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Messages - zmook

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Dungeon World / Re: Animal companions
« on: November 28, 2012, 11:44:46 PM »
Couple more questions:

I can imagine circumstances where a hunting or guard companion ends up fighting on its own, or alongside the wizard or something.  And the animal might make an attack on a 6hp guard, and not kill it, and then the wizard zorches with Magic Missile and does 3hp damage.  Is the guard dead?  Depends on how much damage the owl did.  How much damage does the owl do?   So it was an npc (owl) on npc (guard) attack, so I guess I'm within my DM rights to pick a number by fiat when it happens, but I'd prefer not to do that if I don't have to.  Should I just go with "damage = ferocity"?

In general, it seems like companions acting independently are going to raise a lot of npc-vs-npc conflicts, and I would prefer not to do everything by fiat.  It could be very important, for instance, whether the owl can snatch the scroll from the sorceress' hands before she finishes reading it.  If I don't want to just arbitrarily decide whether the ritual is completed, does it make sense to roll Defy Danger +Cunning for the owl?  Or should I have the Ranger roll it?  Or should the roll be something else?

Dungeon World / Re: Confused about the signature weapon...
« on: November 28, 2012, 11:23:27 PM »
Another thing: if I want my signature sword to be a longsword (which is very much the default iconic weapon for much fantasy epic) I can't, because I have to take "serrated edges" which completely changes the image of the weapon. Also, apparently I can't take a two handed weapon, or can I?

It's just my opinion, but I'd allow "two-handed, +1 dmg" as another enhancement option under Signature Weapon.  I might even allow it as a "free" effect if they want greatsword or bat'leth or something as their base description, so you still get two enhancements, but I'd be curious to hear if people who've played more than I think that would be a bad idea.  In theory, you're paying for that extra +1 dmg with -1 armor (no shield), which sounds reasonable to me.

I'd also have no problem allowing the "serrated edges" color to be changed to whatever the player likes (dwarven masterwork, or damascus steel, or whatever).  I mean, character creation also says you're supposed to pick the character's name from the given list, but I'd never dream of enforcing that rule.  (...thankfully I don't have players inclined to names like Sir Punchalot.)

Dungeon World / Re: Improved combat moves
« on: November 28, 2012, 11:00:44 PM »
A couple thoughts, from someone who's played some Apocalypse World but is still getting ready for Dungeon World.

1. Pluses on rolls are a big fucking deal in DW.   Look at it this way:  the fighter probably starts with a 16 STR (+2).  Each level up you can increase a stat, so by level 3 they could easily have 18 STR (+3).  Clerical Blessing can offer +1 ongoing.  That gives +4, which means you can only get a 6- on a roll of natural 2.  If they've got an additional +1 on top of that they literally cannot miss.

2.  Grapple can totally be handled in the standard rules.  If a character wants to disarm or pin a monster, make them roll to Defy the Danger of the monster's attack.  If a monster grapples or pins a character, and that character does not have a "hand" range weapon, make the character Defy Danger to escape (one of the triggers is "when you suffer a calamity...").  This sort of thing is the whole point of the game, but since it doesn't have a lot of explicit mechanical support it's easy to assume that somehow you can't do it.

Admittedly, it would be nice to have some ideas ahead of time for "worse outcomes, hard bargains, or ugly choices," or else you're going to be on the spot at the table over and over again for the whole game, and if you don't come up with good ones the game will be pretty flat.  Grappling, disarms, knockdown and knockback, shifts in advantage, and moves into position to threaten vulnerable targets are all good ideas.

Dungeon World / Animal companions
« on: November 28, 2012, 10:36:27 PM »
Getting ready to run a game, I'm looking at the Ranger, and trying to figure out what I'll say when the players ask me about companion trainings.  They're obviously pretty important, but the description is minimal.  How do you guys play them?  This is what they sound like to me:

Hunt:  the animal is trained to cooperate with the ranger in finding, chasing and killing animals, everything from ducks to bison.  In some circumstances (cougar vs hare, perhaps) the animal can be unleashed to hunt on its own, and will return with prey to share.  This training carries through to generally being able to coordinate attacking anything the ranger can point out.  The ranger may be able to get the "attack the same target", "track",  and "take damage" Command benefits in the right circumstance.

Search:  the animal is a skilled tracker, a bloodhound.  Here's the missing person's sock, now let's go.  Or, somewhere near here is a base of bandits - let's find it.  The ranger may be able to get the "track" and "discern realities" Command benefits.

Scout:  the animal can be sent out some distance ahead of the party, and will spot and stalk any potential ambushers.  The ranger may be able to get the "discern realities" Command benefit.

Guard: the animal can be told to protect any friendly person (or group), and will follow them and attack anything that threatens them.  If the animal is guarding the ranger, he can get the "attack" and "take damage" benefits, but if the animal is guarding anyone else, they don't have Command, so they don't get any mechanical benefit, just the advantage that attackers will have to deal with the wolf first.

Fight monsters:  the animal is particularly trained to fight the more horrifying and unnatural sort of opponent, and is much less likely to be cowed or to flee before the undead, demons, slime lords, and the like.  The ranger may be able to get the "attack" and "take damage" benefits.

Perform:  the animal knows entertaining tricks, and may be used to get a good reaction in civilized places (where otherwise a wolf may be completely unwelcome).  [Might "tricks" may extend to such things as snatching items from unexpecting hands, or delivering messages or small packages?  If so, these things seem like the kind of thing where I'd like to see a roll to determine success, but I'm not sure what move it would be.] 

Labor: ???

Travel:  The companion is big enough to ride, and will bear the ranger with unusual swiftness, dexterity and/or endurance.  The ranger may be able to get the "attack", "track", and "take damage" Command benefits in the right circumstances.

Command also offers a bonus to working with a trained companion and Parleying, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the circumstance where this would occur.  When can an animal companion help with Parley?  I suppose there's "if you don't do what I want my wolf will rip your throat out", but then why is it +Cunning instead of +Ferocity?

Curious what other people think, before I start making house rules.

Dungeon World / Re: How to play boss monsters?
« on: November 27, 2012, 09:30:33 PM »
Cool.  Looks like I should add:

* Leverage "messy" and "forceful" to the hilt
* Use smoke, fog, and battlefield confusion
* Threaten bystanders

All that said, I'd still be curious to see an affirmative statement of why people think that (e.g.) 16 HP is the right number for a dragon.  Is it just for trying to keep fights shorter, or is there something else that's it's balanced against, that I'm not seeing yet?

Dungeon World / How to play boss monsters?
« on: November 27, 2012, 06:25:28 PM »
The way I feel, you don't need armor to make a beast tough. You need to pause, picture the monster in your head like it was a movie scene, and describe it like you see it there. Talk about how fast the demon is, how it flits away in a puff of smoke. Its malevolent presence, the stench, the cruel and playful way it dances from foe to foe. How it's always just out of reach, taunting, when the characters run in.

Thanks, that's really helpful.  I'm working up on starting a DW game after just finishing an AW one, and this is one of the things that I'm worrying about, finding ways to make the scary monsters genuinely scary, when DW discourages me from just giving them lots of HP and armour.  What other things might work?

* Incorporeality/immunity to mundane weapons
* Speed and evasiveness
* Flight and ranged attacks
* Environmental damage -- e.g. the burning lava demon
* Threatening claws/weaponry with extended reach, so characters have to defy danger just to get in range
* Highly dangerous counterattacks to bring out on 7-9 -- especially knockback, stuns, and pins
* Charm and fear moves
* Others?

Still, I worry a little about boss monsters ending up as glass cannons -- very frightening right up until a couple of lucky hits, and then they go down fast.  I mean, vampires only have 10 HP and 2 armor, which seems to make them more fragile than a typical first-level cleric.   

Is this not something I need to worry about?  If not, why not?

Dungeon World / Re: So what happens if someone cant do something?
« on: November 27, 2012, 02:47:41 PM »
Thanks for the replys. I do play with a very simulationist group.

That's cool, and it seems like for pbem it would be a good thing to play a system with streamlined combat.  That said, I think you'll find that DW doesn't give much support for simulationist play.  The rules never really say "how much" you can do something, like "are you strong enough", or fast enough, or smart enough.  What a roll decides, basically, is just who gets to describe what happened -- does the player get to say "Bran totally leaps that chasm like he was walking on air", or does the DM get to say "well, not quite"?  It works for cinematic drama, but if you want something to determine objectively "this is how wide a chasm you can jump, and these are the modifiers for loose footing", you're going to be house-ruling all day long.

Dungeon World / Re: So what happens if someone cant do something?
« on: November 27, 2012, 05:20:43 AM »
What I'm really wondering is does the game cater to the little extra things. For instance the jewel in the eye socket example. In a normal d20 game the person would roll a str check , if they didnt meet the strength check then they didnt get the jewel, if they DID then they got a little extra treasure.

This is not the kind of question Dungeon World cares very much about, most of the time.  Is the thief strong enough to lift this particular idol?  Can the wizard jump 10 feet horizontally, or only 9?  Can the bard remember the words to the national anthem?  In the DW philosophy, these questions are not so much interesting *in themselves*, but only insofar as they have fictional consequences.  Is the Queen waiting to strike off his head if he misses a verse?  Well, okay, now we're talking!  Defy Danger, bard.

So basically, if the gem is just there, and there's no trap, or need for stealth, or race against time or anything, you can just pry it out.  Is it going to make anyone's game better if you say "there's a gem, but you're too weak to grab it", and then everyone wastes time while the thief looks for a crowbar?  Probably not.  Still, if it scratches some kind of "realism" itch for you, go ahead and create a move.  The Fighter's Bend Bars, Lift Gates move would be a place to start.

Dungeon World / Re: prerelease comments / observations
« on: August 21, 2012, 09:12:50 PM »
Although -- are the stats even properly defined in the rules?  If there's a page where it actually says, I don't see it right now.  That could be an issue for, e.g., the difference between Int and Wis (which I remember having debates about when we were teenagers first trying to figure out D&D).

Dungeon World / Re: prerelease comments / observations
« on: August 21, 2012, 09:07:19 PM »
Traditionally, thieves are supposed to be awesome at finding traps, and having a skill tied to their best attribute helps with that. 

It certainly does make sense that disarming traps would get a bonus from Dex, and finding isn't much of a stretch.  High Int characters can be absent-minded professors, and high Wis might mean you're disciplined and strong-willed, but hardly necessarily observant.  Alertness is often considered a component of Dex.

Dungeon World / Re: prerelease comments / observations
« on: August 16, 2012, 04:04:34 PM »
On page 344, the "final" version of Hack & Slash is quoted offering an option for +2 dmg, which doesn't match the (presumably official) version of Hack & Slash on p 48 (+1d6 dmg).

The text occasionally uses the term "NPC" without ever defining it as "non-player character".  On pages 21 and 60 it also inconsistently uses the term "GM character".  Also, on p32, there's a whole section called "Monsters" (that says "sometimes it's just a guy in some armor") that never uses the terms NPC or GM character at all.  My expectation is that there's not supposed to be any real distinction between a "monster" and an "NPC", but it's not made completely clear.

Dungeon World / Re: prerelease comments / observations
« on: August 13, 2012, 03:26:54 PM »
Plus Tonks had learned cloudkill, and also had went on a wonderfully evocative adventure to a (hithererto unknown) ruined enchanter's tower to unearth the fabled crystal eye of Jirizzah (which he breathed life into being after a spout lore roll). The eye allowed him to scry places that he had already been and made cloudkill a spell he became renown for throughout the land, inspiring fear as he used it to curtail an invasion of bugbears -  garnering the moniker 'The myst robed mage of doom' and changed his alignment to evil as a result.

That's a dramatic story, yes, but my question is with the Rules As Written, which say: "A cloud of fog drifts into this realm from beyond the Black Gates of Death, filling the immediate area. Whenever a creature in the area takes damage it takes an additional, separate 1d6 damage which ignores armor."   I happen to believe it's hard enough for every person around the table to get to a shared vision of what's possible in a fantastic story, so the written rules are important, and these say that cloudkill only does additional damage when a creature in the area first takes damage from some other source.  It also says "immediate area" so even line-of-sight is a stretch, though it certainly seems crazy to expect a spell called Cloudkill to summon something centered on the caster.  As a player, I would think that it would be somewhat difficult to contrive circumstances where this spell is worth casting; ie, where it would be more dangerous to the enemy than to my friend the fighter.  Every goblin attacking him gets +1d6 damage?  No thanks!  (Am I missing something?  That does seem to be what the rules say.)

As a GM, I can of course have a discussion with the player to figure out an interpretation that makes the spell as powerful as a L7 should be, but as a GM I just do *not* want to have to have discussions like this about every spell and special move.  I'd much rather spend my time describing cool monsters for them to fight.

If I'm missing something written elsewhere in the rules, that's fine.  If the response is, well that's vague on purpose, so you can figure it out with the players, that's fine too (though not really what I'm hoping to hear).  If it's an unintentional oversight that Sage or Adam want to clarify, great!  In any case, I understood the point of distributing pre-release rules to be looking for comments, so those were some of mine.

Dungeon World / Re: prerelease comments / observations
« on: August 13, 2012, 03:09:26 AM »
I know your questions come from a need for mechanical qualification, but I would strongly recommend that you play a session of DW and see what questions come up in application of the rules.

Hiya, noofy.  A few responses:  1). I'd love to just play some, but that would require people to play with and also more hours in the day.  I don't really have either this month, though I do have time to read a set of beta rules (that I'm quite interested in) and write some feedback on what doesn't seem clear.  First-time players count too, right?  Hopefully my questions will be helpful to Sage & Adam.

2)  I am currently running an Apocalypse World game in what gaming time I do have, so I have some idea how the structure works, and what I was hoping to see in Dungeon World.  I've also played a lot of old-school D&D over 20+ years.  DW bills itself as a game with modern rules and "old-school style" -- I mean, it's a game with an encumbrance stat and it has a Make Camp roll. It doesn't seem unreasonable to me to expect the character rules to support a bit of gamism in my game.  Gamism is fun too.

3) Of course you can always houserule a broken or incomplete rule, but that doesn't mean it wasn't broken or incomplete to begin with.

I am still very much looking forward to giving this game a try someday.  DW seems as close to the game I want to play as anything I've seen lately.

Dungeon World / Re: prerelease comments / observations
« on: August 12, 2012, 10:49:12 PM »
A few comments on first reading, from someone who hasn't played these rules yet.

Just (Level+1) of spells prepared, really?  So when you finally get to level 5, you can either memorize 6 level 1 spells, 2 level 3 spells, or just one level 5 plus a level 1?  ie, if you want your exciting new level 5 spell, you can't memorize any level 3s at all?  That seems a little harsh.

On the flip side, a Ranger can take God Amidst the Wastes at level 2, and thereafter be only one level behind a dedicated Cleric, for no extra experience?  That seems like a lot to get for just one advancement move.

The rules on the Ranger's animal companion seem thin, unless there's more somewhere I haven't found.  What if a companion gets killed?  Some guidelines would seem appropriate.  Also, what does Unnatural Ally, "Your companion is a monster, not an animal", mean?  Are you expected to get a new companion at that point?   Or is it more of an "explain how your companion got enhanced" kind of deal?   

Are there any guidelines for what the companion's tricks should or shouldn't allow?  I don't see much.

The Cleric spell Animate Dead seems to be the only ongoing spell that does not say "While this spell is ongoing take -1 to Cast a Spell".  Is that an oversight?

The Cleric spell Sanctuary gives no guidance that I can see about area of effect.  Would anything prevent a cleric from walking the bounds of an entire castle, or town?  And then it lasts for as long as they stay inside.  The wizard spell Alarm has a similar issue.

The Cleric spell Repair seems too vague to play as is.  For instance, should it allow "I repair all the effects of when Vlad Dracul was made a vampire"?   Which would result in killing Dracula himself and also his entire brood.  And who knows what else.  If not, why not?   Presumably there must be a limit of some kind on how old an event can be Repaired, to avoid time paradoxes.

Plague should be tagged Ongoing and is not.  Possibly Storm of Vengeance should be also;  or if not, I'm not sure why it's different.

Is the Wizard spell Telepathy meant to be ongoing?  If not, it seems its value is severely curtailed, being able to communicate silently with someone you could just talk to.  Or is the idea that it lasts indefinitely, but doesn't count as "ongoing" because it doesn't give a penalty to casting?  Also, it only says that the wizard can speak to the target of the telepathy;  I would assume vice versa also?

There should be some guidance as to what counts as a "lesser spell" and what is "powerful magic" for the purposes of Dispel Magic.   Is it relative to the level of the caster, or fixed relative to the 3rd level of Dispel Magic itself?  Are permanent magic items different from ongoing spell effects?

How nearby is "nearby", for Fireball?

Contingency says "a 5th level or lower spell that you know", rather than "have prepared".  Is that intended?   If so, it seems like you could thereby use Contingency to indirectly cast any lower-level spell in your spellbook without worrying about what you prepare.

It seems like Cloudkill would be powerful against an army, if you have a company of archers on your side.  But tricky to make much use of in a dungeon (and this is Dungeon World) -- likely to harm your allies as much as your enemies.   Maybe I'm missing something.

Soul Gem is puzzling.  I am not sure what it does that makes it a 9th level spell;  it seems only marginally more powerful than the 1st level Contact Spirits in terms of the described mechanical effects.

Apocalypse World / Re: Custom Moves Compendium
« on: March 03, 2012, 07:48:18 PM »
I just spent a while looking for this thread.  It would be a good one to have stickied.

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