I'm prepping for the second session of my first Dungeon World campaign and so I'm studying the Fronts/Dangers system. The basic concept makes sense as a way to help organize a more over-arching narrative to tie together the localized stories of adventure in each session. That said, I'm a little uncertain of how the Moves related to Dangers work out in practice.

For instance, one of the example moves for an Ambitious Organization Danger is Attack someone by stealthy means (kidnapping, etc.) This feels like somewhat of a Hard Move, so I'm assuming it's the kind of thing you'd do in response to a miss. That said:

  • If I make that Move, does it happen invisibly in the background (to be noticed later) or should it be made at a time where the players can somehow become immediately aware of it? The Think offscreen, too principle suggests to me that it doesn't need to be immediate.

  • Since I can't make two separate Moves in response to a miss, how does flow continue in the 'local' narrative? I still need to describe the results of the miss. Is it just something like "you aim carefully and loose your arrow, but it goes wide of the mark" without other obvious immediate consequences, then pass the spotlight back to a player?

Maybe these are the kinds of Moves that are good to make in response to misses on less active player Moves, like Spout Lore or Discern Realities?


2 Answers 2


You have the right idea. These can happen off-screen, and become part of your prep to exploit later. (So that, e.g., when the party reaches Grandcityton, the watch guard who lets them in the gate might give them friendly advice to be careful at night since there have been some foreigners going missing). Of course they can also happen on-screen if that makes sense for the immediate situation.

What happens locally tends to override making off-screen moves. If using a move that has no immediate effect on the narrative would make it feel unnatural or stall, use a different move instead. Save the Front moves for when an immediate result is inconvenient (it happens: an ogre jumping out of the shadows on a miss on Discern Realities doesn't alway feel like the right move!), so you can say "Hmm, ok, let me make a note," and just move on without immediate miss consequences.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm really digging the Moves mechanic in this system. Makes me feel more like a player in the game. The hard part about it is that there's no-one to keep watch on me and make sure I'm playing by the rules. It's also hard to learn by observing sessions, since the GM Moves are never directly referenced. I feel it starting to come together, though. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan Bryant
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 16:08

Don't forget that you can make moves not only in response to a missed roll, but also when there's a golden opportunity or when players look to you to find out what happens.

I see Danger Moves as falling more into the latter categories (not that they can't happen in response to a failed roll). They're intended to help advance the story, so you should feel free to make them whenever it's narratively appropriate (a golden opportunity) to do so.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE. Please take the tour and visit the help center to get a feel for how the Q&A site works. Happy Gaming. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, Korvin. Stumbled onto DW last year and fell in love. I've been reading a lot of the threads here over the last few months and have found them tremendously helpful. Great format! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 2, 2016 at 16:16

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