In our last session Diana, the party's ranger ordered her cougar companion to perform a task on its own (completely related to the companion's trainings).

The first one was completely safe in terms of direct danger (scouting) , but the failure could bring costs later on. (Detecting a presence of a nondirect threat in the area). After short discussion it made sense to us, fiction-wise that the ranger would have to analyze the cat's findings so she would be an essential part of examining the terrain , which triggered the discern realities move. In the meantime the party was in the middle of splitting loot and discussing the battle they took part in recently.

The second situation was much more direct - Diana wanted her companion to attack a person stealthily. The trouble lay with the person being very far away. I couldn't really consider the ranger as part of the process. I was puzzled with what to do - I considered a completely fiction-based resolution which seemed arbitrary - I for one wasn't satisfied with the idea of just telling her that the pet failed or succeeded. We ended with a defy danger trigger for the ranger which left a bit of a sour aftertaste in all our mouths. In the meantime the party moved into the opposite direction, walking towards a location they wanted to visit.

I wonder if there is a better, more Dungeon World way of resolving these situations.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related, pdobably dup rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/114322 \$\endgroup\$
    – enkryptor
    Mar 3, 2018 at 20:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ What was Diana doing in the meantime, that the cougar was acting on its own? This is important to be able to give an appropriate answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Glazius
    Mar 3, 2018 at 21:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not positive that the other question is a direct duplicate, but I do feel like the answers will answer this question as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – Ifusaso
    Mar 4, 2018 at 2:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't see the duplicate either. That one is about attacking independently right nearby. This is about sending them away on a mission. Context matters too much in DW for those similar things to be the same problem. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 5, 2018 at 0:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Glazius fair enough , I will add this info to the post \$\endgroup\$
    – Lause
    Mar 5, 2018 at 12:44

2 Answers 2


I think that completely fiction based resolution is the best one here, however I disagree that this is the same as

... just telling her that the pet failed or succeeded.

Just telling her that the companion failed or succeeded is a bad idea and is boring. You are correct there. However describing what happens or how the situation evolves from what the characters set out to do can be interesting.

The ranger is giving their companion orders here. This is something that doesn't trigger a move. I obviously can't tell you exactly what is going on at your table but since no move has been triggered this would seem like a scenario when everyone looks to you to find out what happens, i.e. the perfect time to make a GM move. Using a GM move here allows you do propel the story forwards and make this into an interesting scenario. You could have the cougar encounter some danger either on the way to the foe or at the hands of the foe, requiring the ranger to go help their companion. You could have the cougar arrive only to discover that there are more foes than anticipated. The cougar could attack the enemy but flee back to the ranger leading the foe to the party.

There is a lot you can do that is interesting here, I've barely scratched the surface here. I would try to make sure that whatever move you use it should work to bring the ranger back together with their companion. Things only get more problematic the longer the two are separated.


A companion is trained to act with the Ranger, not instead of the Ranger.

There are, of course, moments of high drama or great peril where it may become necessary; you can check out my answer at the linked question for how to cobble together a thing to roll in that case.

But that's that case. What do you do in this case?

Tell them the requirements or consequences and then ask. "Rockjaw's trained to help scout - that means drawing attention to things that humans would find significant. You'll have to go with to really get the lay of the land." "Rockjaw's trained to fight humanoids with you. You'll have to get in bow range and at least signal the right timing - may as well call it Volley."

It may be that they're worried about being separated from the party, but they probably shouldn't be. Dungeon World isn't the kind of game where other people are encouraged to cover their ears and go "la la la" when someone is doing something the party "shouldn't know about". You've worked with each other, you've got bonds that say it, so you have to have signals. And if it takes more than, like, one Defy Danger to just break and run if the worst happens, that's probably something you should warn them about ahead of time.


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