mindful that they need not fall into a turn order, and I specifically didn't want to interject (as if to say "okay it's the DM's turn now!") for that reason.

Re: Making moves...
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2012, 11:32:21 AM »
As I run games online 99% of the time, I have the further obstacle of technology working to make everyone act in turns which is frustrating. So I know what you're saying. I can't see someone squirm in their seat, raise their hand, and the players can't signal each other during play so they can jump in when it's interesting or optimal ("I got this..."). Something I'm still working toward a solution on.

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stras

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Re: Making moves...
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2012, 01:55:41 PM »
When the players look to you for what happens next, time for a soft move (it's in the rules this way actually).  If a worg leaps at one of their throats (that's not hard, because you're not declaring damage) and you ask 'what do you do?' You've taken a move (announce future badness) and they're reacting.

Don't worry about them having a rhythm.  If they roll 7-9 or 6- you'll get to go.  If not, you can usually shift the fictional positioning a little.  If Bob takes on 3 wolves, you can describe their back to back formation falling apart a bit, him dodging and weaving before letting one land on his shield and skewering it.  This fictional progress will then prompt others to describe action that leads to a move no doubt.

IE: It should take care of itself.

If the wolves are around them circling, and the players pause, just have the wolves leap (soft move) and things should move smoothly.  If the players do nothing, it's Defy Danger time!

Re: Making moves...
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2012, 02:11:53 PM »
When the players look to you for what happens next, time for a soft move (it's in the rules this way actually).
I'm fairly confident I simply misread that sentence as "whenever the players are at a loss for what to do next" not "whenever the players are looking for a resolution to a move they just made."

If the wolves are around them circling, and the players pause, just have the wolves leap (soft move) and things should move smoothly.  If the players do nothing, it's Defy Danger time!
My initial shaky feeling came because they never paused, but rather attacked each worg in succession successfully.  Based on the great feedback here, I think I was missing my half of the conversation: merely reporting on the status of the worg instead of making an actual move.

Re: Making moves...
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2012, 02:14:35 PM »
Don't feel bad. That's not an uncommon mistake in my experience. I did it when I first started GMing and saw a lot of people new to GMing do the same. It's a rhythm you learn to get into after a couple games and if you're used to other systems, especially turn-based ones, it can be a hurdle.

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stras

  • 130
Re: Making moves...
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2012, 04:06:45 PM »
Something I picked up in specific other games (I use comic-panels in my head for framing in Marvel for example) is to think of it as a story. 

In a scene (movie, book or otherwise) where adventurers are being attacked by wolves in a forest, you have to sort of cut to each person, but the story is moving on.  Think about what that paragraph would sound like and let that shape what you're doing a bit.  They (meaning the characters) are certainly in the center of the frame unless there's a major villain of some sort (wolf-pack leading Lord of the Hunt), but the action isn't static.

If there's two characters in that frame, one is probably rolling an assist.

Just my personal rule of thumb.

Re: Making moves...
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2012, 02:28:56 PM »
This is something I'll be facing soon, when I run my first Dungeon World game live Wednesday.

It is a conversation including the GM, so the players should be pausing for the GM. They should at least let you describe the worg dying on their blades, at which point insert something like:
"as another worg falls lifeless to the ground you see the pack milling about, unsure of their advantage. In the swirl it is hard to keep track of their numbers."

Now player's are going to ask something because suddenly there's something they don't know.

I'd also let my players dominate a combat when the dice lets them. It's not going to happen all the time.

Re: Making moves...
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2012, 04:51:32 PM »
Don't forget to tell the possible consequences and ask:

"So... you're running over there? You'll be surrounded by worgs. You won't be able to defend yourself against all of them at once. Do you want to try it anyway?"

This is announcing future badness, too, obviously. You're making the world seem real. The worgs aren't frozen in time. There's a whole pack of them. If you go over there, they'll swarm you! No "turn-taking" or waiting for 6- needed.