Archive for September, 2012

A Bit of Fellhold Flavor

Posted in Fellhold Campaign, RPGs with tags , on September 28, 2012 by Jeff Russell

So, I was inspired by Mr. Maliszewski’s post over at Grognardia about homebrew campaign settings to talk a little bit about what’s been established regarding Fellhold so far. There isn’t a whole lot, because I’m trying really hard not to indulge my world building bug and detail out a hugely elaborate setting before things occur in play. Instead, I’m trying to fix a firm aesthetic in my mind, so that as questions/situations come up in play, I can incorporate recent events and player actions, but still maintain an editorial voice. I first saw this approach spelled out in Apocalypse World, and it was a recurring point in the Dwimmermount campaign at Grognardia.

So, that being said, I did want to give the players somewhere to start so they’re not totally flopping around in the dark. I decided that my setting would be largely inspired by Germanic culture and folklore, but with a decidedly swords & sorcery vibe. Really inspirational to me were the works of Paul Bonner, especially for Drakar Och Demoner by Riot Minds. Along these lines, I decided that there had to be dwarves, but that I wasn’t really feeling the other demi-humans. So far, dwarves are fairly typical, revering their ancestors, organized in clans, living in great underground delvings, et cetera. Fellhold itself was once a great dwarven city carved into a lone mountain towering out of immense forests, with the crystal clear waters of the Silverdelf flowing out of springs in the mountain side.

One of the main ways I decided to impart flavor indirectly was to provide name lists. I haven’t restricted the player characters to using the name lists, but I do pick all of the NPC names from them. I used the simple expedient of finding historical names from the sorts of cultures I want to emulate and selectively picking them based on sound and meaning. Dwarven names, for example, are Old Norse, with as much emphasis as I could get on smiths, warriors, and tools. Human names are Anglo-Saxon, but where most real-world Anglo-Saxon names were compound, for Fellhold, I picked out the one syllable root words, and most are words that refer to mundane items, like Ketyl, which means “kettle”. Trollkin (Goblins, Hobgoblins, Bugbears) have Gothic names, again, selectively chosen to emphasize words for weapon and warriors and violent stuff. Trolls have Finnish names. I’m hoping that this goulash will result in a generically “northern Germanic” feel, without tying too much into real-world history.

The other area of flavor I’ve fleshed out somewhat is religion. I’ve tried to leave myself room to adapt, but I wanted to have some of the gods spelled out for any cleric characters. Thus, the main deities shared by humans and dwarves are Hrokr, the Crow Father, Dwyn, the Oak Mother, and Volundr, the Smith. In addition, the dwarves revere their ancestors and believe that their spirits aid them in the form of the tools, weapons, and armor passed down from them. They also especially revere Volundr as their creator, but they recognize Hrokr’s pre-eminence as king of the gods. All three of these gods stand for the alignment of Law in different ways: Hrokr upholds and is the patron of organized society, especially the sanctity of the guest-host relationship and the authority of chiefs and elders. Dwyn upholds the wilder, more organic structure of nature, which may appear chaotic to normal men, but is still governed by rules and structures. Volundr, obviously supports the pragmatic and tangible order of physical objects and laws.

In addition to being the king of the gods, Hrokr is a trickster god, and the lord of magic and secrets. He gave men and dwarves the gift of cunning that they might make their own way in the world, but is still open to the occasional intercession.

Dwyn presides over the harvest and death as well as nature, and she is the patron of women and wild animals. She is Hrokr’s wife and queen of the gods, but they largely see to their own affairs.

Volundr, in addition to being patron of smiths and craftsmen, crafted the world from the corpse of the mother of dragons after Hrokr tricked and killed her. He created Aki, original forefather of dwarves, to be a companion, and taught him much of his craft. Aki presented nine perfectly life-like statues of ones like himself, richly armed, armored, and covered in jewels. Volundr was much pleased and breathed life into them and created wives for them, and they originated the original dwarven clans.

Contrawise, the trolls and trollkin worship demons, beings of chaos, who seek to undo creation and tear it down, and offer bargains of power to their worshipers if they believe it will lead to chaos and entropy. I don’t want to go too much into this now, because the players haven’t met any Trollkin yet, and play will reveal more details.

Other than that, I haven’t worked much out besides the fact that magic items are scarce and precious, and magic has  slightly dark reputation. Also, as mentioned above, Fellhold itself was originally a dwarven city, but it was conquered by a sorcerous cabal who added their own dark additions and delved even deeper into the mountain. Who knows what lies underneath even that?

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Porting Dungeon World’s GMing Rules to Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox Part 2

Posted in Fellhold Campaign, RPGs with tags , , , on September 27, 2012 by Jeff Russell

So, the title of this post is more for the sake of continuity than for accuracy. You see, as my referee rule hacking has continued, I’ve been using not just Dungeon World, but also An Echo, Resounding and to a lesser extent the Red Tide Campaign Sourcebook. The sandbox material in Red Tide is, as mentioned before, quite excellent, but a good deal of it is superseded by what is included in An Echo, Resounding. So, what I have been occupying myself with recently is in figuring out how to blend together Dungeon World’s rules for Steadings (cities, towns, keeps, et cetera – see also Apocalypse World’s holds) with An Echo, Resounding’s domain play rules. I think that Red Tide will come back into play when I get to expanding the fronts and threats section, as it has some really good suggestions for urban/court related complications and dangers.

As a quick recap of what the basic “Campaign Region” framework is in An Echo, Resounding (from here out AER), a referee is instructed to make the following sorts of sites (with guidance, of course):

Cities & Towns

Ruins

Resources

Lairs

Each of these categories is meant to provide both adventuring locales as well as things for domains to try to control in order to get benefits. Each type of location has some tables you can choose from or roll on to determine the nature of the site and what sort of obstacles are there to keep a domain from just waltzing in and taking full advantage of it. Each location provides bonuses to one or more locations if a domain does take possession of it – Military, Social, and Wealth. These categories can then be used in domain turns to perform domain level actions.

A quick word on domains, in case you’re not following me. Domains are meant to be large-ish political entities, but they’re set up more for borderland duchies and the like than for sprawling empires. Gamewise, they are intended to play two roles: one, they give a referee a system for adding some dynamism and life into the backdrop of a sandbox campaign, and two, they provide rules for higher level characters influencing the campaign setting at a larger scale in later play. I find both of these goals to be quite worthwhile, and so I found the rules very intriguing.

Now, in addition to the Agenda, Principles, Moves, and Always Say from DW and AW, I’ve also taken a shine to the Steading rules from DW. So, what I’m working on now is, as I said earlier, an integration of the steading rules with the AER campaign region and domain play rules. I started out by going through the different types of sites in AER and deciding whether or not I want to make DW Steading compatible site rules for them. I ended up deciding that Lairs would be better represented by fronts and threats, as would obstacles for the other sorts of sites.

So, first off, I decided to simply subsume AER’s cities, towns, and borderland sites into the Steading rules. I may change some of the steading creation options to reflect some of the more interesting origin and activity options in AER, but otherwise, I felt like most of the options could be covered by the steading tag options. Perhaps most importantly, I decided to do a straight one for one conversion of Prosperity = Wealth, Population = Social, and Defenses = Military as a baseline. Other tags will be able to increase the Domain values as well. Now, this means that I won’t be able to use AER’s “Saving Throw” mechanic as written for Domain Turns, but I’m planning on working that out as I go forward.

For Ruins, I decided to do a “Shadow Steading” with Treasure, Population, and Danger. Treasure is a measure of how much loot the ruin contains, population measures the number of hostile inhabitants, and Danger measures their relative level of threat posed by said inhabitants. So, a low population, high danger ruin might have a single, large monster, while high population, lower danger might be hordes of less dangerous creatures, like goblins. The main reason for this framework is so that Ruins can fit into domain actions and domain turns, but I worry that  giving “Danger” a mechanical level will get in the way of the Old School approach of not trying to balance monster threat level to character level.

Resources were relatively simple. I just took the resource types from AER, and made them tags. I then added a “Richness” scale, parallel to prosperity in steadings. Since there’s already a “Resource” tag for steadings, I decided that Resource Locations require a steading to “own” them or else to have a new Steading established on them. A Resource adds the resource tag to the steading that controls it and increases prosperity by the richness of the location. The resource also has an inherent danger level like ruins as a guide to the threats that should be attached to the location.

As I mentioned before, I’m going to use Obstacles and Lairs as sources for expanding the available fronts.

So, with a rescaling associated with the switch over, I’ll have to redo the actual domain play rules, but so far I’m pretty excited about the direction this is going in. On the other hand, as I mentioned above, I *am* worried that I’m introducing mechanics (even loose ones) for things I don’t want overly mechanized, like threat level. I think it’ll be okay, since even OD&D had guidelines for the level of the dungeon and the average level of monster HD. I’ll figure something out.

More to follow as I get into the fronts and threats and into the actual domain play rules.

Fellhold Session 3 Recap

Posted in Fellhold Campaign, RPGs with tags , , on September 25, 2012 by Jeff Russell

After leaving last session with our explorers holding a bandit sergeant hostage, we rejoined the action this evening. A brief parley established that the bandit leader, Gren, didn’t value the contributions of his sergeant Dag, and some quick bargaining brought Dag over to the side of the adventurers. They managed to flee, trigger the pressure plate trap to drop a net, and then picked up the net and threw it onto the advancing bandits. With this delay, they managed to get out of the Fellhold gates and to spike the door closed so that they could flee back to Silverdelf. Dag agreed to become a hireling to Bryni and throw his lot in with the adventurers from here out, and the party rested up to recover its wounds, with the notable exception of Varian who caroused in high style to make use of his loan. We’ll open next week with their further adventures.

A Brief Sci-Fi Aside

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on September 21, 2012 by Jeff Russell

So, I read through Grognardia’s review of Warhammer 40,000, Rogue Trader, and it made me realize something. My design meant to take Necromunda in a slightly more role-play-ey direction was in fact taking 40k back to its roots in Rogue Trader. Now, I think that I can make some more interesting and balanced game design decisions, but overall, Rogue Trader was originally created to address the design space I was shooting for: small skirmish groups based on flavor, with an Arbitrator making it easier to have complex scenarios. I’m going to give the rogue trader rules a gander and see what’s different from the 2nd Edition 40k and Skirmish rules I grew up with versus how I want to design my version of the rules.

“You Have to Put in the Work”

Posted in Fellhold Campaign, RPGs with tags , on September 20, 2012 by Jeff Russell

Let me tell you a little story about the path that led to my starting up an Old School D&D Campaign. While having far too much time on my hands courtesy of the United States Government, I stumbled onto the indie RPG scene online. Amongst other things, I discovered Vincent Baker’s games and blog, and started reading and being inspired by both. One post that didn’t particularly register at the time, but has since stuck with me was I ❤ the OSR, and especially comment number 8. by Vincent (from whence comes this post’s title). Well, about a year later, I don’t even remember how or why, but I stumbled onto Grognardia and started reading all of the posts of the Dwimmermount Campaign. This is what really fired me up to actually get a D&D game together over Google+ and led to Fellhold (as I’ve discussed in pretty much all of the posts this last month). Now the game is underway, and yesterday I read a few posts by game designer Luke Crane (of Burning Wheel fame) regarding his experiences running Moldvay (Red Box) D&D while hewing strictly to the rules: Moldvay D&D RetrospectiveA Tale of Two MapsLet’s Talk about Luke’s D&D Explorations.  It was reading these posts that made an idea that’s been floating around in my head as I’ve prepped Fellhold really click.

If you didn’t check out the link to Mr. Baker’s blog, he basically said that there is no book, no blog post, no single text that you can point to and say “if you read this, you’ll ‘get’ the OSR”. You have to put in the work. That work is following blogs, participating in discussions, wading through different retroclones in different versions, and most importantly *playing the games*. Sure, things like the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming provide an excellent introduction, but in the end, to grok it in fullness, you have to immerse yourself in it. Just like any subculture/philosophy, really.

Of course, all people everywhere want shortcuts to mastering things, that’s human nature. But what has been valuable to me in exploring the Old School Renaissance has been that it is a wonderful antidote to the ubiquity of instant gratification. By way of example, after tearing through all of the Dwimmermount posts on Grognardia, I decided I was going to treat the archives like a “campaign” and read all of them. In many of the Dwimmermount posts, Mr. Maliszewski talks about the value of a long term campaign rather than jumping from interesting game to interesting game every few weeks. In particular he points out that part of a campaign is that some sessions are ho-hum but carry things along, and some drag a little bit, but these are necessary for the sessions that really pop to do so. You build up investment and commitment, and that’s what makes the great stuff extra great.

Sure enough, reading through the rest of the Grognardia archives (and this took me a solid month or two of spending most of my reading time reading blog posts), there were a lot of posts that I wasn’t particularly interested in (like an extended review of Gamma World) but I read them. I read every single post, even when I got into it and was like “I don’t really care about this post”. In the end, this had two chief benefits: for one, I discovered things I would have skipped otherwise. I thought I was well versed enough in Pulp Fantasy and wasn’t looking for reviews on fiction, but I discovered numerous new authors and stories (more than I’ve had a chance to check out yet). Secondly, when I did finally slog my way onto the front page, I had a sense of accomplishment. Sure, that’s a silly feeling to have for reading through the archives of a blog about a hobby I enjoy, but I feel like I am a moderate expert on this one small thing.

So, to bring this back to play, where it matters, Mr. Crane and Mr. Maliszewski both point out that what makes the rules of pre-AD&D D&D so great is that when you put in the time, a lot of the stuff that seems extraneous or stupid begins to make sense. When I was a kid learning D&D (AD&D 2nd Edition in my case), stuff like exact time keeping and movement rates and encumbrance seemed oh so horribly unnecessary. Ridiculous, even. Reading those posts about Mr. Crane’s Moldvay games showed me exactly why they make for a good game. And I know this now, but I don’t really get it in my gut yet, because my players haven’t been at it that long.  But even the prep I’ve done on my own has taught me a lot and been immensely satisfying. Watching the players figure out the puzzle door to get into Dwimmermount and not resorting to an intelligence check or the like, just having faith that they’d figure something out was crazy satisfying.

So, if you’re interested in this OSR thing, but you don’t know much about it, I say dive in. Hell, if you’re interested in any large and diverse area of interest, dive in and do the work. It’s worth it.

Fellhold Session 2 Recap

Posted in Fellhold Campaign, RPGs with tags , , on September 19, 2012 by Jeff Russell

In tonight’s expedition, our daring adventurers took their first steps into the dank underground of Fellhold. After some accurate mapping and cleverly avoiding a pressure plate trap, the party got the drop on a group of bandits going through their loot. They failed to take full advantage of the surprise and entered into a grinding battle with them. With only the bandits’ leader and one bandit still standing, a group of bandit reinforcements was spotted about to join the fray, and in a last ditch desperate effort, our adventurers managed to subdue the leader and hope to use his life to parley a way out of this dangerous situation. Meanwhile, the skeptic cleric and one of the few effective (wo)men at arms lay bleeding and near death, being tended to by nurses and torch bearers. We’ll find out next week how the high stakes parley goes, and whether the desperately wounded characters can be tended to and healed.

Porting Dungeon World’s GMing Rules to White Box, Part 1

Posted in Fellhold Campaign, RPGs with tags , , on September 17, 2012 by Jeff Russell

So, as mentioned in my previous post, I think that the GMing rules from Dungeon World/AW are those which can most profitably be ported into an Old School D&D game (Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox in my case). With that in mind, I’m going to start by going through the Dungeon World Agendas, Principles and Moves, as well as the Always Say guidelines, and discuss/tweak to the ‘Old School’ refing style I am using in my game.

As a quick aside to those unfamiliar with these: the concepts of Always Say, Agendas, Principles, and Moves comes from Vincent Baker’s Apocalypse World and are a way to codify and make rules good GMing practice for a particular way to run games. They aren’t fluffy “advice” nor are they nitty-gritty “use monsters of X challenge value against characters of Y level” mechanics. They are honest to God game rules, ones you can point to and say “He’s not GMing the game by the rules if he doesn’t do this”. All that being said, the particular style of play Dungeon World’s GM procedures point to is close to but not identical to the style of play I’m shooting for with Fellhold, hence the tweaks coming up. Well, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work, shall we?

Always Say

As a Dungeon World GM you always say these things (in bold – followed by my commentary in regular text):

What the rules demand – This one is pretty consistent with my refing philosophy for an Old School game anyhow. I had already decided to follow Mr. Maliszewski’s example and make all rolls out in the open and to have a firm “no fudging” policy. On the other hand, one of the “rules” is my judgement as referee (which I am attempting to regularize somewhat with this post) and sometimes the “rule” will be that I roll a die and figure something out based on whether it’s high or low. Overall, though, I don’t think this one needs any tweaking.

What the adventure demands – Again, this one is fairly straightforward, and pretty close to old school principles. Though it doesn’t need to be said to those familiar with Old School or Story Now methods, “the adventure” in this  instance emphatically does not mean “pre-planned story”. Rather, this is a reminder to insure that the world’s internal consistency informs what I say, and not to hold anything back.

What honesty demands – Building off the “not to hold anything back” idea above is this notion not to hoard information or keep secrets for dramatic/plot based purposes. If a player pokes the canvas cover of a pit trap with his 10′ pole, he found it, the end. If the wandering monster check brought up something scary right when the party is wounded and retreating, well, damn, there it is. Once again, totally consistent with an old school approach as I understand it.

What the principles demand – Here’s one that is usually not spelled out in Old School games, but I think there is some precedent for the concept. I read somewhere recently someone saying that the OSR relies mostly on “tribal knowledge” and “best practices” to achieve what games like Dungeon World and Apocalypse World have codified in GMing rules, but that both embrace the idea that there is a right way to GM/Ref a game for a particular approach. I’m making some of my indie sympathies obvious with this very post, and it’s partially because I don’t have much experience with actually running in an Old School style.

Agenda

Your agenda is what you sit down at the table to do:

Make the world fantastic – Not much to say here, describing everything to present a coherent fantasy world is definitely one of my goals.

Fill the characters’ lives with adventure – I think this one has potentially the greatest room for differences, but isn’t fundamentally different. The agenda as stated and implemented in Apocalypse World/Dungeon World calls for the GM to actively craft threats that target things that are important to the characters, while the Old School approach tends to go more for scattering a number of potential dangers/adventurers around, see what the players engage with, and then run with that. I don’t have any problem with bringing in a focus on targeting what the players/their characters establish as important to them, but I think I will strongly filter it through the idea that I just make things that the characters interact with, and that I don’t try to get at certain “issues” or themes.

Play to find out What Happens – This is the agenda that most struck me as a point of similarity between Old School refing and Apocalypse Engine GMing. Old School GMing expresses it via random tables and constructing locations and environments based on their internal logic and ecology rather than on a story line or specific challenge levels. Apocalypse derived games express it by having stakes and questions in Fronts and strongly reminding the GM not to pre-plan outcomes. I might even point to this agenda as the heart of *my* in-play enjoyment, whereas the other two have more to do with how I help the players have fun (although, Make the World Fantastic ties right into my lonely-fun prepping between sessions).

I can’t think of any agendas that need to be added, although my particular version of Play to Find out What Happens, includes a little more of “test the players’ skill” than a straight up story now focused game. Here’s why I don’t think this will result in incoherence: the focus on player skill has practically zero to do with system mastery and more to do with player creativity and initiative. I view seeing the ways players get around puzzles and traps or think up outlandish tactics as part of what I’m playing to find out, and since finding that out doesn’t have an impact on the rules the way, say, min/maxing would, I think the other principles and moves will mostly hold.

Principles

Draw maps, leave blanks – If anything, Old School play has more focus on maps, but I think it tends to interpret “blanks” more abstractly. Rather than leaving sections of the map literally blank, Old School approaches tend to concretely map out the physical location (dungeon complex, mountains, town, whatever) and then to intentionally leave areas “blank” to be investigated in play. In particular I’m discovering the joy of random dungeon stocking tables, and I’m going to experiment with doing more on the fly once I really have my in-play reference hammered out.

Address the characters, not the players – This one is probably one of the bigger departures. There’s much more of a tendency in Old School play to view your character as “your guy” that you control, rather than a “persona” you get into the headspace of. This makes sense given the high rate of lethality for low level characters. I’ve somewhat consciously avoided this principle in the sessions so far in order to play up the fact that players can’t expect plot immunity. As characters grow and develop (and survive) I might start doing this more.

Embrace the fantastic – No problems here, although I’ve been trying to force myself to be open minded about “the fantastic” than my own narrow sense of what is “right” for the setting. So I think I’ll keep this as a reminder to relax and remember the free wheeling pulp source material.

Make a move that follows – Obviously, this one is built on the idea that you are using “moves”, but I think the core idea that what you decide to do as a GM/ref should logically follow from what came before fictionally, and perhaps more importantly, that you have “permission” to do hard/bad things if it makes sense fictionally is very Old School. That’s part of why I think incorporating “moves” into my thinking will help encourage me to make interesting and exciting decisions about the fiction.

Never speak the name of your move – Here’s one that doesn’t come up very strongly in most Old School play, but the idea of “embellishing” the nuts and bolts explanation is an old one. I might embrace this one and stop saying things like “the monster rolls to hit”, even if it’s obvious that that’s what’s happening. I think that will help focus things back on the fiction, which is the whole idea here.

Give every monster life – Here’s one that I think was present in very early Old School play and the renaissance, but that maybe got de-emphasized pretty early on. If you look at the Little Brown Books, you can see that there’s an expectation that monsters are more than piles of hit points and attacks sitting on top of treasure. There are rules for capturing dragons for sale, recruiting monsters as followers, and seeing what sort of reaction monsters would have to you in a social situation. This one I definitely want to embrace.

Name every person – I think Old School best practices follow this one, and I’ve definitely embraced it whole-heartedly, making good use of random name lists and quick NPC creation tables. Something alluded to in the Dungeon World rules that I think will be interesting to see in play is that sometimes monsters become persons, and how they’re interacted with will change how the rules treat them.

Ask questions and use the answers – This is fundamental to the Old School way of running things, especially in any sort of rules light game. “You search for traps? Okay, how?” One thing that AW derived games are more open about that I’m keen to embrace is sharing some of the game world’s authorship (though there are some excellent examples of this in the Dwimmermount Campaign over at Grognardia).

Be a fan of the characters – Though the Dungeon World rules stress that this does not mean root for the Player Characters to win, I think a cultivated attitude of impartiality is more the approach of the Old School. Perhaps a more specifically Old School restatement would be “Never Treat the Characters as your Enemies”.

Think Dangerous – The Old School is so on the same page here. I think DW’s broadening of said dangerous thinking from just the characters out to the world’s institutions and NPCs and so forth is a worthwhile and consistent  expansion.

Begin and end with the fiction – Yup, another point of strong kinship here. While Old School games have historically not had all of the links between the fiction and the rules as clear as would be ideal, the strong emphasis on the fiction as what matters is definitely there. Hell, I’d argue that rules that started to distance the fiction and game mechanics (thief skills, generic skill sets, et cetera) are what started Old School games on the path away from the Old School.

Think offscreen, too – This one’s a staple of good sandbox campaign play, and is also reflected in modules and supplements that presented dungeons as living places (like the various humanoid tribes abandoning the Caves of Chaos after an attack in Keep on the Borderlands). So, I think it’s a great idea to put this up as a reminder.

Moves 

There’s going to be significantly less overlap with established Old School procedures in some of these moves, I think a lot are just formalized versions of what Old School Refs do all the time.

Use a monster, danger, or location move – Things like this tend to be covered by special attacks, spells, or the like. The big difference that comes immediately to mind is that most Old School games have an implicit assumption that the monsters follow the same rules or variations of the same rules as the characters (HD as analog for levels, rolling to hit and to damage, et cetera). The idea of having mechanical moves that are *not* based on the player rules is intriguing, and I’m going to have to think about well I think they’ll mesh.

Reveal an unwelcome truth – One word here: traps. That being said, thinking of this as a general move to be applied to multiple situations ought to be useful in an Old School context.

Show signs of an approaching threat – A lot of this will get pre-loaded in a module, and the Old School will often rely on the characters asking about it as the prompt to supply it, but I know that in my own design of my megadungeon, I’ve felt compelled to include indications of the really nasty stuff to be found rather than just springing it out of nowhere.

Deal damage – Pretty obviously in the Old School Ref’s repertoire.

Use up their resources – This tends to be more systematized and by the rules in the Old School, but it is definitely a strong focus. I particularly like some of Dungeon World’s examples of thinking broadly about “resources” and emphasizing it can be temporary (like the example of a sword skittering across the room out of reach during a fight).

Turn their move back on them – I think the canonical Old School example of this move would be the critical miss/fumble, but it should be fun to keep it in mind with a broader definition of player “moves” as well.

Separate them – Here’s one that is less popular with the Old School, if only because of logistical reasons. Never split the party and all that.

Give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities – I’m not sure how much I’ll use this one in play, on the fly, as it seems to go against the idea of the world as a place of its own that the characters interact with, rather than as something designed for the characters. Certainly I try to put a variety of situations with opportunities for all different ways to solve them, but I don’t know if I’ll look at my notes and go “right about here we need something for the mage to do”.

Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment – And here’s exactly why you don’t take polearms into cramped underground tunnels. I very much plan for this to be one of the ways I make their lives interesting besides throwing monsters their way.

Offer an opportunity, with or without cost – This one’s a pretty basic GMing/Refing thing to do, so yep.

Put someone in a spot – See above. Yep.

Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask – Here’s one that I think is especially important with so much depending on the referee’s judgement. It takes a lot of sting out of arbitrary decisions when you make sure the players have buy in to what the outcome of that arbitrary decision might be. I definitely already use this one and will continue to do so.

So, all of that was a somewhat lengthy way to arrive at the fact that it looks like the Agendas, Principles, Moves, and Always Say of Dungeon World map pretty closely to how I intend to continue to run my Old School campaign. I may think of some additions/modifications as I go, and if I do, I’ll post them here. If anybody with more Old School experience takes issue with any of my comparisons, let me know.