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D&D 5E 5e* - D&D-now

clearstream

(He, Him)
OK, though it seems like a fairly crude approach. I guess, given that we're talking about 5e, more sophisticated approaches are off the table because "it wasn't done that way in 1974" basically (and anyway you'd have to rewrite half of 5e to do much that isn't roughly your suggestion, mechanically).
A DM could decide to consistently give advantage in such cases. Trouble with advantage though is, it's a bit overloaded and grabs other stuff that might not be DM's intent (or make much sense FTM.)
 

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A DM could decide to consistently give advantage in such cases. Trouble with advantage though is, it's a bit overloaded and grabs other stuff that might not be DM's intent (or make much sense FTM.)
Advantage is simple and easy to work, in my own game it is the ONLY situational modifier. Anything that doesn't warrant it, is not worth bothering with, and any situation where it isn't significant enough, probably should be handled another way. That is my feeling anyway.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Advantage is simple and easy to work, in my own game it is the ONLY situational modifier. Anything that doesn't warrant it, is not worth bothering with, and any situation where it isn't significant enough, probably should be handled another way. That is my feeling anyway.
In your game, how does advantage and disadvantage stacking work?
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
On the meaning of "meaningful", I wondered if one should say it's "something that matters to fictional positioning"? Against that, another poster made the point that not everything matters to fictional positioning** (in any game). Hence I see the rule as - do this wherever or as well as possible.

Another thought rattling around is the difference between kinds of rules available in the game. There's a gradient from
  • player says what character does, DM says what rules apply, to
  • player says what character does and what rule applies (sometimes through plain invokes, and other times through inevitability*)
Thinking in that direction, one can say that some things players say next are going to be validated by the presence of a matching rule. 5e spells are a strong example of this, as were 4e powers.


* That is, the rule that would always be judged applicable by "Jo DM" who knows all the rules, and the community practice and principles, and has nothing at stake.
** Or one resists the urge to say that there is anything that can't matter to fictional positioning, given the vastness of, and ambiguities in defining, what is in that set.
 
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clearstream

(He, Him)
On the meaning of "meaningful", I wondered if one should say it's "something that matters to fictional positioning"? Against that, another poster made the point that not everything matters to fictional positioning** (in any game). Hence I see the rule as - do this wherever or as well as possible.
Continuing this thought, I take

A player's position is the total set of all of the legitimate gameplay options available to her at this moment of play.

And change it to

A player's position is the total set of all of the valid gameplay options available to her at this moment of play.

Valid connects in my mind to a longstanding idea of strategically viable as well as legal. That brings effectiveness into fictional positioning instead of outside it. Going forward (and in hindsight), that's what I mean by fictional positioning.
 
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Thinking more of good and bad, when not in equal measure.
Again, this is one spot where I just emulated a 5e rule, since it seemed to fit. No matter how many instances of advantage or disadvantage exist there are four possibilities:

1. No advantage or disadvantage at all, roll 1d20.
2. One or more instances of Advantage, roll 2d20, take the highest.
3. One or more instances of Disadvantage, roll 2d20, take the lowest.
4. One or more instances of both advantage and disadvantage, roll 1d20.

The object is to reward tactics, and this does so, without all sorts of mathletics. So, if you're dazed and you're attacking with surprise, you just make an ordinary attack. At least you're not just getting the dazed penalty, and OTOH its not obviated by being hidden either. So this rule does the minimum necessary work, and avoids any sort of stacking, which generally breaks d20 games.

In full, the math of this game is pretty simple, you get an ability bonus (there is effectively always one), a proficiency bonus (always +5 when it applies), a level bonus (current .66/level rounded down), and a 'permanent' bonus, which accounts for ALL other non-varying possibilities, and never exceeds +3 (I guess it could, items never get higher than +3). Because none of these are especially situational, they generally don't vary from moment to moment (though they obviously not all applicable in every situation, but that is based on the nature of what grants the bonus, not the situation). The point being, since NONE of these ever stack, and there is no 'untyped bonus' that could, you pretty much play with fixed, known, bonuses which can be written down on your character sheet.

So, basically I looked at 4e's rules and removed stuff that made the 'in play' side more complicated. I want to pay attention to fiction more than intricate rules process. I LIKED 4e, but I'm old, and my brain does not want to wrap itself around lots of fiddly moving parts, (and this @pemerton, is why I will never run BW, though I like the idea of PLAYING TB2, but @Manbearcat will have the fun of remembering exactly what the invoking your nature rules do, lol).
 

On the meaning of "meaningful", I wondered if one should say it's "something that matters to fictional positioning"? Against that, another poster made the point that not everything matters to fictional positioning** (in any game). Hence I see the rule as - do this wherever or as well as possible.

Another thought rattling around is the difference between kinds of rules available in the game. There's a gradient from
  • player says what character does, DM says what rules apply, to
  • player says what character does and what rule applies (sometimes through plain invokes, and other times through inevitability*)
Thinking in that direction, one can say that some things players say next are going to be validated by the presence of a matching rule. 5e spells are a strong example of this, as were 4e powers.


* That is, the rule that would always be judged applicable by "Jo DM" who knows all the rules, and the community practice and principles, and has nothing at stake.
** Or one resists the urge to say that there is anything that can't matter to fictional positioning, given the vastness of, and ambiguities in defining, what is in that set.

Continuing this thought, I take

A player's position is the total set of all of the legitimate gameplay options available to her at this moment of play.

And change it to

A player's position is the total set of all of the valid gameplay options available to her at this moment of play.

Valid connects in my mind to a longstanding idea of strategically viable as well as legal. That brings effectiveness into fictional positioning instead of outside it. Going forward (and in hindsight), that's what I mean by fictional positioning.
Well, I'm not sure about the 'effective' part. I think I'd call that 'tactics', or 'strategy' perhaps, and say that it is an element of play. D&D traditionally values tactics and strategy, some other games not so much. FATE based games generally, for instance, seem more concerned with the NATURE of things, rather than the details of what is most effective. OTOH, I agree that fictional positioning incorporates what factors WILL MAKE something good or bad, usually expressed through mechanics, but again that depends on the game (and again, D&D tends to lean on mechanics here, but not entirely).
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Well, I'm not sure about the 'effective' part. I think I'd call that 'tactics', or 'strategy' perhaps, and say that it is an element of play. D&D traditionally values tactics and strategy, some other games not so much. FATE based games generally, for instance, seem more concerned with the NATURE of things, rather than the details of what is most effective. OTOH, I agree that fictional positioning incorporates what factors WILL MAKE something good or bad, usually expressed through mechanics, but again that depends on the game (and again, D&D tends to lean on mechanics here, but not entirely).
I was thinking of @Manbearcat's discussion of skilled play in DW. Were we even to abolish mechanics, I felt like effectiveness is right in there with legitimacy. Asserting that every legitimate choice can be assigned an effectiveness (likely not accurately, but that's unimportant.) Provided our fiction matters at all.
 

@AbdulAlhazred , I hate to break it to you, but TB2 is significantly more rules-dense than 4e is! Overwhelmingly, I look at 4e as the rules-lightingest version of a rules-dense TTRPG (possibly) ever. So much of the game is intuitive once you understand a few core concepts, how they are integrated, what the point of the concepts and integration are, and the premise of play. The "fiddly bit" is all the intricate PC build configurations and synergies as play works toward level 30.

In my mind, skilled play in a D&D-like game depends very much on (a) the premise of play and how play trajectory is an outgrowth of that (the premise of 4e is extremely different from that of 1e) and (b) how the play loop incentivizes excellence and punishes both a single move and a sequence of moves that lack sufficient rigor (to meet or exceed the baseline standard of "skillfulness"). You (the player(s) ) are (c) trying to wrest the trajectory of play from both "the system's say" and "principled opposition (GMing appropriately)" while trying to arrest the spirals that will arise from the array of forces (the built-in hardship of play, poor dice streaks, the inevitably stray "misplay" by humans manning Team PC) aligned against you.

Consider the single bit of cognitive workspace inhabited in Torchbearer as Team PC decides if they can afford to/must Make Camp during the Adventure phase of play:

  • Assess group's Conditions.
  • Assess group's food and water.
  • Assess supply of light sources.
  • Assess gear status (eg damaged armor, dwindling supplies, dwindling inventory slots, lost precious items).
  • Assess spells/immortal burden status.
  • What camp type can we get on this Turn based on our location and what is the nature of the danger in this location (these things impact potential camp amenities and Camp Events and Obstacle ratings)? Can we afford another Turn to look for another place (Turns mean The Grind - the primary place you accrue Conditions - ticks onward toward 4 and light sources ablate)? Should we spend a Turn surveying for a good location and, if we do, how many amenities (Factors that increase the Obstacle rating of your Survivalist Skill Test)?
  • How many Obstacles are likely left in this Adventure?
  • How many Checks do we collectively have to even power tests within the Camp phase (are they sufficient and how would we even ration them in order of recovery/salvage importance?)?
  • How are we collectively and individually on Persona, Fate, Trait uses, and Nature tapping (which can augment dice pools)?
  • Do we have any Instincts that will help us here or in Camp?
  • Does this particular moment in play intersect with a Belief, Goal, or Creed?


This single decision-point is a configuration of a myriad of both fictional positioning inputs and a dizzying array of interlocked mechanical and thematic inputs. This is a singular, extremely consequential, decision-point in the Adventure phase (which may lead to an immediately subsequent Camp phase) of which there are a great many more (upstream of this and downstream of it).

If all of the various interlocked mechanical and thematic inputs of this moment of play were not table facing and it was exclusively fictional inputs + either GM-facing (or even table consensus), it would fundamentally change the emotional and mental orientation of the player(s) faced with the decision-point. The nature of the ownership of the moment (and the moments downstream from it) would be perturbed significantly.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
@AbdulAlhazred , I hate to break it to you, but TB2 is significantly more rules-dense than 4e is! Overwhelmingly, I look at 4e as the rules-lightingest version of a rules-dense TTRPG (possibly) ever. So much of the game is intuitive once you understand a few core concepts, how they are integrated, what the point of the concepts and integration are, and the premise of play. The "fiddly bit" is all the intricate PC build configurations and synergies as play works toward level 30.

In my mind, skilled play in a D&D-like game depends very much on (a) the premise of play and how play trajectory is an outgrowth of that (the premise of 4e is extremely different from that of 1e) and (b) how the play loop incentivizes excellence and punishes both a single move and a sequence of moves that lack sufficient rigor (to meet or exceed the baseline standard of "skillfulness"). You (the player(s) ) are (c) trying to wrest the trajectory of play from both "the system's say" and "principled opposition (GMing appropriately)" while trying to arrest the spirals that will arise from the array of forces (the built-in hardship of play, poor dice streaks, the inevitably stray "misplay" by humans manning Team PC) aligned against you.

Consider the single bit of cognitive workspace inhabited in Torchbearer as Team PC decides if they can afford to/must Make Camp during the Adventure phase of play:
  • Assess group's Conditions.
  • Assess group's food and water.
  • Assess supply of light sources.
  • Assess gear status (eg damaged armor, dwindling supplies, dwindling inventory slots, lost precious items).
  • Assess spells/immortal burden status.
  • What camp type can we get on this Turn based on our location and what is the nature of the danger in this location (these things impact potential camp amenities and Camp Events and Obstacle ratings)? Can we afford another Turn to look for another place (Turns mean The Grind - the primary place you accrue Conditions - ticks onward toward 4 and light sources ablate)? Should we spend a Turn surveying for a good location and, if we do, how many amenities (Factors that increase the Obstacle rating of your Survivalist Skill Test)?
  • How many Obstacles are likely left in this Adventure?
  • How many Checks do we collectively have to even power tests within the Camp phase (are they sufficient and how would we even ration them in order of recovery/salvage importance?)?
  • How are we collectively and individually on Persona, Fate, Trait uses, and Nature tapping (which can augment dice pools)?
  • Do we have any Instincts that will help us here or in Camp?
  • Does this particular moment in play intersect with a Belief, Goal, or Creed?
This single decision-point is a configuration of a myriad of both fictional positioning inputs and a dizzying array of interlocked mechanical and thematic inputs. This is a singular, extremely consequential, decision-point in the Adventure phase (which may lead to an immediately subsequent Camp phase) of which there are a great many more (upstream of this and downstream of it).

If all of the various interlocked mechanical and thematic inputs of this moment of play were not table facing and it was exclusively fictional inputs + either GM-facing (or even table consensus), it would fundamentally change the emotional and mental orientation of the player(s) faced with the decision-point. The nature of the ownership of the moment (and the moments downstream from it) would be perturbed significantly.
In campaigns I've run without, or with the barest mechanics, we still feel a scale from "Oh dear! What I meant to say was... ouch!", to "Seems doubtful", through "Everyone nods", up to "What a play, wow! Everyone shouts and laughs excitedly." Same I guess in scenarios in games with an average or abundant level of crunch, where we move forward or reach resolution, without reaching for mechanics.

It's like we have a sense of the power of what's said, even without numbers to scale it by. I do acknowledge that mechanics will inform and even change what counts as skilled play, and great mechanics may elevate it! On the other hand, at some level of mechanical rigour, players can feel that it's a mistake to make any but the most effective moves. Maybe the game isn't telling them to be in that mindset, but sometimes they go there anyway.

This isn't to commit into a defence of fewer over more mechanics. Both ways have virtue. Only to say that in the set of legitimate choices, some are good or great and some are less good or horrible. Hence the switch to "valid" (which I'm not selling to anyone, it's my switch serving specific purposes I have in mind.)

Torchbearer sounds really interesting. I haven't had an opportunity to try it yet.
 

@AbdulAlhazred , I hate to break it to you, but TB2 is significantly more rules-dense than 4e is! Overwhelmingly, I look at 4e as the rules-lightingest version of a rules-dense TTRPG (possibly) ever. So much of the game is intuitive once you understand a few core concepts, how they are integrated, what the point of the concepts and integration are, and the premise of play. The "fiddly bit" is all the intricate PC build configurations and synergies as play works toward level 30.

In my mind, skilled play in a D&D-like game depends very much on (a) the premise of play and how play trajectory is an outgrowth of that (the premise of 4e is extremely different from that of 1e) and (b) how the play loop incentivizes excellence and punishes both a single move and a sequence of moves that lack sufficient rigor (to meet or exceed the baseline standard of "skillfulness"). You (the player(s) ) are (c) trying to wrest the trajectory of play from both "the system's say" and "principled opposition (GMing appropriately)" while trying to arrest the spirals that will arise from the array of forces (the built-in hardship of play, poor dice streaks, the inevitably stray "misplay" by humans manning Team PC) aligned against you.

Consider the single bit of cognitive workspace inhabited in Torchbearer as Team PC decides if they can afford to/must Make Camp during the Adventure phase of play:

  • Assess group's Conditions.
  • Assess group's food and water.
  • Assess supply of light sources.
  • Assess gear status (eg damaged armor, dwindling supplies, dwindling inventory slots, lost precious items).
  • Assess spells/immortal burden status.
  • What camp type can we get on this Turn based on our location and what is the nature of the danger in this location (these things impact potential camp amenities and Camp Events and Obstacle ratings)? Can we afford another Turn to look for another place (Turns mean The Grind - the primary place you accrue Conditions - ticks onward toward 4 and light sources ablate)? Should we spend a Turn surveying for a good location and, if we do, how many amenities (Factors that increase the Obstacle rating of your Survivalist Skill Test)?
  • How many Obstacles are likely left in this Adventure?
  • How many Checks do we collectively have to even power tests within the Camp phase (are they sufficient and how would we even ration them in order of recovery/salvage importance?)?
  • How are we collectively and individually on Persona, Fate, Trait uses, and Nature tapping (which can augment dice pools)?
  • Do we have any Instincts that will help us here or in Camp?
  • Does this particular moment in play intersect with a Belief, Goal, or Creed?


This single decision-point is a configuration of a myriad of both fictional positioning inputs and a dizzying array of interlocked mechanical and thematic inputs. This is a singular, extremely consequential, decision-point in the Adventure phase (which may lead to an immediately subsequent Camp phase) of which there are a great many more (upstream of this and downstream of it).

If all of the various interlocked mechanical and thematic inputs of this moment of play were not table facing and it was exclusively fictional inputs + either GM-facing (or even table consensus), it would fundamentally change the emotional and mental orientation of the player(s) faced with the decision-point. The nature of the ownership of the moment (and the moments downstream from it) would be perturbed significantly.
Yeah, I don't know. I mean, sure, different implementation would produce different results, seems a fairly trivial result ;) I don't mind so much in a player-facing situation, that is when I'm the player. As a GM I look for systems where there are few, if any, exceptions to handle.

It's like HoML, everything is basically a boon, a knack, or some kind of proficiency. The only other sort of 'things' out there are challenges. Even afflictions are challenges (which actually kinda makes sense, 4e should have done that). All play runs through either the 'general' or the 'action' flavor of challenge, and at this point even attack and defense work almost exactly like a regular skill check in a general challenge. There's really very little, rules-wise the GM needs to pay attention to.

I am not sure I would label this rules-light though. It is RULES SIMPLE, but that doesn't imply there aren't a lot of rules, they just look like many many instantiations of the same thing, over and over, with the variations being focused on how they impact the fiction or vice versa.

Not that I can write rules with the precision or deftness of Luke Crane. lol. I think I might be able to best WotC though, in a sort of general architectural sense. hehe.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Not that I can write rules with the precision or deftness of Luke Crane. lol. I think I might be able to best WotC though, in a sort of general architectural sense. hehe.
They're equally great designers, just different contexts. Commercial design for a wide audience. They're forced to be risk adverse, and to aim for commonly appealing themes and accessibility.

WotC has regularly employed among the best designers around. Part of their sustained success has been due to that high bar.

A huge advantage you have - that you can make the most of - is you can do things in your design that they can't. Because of their context.
 

They're equally great designers, just different contexts. Commercial design for a wide audience. They're forced to be risk adverse, and to aim for commonly appealing themes and accessibility.

WotC has regularly employed among the best designers around. Part of their sustained success has been due to that high bar.

A huge advantage you have - that you can make the most of - is you can do things in your design that they can't. Because of their context.
Its a matter of opinion of course. I think WotC employs good commercial writers and editors. I'm not so sure about the content of their rules efforts. I mean, I get that they're highly constrained by a very picky fan base that is quite ready to pick up the torches and pitchforks. OTOH I see what I would consider some pretty basic mistakes that don't seem terribly justified by all that.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
Following further discussion and reflection, I feel it's possible to say more about "narrates". The core loop is Fiction > System > Fiction. It begins and ends in the fiction. The word "narrates" appears three times in the PHB, always in the same context (PHB 5, 6, 181): one interpretation fits all. DM can take "narrates" as an encouragement or admonishment to "produce narrative": narrating results signals a shift or arrow from system to fiction.

Others have argued that the narrative that must concern us is nearest in kind to a story. It's not a plain restatement of system state or events. Narrate results means to say something other than or additional to "The die came up 5." Producing narrative normally changes the fiction.

One concern that was raised is how to follow this rule? Is the rule broken and worthless if we can't uphold it to a hefty extent in every case? No. It's not a constitutive rule - DM already knows how to narrate (in technical terms, narrating is antecedent) - it is regulatory. It's a green light to go to fiction. It doesn't stop mattering just because I drive through it at 10 miles an hour, instead of 50. A green light doesn't force me to drive through it: it still matters even if there are times I do something else instead (maybe a U-turn.) Narrating is antecedent, "DM narrates results" is a green light to move to fiction.

Form of narration is an art. The die comes up a crit and I'm silent: everyone at the table knows it means Horatio is dead.
 
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Following further discussion and reflection, I feel it's possible to say more about "narrates". The core loop is Fiction > System > Fiction. It begins and ends in the fiction. The word "narrates" appears three times in the PHB, always in the same context (PHB 5, 6, 181): one interpretation fits all. DM can take "narrates" as an encouragement or admonishment to "produce narrative": narrating results signals a shift or arrow from system to fiction.

Others have argued that the narrative that must concern us is nearest in kind to a story. It's not a plain restatement of system state or events. Narrate results means to say something other than or additional to "The die came up 5." Producing narrative normally changes the fiction.

One concern that was raised is how to follow this rule? Is the rule broken and worthless if we can't uphold it to a hefty extent in every case? No. It's not a constitutive rule - DM already knows how to narrate (in technical terms, narrating is antecedent) - it is regulatory. It's a green light to go to fiction. It doesn't stop mattering just because I drive through it at 10 miles an hour, instead of 50. A green light doesn't force me to drive through it: it still matters even if there are times I do something else instead (maybe a U-turn.) Narrating is antecedent, "DM narrates results" is a green light to move to fiction.

Form of narration is an art. The die comes up a crit and I'm silent: everyone at the table knows it means Horatio is dead.
That may be true in terms of how 5e is constituted, but I think that actually illustrates the issue I have with it! Lets contrast again with Dungeon World. In a DW 'combat' you would start with fiction, the GM indicates some sort of threat. There ARE NO MECHANICS FOR THIS! I mean, there is the 'constitutive rules' of DW which tell GMs to make moves and how a move works. Thus the fiction itself is constitutive of the game and in-fiction narration is completely necessary to initiate any sort of move to the mechanics whatsoever (which consist entirely of players making moves which happen to invoke one of the mechanical move types). The move back to fiction is vital here too. The mechanics will tell you that something happened, but the actual effects are generally left to narration (IE the enemy may be driven back, providing an opportunity to escape, or not, but the only determinant of this is how the player and GM fictionally narrated their parts in the action). A mechanical success could mean almost anything, theoretically, for instance, as long as it is favorable to the player and contains the elements dictated by the rules for that move.

In D&D, generally, the fiction is rather less constitutive, in general, in that it is quite possible to reduce it to a very nominal element, and the game will generally 'still work'. It is literally impossible to do that in a DW game. It isn't just 'bad play', it is INCOHERENT (though I'm sure people have managed to do something they called 'playing DW' where they achieved it). Even the most perfunctory DW fiction has to actually describe the literal fictional actions taken by the PC. Also you will achieve very minimal results by simply narrating something like "I swing my sword at the orc." Yeah, the GM may say "OK, hack and slash, roll your dice..." but you can almost always do better.

I'd say early D&D can be played in a bit of a similar way, but more 'technical' versions, like 5e, get bogged down in more elaborate mechanics. Even 1e suffers from this to a degree. 4e countered it by adding a rich set of keywords and many many game elements, which together at least highly suggests where you can go beyond mere 'running the mechanics', though it is pretty easy to bog it down in 'wargame mode' too if you aren't cognizant of those techniques.

The best 4e group I had were all people that spent several years playing some WW games, they were pretty keen on the ideas of just generating fiction and not worrying too too much about the mechanical details until after. The guy playing the Halfling Rogue was the best, he would always find a way to swing into battle and use his Bowl Over (I think that's the name of it) power to knock all the enemies into a heap. It was hilarious and utterly ridiculous, but he'd figured out all these ways to leverage fiction into using powers like that. That game played pretty much like a supers game, lol.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
That may be true in terms of how 5e is constituted, but I think that actually illustrates the issue I have with it! Lets contrast again with Dungeon World. In a DW 'combat' you would start with fiction, the GM indicates some sort of threat. There ARE NO MECHANICS FOR THIS!
Almost every 5e combat that occurs at my table starts with the fiction. A few - random encounters - are a product of mechanics.

I mean, there is the 'constitutive rules' of DW which tell GMs to make moves and how a move works. Thus the fiction itself is constitutive of the game and in-fiction narration is completely necessary to initiate any sort of move to the mechanics whatsoever (which consist entirely of players making moves which happen to invoke one of the mechanical move types). The move back to fiction is vital here too. The mechanics will tell you that something happened, but the actual effects are generally left to narration (IE the enemy may be driven back, providing an opportunity to escape, or not, but the only determinant of this is how the player and GM fictionally narrated their parts in the action). A mechanical success could mean almost anything, theoretically, for instance, as long as it is favorable to the player and contains the elements dictated by the rules for that move.
In DW, assuming your characters play to their strengths, about a third of the time a DM is following a roll with a hard move. The text contains almost nothing to guide or constrain what that hard move should be. I think a DM deduces the right narration based on the conversation to that point. It should relate to the move. By intent, 5e* is DM-centric, leaning on them to establish the situation, listen to players, say roll when it counts, and narrate what follows. It should relate to the result - what characters were doing - and they're expressly empowered to make the outcome almost anything that contains that result. I'm not seeing the distinction you mean to draw? Sometimes, I sense an assumption that DM might not be supposed to exercise the power 5e expressly gives them: 5e* affirms that they are supposed to exercise that power.

Roleplaying is something we can do without rules: we don't need rules to roleplay or narrate. If our social contract has us agreeing anyway, we don't need system to secure our agreement to imagined events. "Any given rule is constructed between the text of the rules and the players and the text of their game." The final and authoritative act of design is at the table.

In D&D, generally, the fiction is rather less constitutive, in general, in that it is quite possible to reduce it to a very nominal element, and the game will generally 'still work'. It is literally impossible to do that in a DW game. It isn't just 'bad play', it is INCOHERENT (though I'm sure people have managed to do something they called 'playing DW' where they achieved it). Even the most perfunctory DW fiction has to actually describe the literal fictional actions taken by the PC. Also you will achieve very minimal results by simply narrating something like "I swing my sword at the orc." Yeah, the GM may say "OK, hack and slash, roll your dice..." but you can almost always do better.
I agree 5e by design is more resilient to differing modes of play. I'm really talking about 5e* here. In either case, I seldom experience as a DM difficulty in knowing where the conversation is flowing. If a character barely scratches a powerful creature with a ton of HP remaining, I'm not saying they gutted it. If a character is climbing, I'm saying something about climbing unless something far more important is happening right now.

I'd say early D&D can be played in a bit of a similar way, but more 'technical' versions, like 5e, get bogged down in more elaborate mechanics. Even 1e suffers from this to a degree. 4e countered it by adding a rich set of keywords and many many game elements, which together at least highly suggests where you can go beyond mere 'running the mechanics', though it is pretty easy to bog it down in 'wargame mode' too if you aren't cognizant of those techniques.
I'm glad 4e was published. It carried the arc from Book of Nine Swords forwards, to seriously explore what could be done. To me it succeeded as an RPG design. What did you think of Essentials?
 

Rather vaguely following along and I don't have a ton to comment on, but I just wanted to provide some clarification on the below two (they are not correct) so the conversation (and any silent bystanders) can course-correct their understanding (for this and future conversation).

In DW, assuming your characters play to their strengths, about a third of the time a DM is following a roll with a hard move.

Ok, so not correct.

At the beginning of play, a character's (unaugmented...and a fair stretch of the time they'll be augmented by "take +1) strength is +2. Not terribly far into the game, this will turn into +3.

You're going to get a 6- on 2d6+2 only 16.67 % of the time.

You're going to get a 6- on 2d6+3 (+2 and take +1 or +3) only 8.34 % of the time.

So hard moves aren't going to come off against your thematic shtick very often. Even at +1 its only a hair more than 1 in 4 moves.

Now you're going to be getting a ton of soft moves for sure (that is the intent of the system - to engineer an abundance of 7-9 results).

The text contains almost nothing to guide or constrain what that hard move should be.

Ok, so this is also not correct.

PBtA games overflow with integrated "system say" and GM instruction to constrain your hard move:

"Make a move that follows (from the fiction)"

"Tell them the consequences (and ask if what they want to do)"

"Fill their lives with adventure (which is an expression of the premise of play - which is their Alignment, Bonds, and the End of Session questions)" and "Think dangerous."

Overwhelmingly (along with the system's say and the agenda), this is going to straight-forward inform consequences of 6- moves.

So I present a danger or a looming threat like a buffeting wing attack that from a monster's move which has a damage expression of b[2d6 +2] w/ Forceful Tag. That hits? Ok, I'm rolling that dice and I'm applying Forceful tag (so they get thrown into somewhere precarious or disadvantageous, worsening their movespace). I don't get to just ignore the established fiction and make a hard move detached from the threat I've telegraphed (with the Defy Danger resolving).

Same thing goes for any Defy Danger related to topographical hazards or social moves like Parley (or playbook-based). Something clearly is in the crosshairs as a result of the fiction that we're following (the moment we're zoomed in on) or we're tightening it up in the course of conversation if it isn't as "crosshairs-ey" as it seems (eg does this 6- when you're under threat from a glacial crevasse where you've wedged your sword you're desperately holding onto keep you topside mean your sword breaks and is ruined but you grasp the edge and pull yourself up...or does the sword come free from its wedged place and fall with you down into the deep dark and now you're in a cold, dark place with 1d10 no armor less HP...but with your weapon and supplies?...tell them the consequences and ask what they want out to this).

The only area that becomes difficult to adjudicate is the divination/perception/relationship type stuff that isn't something like Evil Eye (which is encoded) or a Scout moves during Perilous Journey (because that is fairly what the fallout will be...a danger gets the drop on you). You're talking Discern Realities, Spout Lore, Connections, various and sundry divinations/communions like Heirloom Weapon, Communion of Whispers et al.

These sorts of things you're going to often "think offscreen" and "present an opportunity w/ or w/o cost or show a downside" or "unwelcome truth" or "approaching threat." The fiction and the principles and agenda and characters and conversation will converge to winnow a 6- result even in these cases, but they require the most skill and most deftness of handling for GMs to be sure.

But the actual cognitive workspace a GM is inhabiting during play and the conversation is pushing toward yields consequences that are profoundly far away from unconstrained or anarchy. You're very constrained as a GM in dungeon world (by system's say, by fiction-to-date, by agenda, by principles, by the premise/themes of play that have emerged/congealed to date, by the aggregated elements in the shared imagined space right now).[/QUOTE]
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
At the beginning of play, a character's (unaugmented...and a fair stretch of the time they'll be augmented by "take +1) strength is +2. Not terribly far into the game, this will turn into +3.

You're going to get a 6- on 2d6+2 only 16.67 % of the time.

You're going to get a 6- on 2d6+3 (+2 and take +1 or +3) only 8.34 % of the time.

So hard moves aren't going to come off against your thematic shtick very often. Even at +1 its only a hair more than 1 in 4 moves.

Now you're going to be getting a ton of soft moves for sure (that is the intent of the system - to engineer an abundance of 7-9 results).
The exact proportion isn't at issue: there are some, yes.

Ok, so this is also not correct.

PBtA games overflow with integrated "system say" and GM instruction to constrain your hard move:

"Make a move that follows (from the fiction)"

"Tell them the consequences (and ask if what they want to do)"

"Fill their lives with adventure (which is an expression of the premise of play - which is their Alignment, Bonds, and the End of Session questions)" and "Think dangerous."

Overwhelmingly (along with the system's say and the agenda), this is going to straight-forward inform consequences of 6- moves.
What I am saying - my subtext - is that it is as (in)correct as to say the same thing of 5e*.

[Have you read the DW Guide? one interesting piece of guidance in the text is (here quoting)
"1. The GM gives the setup of a threat, but not the conclusion.
2. The player responds and probably rolls some dice.
3. The GM narrates the results, based on the player's roll."]

So I present a danger or a looming threat like a buffeting wing attack that from a monster's move which has a damage expression of b[2d6 +2] w/ Forceful Tag. That hits? Ok, I'm rolling that dice and I'm applying Forceful tag (so they get thrown into somewhere precarious or disadvantageous, worsening their movespace). I don't get to just ignore the established fiction and make a hard move detached from the threat I've telegraphed (with the Defy Danger resolving).
[Last night, characters are taking on the Atropal in ToA. At last! (This dungeon is not at all to my liking.) The Atropal is spending Legendary actions to wail. It's imposing exhaustion. Worsening their movespace.]

Same thing goes for any Defy Danger related to topographical hazards or social moves like Parley (or playbook-based). Something clearly is in the crosshairs as a result of the fiction that we're following (the moment we're zoomed in on) or we're tightening it up in the course of conversation if it isn't as "crosshairs-ey" as it seems (eg does this 6- when you're under threat from a glacial crevasse where you've wedged your sword you're desperately holding onto keep you topside mean your sword breaks and is ruined but you grasp the edge and pull yourself up...or does the sword come free from its wedged place and fall with you down into the deep dark and now you're in a cold, dark place with 1d10 no armor less HP...but with your weapon and supplies?...tell them the consequences and ask what they want out to this).

The only area that becomes difficult to adjudicate is the divination/perception/relationship type stuff that isn't something like Evil Eye (which is encoded) or a Scout moves during Perilous Journey (because that is fairly what the fallout will be...a danger gets the drop on you). You're talking Discern Realities, Spout Lore, Connections, various and sundry divinations/communions like Heirloom Weapon, Communion of Whispers et al.

These sorts of things you're going to often "think offscreen" and "present an opportunity w/ or w/o cost or show a downside" or "unwelcome truth" or "approaching threat." The fiction and the principles and agenda and characters and conversation will converge to winnow a 6- result even in these cases, but they require the most skill and most deftness of handling for GMs to be sure.
I agree, but when it comes to text saying exactly what to narrate next, there are almost no cases of that.

But the actual cognitive workspace a GM is inhabiting during play and the conversation is pushing toward yields consequences that are profoundly far away from unconstrained or anarchy. You're very constrained as a GM in dungeon world (by system's say, by fiction-to-date, by agenda, by principles, by the premise/themes of play that have emerged/congealed to date, by the aggregated elements in the shared imagined space right now).
And likewise, in 5e, DMing is profoundly far from unconstrained anarchy. 5e leaves more of principles and agenda to DM to bring to the table. One might say - "It is preferable for an RPG text to articulate principles" - but one can't say - "DM is not be influenced by principles if they are not in the text." One cannot say that DM will not have principles in mind when narrating. DM has to have them in mind: that's the only way they can narrate in the first place!

A well-known example is the principle of prompt response. Suppose lacking this principle I DM. At what time following result should I narrate? Ten minutes? A day? A year?! [What constitutes a dramatic pause versus broken conversation? And consider how the principle changes at end of session, where a week might become acceptable.]
 
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