Paying Nature's Price

  • 4 Replies
Paying Nature's Price
« on: October 13, 2013, 03:27:25 PM »
Finally the Druid takes Elemental Mastery, which I have always thought looked incredibly fun. She built a great heap of wood, set it alight, called on the spirits of fire and made the roll. But we ran into a total blank when it came to Paying Nature's Price. I, as I usually do, asked the players, everyone had a moment of looking confused and then I remembered that the players had, amongst their items, a magical torch that would always re-light itself and burned endlessly. That was what the primal fire spirit demanded as the heart of its blaze. Fine this time, the Druid payed up, but she mentioned on the way home that it's not like she has many magical items.

And I find myself at a loss. The move doesn't feel like Nature's Price should be something long winded, some task the Druid needs to perform, mid-ritual, to get the spirits to co-operate. Neither do I want to jump in and say: "The fire will burn you - take d8 damage" or something like that that will rapidly just become mechanics. So I thought I'd ask, what sort of prices have people been paying nature for this move?

Re: Paying Nature's Price
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2013, 04:33:31 AM »
Hi, I think that Nature's Price isn't something that Nature "wants". It should be something that happens when you incautiously meddle with Her. You change the course of a river, it floods some other land, or takes its original course by breaking the barrier.

I didn't understand what the Druid wanted from the spirits. It may be easier to reply if you could explain that in detail

Re: Paying Nature's Price
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2013, 12:25:12 PM »
Thanks for the reply Uzio. That's an angle I hadn't really considered, I think because it seemed to overlap quite a lot with what I would expect to happen if the Druid lost control of the spirits.

In the instance I mentioned above, the Druid had come across a small, partially collapsed tunnel that was infested with a moss that possessed people. She wanted the fire to enter the tunnel and burn out all the moss. They were in a forest of largely petrified trees at the time, on the side of a snow covered mountain, though they managed to gather enough wood from more recent growths and from some collapsed buildings for the fire. I suppose that nature's price could include some sort of avalanche if they're going to go throwing fire around.

In the next session, I predict the Druid will be using the power of earth to collapse a wizard's tower. I shall have a think what local environment may be like and what may happen as a result.

Re: Paying Nature's Price
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2014, 08:52:35 AM »
One of the interesting ideas from the Pendragon RPG was that most of the strange customs the PCs encountered in the boonies ("Everybody entering the village has to wear clothing appropriate to the opposite gender for the duration of their stay." "We require everyone who visits to spend the night sleeping in a giant cauldron. Be wary of the fire sprites who'll try to light it up overnight.") are the remnants of ancient bargains made with Faerie Powers/Ancient Gods/Nature Spirits. What the mortals got from it has been long forgotten/lost, but the requirement remains.

I would say that the Nature Spirits will require something commensurate with the magnitude of the task from their standpoint. Some things might be bizarrely cheap, others ridiculously expensive. These creatures don't think like humans, and are effectively immortal so they should take a correspondingly long view of things. Bargains that require the party to do some weird thing at inopportune moments ("Your party must don wolfskins on nights of the full moon for a year and a day." "Your party is expected to paint your faces in this specific blue-and-red pattern when dealing with the nobles of the Kingdom of Yarth, to remind them of ancient compacts, for the duration of the trading season.") are flavorful and create more amusing/dangerous roleplay situations later.

Re: Paying Nature's Price
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2014, 08:30:11 AM »
Even sticking with just the damage, does it have to remain purely mechanical?  The price of the fire spirit is to get burnt--horribly.  The druid's hand becomes a blackened, blistered appendage that only the strongest magics--or reward by the spirit--can cure.  There's no mechanical penalty--the hand still works--but it adds to the fiction, and there's only so many limbs the druid should be willing to sacrifice before turning into a horribly disfigured monstrocity.  (Which, of course, could be the basis for a chaotic druidic cult...)

Similarly, an air spirit might insist on moving into the druid; every time she opens her mouth to speak, she causes devastation as elemental winds are released.  Earth might be a slow process of petrification.  Water... er, bladder issues?

New to Dungeon World, by the way--but loving the possibilities!