No monster tag for "speed"?

  • 4 Replies
No monster tag for "speed"?
« on: January 13, 2013, 09:53:32 PM »
I'm working on my first DW campaign and have come away surprised there are no monster tags for speed or agility.

This came up because I'm creating three specific monsters that are more like NPCs.  All three are flesh golems, though not the zombie-lite creatures described in the core pdf.  The first is agile, he has three arms and is deft at moving through the trees in an almost ape-like fashion.  The second is a big, slow, dopey brute with far more strength than skill.  The last is armored, skilled with a sword, and lethal.  I picture the third as being something akin to the Kroenen character from the 2004 Hellboy movie, if that helps.

Anyway, as I was trying to transfer these characters from my thoughts into the language of DW, I was surprised to see no monster tags to describe speed.  I'm not the type who thinks that every concept needs a name or mechanic to support it, but I figure speed is a pretty basic thing.  I suppose it could be covered with a note in "Special Qualities", but it seems like it would show up in there an awful lot.

For the first two of my gruesome threesome, I was thinking of the terms nimble and ponderous.  I haven't come up with a single word to describe the third.  Dashing and mercurial have the right poetry, but not the proper connotation.

I figure if I'm having trouble describing it in my own notes, I may end up with problems during actual gameplay.  Or maybe I'm just anal about the details. 

Thoughts on the issue?

Re: No monster tag for "speed"?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 01:16:18 AM »
I think part of the reason there's no monster tag for speed is because the monsters usually only take a "turn" when the players miss a roll or look to the GM to continue the conversation. Dungeon World doesn't have initiative like other games, so saying a monster is fast doesn't mean it'll be able to interrupt a player's action or go before the PCs as in other games.

That being said, giving a monster a quick, nimble, or ponderous tag would give the GM an indication of how to describe it's actions in the fiction of the game. If I saw a monster with the ponderous tag, I'd probably have it do less when describing it's action/reaction. A ponderous beast might slowly turn towards the PCs and raise it's weapon, rather than being able to strike and do damage right away. A nimble creature might duck under a shield, make a few quick jabs, and then hop away, forcing the PC to close with it again.

So, I  see no reason why you can't come up with new speed-related tags if it'll help you remember how your NPCs are meant to act during play. But you could also include a note about their speed (or lack thereof) in the creature's description, or in  it's list of moves. The ponderous creature could have "Act/react slowly, but forcefully" as a move, just like the nimble creature could have "Act/react with unnatural speed".

If you like to do things "by the book" (as I do), you could modify one of the questions from the "Making Monsters" section (p 227). For example, "It isn't dangerous because of the wounds it inflicts, but for it's speed and agility: nimble, reduce it's damage die by one size, write a move about it's speed or agility." Or "It's slow witted or slow moving or both: ponderous, +2 damage or +2 HP or both (your call)."
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Re: No monster tag for "speed"?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 06:36:59 AM »
saying a monster is fast doesn't mean it'll be able to interrupt a player's action or go before the PCs
actually, yes. If a monster is well known for its speed, you just do a monster move like:

- act with incredible speed before everyone else

and that's all.
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.



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Re: No monster tag for "speed"?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 06:40:27 AM »
Hyve has got it sorted!
You can also use 'tags' in your monster's moves. Moves maketh the monster I say. So, for example you could have as a move:
* follows its instinct with inhuman speed....
* Ponderously shatters its foe with its fists...

Or something like that. Otherwise just make custom tags that fit. They simply give all the players at the table something to grasp onto narratively. Mechanically it just informs the 'to do it do it' credo. As for the GM, simply make as hard a move as you'd like using your tags as guidance :)

Re: No monster tag for "speed"?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 07:36:03 AM »
Well, feel free to give the monster a "speedy" tag, or a move like "dash blindingly fast" or "act with astounding speed before anyone can respond". Giving it H damage (two dice, pick the highest) can convey speed and skill. You can also make people Defy Danger if they're not taking its speed into account ("You just don't have time to carefully stow your bow and draw your sword. It'll be happily eating your face by then. Drop the bow on the floor or Defy Danger.")