Author Topic: DW Actual Play (bloodstone idol)  (Read 2036 times)

(not that) adam

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DW Actual Play (bloodstone idol)
« on: March 31, 2012, 11:17:54 AM »
Hi everyone! This is my first actual experience with DW and I hope this report will be useful and maybe even interesting to read.

We played the bloodstone idol and the characters were:
• Shanna, female neutral human fighter with a taste for giant swords
• Eastwin, male neutral elf wizard, of the annoying kind
• Lorknar, male good human cleric of Ammora (goddess of love and spring and all the pretty things)
with me as the GM.

I realize now that I've reported just the worst moments because are the ones where I need help or clarification, but I assure you that playing this game was a blast and every one loved it! The character creation phase was so funny it even entertained the waiter, who asked us what we were playing and how it worked (he was absolutely amazed by the fact that you earned XPs just by "doing cool things" :D). I found really exciting the flow of the game, building the story move after move, and the adventure itself I think is one of the most fine crafted dungeon I've ever seen (well I didn't played a lot of dungeons actually, but still!). I really can't wait to finish the adventure next friday!

That said, let's start this! I divided the most significant events in 8 points:

1) During the character creation, two of them were heavily unoptimized: the fighter had 17 in dex but no precise weapon and the cleric had 17 in cha. I didn't care about this, but later in the game I realized that maybe I should have insisted on assigning the best score on the class' signature stat.

2) It took a lot to me to understand that when you fail a Cast a Spell roll, you just consume the spell without casting it. This was because I misunderstood three rules:
• "Unless the move tells you what to do, all moves work the same on a miss—the GM takes action, doing something dangerous to the characters." (page 10, rolls and results)*
• "You also make a move when the players give you a golden opportunity. A golden opportunity is any time they ignore a threat or when they fail a roll (6-). When they give you a golden opportunity, you can make your move just as hard as you like. A hard move is one that is irrevocable and immediate. The players immediately feel the consequences of the move and have to deal with them. Dealing damage is a hard move, since the damage is immediately applied." (page 77, when to make a move)*
• the spell is forgotten if on a roll of 7-9 you chose it to be forgotten; this meant to us that in any other case (including a failure), you never forgot the spell you tried to cast.

So when someone failed a Cast a Spell roll I was always struggling with myself trying to put his character directly into danger without the danger being just "you lose HPs"—which is quite boring. This for the first 3 times. Then we realized that losing the spell and failing to cast it was just the right thing to do—which is just the "use up their resources" move made the default drawback of failing a Cast a Spell roll.

*if reporting those paragraphs infringes any copyright I will remove them immediately!

3) At the grand entrance, the fighter tried to make their way to the door easier by seizing the lizard men's local chief and let the cleric parley with him, having "She will kill you if you don't do as I say" as the leverage on the chief. However, I wasn't sure of what a move could have been this action. We decided it was Defy Danger, since she was "acting despite an imminent threat"; and since she rolled an 8, I declared that while she had the chief in her arms, with her sword pointed at his head, his lizardmen surrounded her without a chance for her to escape unharmed.

4) Time later, when the party entered the vault, the ghosts made themselves clear and the wizard failed his wis roll. I wasn't sure how to handle it. I said that he was so terrorized that he ran away from the room. But it seemed to me a bit too gentle for a failed roll. I thought I could say that he stopped just right on the trapped stairs and fell into the fireflies' nest, but this seemed too much. So he simply stayed out of the vault, waiting for the other characters to deal with the ghosts (after I made clear that helping the ghosts would have produced XPs, they chose to don't fight them: two ghosts eventually found their peace thanks to the characters; the other two are still waiting there for them to comeback and deal with their unfinished business).

5) As for now, the cleric, who had an highlighted cha of 17 (along with a con of 11), also had far less experience than the others. We felt that charisma is sort of a difficult stat to focus on, since the only move associated with it has a lot of requirements: you need an opponent who you have leverage on and who is open for conversation, and still the move gives you just one xp. Perhaps since we have not reached Grundloch or any important npc yet, Parley didn't shine as it can do. On the contrary, the wizard, who had an highlighted intelligence, leveled up in a very short time and by the end of the session he was half way from level 2.

6) When the party eventually reached the fireflies, the cleric died because of a 7 on an Hack & slash roll (but also killing the firefly he engaged). This was sort of unexpected and I was not prepared at all, since the book does not explain what to do when a character dies in the middle of an adventure. We were sad because he was the most entertaining character, and the other players felt like they wasted their bond points with him now that he was dead. However, moving on, we decided the player simply had to create another character to be soon introduced. Killed all the fireflies, the two survivors moved on the next room, finding it filled with the illusory monsters, but chained along with them there was also:
• Robin, male neutral halfling thief, who knew both the characters since a long time, and went down the dungeon some time before thinking he could manage to explore it all by himself.

7) After a failed roll of Bend Bars to set the thief free by the fighter, the wizard cast a magic missile on the chains, detroying them but also drawing an unwelcome attention: an illusory demon who attacked the party. Soon the fighter took a hit, failed her saving throw, and became mesmerized. This basically ended the game for the player. Her character was still alive, but she had no control on her. The wizard performed a ritual to set her free, and I decided that he needed Grundloch's help to do it. This was a mistake—I should have picked an easier and quicker option from the list. And since the wizard had a weak hit on his roll to spout lore about the spell that affected the fighter, I felt I had no right to simply tell him "well you can free the fighter if you deal her 1 damage". Also, they completely ignored the enchanted goblins (which, if damaged, would have returned in their minds), so the party had no clue about this. The game ended with the thief and the wizard in the parliament room, ready to storm into Grundloch's lair, and I think that the first thing Grundloch would do is to turn the fighter against the party (hoping that sooner or later someone will manage to damage her).

8) However, the most difficult thing was dealing with the wizard's player. Since the game has no turns, but it's driven by the common rules of conversation (a thing I absolutely love!), there's been a lot of time where the only active player was the wizard, trying to resolve every problem by himself, stealing the spotlight from the other characters and rushing in as soon as someone flinched for a moment (maybe the victim was just gathering her dice ready to roll). I tried to distribute my attentions to everyone, but it was really hard—also because his exploits were pretty effective, albeit aimed more on "resolving the dungeon" than "living an adventure". He realized this was not funny at all and also apologized during the cigarette break, but since then every once in a while he couldn't contain himself. I'll have a talk with him trying to make him understand that listening to the other players' stories is way better that rushing all the way trying to clear the dungeon. Also, with the thief's player we decided that next friday night we'll introduce a new rule: no one talks until who is currently talking (and maybe performing a move) finishes. That said, how about adding a paragraph or two and making this clear? You know, "respect the other players, listen to them, wait before you act", and all the usual things just to remind people how to have a good game!

One last thing: we felt HPs where sort of unbalanced. At first level you get too few of them, while at level two you can double them right away (which the fighter did, from 8 to 17) and that's a lot of more HPs. Maybe it's a good idea to flatten the difference. How about D&D 4th edition style? You get your constitution score (not modifier) + base HP at first level. Or maybe, just double the base HPs for every class. Then every level you roll to get 1, 2 or 3 HPs.

Phew. It took me a lot more than I expected to write everything. I hope it's not too much. Thanks for your attention, sorry for my english, and please, feel free to comment about everything! The more you make me understand about the game, the better!

[edit: typos]
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 10:37:27 PM by adam »
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

noofy

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Re: DW Actual Play (bloodstone idol)
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2012, 12:29:09 PM »
Adam, Wow! Sounds like you guys had a great time :)
Waiter? Where were you playing? A restaurant with waiters who are into role-playing? Awesome!

When the cleric died was it because you (as GM) decided to deal damage as an attack from the fireflies? Remember when an enemy makes an attack, it isn't automatically damage (but it can be). Because with the fireflies you could always:
Catch something or someone on fire
• Cling to someone’s leg, arm, or head, and start eating
• Take to the air

I really like how you introduced the new thief character though, chained and helpless. 'Dinner for wolf'. Ha ha!

With your enthusiastic wizard player, some strategies I use to encourage the other players participation is to ask them questions when the excited one 'jumps in'. Ok, so the wizard is blasting away with his magic missile, turn to another player and ask them 'What do you think? or more pointedly 'What do you do?'. When the wizard  asks you a question about the world or about the situation, disclaim decision making and then ask another player, 'I don't know? what do you think?'.

Sounds like you did fine though, coming to grips with the 'conversation' of DW and the principles as GM.  Don't think about it too much, if something seems like the obvious thing to say, then say it. More than likely it won't be obvious to the players. A handy thing to remember is that on a soft hit, just give the players what they want, but add a complication. That way you don't have to take anything away from them, just make their adventure more challenging, and usually set off a moves 'snowball'.

In terms of balancing, the new beta 2 rules address your HP and damage concerns, whilst XP is now purely based around bonds, alignment and an end of session 'checklist' (instead of based on stats).

Thanks for the wonderful AP, Welcome to the Adventurer's Guild!

(not that) adam

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Re: DW Actual Play (bloodstone idol)
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2012, 04:32:05 PM »
Adam, Wow! Sounds like you guys had a great time :)
you have no idea! :D

Waiter? Where were you playing? A restaurant with waiters who are into role-playing? Awesome!
in a pub focused on gaming! Board games, larps, and rpgs! The waiter, of course, is a gamer himself :D

When the cleric died was it because you (as GM) decided to deal damage as an attack from the fireflies?
yep.  Now I feel guilty and ashamed! :P However, the cleric lost his shield, consumed his cure light wounds, and had 2 HPs. He was sort of reckless. I will pay more attention next time. Maybe I will suggest them to make camp before they charge into battle so unprepared.

When the wizard  asks you a question about the world or about the situation, disclaim decision making and then ask another player, 'I don't know? what do you think?'.
That's a really cool advice, I will surely go this way! I actually did it once without even thinking.

Don't think about it too much, if something seems like the obvious thing to say, then say it. More than likely it won't be obvious to the players.
yeah, I always try to follow this approach, but I tend to overthink things.

the new beta 2 rules address your HP and damage concerns, whilst XP is now purely based around bonds, alignment and an end of session 'checklist' (instead of based on stats).
what?! Really? We liked A LOT the idea of highlighting stats! We just felt that charisma is a bit overshadowed by the other stats in this field. Oh well!

Thanks for the wonderful AP, Welcome to the Adventurer's Guild!
well thank you for spending the time to read it and answer me! I'm sure you're advices will prove useful to our group!
As for the adventurer's guild, STILL I don't understand how it works :P
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

noofy

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Re: DW Actual Play (bloodstone idol)
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2012, 10:26:51 PM »
Just email Sage
gm@dungeon-world.com
And ask to join (since you posted the AP) That's it. This will give you access to the newest version of the rules, some handy adventure ideas and playbook expansions. Woo!

Oh, that scene with the Cleric and the Fireflies? Sounds like he was being rather reckless! Death in that case is somewhat mollified by his brash attitude. If the players are low on HP, healing resources and it looks like they are going to do something reckless, I usually reveal an unwelcome truth, or tell them the consequences and ask.

'Sounds like you think you (all beat up and tired) can just wade into battle with these glowing, burning bugs. Hmmmmm. As the light from their thorax sends crazy shadows dancing, you see the the walls of the cavern are scorched and burnt fiercely and flickering shadows are cast eerily by the charred skeletal remains that litter the recesses of the room. Still want to charge willy nilly into the swarm?'

or

'Your mace thuds into  the bug's body, splatting it all over, unfortunately, without your shield, the juices splash all over your fancy robes and set you ablaze, the heat is unbearable and it will only be moments before you are burnt to a cinder. To make matters worse the other bugs are swarming you too, attracted by the death throes of their companion. What do you do?!'

Then if he still wants to bash them, well good luck!
« Last Edit: March 31, 2012, 10:46:09 PM by noofy »

(not that) adam

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Re: DW Actual Play (bloodstone idol)
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2012, 10:56:21 PM »
oh I already emailed him! Then I will just wait patiently. If I can get the new rules before next friday we will play by them!

If the players are low on HP, healing resources and it looks like they are going to do something reckless, I usually reveal an unwelcome truth, or tell them the consequences and ask.
noted.

'Your mace thuds into  the bug's body, splatting it all over, unfortunately, without your shield, the juices splash all over your fancy robes and set you ablaze, the heat is unbearable and it will only be moments before you are burnt to a cinder. To make matters worse the other bugs are swarming you too, attracted by the death throes of their companion. What do you do?!'
that's what actually happened! Were you spying on us?! :D Well, it happened with the exception that I said "it deals 4 damage" instead of asking "what do you do". Oopsie.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2012, 09:33:21 AM by adam »
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.