Author Topic: Aid system - especially in regards to Discern Realities and Spout Lore  (Read 4416 times)

Gediablo

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Aid?:
I have a hard time getting the Aid system to work fluently in my group. Especially in regards to Spout Lore and Discern Realities. For the more physical moves it usually seems more intuitive who is the main actor and who aids.

Example: Group enter room , room appears empty except for 3 doors and a statue of an epic looking warrior. Everyone in the group wants to look for traps (magic and/or physical traps) and/or try to figure out more about who the statue is supposed to look like - possibly someone wants to be and guard/scout duty at the same time figuring out how if someone can be heard behind the doors.

  • Lets say I tell everyone to roll Dicern Realities. Sure I can come up with multiple moves to account for all the failures, but basically their chances of figuring out every secret in the room is generally too good for my taste.
  • Lets say the statue actually has a magical trap - so I decide to tell the Wizard to roll Dicern Realities and he fails - now the party still have a good idea that there is magic involved here - why would I otherwise have asked the Wizard to roll and not the Thief?
  • What I try to do at the moment is just assigning 1 person to do the roll and all who want to make assist rolls. Since each assist roll failing also can trigger failures the players are more careful here, which is good.  But who gets to do the roll and who gets to assist? The players decide or DM decides? Aways highest stat rolls? First come, first served is what I have tried to go for, but it does leads to the more silent players idling more, and the most outspoken players to powerlevel faster.
  • Character stats not a factor in assisting. Let's take an example with a group of 4 players: WIS is +2, +2, +1 and -1. Assuming equal amounts of bonds the +2 WIS player assisting would be as good assisting as the -1 WIS player. Same for other tasks involving other stats. That seems very weird unintuitive to me, and the assisting +2 WIS player can easily feel like his stat priority in WIS are wasted in this case.

Aiding Failures: What happens if someone fails an Aid move? I have been playing it like any other move failing, but that does lower the amount of Aids a lot. I generally like this, but it can lead to players sometime acts less than their character would otherwise have done. Also, the effect on failed Aid is often quite easy to just turn the +1 Aid to -2 Interfere instead, but that is more on me than a general thing I guess.

Main Move Failures: A second issue is that the players always know if someone in the group potentially missed something. In other systems I have GM-rolled all the players "perception rolls", so that when I tell them "You find nothing suspicious" the players don't have more information than their character. What players do when they know they failed such a roll is very individual - some roleplay it well treating the roll as a success. Others metagame it and suddenly becomes more careful. And yet someone goes to the other extreme and become more reckless. However, GM-rolling here goes against the Dungeon World rules, and also isn't as fun for the players. I was considering each player doing the roll, but only showing it to the GM and the player himself (easily doable as we use Roll20). Still 1 person who can potentially meta-game it, but better than the entire group, right?

Munin

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Re: Aid system - especially in regards to Discern Realities and Spout Lore
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2014, 12:07:56 AM »
Two things: first, it's always good policy to ask the players. So when they enter a room, ask one of your shy-retiring wall-flower characters "what do you do?" And if they say, I think I look around carefully and try to figure out X, then ask the others, "does one of you want to help?"

Second, split the task. If someone says, "I examine the room," it's OK to ask, "great, but what is it you're looking for?" Make them actually say "traps" or "secret doors" or "blood trail" or "goblin tracks" or whatever. And before the first player rolls, ask one of the others - "while Gragnor is searching for traps, what are you doing?"

In this way you know what everybody's doing, they're splitting the task, and everyone gets to participate. And if the guy looking for secret doors succeeds and the guy looking for traps fails, well, that tells you something about what happens next.

As for failures on an Aid roll, it's like any other miss in that the GM gets to make as hard and direct a move as he or she likes. So if the guy looking for secret doors succeeds and the guy helping him fails, the secret door opens - and crushes the foot of the guy who was helping. Or it's one of those kinds of secret doors that revolves a wall and in doing so separates the aiding character from the rest of the party. Or whatever.

Dungeon World is a little bit different from AW in that Discern Realities actually is essentially a "perception" roll (something that AW doesn't have), but I think it's probably OK if you keep your moves in mind and are creative about how you narrate both success and failure conditions. I think that will curb the metagaming aspect and keep things interesting for your players.

Borogove

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Re: Aid system - especially in regards to Discern Realities and Spout Lore
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2014, 05:42:45 PM »
Quote
Everyone in the group wants to look for traps (magic and/or physical traps) and/or try to figure out more about who the statue is supposed to look like - possibly someone wants to be and guard/scout duty at the same time figuring out how if someone can be heard behind the doors.

That sounds like they're trying to have everyone do everything at once, which, nah. Question the players carefully and see what they're actually doing.

"Brother Gotha, are you looking for traps or are you studying the statue's face and robes?" "Ummm, I'll stay close to the doorway and study the statue." Okay, Cleric's going to Spout Lore.

"Tinyfeets, how about you?" "I'm carefully moving around the room looking for death traps!" Okay, Thief's using Trap Expert.

"Zalbar, what about you?" "I'm going to look for traps too!" "Okay, are you tagging along with Tinyfeets looking for mechanical traps?" "Ummm... no, actually, I'm going to cast Detect Magic." Wizard's Casting a Spell. If he had said he was tagging along, that'd be an Aid roll instead.

"And Jorg?" "I'll follow Tinyfeets around the room at a safe distance, but listen at each door as I come to it." Fighter's doing Discern Realities.

So, actually, once you held their feet to the fire and asked what they were actually doing, it turns out that they're all making different moves, not stacking up on Discern Realities.

Now, going to your particular questions:
1) "Their chances of figuring out every secret in the room is generally too good for my taste" -- why are you hoarding secrets? What good is a secret that the GM knows and the players don't figure out? But, no matter; each player is making a different move, so they aren't likely to find everything.

2) You don't tell them what to roll until they've told you what they're doing, period. The Wizard decided to cast Detect Magic, so if it fails, he still doesn't know if there's a magical trap.

3) Use first come first served in general, but keep an eye on who's getting screen time and who's racking up XP, and turn to the wallflowers every once in a while and say "what do you do?"

4) The definition of the Aid move is that it uses Bond. The assistance is applied to the character making the main roll, it's not applied to the situation. Aiding a Spout Lore: the Cleric rolling 6 says "I know this statue looks familiar somehow"; the assistant says "oh, was there maybe an illustration in a tome in the monastery you were talking about the other day?" The assistant doesn't have the information about the statue, he has the information about the Cleric. If someone has a high WIS and a low bond, they can always do their own Discern Realities rather than assist.





zmook

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Re: Aid system - especially in regards to Discern Realities and Spout Lore
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 02:08:18 PM »
Lets say I tell everyone to roll Dicern Realities.

I think this is the heart of your problem.  As GM in Dungeon World I think you should hardly ever tell anyone, never mind "everyone", to roll Discern Realities.  It's really not a perception check like D&D.  If it's truly an ambush situation, *maybe*, but in a search-the-room situation like this, I definitely wouldn't.  You pick one player at a time, and say "What do you do?" -- either the one who's most keen to act, or the one who's gone longest without some speaking time.  Then if they want to search, they roll Discern, and you resolve the consequence before going to the next character.

But, you might say, what if they don't check for traps, and blunder into the room, and wham, there's a trap?  Well, if you're a kind DM, before they go in, you give some kind of hint of danger (bloodstains, skeleton, weird smell, whatever -- Show Signs of Impending Doom).  Then if the ignore your soft move, they've given you the golden opportunity for a hard move.  Or else, if you play this way, you could be within your rights to say, dude, you're in a dungeon, and it's a creepy statue room, and you didn't check for traps?  And go straight to the hard move.

But, you might say, what if there's a cool secret door or something and they walk past it and no one says "I search the hallway" and then my whole cool Fish Room subplot gets missed?  Well, one answer is, what of it?  Maybe you can re-use it later.  Another answer is, why are you hoarding your cool secrets?  If there's a clue someone could reasonably notice just walking casually by, just tell them, "hey, there's a cool, moist draft here, you can't tell quite where it's coming from."

But, you might say, what if it's genuinely an ambush situation, and we need to see if the party is truly surprised?  What I would do is pick one character with the best chance of noticing -- maybe the Ranger is explicitly scouting ahead, or maybe the Cleric is just the most perceptive -- and give her a chance to roll.  Success, and hey, you've noticed the goblins just in time, fail, and it's arrow to the knee time.  Roll damage.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2014, 02:17:28 PM by zmook »

noclue

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Re: Aid system - especially in regards to Discern Realities and Spout Lore
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2014, 01:07:58 AM »
Lets say I tell everyone to roll Dicern Realities.

I think this is the heart of your problem. 
Yup. It's a conversation. How often in conversation do you just ask everyone to say something? It's pretty rare. Usually you turn to someone and address them directly.
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

noclue

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Re: Aid system - especially in regards to Discern Realities and Spout Lore
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2014, 01:30:10 AM »
Okay, so let's get concrete!

Example: Group enter room , room appears empty except for 3 doors and a statue of an epic looking warrior. Everyone in the group wants to look for traps (magic and/or physical traps) and/or try to figure out more about who the statue is supposed to look like - possibly someone wants to be and guard/scout duty at the same time figuring out how if someone can be heard behind the doors.
Bedlam. That way lies madness. Describe the room and then ask one of the characters what he's doing:

"Baldo, you see the room is dominated by a large alabaster statue, inlaid with gold filigree and with what looks to be emeralds for eyes. What are you doing?"

Quote
Lets say the statue actually has a magical trap - so I decide to tell the Wizard to roll Dicern Realities and he fails - now the party still have a good idea that there is magic involved here - why would I otherwise have asked the Wizard to roll and not the Thief?
Ummm, no. You ask characters what they are doing and they respond and then you decide what, if any, move their actions have triggered. You don't just decide to have the wizard make a roll because the trap happens to be magical.

Quote
What I try to do at the moment is just assigning 1 person to do the roll and all who want to make assist rolls. Since each assist roll failing also can trigger failures the players are more careful here, which is good.  But who gets to do the roll and who gets to assist? The players decide or DM decides?
As hope is apparent above, it depends on how they react to your descriptions and moves. To make things sharper, try offering them opportunities with or without cost, revealing unwelcome truths or showing signs of imminent threats. Ultimately if someone checks out the statue and someone else says I want to do that too, let them roll aid.

Quote
Aways highest stat rolls? First come, first served is what I have tried to go for, but it does leads to the more silent players idling more, and the most outspoken players to powerlevel faster.
It's really your job to conduct traffic in order to avoid players struggling for spotlight.

Quote
Character stats not a factor in assisting. Let's take an example with a group of 4 players: WIS is +2, +2, +1 and -1. Assuming equal amounts of bonds the +2 WIS player assisting would be as good assisting as the -1 WIS player. Same for other tasks involving other stats. That seems very weird unintuitive to me, and the assisting +2 WIS player can easily feel like his stat priority in WIS are wasted in this case.
If a player says they're examining the room, it's discern realities regardless of what their WIS is. Maybe they'll get lucky, or maybe they'll get XP.

Quote
Aiding Failures: What happens if someone fails an Aid move? I have been playing it like any other move failing, but that does lower the amount of Aids a lot.
You're right to do so and lowering the amount of aids isn't a bad thing.

Main Move Failures I was considering each player doing the roll, but only showing it to the GM and the player himself (easily doable as we use Roll20). Still 1 person who can potentially meta-game it, but better than the entire group, right?
[/quote]
No. This is a solution in search of a problem. I'd recommend not changing anything. If they roll discern realities and get a miss, hit them with one of your signature GM moves. That's the time when you get to shine. Whip out a Separate Them, or a Show them the Downside of their Class, or Put them in a Spot. These are all better than "you find nothing of interest." Which move is 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