Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pre-Game Impressions of Dungeon World Beta 2

So I don't get to game for another week, so I'm thinking that I take a close look and see what I think about the new DW Beta 2 rules, going in cold. I'm just going to start reading the book and annotate here as I'm going. Not everything will be super-relevant probably. Oh, and to be clear, I'm coming off of the Basic rules, not Beta 1 (if there was a such a thing).
I WILL be pointing out any typos I notice. I'm not trying to nitpick - I just think it's at a stage where you can fix it if you know it's there. Not trying to be a grammar nazi nuisance.
EDIT1: Well, this is taking quite a while, I've worked on this for a couple of weeks now. Still no game!
EDIT2: Well, I finish up, and you guys go and release 2.1 before I can post this up to my blog! Most commentary is still applicable, but if you see something that's fixed, at the very bottom and went through the 2.1 changelist, so I may have made more comments about it there.
Still no game happening! Next week, I really hope! Otherwise I might end up playing something else with a different configuration of our group while looking for the next opportunity for us all to game.

* Moves being indivisible is hard, though wonderful. Question about Passive Moves: Do passive moves simply become the default, or are they always to occur regardless of circumstance? I'll take the example of the Thief's Cautious. If left alone, I assume the Thief is being cautious and gets the bonus. But if the player actively narrates that his player is NOT being cautious (for whatever purpose) do I deny the bonus for that? It seems like it would make more sense when following the fiction, but it feels like denying the bonus would be in bad taste. If the second path, would that be the same as the phrasing, "When you are cautious when making the Trap Expert move, you get..."? Essentially, I'm asking if players can forgo their own passive moves if they want. Can a Fighter with Merciless do a less-damaging merciful attack if narrated that way?

This isn't always an issue (for example, the Fighter's Armored), and while in play I'd just make a quick judgment it'd be neat to have a real answer.

* Weak hits are hard, but to me they seem to be one of the best strengths of the AW family. I love 'em, but I hate making up the results for Defy Danger, so hard but so interesting!

* Hold: I was using the plain layout of the Basic playbooks before and think it needed a spot for the holds. Looking at the new ones, I know the layout isn't final, but I'd love a spot for them. on all of them there's space under the Bonds, maybe take half of that blank space and leave it for Hold?

* Bonds: Same thing, would have liked a spot for Total Bonds: ___________: +__ stuff. It works okay in the first session as is since you can count the names in your bonds, but that changes after each session so having a spot to write it would be nice.

* Would be cool to have a name for each debility, if you can. Weak, Crippled, Broken, Dazed, Addled, Disfigured, maybe. I liked having names for each in AW (though why were there only 4, you couldn't take -1 Weird. Strange. Should there be an equivalent in DW? If there would be, it would be Int since Spout Lore and Open Your Brain seem most similar to me. No fiction reason why you couldn't deplete Int other than that I can't think of a great debility name, but perhaps it was a balance factor? Oh well. Something to think about). I like that debilities are back though.
EDIT: Apparently the names are there, just not until way later! How did I do? Well, I matched you on Weak, but had something else for each other one. And I'm not thrilled with Stunned for INT either, guess it really is a tough one for me to pick! Well, my thoughts about a DW equivalent of no -1 Weird are still relevant.

* The new level up value is way better for me, as is the new XP mechanic. However, the text says there are two times when you mark XP, but I think it should say three since you also have the alignment way. Nitpicky language stuff, but I think it's significant enough to mention.

* Chargen process appears unchanged. Fine by me, I really enjoyed the process!

* The basic moves. Okay, I know earlier it said that all moves do the same on a miss - the GM does something dangerous to the characters or just makes a move. But I'd love some advice, especially on the percieving ones (Spout Lore and Discern Realities). That's something I liked about the Psychic Maelstrom, it was pretty close to the Spout Lore move except that it could ask questions back (it's harder for me to justify that via Spout Lore). Maybe that's an advice thing I'll just pick up or something I should just ask on Story-Games or something, but hey, this is just my first impressions.
EDIT: Oh wait, you DO talk about this later on! Problem solved!

* Defy Danger 7-9 is hard, but I think that exactly that is what makes the Apoclaypse World family so special. The new Defy Danger adaptability, making it functional through any ability score, is very interesting, but I think a bit of that was diminished with the new XP system. Since now everyone is just going to use the variation for their highest stat (if narratively possible), not try out different kinds like we could with the moving highlighted stats(Int one session, Dex the next, Cha the next etc). I suppose I should just try to present situations that they can't ALWAUS

* Can you stand in defense of a person who is yourself? As an equivalent of D&D's Total Defense action? I can justify it, I just don't know if it's technically correct.
EDIT: Clarified! Thanks, I like it.

* So, where did "Make a Saving Throw" go? Just didn't feel that it was necessary? I actually agree. It felt a lot like the Harm move, except that since it only came from higher-level enemies (in which case they're already dealing a lot of hurt) or from stuff like poison (which made sense, but didn't really seem all that needed).

* Also, we had a hard time justifying Aiding on Spout Lore and Discern Realities. A bit of advice on possible ways to do that would be really nice, though it's hardly necessary for the text to be complete.

* Huh, pulled out the Player half of Parley, huh? That's cool, I doubt we'd have used it. Player interaction is probably best handled through actual talking/negotiating or through the Aid/Interfere rule, so I feel like you've got the bases covered.

* Mmmm Last Breath. When I told Kris the rules of this one I got an immediate, "Ohhh man! That's so cool! Now I almost WANT a 7-9!" which is absolutely and completely the response I wanted to hear. This is an exceptional move, I must say.

* On the other hand, *I* am actually very, very happy with the elegance of the Encumbrance move. I'll say it: I hate carrying capacity. Video games, D&D, whatever it is, inventory management bugs the hell out of me, and encumbrance is the pinnacle of that. The pure simplicity of item weights and this move really appeals to me.

* I preferred the one-move Make Camp a bit more. My group's never been the sort to set up watches manually, we just kinda assumed our characters took watch. Might just try porting that one over if the rest of the group doesn't take to the new one as well.

* Steading Moves, huh? If I was playing I personally don't spend too much time doing stuff like this, but I don't see anythign wrong with them. Maybe my player's will use 'em.

* Bards! I've never played one, never played with one, never ran a game with one, honestly have no interest in playing one. But there's always those little beautiful pieces inside of otherise uninteresting classes. As usual, the intro text is wonderful. All of them always are. The racial moves are nice, though they don't pique my intrigue like some might. Same with the moves, though A Port In The Storm is very fun for world-building.
* Hey, here's something. I was looking back at th AW hack, and saw the Bard's old alignment moves. For good? "When you perform a deed that will be remembered in song, mark XP." That is beautiful and so bard-like to me. It doesn't matter if you succeed or fail - all you need to do is always be spectacular. Performing your art to aid another is easier to pull of, and maybe a bit more "good," but I just love the flair of the old one.
* For the advanced moves, the 2-5 ones are okay, but a lot of +1 forwards. It Goes To Eleven is sweet. For the 6-10 ones, Reputation is very cool, Unforgettable Face is very nice if you declare you've met someone before who HASN'T been in the game before, goes great with A Port In The Storm.

* Clerics, unlike Bards, I've played, played with, run for, and enjoy very easily. Oh, this applies to a lot of later ones: we were slightly confused as to what a knobby body looks like. Or at least what a knobby dwarf looks like. More cleric-specific, we had to google tonsure, though once we saw it we recognized it. This doesn't really matter though, I guess.
* I like the racial moves, though they don't wow me out of my seat. The deity is pretty cool. Like I said in the Session 1 post, Kris picked two domains actually - he'd seen the "two" for precepts and just swapped it up by accident. However, we liked the idea of mixing two and figuring out how that works. It would have been hard to reconcile Healing And Restoration with Bloody Conquest, but Bloody Conquest and Civilization were perfect! Kris is accidentally worshipping a devil tyrant, and thinks he is trying to take over the lands of those godless barbarians and bring to them the light of society. Suffice to say, the deity checklist there was really easy to riff off of and come up with cool stuff with. I'm... eh on the Turn Undead. There's nothing wrong with it, but just keeping them at bay isn't very intriguing in my own mind. Meh. Maybe play will change my mind. When we fought the ghost (the only undead so far) Grizwald just shot it with Inflict. I have something to ask about that actually but I'll mention it again in a minute.
* I love the DW spell system. Having to select "forget the spell" as a 7-9 result is a brilliant way to disable the 15 minute workday while still keeping a lot of Vancian flair. I'm mentally empty on how to narrate the distancing yourself from our deity, but I'm sure my players can give me something.
* Oh, I like the new alignment moves for the cleric, especially the Good one, it is VERY Good. Oh, didn't mention it before but I really like the selecting of the Gear in this fashion, it's customizable but not as long and drawn out as the full buy process.
* For 2-5 moves, I'm generally just okay with them, but I like the narrative power of Divine Intervention and the mechanical power of Empower. Also, Divine Protection is nice mechanically. From the 6-10 moves, I wish there were more new ones (ones that aren't evoltuions of previous ones), thouh none of them is particularly bad.
* Spells, huh? Cool. Okay, looking through... hey, shouldn't Bless have the ongoing tag? My personal favorites are the Death ones. Okay, here's my question: Is there a standard ruling over undead and cure/inflict? Typical D&D reverses them - heal undead with inflict and hurt with cure, because of the nature of the spells being positive/negative energy. Is Cure Light Wounds a positive energy piece, or is the name just a description of the effect (ie cure always cures, and we can just say when he casts inflict on an undead he's throwing positive energy)? The question came up in our game when Grizwald tried casting Inflict on the Vault ghost. We found it didn't matter in the end since he'd prepared both Cure AND Inflict, but I'm very curious about this in case he DOESN'T prepare both in the future. I preferred the latter - inflict is about inflicting harm, not negative energy, plus the former (the D&D usual) feels like "Gotcha! You just spent your move and healed me instead!" Cool once in a while, but I still don't like it.
* I don't think it's a full spell list yet, but I feel that one thing that's missing is a Divine Communion type. At one point, Kris and Grizwald wanted to contact his deity Bale to ask something (about ghosts, actually). We could have done it with Spout Lore, but I loved the idea of contacting Bale, so I tried to figure out how to make that happen. We could've just reflavored Spout Lore, but it didn't feel right. Our eventual solution was for him to have Contact Spirit as his wizard spell (since he's human) and just have the spirit be his diety, but for the dwarf clerics they'd be at a loss. I know there's Commune, but it takes too long. Contact Spirit also happens to be one of my favorite spells - if I needed to, I'd just make Contact Spirit into Contact Deity and give it to clerics right off.

* The fighter is interesting. Dan really like the dwarf racial move, and the very first roll he did was with it. Here's an issue I've got: Bend Bars, Lift Gates can't actually do either of those things. I know the reference, and it entertains me, but none of my players knew old-school D&D enough to get it. Even one more option on the list unrelated to breaking stuff would make the move work just fine for it, but as it is on a 10+ they'd need to pick "Can fix with little effort" or "Nothing of value is damaged," which don't apply to bending bars or lifitng gates. Might try rewriting that one myself to put that in so that my players don't get confused, though a lot of groups won't find that necessary since a great number of them know old-school well enough to remember that it's a reference.
* Also, Signature Weapon was hugely useful in building a very sweet axe for Dim, and that axe was what got us to see a lot of his backstory. I noticed this as a theme - the checklist type basic moves where you make choices were extremely helpful in springboarding our characters' concepts and making them unique. When we got to Kenny and Shank the Thief, we had a bit more of an issue making him special as a thief or even finding who he was without one of these checklist moves. I'd love something like this for everyone if possible, though it certainly isn't necessary. About Signature Weapon though: How many-handed is it? Why would you ever pick 2-handed other than flavor since then you could have a shield as well with no sacrifice? Dan decided Dim's axe (Hrothgar is its name, by the way) would be a battle-axe instead of an axe, as per the distinction on the equipment sheet, so he got +1 damage for it. On the theory side, why would anyone take Hooks and Spikes unless they're already also taking Serrated Edges? They're the same, but H&S adds weight as well. Is that just to balance people from just loading up on damage?
* For the Neutral move, does the fighter need to defeat a worthy opponent in solo combat, deal the final blow himself, or just be a significant member of the fight? Or could be any of those, and the value of "worthiness" just slides around depending on how he does it?
Also, as far the Evil move, Dan was asking about whether he could technically farm for XP with that by just massacreing a town. Could he? I ruled that since it said "enemy" the victim had to be an opponent, not just a bystander. I couldn't make this distinction for the Thief - it just said victim in Basic. I glanced ahead though and it seems to have been fixed already though, so great!
* We all giggled over "_______ is soft, but I will make them hard like me." Dan filled Grizwald's name in, and there was ALREADY joking about Dim being gay for him before the bonds. It just fell apart when we got there.
* As for the advanced moves, Dim took Merciless, leading to my question up top about the indivisibility of moves when the fiction doesn't match the character's moves (intentionally not being merciless, does he still get damage?). Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of Merciless since it's just a damage bonus (but if he narrates it as exceptionally merciless, I don't mind), but some of these are nice. Interrogator makes a lot of sense (though it makes Cha even MORE useless in my eyes), Blacksmith is really helpful, and Heirloom is AMAZING. I hope beyond hope that Dan takes that for Hrothgar, he's already established this is an ancestral family weapon and I really want to play with that! Oh man, Dim actually KILLED his father with their own family axe, I could put his DAD in there!
In the 6-10s, the Visions of Death reskin is excellent, and Evil Eye is way more interesting than its predecessor Seeing Red. Actually, by the concepts of Evil Eye and Through Death's Eyes, Seeing Red makes more sense as a prerequisite for the latter rather than the former.
* So, I was thinking: Barbarian. Dan loves to play the barbarian type, and I was sad that I didn't see one. I've heard that it's hard to make it work, but hey, I think the Fighter with either Armored or Signature Weapon replaced with a Rage move would be great, and the Elf racial move swapped for a Half-Orc one. I know the rage move is something that's been an issue to figure out (if I recall, you mentioned an issue with potentially having the player lose control of the character's actions for a moment for going berserk, and I see how that would suck, but I'm thinking I'll try to put something together myself later for Dan since he loves Barbarians so much).

* I'll admit this right off the bat. I do NOT like the Basic version of the Paladin. It just didn't jive with me at all. But hey, this looks different so open mind!
* Only human? Damn. One more would be nice, though I'm not sure if there's one that is particularly excellent (maybe Dwarf) but I'd still like one more I think.
* Lay on Hands? Cool, lets him take the healer role. Also, removing the limited number of uses from D&D is very nice. Armored? Makes sense, though shared class moves make them less special feeling (though in this case it makes enough sense and is a generic enough move for me not to care at all). I Am The Law? Quest? HELL YES. Intense awesome. Quest looks like one of the best checklist moves I've seen here both mechanically and flavor-wise. I Am The Law is lots of cool, though just +1 forward is a bit boring, though mathematically helpful. Also, both alignment moves are great, as is the idea of just having Lawful and Good (though I do happen to like alternate-alignment paladins, but that's an EASY house rule).
* I'd never pick a halberd flavorwise, but that's me. I'm the longsword/Holy Avenger type. Also, those bonds are golden. That "completely" about the trust is awesome, and I DESPERATELY want a paladin to pick a Thief who is using Flexible Morals to lie away his Evil alignment. THAT would be shenanigans. The exact kind that I can't pick on my own though, so that idea goes into the back of my mind.
* OW Bloody Aegis is nasty! I'd pick Exterminatus pretty fast, I like the D&D4e Avenger's Oath of Enmity a lot. Holy Protection seems really strong for a dude who starts with 2 armor and ignores Clumsy. Also, Hospitaler looks great. As does Divine Favor, I'd love a bit of spellcasting. For the 6-10s, Evidence of Faith is very flavorful though it could be of limited use. Impervious Defender is nice, and Perfect Knight is incredible seeming.
* Overall? You've taken the Paladin from the Basic version that I distinctly dislike to the Beta version that I think might be my favorite class I've seen yet. Fantastic job on this one, guys. Also, no Code of Conduct is SO NICE. One of my big complaints about the Basic was that it penalized you for going counter to the alignment when it's much more positive and fun to give benefit for acting WITH the alignment (as the XP thing does). The Code was just fun-sucking.

* Three more, right? Okay, Ranger time. Confession: I've never really "gotten" the ranger. I get Archers, I get Two-Weapon Fighters, but I never saw what really made the Ranger special enough to warrant its own class. However, I'm actually in the process of rewatching Lord of the Rings now, and I'm finding something more appealing about Aragorn this time through, so I'm thinking it'll be alright. And of course I've always liked Legolas, and I guess he's a Ranger too.
* So wait, Humans don't consume rations in a dungeon or a city? I would have said when you're in the wilderness, isn't that the Ranger's best place? He knows the environment, he knows what's safe to eat and where to find good food or water. In the city he wouldn't be at an advantage more than anyone else, and the dungeon is the sort of place he wouldn't know as well I would think. Oh well. Reasoning?
* Called Shot? Sweet. Do they need to be surprised by your presence or surprised that there's enemies. Like, could your buddies be in battle with the orcs and a shot comes out of nowhere and hits an orc's arms. Was it a called shot (he took time to aim and the enemy didn't know HE was there) or not (he was on his guard since he's fighting, and the chaos of battle makes aiming too hard)? I'd personally say it was, but I'm not sure.
* Can Hunt And Track be paired with Perilous Journey? Like, tracking through difficult terrain? If so, which first? My own answer would be "If you entered dangerous territory and then started tracking, Perilous Journey first. If you started tracking and it brought you into and through dangerous territory, Hunt & Track first."
* I like Animal Companion! Is that list all-inclusive or just suggestions? Also, if you pick mule can you use it tow your stuff? Otherwise I really like it. Do those strengths it takes actually have any statistical bonuses? Like, if you took Keen Senses, "If your Animal Companion works with you to discern realities, you gain an additional +1 bonus" or something? Or is it just narration fuel? Command is good.
* Alignment moves are good (especially the chaotic one). Oh minor issue with the gear: If you take Adventuring gear and Bundle of Arrows, you're automatically over your Load, even if you put the 17 in Str (1+1+2+1+1+2+1=9). And even if you don't take that, you HAVE to put your 17 in Str or you'll still be overloaded. Honestly, those arrows looks way too heavy. I mean, I have no idea how much arrows actually weigh, but it's a LOT of their room. You could have a friend carry some of it, sure, but that shouldn't be required. Looking back, the Fighter has an issue if he picks Scale armor, but it's worse with the Ranger because you have no choice but to put your 17 in Str or be overloaded.
* Haha, the half-elven thing is pretty cool. With Wild Empathy, by "understand" can you simply accurately interpret its motions or is do you actually understand its communications (moo moo mooooo means the treasure is underground)? I like either, so I'm just curious about the official line. Man's Best Friend: I think the apostraphe after "Friend" is a typo. Camouflage is sweet, and Dual Wield is great. Oh, typo! You have Dual Wield twice, as both the 2-5 and the 6-10. It seems you means Dual Strike for the 2-5. Wild Speech is awesome, I'd take that really quickly. Actually, Unnatural Ally is great too, though what happens to the companion you've had up to this point point for at least the first 5 levels? Does it just go into retirement, or is this up to the individual player what happens. Mostly I want to know: does it leave active play and get replaced, or is this more an addition?

* I like those Thief names! Kenny's Thief Shank is actually human, not halfing, and I keep tripping up over that. I still don't like Backstab being keyed to Str very much. I get the idea behind it being Str, but I still think I'm going to mod that to Dex myself. It's less important now that XP has changed (We highlighted Shank's Dex since that's the rogue primary, and he did sneaky backstabbing a lot, so he didn't get nearly as much XP as Dim or Grizwald who were casting or swinging constantly), but I'm still considering it.
* Flexible Morals is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
* So Applied poisons can't be used on a weapon? Damn. At least there's mroe touch poisons now. Also, the generation of your specialty poison for free is extremely nice.
* The alignment ones are nice. I'm a bit weird about the neutral one though - Shank really wanted to infiltrate, but at least in the first few rooms of the Hall Under The Hill I didn't see a good place where he actually deserved XP for having not been seen. But I think that's the adventure so far, I need to give him something to work with.
* I liked the "shiv" option on the old equipment sheet, but I guess that's just a dagger reskin.
* Underdog is interesting, Connections is great, and Shoot First is awesome. Alchemist is wonderful, as is Strong Arm, True Aim. Escape Route, Disguise, and Heist are all very interesting, and they're standalone so that's cool. Overall there isn't an advanced move for the Thief that leaps out as incredibly amazing to me, but there's a bunch of options that are pretty good quality.

* Hello Wizard! I've always liked Wizards.My first character was a wizard, and they've always had a flavor that really appealed to me. I like the look options. The Elf starting move is very nice - it allows for an otherwise Healerless group to have a bit of support in that regard. I've already talked about what I like about the spell system. Spell Defense is okay, though without actual Ongoing tags it's more of an iffy proposition, though it isn't THAT hard. The Ritual move, on the other hand, is amazing. And Elf Wizard with Cure Light Wounds would be a ridiculously easy way to generate XP off the Good move.
* Why does the Wizard have less Bonds? I get why the Bard is more bonded than anyone else, but I don't know why the Wizard would have fewer connections with his team. I know we can write our own, but of we don't it disadvantages the Wizard initially. That said, I like the first and third bonds a lot. I wish our group had a Wizard so he could pick Grizwald for "woefully misinformed," what with him mistakenly worshipping a devil and all.
* Empowered Magic is STILL very great. Eldritch Touch is the makings of CSI: Dungeon World. Arcane Ward looks really strong. Counterspell is great. Ethereal Tether is awesome, I really like this one! Mystical Puppet Strings and Self-Powered too, though I wish there was a bit of guidance over what "your own place of power" actually does for you, or a comment that its mechanical significance is up to the group. Also, typo near the end of Self-Powered (should be "interest," not "interested").
* Spells: Contact Spirits is really, really, REALLY cool. I love it a lot. Visions Through Time is nice, and Mimic is fun. Okay, with Cage, do they hear ALL of your thoughts or just the ones you want? I'd probably customize Cast A Spell when casting Cage so that on a 7-9 they get all the thoughts. Cause Mutation and Summon Monster are both interesting, as are Dominate and Shadow Walk. I love Contingency, but I ALWAYS love Contingency. Soul Gem is cool too.

* Hey, that was all the playbooks! One's I'd like to see eventually: Monks (probably as a modification of the Fighter), Barbarians (as their own playbook, or the mod described above), Sorcerors (because I like Sorcerors). Only the Barbarian is actually an imminent want. Okay, moving on.

* Like the Vancian system, the ammo system appeals to me a lot. 

* Hmm. A -1 ongoing sounds reasonable for the Clumsy tag, but something in it is making me think it might be fun to rework it to interact with the Encumbrance move. I don't want to just say clumsy stuff has a higher weight because then you might as well just actually raise the weight and just giving Armored a +whatever to carrying capacity, but I think some manner of interaction might be cool. Not necessary at all, just musing right here.

* Hmm. I like the definition of the Dangerous tag a lot, I wish it wasn't only used for poisons. So many things can be dangerous! Actually, Alchemist's Fire is a great-sounding basic item that's both flavorful and crazy dangerous (ignites on contact with air? Oh yeah. Actually, I always wondered why it didn't detonate in the flask - I mean, all the illustrations have air in the bottles! Oh well. Tangents.

* With Precise, does the same apply to Backstabs? I'd say yes without a second thought, but it technically isn't addressed. If you choose to keep Backstab Str-based, maybe include a thing in its description about Precise weapons?

* UNRELATED in that Book of Three quote, why on earth is Taran collecting as many BOWS as he can? I get the quivers thing, but having a lot of bows is both useless and heavy, not at all light or effective! Bah. As I said, unrelated.

* Speaking of arrows though, uh, problem. Like, major one. Bundle of Arrows, 3 ammo worth, is one weight. In all of the playbooks, a 3-ammo quiver is 2 weight. If it's actually 1 weight, my complaining under the Ranger section about the Starting Gear thing is diminished. 1 weight makes more sense anyway.

* Adventuring Gear: I really like how it does uses... wait, poles? We have 10-foot poles in our adventuring gear? YES! I don't need my thief anymore.
Tangent: Speaking of thieves, I just realized a blind thief would be crazy effective at finding traps. His cane will hit pressure plates before he would, he finds tripwires like a pro, you can't gaze him. Damn. I'm taking a blind fellow with me next time!

* The Keg of Dwarven Stout is incredible. I'd say it could be "If you drink a whole keg yourself, you are very very drunk - mark XP." Make it a choice for them - extra XP or better Carousing for everyone!

* I like the phrase "requires dwarf." It makes me think that stores refuse to sell it if you don't have a dwarf with you.

* ...does Delicious have a stat effect? You should mention it under the tag list.

* Why play math games with Halfling Pipeleaf? You can't use just one use, so just make it that 1 use is enough for two fellows. 10 gold for 5 uses is the same as 5 gold for 2 and a half uses.

* We won't be paying for meals, and only maybe for inns. It's just not in our nature, unless one of them WANTS to do so (if so it'll be Kris).

* I love Bags of Holding. I always have. The boring as hell and hard to use encumbrance rules from 3e ended up with all starting characters having Bags of Holding, just to save hassle. I won't be giving the players one for free just because of how nice the Load rules are, but I DO like the mechanic around this Bag of Holding.

* All of these Magic Items are wonderful. I love how strong they are, and they have a really magical feel. Actually, that last page (the last five) is incredible. Vorpal Sword  is nasty as all hell - I can't wait to have them fight a guy wielding it in order to get it!

* From what I can see, the "DM advice/rules/agenda/principles/whatever words you want" section doesn't seem to have changed much, and I have no problem with that. The section is solid.

* While I get how it had to be changed because of the genre, in my opinion Think Dangerous doesn't evoke the thing you're trying to communicate with it to the level of effectiveness Looking Through Crosshairs does. When I hear "Think Dangerous" I think about making a world that is nasty and dangerous to the PCs, not thinking that everything I create is in danger of destruction. The description is fine, I just have issues with "Think Dangerous" as a phrase. I'm not positive about an alternative, but it's something to think about.

* I did WAY too much "Deal Damage," and I feel like an ass for it. It's just my instinct from D&D, thinking of other things to do is outside my habits, though I'm working on it. That's my goal next session, avoiding this move a lot more. Actually, I really need to keep a list of these next to me while I run it, along with a separate set of lists of my individual front/monster moves.

* Basically, I like pretty much everything about the GMing section. Conceptually, no changes necessary!

* Hm, first session stuff! While this is helpful for when this actually gets released, the need to have already played a session to get these makes them a bit less useful. But that's the nature of Beta, not a reflection of the content (and for the record, don't change. This model of how to do Beta is really neat, I like it a lot).

* Um, major question. Where are these "GM worksheets"? I'm familiar with the MC worksheets of Apocalypse World, so I have an idea of what you're talking about, but I just flipped through the whole pdf and checked the website and there isn't actually any worksheets anywhere! Is the mention a remnant of a past draft, or are they mistakenly not included?

* Hmm. With my first session, I actually decided to use the Bloodstone Idol adventure, for a couple reasons: it was the only thing I had, I wasn't sure about how the numbers would balance, and there weren't exactly any monster creation guidelines. More than anything I did it out of hesitation. I understand not coming with any plot or anything, and I actually function better that way, but in this instance I wanted to use the pre-built stuff in order to get a feel for things, so I guess it didn't do the first session exactly as discussed here. In the future, I'd do it like this (it feels more natural to me), but for my own first session as a DW GM, I wanted to have something to fall back on.

* I DID ask questions during character creation. I should have asked more from Kenny and Shank, but he showed up late and we were squeezing our play time a bit already so I glossed over it. I wish I had a psychic maelstrom to ask questions with; gonna have to find myself a way to do that! Actually, this is a tangent, but it reminds me of one of the Penny Arcade D&D podcasts from PAX, where there was a magic teleport circle and the way you activated it was by announcing your deepest secret - that sounds like a great thing to move character development.
BTW, those checklist-type starting moves are AWESOME sprignboards for development questions, since they have a built-in "why did you pick x over w, y, and z?" I wish more of the playbooks had those, I think ALL of them could benefit from it in some way.

* I was also careful to make sure that they paired description with the action. "Okay, so you're using Hack-and-Slash, but what is Dim DOING?" came up a lot. And yes, I do mean with Dim in particular.

* You know, the more I read this, the more I think that I'm just going to use the Bloodstone Idol stuff in the loosest way possible next time, I'll leave a lot more blanks.

* Fronts are the hardest thing for me conceptually in both AW and DW. They really take me out of the "play to find out what happens" mindset that I really enjoy about the games. I understand that they function as good prep work and make you think about things and have some already built dangers and moves and such to throw at the PCs, but I much prefer just building these through play rather than between sessions. The way that *I* will probably use fronts is to write up categories of creatures and threats and give them a bunch of GM moves, as in the example, and just taking those to the table, my whole set of lists. This way when I have, say, an arcane enemy (like Grundloch) or a cursed place (like the Idol itself) or anything else (maybe I write up a list for Constructs and then when I decide while playing that Grundloch should have some golems) I'll turn to that and have some ideas of what I can do with it, without making anything specific enough that I will feel like I'm constraining my make-as-we-go dynamic. Most folks won't have that issue, but I'm just that way.
Two notes. One, do you mean crocodillian or corcodillian. I would think the first, but of the three times you use the word here, two of them are spelled "corc." My other note is: Why did Grundloch not have golems? You wrote him as the Master of Arcane Clay and then didn't give any golems in the basic rules! What gives? He shoots fireballs, mesmerizes monsters, makes illusions, can scry, and is doing rituals on an ancient idol, and none of these things actually relates to clay! Okay, done ranting now.

* I really liked the symbology of grim portents as countdown clocks in AW, I think some of that is lost in this. Not that the players will ever know :/ I don't think I'll formally use grim portents myself, though I'll give them a shot. I'll keep the stuff in mind, of "how do I bring this closer to the impending doom?" but I likely won't write it down in concrete steps.

* I probably WILL develop Impending Dooms though. I like thinking of them as instincts for groups - as a whole, they trend toward causing THIS to come about.

* Stakes...I dunno what I'm going to do. I will definitely be keeping what's at stake in mind, but I'm not sure if I want to formalize them. I'll give a shot and see how it goes.

* As a whole, take what I say about Fronts with a grain of salt. I haven't had a real significant chance to try them in actual play, and planning has always been an issue for me - if I plan, I'll probably railroad, even if I'm trying not to. I like to plan (and will probably develop dozens of fronts just for the hell of it, not for the game), but I hate using the stuff I've planned. We'll see how it goes. Like I said, don't take any of this stuff too hard - I'm not all that sure about what I'm talking about.

* So, a question about diverging from the Apocalypse World system. You seem to have abandoned the Harm move as it was - and your alterred version, the Saving Throw move. I'm curious as to your own reasonings why - I can imagine some myself, but I'd like to hear yours!

* So wait, once you've taken s-damage it's Defying Danger to do anything at all? Wow. Hey, you split Defying Danger into a bunch of stats, which one is this, or is that dependent upon the action being made?

* Hmm, I might take some liberties with the Last Breath move - Death's not the only thing waiting to make a bargain with these heroes. If Dim ever dies, I fully intend to put his step-dad in front of him, and Grizwald will need to come face-to-face with his deity. Or sometimes it's just Death.

* Level+7 for a level up is a nice value, I like it way more than 10 x level!

* Hey, those sample new bonds are nice. I gotta say, they inspire that sort of "unique to YOUR game!" feel that I like.

* Have I said before that I LOVE alignment in this game? It acts as an incentive without being a restriction.

* On changing alignments; I really like the idea that a geas's main power is to change someone's alignment move without a change of heart - it compels them to act toward the geas and no longer rewards them for acting as they want. If I ever play, maybe I'll try playing a guy under a geas like that.

* Can Paladins change alignment without losing power now?

* However, I'm not the biggest fan of the non-class-based alignment moves. The way they specialize to the character is one of my favorite things, Good doesn't mean the same thing for the fighter as it does for the thief.

* I enjoy Outstanding Warrants. I enjoy the idea that I can throw that at Shank and we'll come up with WHY they want him later. Otherwise Steading Moves are necessary, but aren't of particular interest to me.

* The steading creation guidelines are pretty cool. Also, "The keep stands on a border."

* Campaign map stuff is nice, feels very cool. I've never been one for large maps, but I'm gonna try it out now.

* Ehhh, I've never liked hirelings. I'll let my players have them if they want, and I recognize their significance to the fantasy RPG genre's past (and the rules are pretty good for that) but if it was up to me we wouldn't use 'em.

* Hmm. I like the idea of disregarding encounter balance, and I'll be doing so, but this brings up an issue I had with the Bloodstone Idol adventure - it really should have told us how hard the encounters are, especially at the beginning. That first encounter is a slaughterhouse, and I did NOT realize that. At the very least, I expected the very first encounter of an introductory level 1 adventure to be a reasonable one to beat. I don't mind that it's really hard, but if you produce adventures in the future, I'd love if you'd prime us on how hard you sort of expect it to be. Maybe not - maybe this is a matter of eyeballing it and I'll adapt much better down the road.

* Typo at the top of page 185, "(to close or too far)".

* Okay, basically all this monster design stuff sounds really cool, and I saw a couple threads on Story Games a while ago that I can consult if I get confused on just this topic at any point. It emphasizes coolness and imaginative vision over mechanical balance, and I like it that way for this game.

* I'd love a more comprehensive kind of sample monster section. All of these swamp creatures are cool, but I would prefer to see a bunch of iconic fantasy creatures represented to give an example of how to do a lot of various moves. Though you do hit a number of very iconic ones. This is just preference though, keep it up to taste.

* Ooh, Moves Discussion, looks like one of the last sections. This is where I suspect I'll have a number of technicality type questions, and I suspect some of my questions from earlier will be cleared up (I go back and edit for that though, I try not to make you read and answer questions that are already addressed).

* So, Hack And Slash. Let's see. Okay, so if attacking a dude who doesn't know you're there is just outright assaulting him, but it triggers a move for the Thief (Backstab) does this mean that potentially the Fighter is better at killing things from an unknown position than the thief? My own answer would be no, that if a fighter could just kill them so can the thief and backstab doesn't need to trigger, but if the fighter just does damage, the thief can choose to roll to backstab if he wants to try for the extra benefits, otherwise he can just do standard damage just like the fighter.
Additionally, I fully understand the idea that it isn't an attack unless it has a chance of causing distinct physical harm, but does the same apply to the terminology for an enemy? As part of Hack and Slash's 7-9, the enemy makes an attack in return, but can't you choose to do alternate moves instead of dealing straight damage? I'd assume that it's a case of one word meaning two things. I would assume that the enemy just does whatever you say and not only damage all the time, if only because damage is such a hard move and a lot of weak hit hack and slashes would easily decimate a character.

* Volley, one of the two moves we didn't make in the first session (the other was Parley). I'm glad that you address throwing, since I know that was a weird one before.
Typo in the first example, you used the wrong "sight" (it's "site" here).
...yeah, I don't think Volley is confusing at all now that you've cleared up the throwing thing. Still wish there was an additional choice that replaced expending ammo when you throw instead of just taking away an option. Not that big of a thing though, just speculation.

* Defy Danger is a great move. Splitting it to all stats under the old XP system would have been problematic, but with the new one it's just perfect.
Perhaps have a bit more guidance? Either one what constitutes each stat (like a couple examples for each) or some help writing hard bargains? The 7-9 result of this move encompasses everything that makes the AW family awesome to me, but they're hard to write for me. If you've got anything to say about how to make 'em, that's be awesome. Maybe I'll just ask on S-G or something.

* Oh wait, you CAN save hold for Defend! I forgot about that! I need to make a special note of that. I like Defend as a move, and I really like that it convinced Dan to have Dim do something other than Hack and Slash.
I like the clarification that Defending yourself is an actual thing. However, without a solid initiative system doesn't this make abuse an issue? "I attack him on my turn with Hack and Slash, I roll 10+ and deal damage, he then attacks me, I roll defend and reduce it all..." etc? Is it just up to the GM to stop that and say "no way, you're busy attacking him" or is this totally applicable? I wouldn't let him defend if his H&S got a 7-9, but what about just the monster's action there? The lack of initiative keeps throwing me off with this stuff.

* Spout Lore; so, do you make the move if you ACTUALLY consult a bestiary/travel guide/library, or do I just give out info for free if they actually do that? How free should I be about that info? Does Spout Lore only really apply if it's coming from their memory? Also, if a guy fails his, can the next party member try, and so on? It's the threat of them knowing they failed at percieving. And if it's one roll for the group (like, they're all thinking together about something) are they better at it than if an individual had done it? Or do I just model it with one dude doing most of the thinking and then the others making Aid rolls? That last one is my best guess.
Still wish using this move entitled me to ask questions back. Maybe my world will just have a Psychic Maelstrom... or probably not. Whatever.

* What do I do when they FAIL to discern realities? I would say that they don't notice something (and I come up with a complication to the scene) but then I wouldn't TELL them the complication since they didn't notice it! Plus that seems pretty harsh. Oh well. I gotta figure something out.

* Ah yes, Parley. I feel like it doesn't cover everything I want it to, namely Bluff. If the player's bluff a guy, do I just decide if he believes it or not? I feel like this is something worth rolling for, but I don't know what. It also seems common enough to warrant being either a part of Parley or its own basic move, not just a custom move. Hmm.
When you tell a bald-faced lie, roll +Cha.
On a 10+, they believe you, no sweat.
On a 7-9, they need some more convincing - you're going to have to tell or show them something that would make them believe your story.
On a 6-, they're not buying it, and are more suspicious of your lying face."
Maybe there's a way to twist this for feints in combat too. Whatever, this is just fun experimentation.

* Well, I get the logic behind limiting Aids, but it seems fictionally strange that if Grizwald helps Dim, it's +1, but if Grizwald AND Shank help Dim, it's still +1. I may override this on occasion, if only to support them aiding each other more. If they abuse it at all I'll drop the limit back in, but I don't think I'll need it at the start.

* I love Last Breath. I kinda like the idea that it's not always Death that shows up, that it could be another superpower, maybe with Death hanging off behind his shoulder. If possible, I'm going to be showing Grizwald his deity Bale. I'm already thinking, when it happens, if I have nothing better to use, I think I'll use "Realize my true alignment and become my champion." That one'll throw him for a spin.

* As I've said, this is the simplest and most elegant solution to Load and Carrying Capacity I've seen outside of "ignore them." Good job.

* Hmm, under Make Camp you reference Dutiful Prayer, with capitols so I would think it's actually a thing, but I'm not sure what. Based on its proximity to Prepare Spells, was this an old version of the Cleric's Commune?

* Okay, so the adventure moves thing is modified love letters. Gotcha, that's cool, I enjoy the love letters concept.

* I still will probably marginalize Draw Maps, Leave Blanks a bit, at least as far as literally drawing maps goes. One Skype player and the rest of us at the table makes drawing things like that kinda complicated, and drawing non-battle maps has never been a real part of our gaming experience. I'll try a bit, especially when Kris is in town, but I suspect it will get left behind a bit more often then the others.

* And the rest of the text, and effectively the entire Advanced Delving section, is excellent. Outstanding job on it, I can use any of it easily and understand all of it and the reasonings.

That's it!
Wait, what's that? I finish this and within an hour you guys post Beta 2.1? Seriously?! Fuck you guys! Nah, the changelist doesn't look ridiculous so I'll just review the shifts real quick. I'll just review the changelist itself while looking at the text:
    Slight rephrasing in End of Session from "defeat" a monster to "overcome."
* Wait, what? I get the idea, but looking at my text, it doesn't actually look changed. I checked and I AM looking at the 2.1, but it still says "Did we defeat a notable monster or enemy?"

    Clean up legacy references to Arcane Music (now Arcane Art)
* Sure thing.

    Remove spell references to monster level
    Most damaging spells now ignore armor
* Fair enough, and ignoring armor makes sense.

    Remove spell references to monster level
    Most damaging spells now ignore armor
* As Cleric.

    Use "Coin" instead of "Gold" as the unit of currency
    Revise and amend price entries. We used to keep costs very low to make first level equipment shopping easy, without that we have the option of more closely matching other editions. Most prices are now in line with the average cost of the same item in several different editions of D&D.
    Add crossbows, horses, boats
    Add Thrown tag
* Coin, huh. All right. Also, thanks for the thrown tag. The rest of the price modification looks fine to me.

Blood and Guts
    Add rules for multiple monsters attacking at once (short version: roll damage dice for each, take highest result)
    Details on handling death and playing multiple characters
    Add rules for dealing with starting Bonds not chosen
* I like that way of damage for multiple monsters quite a bit. The "After Death" section is really really nice. I'm very happy with how we aren't crippled at all by one of the pre-set bonds not fitting, and the advice on writing new bonds is strong enough that I don't feel disadvantaged if I have to write one.

    Rewrites for clarity
    Diagram of Fronts
* It's like you just knew that I was going to be a bit unclear on Fronts! And clarify you did - I feel like I understand them way better, and you've actually convinced me to really try them. And the example? Really cool.

The World
    Edits and clarifications
    Notable renamed to Personage
* Fair enough. Not really going through to look for the clarifications here, I already understood this well enough. I'll read again later.

    Remove dangling reference to static monster damage.
    Add a monster treasure system
* Typo in the treasure page "Roll the monster's damage die plus any added dice to FINE the monster's treasure:". In general, cool stuff.

Cavern Dwellers
    New monster setting
* Cool stuff. Mmm, Gelatinous Cube.

    New monster setting
* Do I like the use of the concept of "monster setting" to model undead? Yes, yes I do.
Wait, Wight-Wolf? Is that an actual, like, legacy D&D thing, or is that just a new invention? Because it sounds hilarious.

Alright, well at least 2.1 didn't obsolete most of my comments here. Cheers folks, I'm just glad that I finally got through all that!
Well, if you're curious what to expect next, I beat Bastion yesterday and it's filling my head with inspiration- the art kind. I'll have a review up for it soon, but I'm gonna find it hard to say anything other than "It's perfect. It's only shortcoming is that there's not ENOUGH of it!"
But I should have that up soon, plus the art I'm doing of Bastion, plus a side piece featuring a bunch of indie game characters, plus I might upload the card I drew for my Dad's birthday (it's pretty cool).
And then, hopefully, we'll game next Friday.

Also, if you're curious, Kris is actually doing some spare time game design work of his own. He's mostly building a mechanic so far, and trying a find a world to put it in. The mechanic is heavily inspired by Final Fantasy X, probably his favorite game. I'm helping out a bit when we chat, so maybe I'll have some stuff to post about that. If you know anything about FFX's battle system and can think of a good way to integrate it into a game world, please suggest the setting. The main hurdle is that he wants to preserve the idea that not every character is on the field at the same time in a battle. I came up with the idea of each player having 2 characters and having to pick which one to use in a fight and then actions being used to switch out if wanted. The issue is why the other members aren't able to help all the time - where do they go? FF itself just glosses over it as a game mechanic. If you have any potential revelations or ideas, please help!

Anyway, see ya'll next time.

Holy shit, this post is almost 10000 words long.
End Recording,

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