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53

When they can't tell me how. Sounds simple, but a wealth of detail is hidden in that simple question. When faced with an implausible action declaration, ask "How?". By asking, you're forcing your players to: Consider whether their action makes sense. Limit themselves to plausibility - if they can't even imagine a way that could work, then they won't be ...


22

Here are the traditional reason I would say no to my players and why I shouldn't in Dungeon World: Because doing so would ruin my plans In my head, this is physically impossible or there's not enough time etc. Because the action would cause sudden PvP combat Here's why I would be wrong to say no for those reasons in Dungeon World 1. Because doing so ...


20

Dungeon World is an odd beast. If looked at through the lens of existing D&D experience, it doesn't look like anything different, and lots of its differences seem stupid. To really appreciate what it does differently you have to spend some time immersing your brain in it. I'm a veteran, but I still keep learning new things about the game—it's like ...


19

I just put the index of moves from the book up online: AW-movesindex.pdf It's not the full text of the moves, and it doesn't include any of the limited edition playbooks, but it's a list, at least. I wouldn't object to having a comprehensive list with the full moves online. Maybe I'll steal a few hours from myself and put one together sometime.


17

One of the potential outcomes of shared stress is intimacy. The sex special serves to indicate a fundamental aspect of character and provide a mechanic for a character's expression of intimacy. Not in any mechanical sense, mind you, but the Sex specials provide one of the clearest possible constructions of how the character views trust and intimacy that ...


17

Absolutely. Apocalypse World (AW) is tonnes of fun to play for a single session, but it was actually designed for long-term play. The full possibilities of the character-development mechanics require several sessions to unfold. There are three common lengths of Apocalypse World games. Single session. These are fun, as already mentioned. This is a good way ...


17

The games are entirely different, the only similarity is in the name. Savage Worlds is a generic high-action game with simple yet deterministic mechanics. Apocalypse World (and other games that use its engine such as Dungeon World, tremulus, etc.) is a narrative game with a focus on GM improvisation.


16

Follow the instructions in the playbooks. Step two (after NAME) is STATS, which tells you "Choose one set:" followed by a list of stat arrays that are unique to each playbook. The playbooks were designed so that all the rules for players are in the playbook and the Moves sheet, and the rulebook is really only necessary for the MC. Playbooks are essentially ...


14

I laid out the Heralds of Hell playbooks using Scribus, which is a cantankerous piece of software but does the trick and is free. (Other layout options are described here at RPG.SE in the question "What free software can I use for laying out my own RPG?".) I did them in the original booklet format, not the new tri-fold, so I can only speak to that form ...


14

Dungeon World is a narrative game, at it's core, that distinguishes itself from D&D in the way it tells stories. The innovations are in the core philosophies and mechanics. Let me address each of your points in turn: Moves as Powers Moves are NOT just powers. Many are closer to D&D's feats. Others have no mechanical effect at all. Some simply tell ...


13

Though @Tynam's answer is excellent, I did want to give an alternative answer. When they ask me, instead of showing me. When we first started playing Dungeon World, I had reservations about my ability not to plan, and one of my players brought up something that I was already doing in the context of Fate that made me feel better about it. Letting the ...


13

Tie your character to the world. As a new player there is very little you need to know—the game is actually designed so that an MC can run the game from a cold start with players who don't know the game at all, and still make it sing. Your MC will guide the group as the game starts, helping you all step through the short character-creation choices and ...


13

History (Hx) is a measure of how well you know someone. Fictionally this might be knowing secrets about them, understanding how they think, knowing their history of violence and being able to predict what they might do, knowing how to work smoothly with them, and/or knowing how to push their buttons or poke their raw emotional wounds and thereby manipulate ...


13

Apocalypse Engine is all about fictional positioning There are many ways that the players, the game mechanics, and the shared fiction of play interact with each other. Different systems and different groups emphasize some over others. Apocalypse World is built to emphasize "fictional positioning," which is when already-established elements of the shared ...


12

My character right now advances every, oh, 2-3 sessions, with an occasional 4- or 5-session lull when I'm hanging back and letting other characters take the spotlight. We play 2-hour sessions, though, so if you're playing 4-hour sessions, advancing every 1-2 sessions is about the same. If you want to slow down - and you might not! - my recommendation is to ...


11

There's a discussion on creating custom moves that represent difficulty, first thing in the Advanced Fuckery chapter (p. 268-9). You've got the basic idea already, and your suggestions map right on to some of the ideas. To summarise the ways you can made a move reflect a difficult task: You can make a general move that lets you change the difficulty with a ...


9

Hit points are more than just a nod to old-school D&D, but yes, that heritage is the only reason they're in the game. The Harm Clock would have worked equally well from a mechanical point of view. It just wouldn't have had the right "feel". For darker fantasy the Harm Clock would be very well-suited. Dungeon World was made to play D&D-style ...


9

Embrace real conflict between the PCs. During the First Session, page 125 Say it with me: there are no status quos in Apocalypse World. What it means instead: it’s your job to create a fractured, tilting landscape of inequalities, incompatible interests, PC-NPC-PC triangles, untenable arrangements. A dynamic opening situation, not a status quo ...


8

I think AW rules questions can all be answered with "Say yes, roll or have a good reason for saying no." (Okay, maybe not all, but..) Roll doesn't really apply to this situation, so is there any reason not to give those XP? As long as it's a one-time thing, and not a rules-abuse, and won't evolve into one, I see no reason why not.


7

Dungeon World and Apocalypse World are all about the "fictional positioning" – the position in which characters and things are, due to what people have said previously. When you say "no" is when someone's PC is simply not in position to do what they say they do. This is an easy "no": Player: I make the demon explode! GM: What? How? You're in ...


7

You're asking from the perspective of the MC, but I think this is a player-facing procedure. When I MC Apocalypse World, I'll tell the players to take note of such things (forward, holds, whatever) sometimes, if it isn't going to be used (and used up) immediately. But once they aren't newbie players, it's totally their job. I, as MC, have enough stuff to ...


7

I would love to just say "yes", but actually it depends on the player and style of play. If you have a player who is good at coming up with details themselves, and you play the game in a very "ask questions" kind of way, and you're good at roleplaying NPCs as self-determined entities, then yes, you can have some awesome games. There are a couple caveats, ...


7

There are events happening in Apocalypse World that the players don't know about (yet), and fronts are how the GM collects these happenings and reasons about them. Fronts' details fall under the GM principles of Think offscreen too and Sometimes, disclaim decision-making. The players don't even need to know that fronts exist mechanically, but they're ...


6

The best places I've found for this are the Story Games forums, the official Apocalypse World forums, and the Apocalypse World G+ group.


6

I played an Operator, "Ebb," in an AW game of about ten sessions with three other players, plus the MC. Here's my advice for the first session from the player side. Don't overthink things. Trust the process and go with the flow. You're not going to know who your character is right away. That's okay. The First Session rules are designed to figure that out. ...


6

I'm the MC that SevenSidedDie was referring to. In our game, we had a Hocus and a Hardholder who were, at times, allies, enemies and mistrustful participants in the advancement of the community they both needed to survive. The way I handled it was with the PC-NPC-PC triangle. I put all the major NPCs in between the two characters. I put the characters ...


6

I feel like many true things have already been covered in the other answers, but I still feel there's something missing on the points you used as examples. I'm gonna focus on those, while upvoting the other good answers. Moves, unified power mechanics There is a unified mechanic for 'doing stuff' called 'moves'. Reading the moves, this sounds like 4e ...


5

SevenSidedDie is absolutely correct, but since the OP also mentioned "how to rationalize a shift from +4 to +1" I thought I'd share a technique which is used by many MCs, and goes further than the simple (but anticlimactic) rationalization of a "new level of understanding": When your Hx with a character goes to +4 and you reset it to +1, have that ...


5

I think History is sort of a confusing term for this stat, because -- as you note -- it can go down, and how do you get less history with someone? What it really means, as per page 103, is how well you know someone. So maybe I met you yesterday, but it was the most important life-changing day you've ever had and I spent the whole thing with you. I could ...


5

Physical tokens. They're great. They're harder to forget than a mere note written on paper. In my group we use the unused polyhedral dice and colored glass stones (like the kind they sell for fishtanks) for Forward and Experience tokens, respectively. It's helpful as an MC to look up and see the actual XP and Forwards sitting right there on the table. ...



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