new player/GM exploring the system

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new player/GM exploring the system
« on: July 20, 2014, 10:30:59 AM »
I just heard about this game recently and thought I'd check it out. I've been reading what I can about it online, but I think my information is incomplete. There are a couple things I'm wondering.

I heard this was released under the OGL. Is there a pdf or hypertext srd available? I checked out the beginners guide link on the top of the forum and requested access to whatever that is, though I think I need to wait a bit for a response.

Based on what I've read. You basically roll 2d6 for an action and anything 10+ is a success, whereas 7-9 is a success, but it's going to cost you something (probably serious). So, basically, characters have only about an 8% chance to just succeed at anything without costs and a 41% chance of something really bad happening? It seems kind of harsh. Is there something I'm not understanding?

Thanks.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2014, 10:48:12 AM by Kneller »

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Munin

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Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2014, 02:10:27 PM »
In most cases you are adding an attribute (which generally range from -2 to +3) to your 2D6 roll, so it's a little bit broader a range depending on the circumstances.

Also, 10+ on 2D6 is a 16.67% chance, and with 7 being a partial success, characters with a +0 attribute will succeed (in some fashion) significantly more than 50% of the time, so it's not that harsh.  And a character with a +3 attribute will only fail 6.3% of the time.

Finally, the partial success range is where the "Powered by the Apocalypse" games really shine, because they are an opportunity to add drama and complication to the story.  7-9 is where all the magic lives.

Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2014, 10:46:16 PM »
It's the 7-9 that makes me nervous.  I've been watching some videos online, and different groups do it differently. Some use 10+ to have something great happen so 7-9 is just ordinary or weak success, but nothing bad happens. Other groups use a 7-9 to whittle away at a character's inventory/health/or other resources, and they really get boned on a 6-.

Speaking of 6-, a +3 is great, but I'm figuring a lot more rolls are happening at the -1 to +1 range. Honestly, I'm not sure why anyone would want to take a chance at anything with a negative modifier. In that case, you have about a 60% chance or more to outright fail. Less than -1, you can pretty much bank on it. I'm cool with twists from things not working out exactly right, but this appears to me to be a statistical tragedy, no?

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Munin

  • 417
Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2014, 11:57:26 PM »
Why roll at a negative modifier?  Because in Dungeon World at least you get experience for failed rolls.  In straight-up Apocalypse World, you get experience any time you roll a highlighted stat, regardless of outcome.

Also, the principle of "to do it, do it" (or the DW equivalent) is usually in place.  So if your character is doing something that triggers a move, you roll.  If I am trying to walk along the narrow stone ledge outside the Countess' window in order to hide from the Count's unexpected (and untimely) return, well, that sounds like Defy Danger, so the GM is going to call for a roll+DEX.  If my DEX sucks, well, maybe I should have tried to fast talk my way out of getting caught with the nobleman's wife by Defying Danger with a roll+CHA instead.  But both methods come with their own ramifications for fictional positioning.  "You pays your money, you takes your choice," as my grandfather always used to say.

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noclue

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Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2014, 02:13:24 AM »
I heard this was released under the OGL. Is there a pdf or hypertext srd available? I checked out the beginners guide link on the top of the forum and requested access to whatever that is, though I think I need to wait a bit for a response.[
I think it's creative commons. I think the SRD can be found here. http://www.dungeonworldsrd.com/

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Based on what I've read. You basically roll 2d6 for an action and anything 10+ is a success, whereas 7-9 is a success, but it's going to cost you something (probably serious). So, basically, characters have only about an 8% chance to just succeed at anything without costs and a 41% chance of something really bad happening? It seems kind of harsh. Is there something I'm not understanding?
You're way oversimplifying. First, there are a list of moves and they often specify what happens on a 7-9, like so:

Discern Realities
When you closely study a situation or person, roll+Wis. ?On a 10+, ask the GM 3 questions from the list below. ?On a 7–9, ask 1.
Either way, take +1 forward when acting on the answers.
• What happened here recently?
• What is about to happen?
• What should I be on the lookout for?
• What here is useful or valuable to me?
• Who’s really in control here?
• What here is not what it appears to be?

So, on a 7-9 you only get to ask one question. Not so serious.

And on a 6 or less it isn't something "really bad happens." The GM gets to make as hard a move as they like. That may be damage, or you may be separated, or you may lose some stuff, or it may just mean that the GM "reveals an imminent threat," depending on what fits the moment. It's not necessarily a tragedy.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2014, 10:06:44 AM »
It's worth noting that the six stat modifiers for a starting character will be +2, +1, +1, +0, +0, -1. The player will normally want to arrange to play to his strengths (e.g. INT +2 for a Wizard, who uses it on his Cast A Spell roll), but sometimes circumstances will require them to make a move with one of their worse stats.

As mentioned above, the 7-9 results are fairly clearly written out in the moves, but usually give the player some degree of choice in the outcome, as well. Sometimes the choices will be easy and sometimes they'll be hard, but at least the player gets some agency.

Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2014, 10:23:05 AM »
Do you have any idea why an AV would flag that link? I can read it fine on my Linux computer, but Windows does not like that site.

And thanks for clarifying on the less than positive results. I was aware that some moves still helped you at ]7-9 results, but I was under the impression that was  a rare thing.

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Why roll at a negative modifier?  Because in Dungeon World at least you get experience for failed rolls.

XP is good, I don't see how it's worth it for a move that you're going to fail more than 50% of the time. I would think that one would get more than enough XP from failure with moves in which one is proficient. Even with a +2, you're still failing 1 in 6. That could be a decent bit of XP over the course of a session, and failing 1 in 6 is going to take a much smaller toll on your resources than failing 2 out of 3. Right?

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It's worth noting that the six stat modifiers for a starting character will be +2, +1, +1, +0, +0, -1. The player will normally want to arrange to play to his strengths (e.g. INT +2 for a Wizard, who uses it on his Cast A Spell roll), but sometimes circumstances will require them to make a move with one of their worse stats.

I didn't know that about the starting stats, thanks for that info. For some reason, something I read had me thinking it was along the +3 to -3 range. I don't see negative modifiers as a big game over for the system. I'm picturing a Wizard with Strength -2 trying to push a troll or whatever off a cliff. Naturally, the odds should be against the Wizard in that situation. But all the same, there's a lot of action happening in the +/-1 to 2 range considering the distribution of 2d6.

Side note, is there any way to account for task difficulty? For example, scaling a dangerous cliff vs. scaling a dangerous cliff in the middle of a blizzard without proper equipment. Do you just throw a modifier into the mix?
« Last Edit: July 21, 2014, 10:41:12 AM by Kneller »

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noclue

  • 609
Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2014, 11:03:02 AM »
I'm picturing a Wizard with Strength -2 trying to push a troll or whatever off a cliff. Naturally, the odds should be against the Wizard in that situation. But all the same, there's a lot of action happening in the +/-1 to 2 range considering the distribution of 2d6.
A wizard with a -1 STR shouldn't try push a troll off a cliff. He should trick him with his +2 intelligence.

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Side note, is there any way to account for task difficulty? For example, scaling a dangerous cliff vs. scaling a dangerous cliff in the middle of a blizzard without proper equipment. Do you just throw a modifier into the mix?
Using a modifier would be creating your own custom move. It can be done, but it's pretty boring and most people don't bother with that. Instead, GMs modify the number of times they trigger moves and the effects those moves have on the fiction when they want a task to be more difficult.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

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Munin

  • 417
Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2014, 02:41:19 PM »
What noclue said.  In most cases, the "difficulty" is used not to modify the roll itself but to inform what happens under a partial success.  So it's not necessarily that you're more likely to fail, but maybe that the cost of that failure is more dire.

For example, you are scaling a dangerous cliff, which the GM deems requires you to Defy Danger.  In many cases it's up to you to dictate how you do that, so long as the fictional position supports it.  So you could say, "As nimbly as a human spider, I climb the cliff, taking advantage of every nook and cranny as hand- and foot-holds," (roll+DEX) or "I'm going to jam spikes into the rock with my bare hands, fashioning a ladder for myself as I go," (roll+STR).

When you get a partial success, the GM is going to offer you a worse outcome, a hard bargain, or an ugly choice.  The severity of that effect is going to be based on the fiction.  So if it's just a dangerous cliff, the GM might offer a substantial delay (a worse outcome), have you drop a bit of gear (a hard bargain), or make it your call between the two (an ugly choice).  If it's a dangerous cliff in a blizzard without equipment, it might be a substantial delay during which you suffer D3 (ap) points of damage from frostbite (a worse outcome), the loss of all of your daggers and knives, which you used as impromptu climbing spikes (a hard bargain), or a choice between whether you want to lash yourself to your henchman and both take damage when he falls, or whether you want to cut him loose, thereby escaping damage yourself but letting him fall to his death (an ugly choice).

In all of the above cases you succeed (meaning you will eventually make it to the top of the cliff), it's just a matter of what it costs you.  The more dangerous case typically costs you more.  That's why I said that 7-9 is where the magic is.  It's the range where the GM gets to use the fiction to its greatest effect.

But even in the case of a complete success, the GM is free to use the fiction to set the conditions and circumstances of the success.  So if you roll a 10+, the GM is well within his rights to tell you that it takes you an hour (to scale the dangerous cliff) or all day (to scale the dangerous cliff with no gear during a raging blizzard), because it stands to reason that one case requires a lot more care, backtracking, and minor mishaps than the other.

Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2014, 03:49:32 PM »
I'm starting to see what you mean. My own gaming background (mostly D&D, though that's probably apparent) never really did much with partial success. With the cliff climbing example, if you failed your roll, you'd fall and take something d6 damage per 10 ft. or something like that.

I like this more open-ended approach, though it's all pretty new to me. Despite wanting to stray away from the typical d20 thing, I also like a bit of crunch and don't want to go completely free-form. For example, I'm not a huge fan of Fate, and while DitV is conceptually brilliant, the gameplay itself is a little too loosey-goosey for me. I get the impression that this system is capable of working in some kind of middle ground.

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Munin

  • 417
Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2014, 06:05:58 PM »
It's largely a difference in focus.  Games like Fate or those using the "Powered by the Apocalypse" engine tend to place the premium on the story over the crunch.  They are designed to minimize the time between deciding what you're going to do and getting to a useful (and consequential) resolution.  In many cases, this means abstracting a lot of little actions into a single roll of the dice.

I think one of the coolest aspects of the AW engine is that it lets you zoom in or out depending on situation.  Fighting your way through a bunch of mooks on your way to the temple?  Do the entire battle in one roll.  Got the evil necromancer trapped in his lair and trying to kill him once and for all?  Super-detailed, well-narrated boss-fight, baby!

One of the most important conceptual ideas is to make sure that rolls are always consequential.  For a lot of things the PCs will want to do, a roll won't be required.  But if you do call for a roll, make sure it's over something that matters to the story.  And always try to structure the consequences of the action (be they success or failure) such that the next obvious action isn't "I try again."  This is intrinsically different from games with rules designed to realistically simulate some action (like climbing or shooting or haggling or whatever), and may take some practice to get the hang of.

The irony is that the less crunchy games are often easier for players new to RPGs to pick up and harder for "veteran" gamers.  I had to remind one of my AW players to quit trying to decide which move he was going to make and just tell me what his character was doing.  New players don't have those hang-ups, and will just say what they're doing up front.  Your job as the GM is to then take that information, decide if it triggers a move (and which one) and say, "Great, roll+CHA" or whatever.

Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2014, 06:45:12 PM »
I'm picturing a Wizard with Strength -2 trying to push a troll or whatever off a cliff. Naturally, the odds should be against the Wizard in that situation. But all the same, there's a lot of action happening in the +/-1 to 2 range considering the distribution of 2d6.
A wizard with a -1 STR shouldn't try push a troll off a cliff.

Are you kidding? He totally should try.

Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2014, 07:35:44 PM »
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Games like Fate or those using the "Powered by the Apocalypse" engine tend to place the premium on the story over the crunch.

I get why people would say that, but I don't think that's necessarily how things have to be in a rules-lite system. PbtA has a lot of crunch potential with its Moves mechanic. Hell, you could make a pretty elegant tactical wargame out of it.

Side note, I really, really like the Moves element being at the core of action in DW. That alone cuts through so much of the crap you see in something like d20.

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The irony is that the less crunchy games are often easier for players new to RPGs to pick up and harder for "veteran" gamers.

I'm not surprised. Veteran gamers, particularly those who have primarily played rules-heavy games, are more accustomed to having an objective system to negotiate obstacles. Many develop a preference for it over time. New gamers are a clean slate and are easier to mold to other play styles.

As for me, I will always want some crunch in my game. It's not that I think story is irrelevant, but I also want the "chess game" with it. Really, I want everything. That's not too much to ask, is it? :D

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Are you kidding? He totally should try.

lmao...ok, so one of the gameplay podcasts I watched had a weak Wizard try to push a companion down a shaft to "scout ahead". He got a marginal success, and so the companion got a defy danger check, in which he got a marginal success. The result was the klutzy Wizard fell down the pit and the companion slid down a bit, too, but manage to grab something part way down to keep from hitting the bottom.

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noclue

  • 609
Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2014, 08:59:24 PM »
As for me, I will always want some crunch in my game. It's not that I think story is irrelevant, but I also want the "chess game" with it. Really, I want everything. That's not too much to ask, is it? :D
No....but...there really isn't lot of crunch in DW.

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lmao...ok, so one of the gameplay podcasts I watched had a weak Wizard try to push a companion down a shaft to "scout ahead". He got a marginal success, and so the companion got a defy danger check, in which he got a marginal success. The result was the klutzy Wizard fell down the pit and the companion slid down a bit, too, but manage to grab something part way down to keep from hitting the bottom.

Trying to translate that into DW moves would be something like (based on pure speculation):

Wizard: Defy Danger + Str result: 7-9 "you stumble, hesitate, or flinch: the GM will offer you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice."
GM: So, you go to push him but you stumble and start sliding down the hill. You can either push him or stop yourself from falling.
Wizard: I keep pushing.
Companion: Defy Danger + Dex - result: 7-9 (I wouldn't have given the companion a DD. They should both be sliding down the hill now and have to make moves to deal with that.
GM: Okay, you're able to dodge but you both slide down the hill. (Blah).
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

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Munin

  • 417
Re: new player/GM exploring the system
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2014, 09:20:46 PM »
Yeah, I'd have had both of them at the bottom of the shaft too.  It's just funnier that way.