Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters

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Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« on: August 24, 2012, 09:53:52 PM »
I'm preparing to run my first Dungeon World one-shot tomorrow using the Kickstarter module Within the Devil's Reach, and I'm wondering about the encounters it lists. Are they meant to be scaled to the party in any way or presented as written? For example - and spoiler alert for The Silent Tomb Speaks - is the "stat block" for the wolves meant to represent a small pack thrown against the party, or are those stats for a single wolf and it's up to the GM to decide how many to employ?

If it's the latter, any advice for a new GM on how to scale a Dungeon World encounter?

Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2012, 10:06:33 PM »
It's the latter! And since I assume from their stats that they are a Group, anything between 2 and 6 should be fine, following your tastes and the situation at hand for the actual number. I had some great advices in my mind about how there's neither "scaling" nor "balancing" monsters in DW, but I bet someone else could explain this way better than me.
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2012, 10:26:29 PM »
Great, thanks!

I knew as soon as I hit "post" that some of the language I used was problematic. I should clarify that I'm really just trying to internalize what you can throw at a Dungeon World party. I've never seen one in action, so I'm still rather hazy on whether, say, the party's number in lizardmen is a speedbump or a serious threat, that sort of thing. "Encounters" should arise from the fiction, but I should still be trying to keep the content of the fiction appropriate, shouldn't I? If I threw a horde of gnolls at my players' level one PCs as a requirement to even get to the adventure proper in The Madness in Hamish Mine I'd expect to be chastised for it, for example.

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Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2012, 12:22:34 AM »
A starting party can take on a surprising number of enemies. Keep in mind that when a PC is attacked by multiple creatures, you only use the result of the highest damage die. It's not like D&D or something where each enemy has a separate hit roll and damage result and can overwhelm a PC in one turn.

Also, there's really not much to the monster statblocks, so a lot of it depends on how hard you push them in the fiction. I find it very easy to make a battle easier or more difficult as it progresses- just use softer or harder moves with those monsters.

Groups of creatures are especially easy because you can kind of lump them together as necessary- that pack of wolves can easily become a whirlwind of teeth and claws surrounding one PC, and then break apart to threaten single enemies one-on-one.

Personally, I like throwing more monsters in the mix but making softer moves with them, for a big impressive brawl that makes the PCs feel heroic. That also makes for better contrast for when they fight the big giant enemies- it makes them seem so much tougher because "oh lord we just fought a whole tribe of orcs but now this one creature is thrashing us, this thing is godzilla"

Hope that helps somewhat.

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noofy

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Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2012, 12:48:03 AM »
Great responses about scaling guys!

Also, Josh talked about in his designer diaries a lot of his gestalt thinking as he moved away from traditional D&D encounter design. You have to think about the reason for the wolves being there. They aren't simply an encounter to whittle away resources. They are a living, breathing part of your Dungeon World. Oh, and until you author them into the fiction, they are just an idea, so you may change what is in the module to fit your evolving story.

The wolves has simply taken up residence in the cave entrance as a convienent lair, or is it something more sinister? A Spout Lore may reveal something surprising about the wolves or their pack. Maybe they are harbouring a runaway child from Devil's Reach and rearing it as their own? Maybe the four winds use them as guard dogs for the temple? Maybe a druid could discern the reality of why the wolves decided to lair here of all places?

All I am saying is that you should look beyond the 'combat encounter'.

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Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2012, 03:36:19 AM »
Good point. One of your moves is Use Up Their Resources. That's pretty open, setting traps for the wolves would work. So would baiting them away with raw meat. Think about time as a resource to use up- what goes on while the party is dealing with a drawn-out threat?

I know you're mostly interested in their combat ability, though, and it's a great question. I stand by my answer. You can push really hard with an enemy with crummy stats or you can totally scale down a bigger foe without changing the numbers. It's all in the moves; which you use, how you use them, how hard you push with them. You will find it easier than you think. I usually just toss out a number of creatures that seems scary and threatening and see how it works. If I used too many, it's easy to utilize softer moves so they still have a challenge but don't think I'm a meatgrinder GM.

You'll do fine!

Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2012, 12:30:27 PM »
Thanks for jumping in everybody!

Every encounter is meant to be presented as is but they can take some tweeking. The first group I ran through this encounter ran away after only killing one wolf, bathed in the wolf's blood and then ran them off through shear fear. Intention is king in Dungeon World and solutions are often sideways. I had a group last weekend take on a greater demon, a hoard of zombies and a group of enslaved dragons all at once. They were first level and managed to handle the encounter well enough. Make sure to remember that damage is not the only hard move you can make. On that first group I Announced Future Badness by having a wounded wolf run off howling and other wolves in the distance answered back.

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Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2012, 02:53:22 PM »
I wrote this up in another forum but it applies here. Picture a goblin. On paper it says 3hp, spear (d6), reach, intelligent, organized.

Now you can totally make that goblin into fodder- it's got only 3hp, no big deal. You can also make it a crazy fight, describing how fast the tiny thing is, how it tumbles around and keeps the PC at arms length with its spear, fighting dirty, using crawlspaces and dirty tricks like biting and shrieking. By using harder moves, any creature can become a fun challenge.

Conversely, if you make it a dumb creature that charges blindly and doesn'tmanuever, suddenly it is a total mook. The way you play your monster has way more effect than the sparse stats on the sheet.

Hope that example helps a bit!

Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2012, 03:17:57 PM »
Alightly off topic: I've kickstarted DW too but where do I find this module?

Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2012, 03:27:06 PM »
Did you kickstart at the hardcover level or higher? If you did I believe Sage and Adam have posted the PDF for you. If not, you can buy it over at http://atthetablegames.com

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Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #10 on: August 26, 2012, 04:56:38 PM »
Man, I really wish I had kickstarted at the hardcover level, I don't know what I was thinking. I'll be playing this game for years, what a fool I am. Will the hardcover be for sale on its own at some point?

Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #11 on: August 26, 2012, 05:10:39 PM »
Did you kickstart at the hardcover level or higher?
No I didn't. Softcover only. But this kinda bums me out. After all it says "Kickstarter Exclusive Supplements" at the Softcover level as well. There's no hint at the Hardcover level that such a thing was included.

:(

Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2012, 05:20:46 PM »
I didn't get in contact with them about offering it as a reward until after the KS was underway but it was not a Kickstarter exclusive supplement, it is it's own full product and part of a line I'll be putting out over the next year. I wanted as many people to be tempted by the hardback version as possible so I wanted to add extra incentive :)

Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2012, 10:38:40 AM »
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Kickstarter Exclusive Supplements
it says so even on $5 pdf-only version.
Could someone please make it clear, what is included in this supplements on each level, then?

Re: Question on "Within the Devil's Reach" Encounters
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2012, 10:56:27 AM »
seriously, guys, it's all written on the kickstarter's homepage:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sage-kobold/dungeon-world-a-game-with-modern-rules-and-old-sch-0

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Every contributor will receive a copy of the game in PDF form, with all the bells and whistles. Additionally, we'll be providing PDF copies of two Kickstarter-only supplements: one filled with exciting new monsters and the other with compendium classes (special themed mini-classes you can use in your Dungeon World game). All contributor levels also include special DW wallpaper for your PC, Mac, or mobile device. Your name will appear in the Thanks chapter as a backer.

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Goal #-2: Dungeon World will also be available as an epub and a set of HTML files.

Goal #-1: All backers who chose a hardcover copy also receive a PDF of Josh Mannon's Dungeon World adventure Within the Devil's Reach.

Goal #0: We'll be producing an online monster creator that lets you save and share your favorite creations.

Goal #1—The Portal: Every backer will receive a PDF of Dark Heart of the Dreamer, a planar adventure by Jonathan Walton.

Goal #2—The Archives: Every backer will receive a PDF of World of Dungeons, a complete short game in a classic style inspired by Dungeon World and written by John Harper.

Goal #3—The Arena: We'll be producing The Druid as a Dungeon World class!

Goal #4—The Illusionist: All backers pledging $25 or more will receive special print versions of the Backers Only Compendium Class Supplement and Backers Only Monster Supplement.

Goal #5—The Goblin Warrens: All backers will receive Justin Wightbred's Number Appearing supplement as a free PDF.

Goal #6—The Respite: All backers pledging $25 or more will receive Jonathan Walton's Dark Heart of the Dreamer in print.

Goal #7—The Armory: All backers will receive a PDF off the first Dungeon World event supplement which brings war to your Dungeon World.

Goal #8—The Ice Demon: All backers will receive a PDF of Juntu's Floating Ice Hell, a Dungeon World adventure by Jason Morningstar.

Goal #9—The Color Spray: We'll be producing a color version of the Dungeon World PDF for all backers.
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.