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Messages - zmook

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Dungeon World / Re: First "real" game of DW, advice sought
« on: December 09, 2012, 03:13:55 PM »
+1 having lists of names!

Dungeon World / Re: Improved combat moves
« on: December 08, 2012, 08:01:30 PM »
Interesting.  So, your basic damage move in a grapple (10+ and you deal damage) is +1d6, no downside? 

Wouldn't "get a strangle hold" imply "opponent doesn't scream out"?  Doesn't seem like both are required.  But if you want a separate one for preventing screams, getting only one choice from the list means there's no way to prevent screams AND end the fight. 

What advantage do you get from having or not having a weapon in hand?  Presumably you assume something, or else "grab a weapon from ground or belt, getting +1 next round" is way inferior to just "get +1 ongoing for this particular grapple".

Personally, I'm not sure I want anything this complicated, except as a list of ideas for hard choices and worse outcomes.  But it seems like it would work.

Dungeon World / Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« on: December 08, 2012, 07:38:42 PM »
I'm sorry I got frustrated.  I appreciate the help.

John's advice is simple and tried and tested. Heck, even I ran with that for a while in AW.

I think that's what I'm trying to ask:  how did that work for you, and why did you stop?

It seems pretty workable to give out -1s and -2s when it seems appropriate, but for bonuses I'm sort of acutely aware of how little wiggle room Dungeon World has left for me.  Characters can already pretty easily collect themselves +3 on the rolls they make most often, which means failure only on 2-3 (8.3%).  If I make it easy for them to get another +1 situationally, they fail only on snake eyes (2.8%), and the probability of full success (10+) goes from 58% to 72%.  That's *substantial*, so I need to limit giving that out to times of major advantage.

I suppose that's workable.  The fiction maybe really supports only three states:  normal chances (just roll to hit), can't-really-miss (just roll damage), and somewhere in between (take +1).  Maybe there's not really any need for more than one level of "somewhere in between" that still allows a chance of actual failure.  (+5 is an auto-hit, after all.)

Still, can't help wondering if anyone has ever tried a 2d8 variant on the basic AW move.  Success on 12+, partial on 9-11, and failure on 8- gives almost the same base odds as the usual numbers on 2d6, but the impact of bonuses is scaled down just a bit, leaving a little more room to let players earn themselves advantages in combat through crafty tactics.  Which is really part of the "old-school style" that DW advertises, after all.

But I'm not quite ready to houserule that drastically -- am going to play a few more sessions as written, and see if we can come up with enough interesting in-fiction bonuses for tactics that mechanical ones don't seem necessary.

Dungeon World / Re: One hour prep guide needed
« on: December 06, 2012, 08:33:44 PM »
zmook or others, drop me an email at mease19 at the gmails and I'll send you a copy (If you kickstarted DW, the readme was released in project update #23 with the other starters).

Oh, I see I do have that! 

The starters are really nifty, by the way.  Just great for evoking setting.

Dungeon World / Re: First "real" game of DW, advice sought
« on: December 06, 2012, 07:42:05 PM »
Personally, I find the Dungeon Starters a little thin.  If they work for you, great, but I like to have a little more skeleton to hang a session on, even the first one.  The Starters are awesome evocative settings, but I need at least an idea or two of a plot.  In particular, a map, and at least a few NPCs who want things.  I just wrote an answer in the "One hour prep guide" thread with a little more detail on what I do.

Dungeon World / Re: One hour prep guide needed
« on: December 06, 2012, 07:34:54 PM »
Personally, I find it helps to have a little more than just what's in Fronts:  the cast of characters and their motivations is a good start, but I find it also helps a lot to have a map (if it's a dungeon crawl) and a list of some interesting treasures.  Also some monsters with their moves, and an idea of what they're doing here, and probably a trap or two.  You probably don't need full room descriptions like in a published module, unless you have trouble making that up on the fly -- just put in the monsters and treasures and traps when it seems appropriate.   These things can be re-used from session to session, too, whatever the characters haven't encountered yet.  The idea is to just to make sure that you don't draw a blank when the players are looking at you to say what they find.

It's easy to underestimate Grim Portents from the front, but I think they're really important.  Or actually, if I'm in a hurry, for prep purposes I find it easier to write a list of Things that Might Happen without necessarily writing them properly in the form of Grim Portents.  After you've had a session or two getting to know the NPCs, it might get easier to write each faction's plans in more detail.  (Or maybe that's me getting more used to the form in my head.) 

You say you're concerned about railroading, so the important thing is that you keep clear that it's Things that Might Happen -- you can have totally contradictory items on the list, even without the PCs getting involved.  Maybe Grundloch finishes his ritual first, or maybe the lizardmen overrun the caves, forcing him to get involved in the turf war before the scrying pool area is safe to work.  You don't know which will happen until the PCs get involved -- maybe it's neither!  But the ideas are there, so you can run with whatever happens.

If you're short on time, I'd recommend an iterative approach:

* Name a couple factions
* Describe the leader of each
* Write a monster description for the grunts of each
* Write a couple items of What They're Up To
* Sketch on the map where they live
* Write an interesting treasure item for each
* Write a trap
* Repeat the list and add a little more detail to each, or maybe a new faction, until you run out of time and the players arrive.

Check out The Shallow Sea on the DW website.  If you like that style of first session prep, I have a readme file that goes with it, which explains the logic of the format and how to put one together.  Let me know if you want the file.

I'd love to see that.

Dungeon World / Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« on: December 05, 2012, 10:36:19 PM »
Temper your examples in this manner and each sentence becomes a paragraph of exciting fiction with nary a bonus to be found.

It sounds like maybe what you are recommending is:  usually try to give opportunities in the fiction as bonuses, rather than mechanical modifiers.  That seems like a good idea, for whenever I can think of something interesting.

For the record, I was brief about setting up the fictional triggers for the questions I asked because I wanted to focus on the mechanics part, and I thought perhaps we could assume that that part was happening without getting bogged down in it.  Mechanics exist, after all.  The rules are part of the game.  We're not just playing free-for-all make believe.  "Start and end with the fiction" does not mean that there aren't any mechanics in the middle, and so I think it's reasonable to want to talk about how to manage those mechanics.

To be valuable, mechanics will reflect the situation described in fiction, and their outcomes will inform the narration of results.  Some of you all seem to think I'm doing something out of the spirit of the game by considering mechanical bonuses for narratively-described situations that seem to call for them.  I strongly disagree.  The rules explicitly says they are intended to be descriptive: "when the character changes in the fiction the player should change the character sheet to match." (p30)  Presumably the same should go occasionally for rolls in combat.

I have been working on a list of tags that I think of as ways to make monsters more badass.

Monster Tags and Moves

reach:  characters without reach or ranged attacks must defy danger to get close enough to attack at all
flying:  cannot be engaged in melee unless it chooses to attack first, or is forced somehow to the ground.
stealthy:  attacks from ambush and/or disappears from sight (even when being watched)
evasive:  moves in a way the characters cannot normally follow
fast:  when it takes its action, the monster can move anywhere (or almost anywhere) on the battlefield as a free action;  cannot be cornered;  does not give up attacks of opportunity;  if knocked down, gets back up instantly
devious:  e.g. threatens bystanders, reveals traps, exposes hidden allies, fast talks or dissuades, deceives with illusions

area attack:  attacks multiple characters at once; e.g. dragon breath or cleave attacks
counterattack:  makes a return attack after every incoming melee attack;  the monster may therefore get many more moves than any player character.
multiple attack:  makes attack moves more often than individual player characters, either because the monster has multiple modes (e.g. claw/claw/bite, or multiple eyestalks of a beholder), or because itís superhumanly quick.

messy:  rips equipment (and sometimes characters) apart; reduces armor; breaks weapons
forceful: knocks back and/or knocks down;  possibly picks up and throws characters
skilled:  rolls twice for damage, take the better
n piercing: reduces targetís armor by n (temporarily) before applying damage
ignore armor: damage dealt is not affected by targetís armor at all
terrifying:  causes fear in all who can see (or hear) it;  defy danger (WIS) to remain in the area
controlling:  influences, controls, or possess player characters; e.g. charm
disabling:  takes characters out of battle non-lethally, such as by entangling, pinning, stunning, or causing sleep
confusing: creates smoke screen or confusion in battle, preventing characters from knowing where it is or being able to attack it consistently
damaging presence:  causes passive area damage; e.g. from extreme heat or toxic emanations
debilitating:  causes one or more debilities as part of attacks; e.g. vampiric bite does d8+5 dmg plus inflicts weak debility

damage resistance:  takes half damage from specified attack types
immunity:  unaffected by specified attack types; e.g. iron, fire, fear.  typically description should cite a vulnerability, such as silver or salt.  active immunity (e.g. counterspell) may require the monster to be aware of an incoming attack and free to respond to it.
incorporeal:  cannot be affected by non-magical causes
regeneration: regain hit points in combat; e.g. some number per action, or some proportion of damage dealt, or some proportion of damage received.  In the extreme case, the monster must be killed in one blow, or will instantly regenerate.

Dungeon World / Re: NPC counterspell?
« on: December 04, 2012, 01:15:43 AM »
Why would you jump to the roll if it's foregone that the roll doesn't matter?

Well, it might not be foregone that it doesn't matter -- conceivably the counterspell is not automatic.  But more importantly, I think sometimes a character has to put herself in harm's way to learn some things, and just skipping the roll feels to me like it short-circuits that.  All kinds of things can happen when you roll, right?

I really like the dramatic moment when characters learn they're gonna need a Plan B.

Dungeon World / Re: NPC counterspell?
« on: December 03, 2012, 11:04:13 PM »
A bunch of good ideas, thanks all.

I like this:
My thought would be that you use your GM moves to establish it in the fiction, and then either the Wizard has to come up with ways to avoid or circumvent it or else it's Defying Danger or just not possible in the presence of an unhindered enemy.

... but I have to wonder, it may not always be possible to establish in the fiction before someone actually tries to cast the first spell at the counterspelling sorcerer.  It would be sort of weird if your chance of success casting at Zygon depends on whether someone happens to have mentioned previously that Zygon is good at counterspell! 

So I'm going to interpret that on occasion it's okay to tell a player that, even though you just got a success on a roll, what you were trying to do doesn't happen the way you wanted, because of {x} you didn't know about.  The Cast a Spell (and Hack and Slash) move rules don't really allow for that possibility, but it's sort of required to be able to "exploit your prep", right?

Dungeon World / Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« on: December 03, 2012, 06:36:32 PM »
5. It's the thief's turn. He wants to trip an ogre so it falls onto foot long spikes that are nearby. What move should the GM call for to match these intentions? How do you determine the amount of damage that the ogre would receive from the spikes?

Personally, I'd allow the thief to roll Defy Danger +DEX rather than Hack and Slash.  The trigger "act despite an imminent threat" I think works at least as well as "attack an enemy in melee", and it allows the character to roll what is presumably a better stat.  I'm not sure what damage I'd give -- d8 class damage seems plausible, since the likelihood the ogre can protect himself from the fall seems to depend on how skillfully the trip was executed.   If the spikes have been previously established as especially vicious, perhaps I'd add +1d4 or a point or two of piercing.

Dungeon World / Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« on: December 03, 2012, 03:48:12 PM »
Like I said, the fighter is already hacking and slashing. He's already said what he's doing. The thief can aid him, that's what aid is for. But it isn't the thief's turn to do anything else.

Ah, you use Aid when someone is trying to jump in on someone else's action.  I've never allowed that at all; perhaps that's too much formative D&D training, but I've run games that players get to act only when it's their "turn": if you want to help another character, you take the set-up move on your action, and the other guy follows through on his.

So, use Aid to roll to help someone else's action, out of turn.  It's a bonus!  That at least gives me a consistent framework for when to call for rolling it.  And makes Bond seem a little more worthwhile, which is nice.

while it sounds like I'm a fan of auto-hit, it's much more like noclue's approach.

But I'm still not clear what noclue's approach is.  Depends on the fictional positioning, yes, got it.  But how much?

Okay, let me try to describe some situations.  What would your actual rulings be at the table?

1.  It's the thief's turn.  He successfully trips an ogre who was about to bash the fighter.  What bonus, if any, do you give to the fighter's next attack against the sprawling ogre?

2.  The ogre, back on his feet, is winding up with his stone mallet to club the fighter into next week.  The ranger acts, and hacks the ogre from his exposed side.  What bonus, if any, do you give to the ranger's attack?

3.  It's the bard's turn.  He rolls Defy Danger to disarm the ogre, and the brutal mallet goes flying into the darkness.  Now the fighter Hacks the disarmed ogre.  What bonus, if any, do you give to the attack?

4.  The cleric drops a weighted, entangling net over the ogre.  It comes around to the fighter's turn again.  The ogre is now disarmed, netted, and the wizard just blasted it for big damage.  What bonus, if any, do you give to the fighter's attack?

If these situations still seem too unclear or hypothetical, then what I'd really like to know is:  what other information do you think you need?   I'm trying to specify the important facts of the situations, but if I'm missing something, that's part of what I want to know:  how do other people think about these things?  My goal is to get some sort of reasonably consistent set of guidelines in my head, so that I can give reasonably predictable rulings at the table.

Dungeon World / NPC counterspell?
« on: December 03, 2012, 02:00:54 AM »
So, suppose you wanted to create an evil sorcerer in DW and give him a counterspell ability -- say, spend a charge from his staff to flashily disrupt an incoming magical attack.  How would you do this?

I suppose I could give the PC wizard -2 ongoing to target the sorcerer, but this doesn't quite create the effect I'm looking for, in the fiction.  An attack penalty feels to me more like magic resistance than counterspell.  But once the PC rolls, the rules no longer allow an opportunity to change the results of the spell:  on 7+, the spell is cast and affects its target;  on 6- it fails.  At best it looks like I can insert a counterattack to put the wizard in a spot, with a 7-9 result.

Is there a way to do this within the structure of how moves are supposed to work?

Dungeon World / Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« on: December 03, 2012, 01:44:34 AM »
"Well," says the wily Dogo. "I grab the rope from my traveling gear and loop it around this big rock. Then I dart between the ogre's legs..."

"Cool," says I.  "Roll Defy Danger with Dex."  As obviously, that's a Dex move the thief wants to make, and it's clearly dangerous. 

I don't really get Aid.

Dungeon World / Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« on: December 02, 2012, 10:59:07 PM »
1) page 20 has your answer. Unarmed character's do one damage. Weapons don't kill people, but they sure help.

I've just reread page 20 ("First Edition, November 2012"), and I don't see this rule.  Closest it comes is "A character without a weapon of some sort isnít going to trigger the hack and slash move when fighting a dragon since a bare-knuckle punch really doesnít do much to inch-thick scales."  Which is fine, but in my world a heroic Fighter *can* kill a mook with his bare hands, even if the mook is wearing leathers.  One point of damage, flat, seems low to me.

Yup fiction.

Last I checked, the ogre in the fiction doesn't say to the fighter "you should get +1 forward to hit me", so that doesn't actually solve my problem.  Aaron thinks that the same situation (ogre just got tripped) should result in an actual automatic hit (just deal damage).  I was trying to ask what ruling other people would make.  If you think it depends, then depends on what, for example?

As an aside, rolling Aid should never be boring.

I agree, any roll *should* never be boring, but man, Aid gives me no help.  And it often feels like as soon as the player starts describing what her character is actually *doing*, I'd rather roll *that* action rather than Aid.

Yeah, I've always been unsatisfied with sytems that are like "okay, you're Prone, the following penalties apply..." because they don't always apply. In DW, it's more like ?what are trying to do to the prone target? Okay, because he's prone that sounds easier..." It's muchmore common-sense based on the situation.

Right.  I get that DW doesn't want to specify one rule for all occasions, and I'm fine with that.  What I'm asking is, okay, target has been tripped, so yes, it should be easier somehow for the Fighter to hit it.  How much easier?  Do you tend to hand out +1 forward whenever the player has a good argument that something should be easier?  Are you stingy?  How big an advantage does it take before you hand out an auto hit ("just deal damage")?   A guideline would help me be more consistent on the spot, at the table.

It sounds like Aaron leans towards auto hits.  What about everyone else?

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