Random Thoughts: Apocalypse and Revelation

I posted the following on G+ last night and the only response was a +1 from Vince Baker. I’ll take it.

A few weeks ago, I had a new thought about PbtA games.

For a while now, I’ve been telling anyone that would listen that I love how the experience of Dungeon World is defined through the player’s moves. Moves have a fictional trigger, highlighting the experiences the designers what you to have while playing their game. You change the triggers and the game will feel different because the emphasis of what is important to your game has changed.

But what just recently occurred to me is that is only half of what moves do. Rolling dice in Dungeon World isn’t really about success or failure–it is about choosing how the narrative will advance from that point. This is just as important as the trigger for establishing the genre and style of game play because it reinforces the beats you want to hit in your game.

I haven’t fully processed this thought yet (I don’t get to sit and think about RPGs as much as I like to), so it’s still percolating on the back burner of my mind. I still have to return to finishing off my 13th Age conversion for the Ravenloft game. I’ve got all the plot notes sussed out, so that’s mostly monster design but I bet I can find a way to use that idea while I’m at it.

It’s too soon to have anything thoughtful to add, but I was encouraged by the response.

I’m not done formulating follow-up questions, but to start:

  • How do I incorporate this technique into my general GMing style, regardless of system? Should I?
  • What other narrative-heavy systems do something similar and what makes them different? The first example that comes to mind is Fate’s Aspects.

This all dances around the idea that system matters. There’s no such thing as a generic system because the mechanics, be they few or many, have a quantifiable effect on the decisions we make as players and GMs. And because they influence how we play and create, they might bring an element of sameness regardless of genre?

Anyway, I’m a big fan of rules that enhance your game-play rather than the opposite.


~ by Hunter Rose on August 2, 2015.

One Response to “Random Thoughts: Apocalypse and Revelation”

  1. […] I also talked about rules defining important moments in the game and moving the story on from there when Random Thoughts: Apocalypse and Revelation. […]

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