Author Topic: Looking for advice on Introductory Moves, etc., for a one-shot...  (Read 2723 times)

_nthdegree

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Heya. I'm trying my hand at running DungeonWorld for some friends & acquaintances this Saturday, for Int'l Tabletop Day. Since it's a one-shot, I figure'd I'd take advantage of the option to provide my players with introductory moves to help build some shared history/established fiction a little faster. I took an example of one for a fighter as a rough guide to build ones for the other classes. I have the adventure concept I'll be using, then the host of moves. This is my first time doing this (though I've played a few *World games before); insights and advice would be very appreciated!



Concept: Two watch-posts, sited near to one another in a remote locale, on opposite sides of a frontier border. A short while before play begins, Something Bad goes down at the enemy post across the border...

That watchtower across the border used to be yours, years ago. (How long?) All your side has these days is a hardscrabble camp by the mountainside, with a network of caves to fall back to. (What was the tower put to use for, when it was yours? Do you know what happens there now?) Your outpost is far from either empire's heart, plus it's stormy season. To make it back takes a long, unpleasant trek.

During character creation, fill in party details. A few relevant questions for most PCs: Why are you posted here? How long has it been, and how much longer have you got? What's the latest news in camp? When your tour is over—then what? Are there any NPCs here with you?

Opening: One evening, just after sunset, there is a commotion in the woods to the west, followed by a chaotic splashing through the stony brook that borders your camp. In the dim twilight, an enemy stumbles toward the camp, babbling loudly in his foreign tongue. He seems angry, paranoid & raving as he nears the reach of your firelight. He whirls about at times, and lets fly arrows & curses at terrors unseen. Some of his arrows and curses are flying at you, as well as your comrades. The enemy is getting closer. What do you do?

Custom Introductory Moves, by class

Bard, you've listened to the songs they sing and tales they tell about these parts, and you're starting to put some things together. Roll +WIS, and let's see what you've puzzled out...
10+: Pick two bits of folklore. 7-9: Pick one. Miss: Go ahead and pick one—except you found out it was NOT true, painfully. Describe one useful thing you found out instead.
•?Three times around the standing stones, walking backwards, will bring good luck.
•?Smoke from burnt leaves of the graveweed bush will ward off spirits.
•?The commander in the enemy's outpost is laughably dimwitted.
•?A fair-minded dryad lives inside the ancient, towering arbor by the brook.

Cleric, you're starting to make some real connections with these people! Not least because of the impressive works you've accomplished with divine favor on your side. Roll +STR and let's see what good deeds are backing up your good words.
10+: Pick two deeds. 7-9: Pick one. Miss: Pick one just the same, but what it says: you did the opposite. Didn't work; backfired; tried and failed. Not the shining example you'd hoped for, but the trials of the faithful are many, after all.
•?Fought off bandits on the road single-handedly.
•?Called on your god to intercede and save another's life.
•?Built an impressive shrine in honor of your divine patron.
•?Asked for holy guidance in a difficult situation and received the perfect answer.

Druid, you've grown close to these lands. You've grown closer still to the beasts within them. Many is the day and night you've spent in long contemplation of a single animal's every behavior and nuance. Roll +CON and we'll see how well you've paid attention...
10+: Pick two insights. 7-9: Pick one. Miss: Pick one of the animals from the list; you have learned its wisdom, but it and its kin have taken a strong dislike to you.
•?From the squirrel, you know how to spot the places that will hold reserves of wild nuts and berries, or other useful treasures of nature.
•?From the deer, you know in which places the predators stalk their prey and how to avoid them.
•?From the spider, you know what the forgotten mountain tunnels hold and how to get there.
•?From the salmon, you know which pool contains pure waters that can avert the effects of poisons.

Fighter, someone who loves you gave you a gift before you left home for this shit detail. Roll+CHA and tell us how much they love you.
10+: Pick two heirlooms. 7-9: Pick one. Miss: You still pick one—it's busted or gone, though; you already used it to save someone else's life. So much for nostalgia. Anyway, pick a PC you have a Bond with, and in one future situation that makes sense, do this: gain 1 hold to spend Defending them, or +1 going forward to Aid/Interfere with them.
•?A vial of anti-venom.
•?A shield that glows with silver light.
•?A lucky iron coin, mistakenly struck with matching faces.
•?A tarnished old key in the shape of a lizard.

Paladin, it's been a rough-and-ready stretch, hasn't it? The dents in your armor & nicks in your blade say that much. The trophies you bear from the fallen speak a little louder, though. Roll +CON and let's find out what tokens you bear of your foes...
10+: Pick two tokens. 7-9: Pick one. Miss: Pick one, but it's a foul trophy, this one, and it might be throwing off your nose for evil-doers. Casting it aside won't be enough: you need to find a way to purify this thing.
•?A ragged scar that says "don't fuck with me."
•?A reliquary recovered from those who profaned a holy place.
•?A string of coins from far-off lands, all different.
•?A chapbook with curious illustrations, written in a script you can't read.

Ranger, nobody here understands the practicalities of frontier life like you do. Except your animal friend, of course. The two of you have had your work cut out for you: roll +WIS and let's see what you've managed to get done to improve this sorry camp.
10+: Pick two improvements. 7-9: Pick one. Miss: Pick two, but one of them was a shoddy piece of work. That's what happens when you rush to get too much done too quickly. Count on one "improvement" to fail you at the worst possible time.
•?Extra torches all around, to keep the caverns easily traversable and the patrol lines well-lit.
•?A few fresh game kills to help out when these idiots run out of rations.
•?Well-placed, camouflaged hunter's blinds in a couple trees near camp.
•?A detailed map of game trails, forest paths, and places of note in the surrounding wilds.

Thief, you know more than you let on. Below is a list of secret info and resources you might have come across; roll +DEX and let's see what you've managed to find in the shadows.
10+: Pick two secrets. 7-9: Pick one. Miss: You still get to pick one, but everyone knows about it, to your dismay. Tell everyone what you know, and let them tell you how they found out about your little "secret".
•?A hidden cache of goods behind the waterfall.
•?Time spent inside the enemy's camp.
•?The contents of a letter meant for someone else.
•?A crevice in the caves where noxious mushrooms grow.

Wizard, you have observed ominous signs in recent weeks, signs that speak to you of trouble soon to come. Roll +INT to determine which of these ill omens you have interpreted with your vast knowledge...
10+: Pick two signs. 7-9: Pick one. Miss: Pick two and be ready for disappointment—your interpretation of one of the two signs is hopelessly incorrect, but you are unaware. (Don't worry, I'm sure it's close enough.)
•?A green flash of light at sunset, the hallmark of dangerous Black Magic afoot.
•?Water reversing course to flow upstream, signalling usurpation of the natural order.
•?A stillborn animal, indicating promises broken (or soon to be).
•?Peculiar reddish blotches on your skin, foretelling of bloodshed that cannot be avoided but that will grant you a boon.



Any helpful feedback, or tips for running DungeonWorld one-shots in general, would be completely awesome. Thanks!

greentongue

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Re: Looking for advice on Introductory Moves, etc., for a one-shot...
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 12:18:02 PM »
Interesting ideas. Seems that instead of letting the player decide, you are "guiding" their direction.
=

Uzio Parp

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Re: Looking for advice on Introductory Moves, etc., for a one-shot...
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2013, 01:23:49 PM »
All those ideas are great, but some seem (to me) unattached to any event in the next few hours/days. I assume that your preparation takes into account ANY choice the players will make?
That is, the moves should catapult the PCs INTO the initial situation of the adventure, eliminating waste of time. IF YOU THINK these moves will do it, no problem (I know nothing about this part of your prep).
If the Paladin chooses the string of coins, and the Warrior chooses the anti venom, how does this help with the one-shotness you need?
If any of the pieces above seems essential to you, you can always state:
(e.g.) Paladin, you get [this] or [this]; then ROLL + CHA: ... ... ...

Also, but not as important, I'd have the players roll on the Primaris stat, or else Tymmy the Cleric will say "Noo! STR is my dump STAT...Nooo!"

noclue

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Re: Looking for advice on Introductory Moves, etc., for a one-shot...
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2013, 05:56:25 PM »
This is a one shot, right?
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

_nthdegree

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Re: Looking for advice on Introductory Moves, etc., for a one-shot...
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2013, 09:39:15 PM »
This is meant for a one-shot, yes.

This is the section of the book I was taking cues from:

Quote
Introductory Moves (p. 390)
This step is entirely optional, but can be really useful when running through an adventure for a convention group or other group where running through a full “first session” process just isn't possible. You can take variables of the adventure and create “hooks” for that adventure, writing custom moves to be made after character creation but before play starts. These moves will serve to engage the characters in the fiction and give them something special to prepare them or hook them into what’s about to happen. You can write one for each class, or bundle them together, if you like. Here’s an example:

Fighter, someone who loves you gave you a gift before you left for a life of adventure. Roll+CHA and tell us how much they love you. On a 10+ pick two heirlooms, on a 7-9 pick one. On a miss, well, good intentions count for something, right?
• A vial of antivenom
• A shield that glows with silver light
• A rusted old key in the shape of a lizard

These sorts of moves can give the players the sense that their characters are tied to the situation at hand, and open the door for more lines of question-and-answer play that can fill the game world with life. Think about the Fronts, the things they endanger, the riches they might protect and their impact on the world. Let these intro moves flow from that understanding, creating a great kickstart to the adventure.

I can see that some of the options aren't as "hooky" or immediate as they could be; I'll try to jazz those up to be more readily tied to the situation. For some of the curveball options (like the rusted lizard key), I'd make them matter if they were chosen. And as far as non-prime stat goes, I noticed that in the example, so I figured to just use stats that make sense for the concept and make the "hard move" for a miss more interesting.

For what the adventure holds in store: other than the idea that Something Bad went down in the tower across the way that will threaten the PCs, I am thinking I would go into this with little/no other prep apart from a monster or two I might use. The answers & choices from the PCs would be what I use to suggest the particulars (a.k.a., is it hobgoblins in the tower across the border? Dwarves? Sorcerous humans?). From my reading, that's how to do a first session, yes?

noclue

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Re: Looking for advice on Introductory Moves, etc., for a one-shot...
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2013, 12:17:25 AM »
To me, your opening moves look like they're generating a whole bunch of sandbox that's not necessarily linked to the adventure. How do you tie it all in in a one shot?

The section in the book talks about creating moves that tie the characters directly into what's about to happen.
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

greentongue

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Re: Looking for advice on Introductory Moves, etc., for a one-shot...
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2013, 01:44:13 AM »
I think for a One Shot you need them to start in the middle of the action.
"The Harpy Flock is winging its way towards you from the other tower. What do you do?"
"What do you know about Harpies?"
"Why were they at the other tower?"
"Where did you get The Glittering Belt and why do they want it so badly?"
=

_nthdegree

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Re: Looking for advice on Introductory Moves, etc., for a one-shot...
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2013, 01:58:00 AM »
Is the crazed enemy (let's call him a dwarf) stumbling into camp taking wild shots at everybody not enough of a "in media res" beginning? Depending on what they do to/with the dwarf in response, I can think of a few next steps: more crazed dwarves come; a monster arrives in pursuit of its dwarven quarry; the party leaves to investigate the dwarf-controlled watchtower; the party plays it safe and investigates their own camp... it seems action-y enough, but maybe I'm missing something?

On the one hand, I want to leave as many spots as I can blank to be filled in by the players, but I also want some grabby, specific hooks to intrigue them... My impression, especially for how to run a first session, is to create as little as possible of a "plot" in advance. If I want to tie the characters into what's just about to happen, how far should I go in deciding what the things to happen are?

noclue

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Re: Looking for advice on Introductory Moves, etc., for a one-shot...
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2013, 05:53:29 AM »
I think the chapter on creating fronts has some things to say about that.
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