What happened here recently?
Checking-in on Anglekite and Scenic Dunnsmouth (00:23)
What should I be on the lookout for?
Plundergrounds zine with Ray Otus (05:12)
What here is not what it appears to be?
Ways of kicking-off a new adventure (20:44)
What here is useful or valuable to me?
A small hack for tracking expendable, multi-use items (31:09)
What is about to happen?
Our ongoing Comic Strip AP featuring the adventures of Ramshackle Crow (35:32)
Getting frisky (36:15)
Hell hound (38:31)
David's Notes re: his mass combat custom procedure
Listening to the most recent +1 Forward with Rich Rogers and Davide Pignedoli has me thinking there might be a way of taking something Davide does in City of Judas to facilitate a large scale conflict and the swingy-ness of a large scale conflict: have your players throw a d6 into the middle of the table, starting with a number facing up. We will call this d6 the “battle die.” The higher the number, the more advantaged the players are, and the closer they are to winning the conflict at the outset. Then, have the players describe what they are doing, engaging the normal DW moves. Anytime that will trigger a move in which the players engage with the large scale conflict, layer this custom move over the top of the move they are doing.
When you make a move that may help in the large scale conflict, in addition to an 10+ results, describe how the battle is going in your favor and advance the battle die by one. On a 6-, you may swap a result from your d6 for the battle die if it will boost your result to 7-9. If you do so, the GM will describe how something in the battle is going against your forces.
When the GM makes a hard move conflicting with the player’s large scale conflict, the GM may additionally reduce the battle die by one.
If the battle die would ever be forced to exceed 6, your forces have won! Describe how your forces have won the day. If the battle die would ever be reduced below 1, you have failed, the GM will describe what this day has cost you and your forces.
by Maxime Lacoste
A tale is whispered in locals where scoundrels, rogues and near-do-wells like to gather. It relates the fall of an almost forgotten deity:
“Leelith, the Lady of shadows. She was not always called that you see. Once fair and kind, she was amongst the caretakers of the good folks. But hidden in her hearth was a seed of greed. She craved the powers of her brother the sun god and his dominion over light. She would dream and dream long of all the good that would befall her people if only his might was hers.
No one remembers when or how, but we do know this. At one point she tried to usurp her brother’s power and of course she failed.
In punishment, she was cast from where the gods dwell and sent to the Dark Portal to serve Death. Forever changed by her ordeal she was now pale of skin and dark of hair. Death found her very much to his liking. He was so smitten by Lilith beauty, that he offered her part of his dominion.
That his how she became the Lady of shadows for all that is not of the light became hers. Even now though, she still deeply craves for the light that was forever denied to her.
...Here comes the sweet part.
If like the Lady of shadows, you crave things out of your reach, seek her out. If your need is strong enough and your commitment true enough, she just might grant you the means to your ends...”
SHRINE OF LEELITH
Shrines dedicated to the Lady of shadows can be found in hidden places where the light from the sun never shines.
Her effigy is made of a flat cut-out piece of cold iron standing upright.
To properly pray to her, a devout must light a candle behind this effigy and face her shadow cast on the opposing wall. It is said passing in front of her shadow is cause for her ire.
When supplicating to the Lady of shadows at her shrine roll +CHA.
*On 10+ Leelith grants you perfect vision in any kind of mundane or magical darkness.
*On 7-9 as above but any light source brighter than a torch is very painful to you. Suffer an ongoing -1 until the source of light is negated.
These effects last until the next sunrise.
*On 6- the Lady of shadows finds you wanting...
Beware of your own shadow.
SHADOW MASTER Compendium Class
When you crave something out of your reach and commit suicide at a shrine of the Lady of shadows, this compendium class becomes available to you.
You will not reach the Dark Portal but instead arrive at the Shadow Court. Describe to the DM what its like.
Leelith herself will receive you in audience and accept your own shadow as a proof of your devotion. You will then be sent back to the land of the living.
You are forever changed. Your skin becomes pale and cold to the touch. Your hair and pupils turn black as night. You also never cast a shadow. It dwells in the Shadow Court now.
[ X ] Lifting of the Veil
Leelith grants you perfect vision in any kind of mundane or magical darkness. Any light source brighter than a torch is very painful to you. Suffer an ongoing -1 until the source of light is negated.
[ ] Cloaked in shadow
When you stand still in any shadow big enough to cover you completely, no one never spot you until you make a movement.
[ ] Shadow steps
When you step in any shadow big enough to cover you completely, you may emerge from any other appropriately sized one originally in your sight.
[ ] Shadow play
When you take control of shadows in your sight, you may animate them however you wish. Controlled shadows can never detach from their point of origin.
You may Parley without leverage when displaying your dominion on others shadow to cause fear.
[ ] Serving shadow
Requires: Shadow play
When you take control of a shadow in your sight it may become tangible for a time, roll+CHA.
*On 10+ you may use a shadow to deal your own damage dice to its owner. A shadow can also lift objects within its reach for a minute or so or do any other things possible for its form like close a door or untie a knot.
*On 7-9 as above but the shadow is weak and the effect last only an instant. An attack is but a distracting slap. Objects can only be pushed, shoved or thrown.
*On a 6- Leelith finds you irritating. The DM will tell you what happens.
by Daniel Fowler
The ancient snake god Kar-Suet teaches us that strength and ruthlessness are the only things that matter. Survival requires abandoning your human weaknesses and grasping as much power as possible. Your motives mean nothing if you can not force your will upon the world, coil around it and squeeze out what you need.
When you ritually mingle your blood with that of one of the immortal serpent children of the snake god Kar-Suet, your features immediately take on a reptilian appearance and your humanity starts to slip away. you may take the following move the next time you level up.
Survival of the Fittest
Your mission is clear and you will not allow anyone to stand in your way. Gain an XP whenever you kill or orchestrate the death of a rival or obstacle to your quest for power and authority.
The following moves can then be taken as advanced moves.
Your mouth drips with venom that paralyzes your prey and causes them unbearable agony. Deal your class damage if you manage to bite your target.
You may elect to lose a normal limb to ignore the other effects of a single attack or damaging GM move. The limb that regrow after a full day is obviously reptilian and unnatural.
Deep in their hearts the prey knows that it exists only to nourish the hunter. When you lock eyes with your prey you may defy danger with Charisma to paralyze their body for as long as you hold its gaze.
Sssnakes, it has to be Sssnakes
You may freely converse and parley with serpents of all kinds. Anyone who mocks your lisp should sleep lightly.
by Michael Barford
When you have passed beyond the Black Gate with revenge still burning in your heart, erupt from your shallow grave and grasp vengeance.
You may take this move immediately upon your resurrection:
Spirit of Vengeance
You have lost your sense of identity but have been granted a supernatural endurance. Erase your character's name and add 10 to your total HP.
If you are the Spirit of Vengeance these count as class moves for you; you can choose from them when you level up:
Your soul is guided by a solitary purpose. Erase your character's alignment and race and add this question to the Discern Realities list: “What is the quickest route to revenge?” When you act on the answer, in addition to gaining +1 forward, mark XP.
Your allies only get in the way of your mission. When you roll a 6-, you may erase one of your character's bonds and treat the result as a 7-9.
Your appearance is twisted by your strong desire. When you Parley, you don't need leverage if you erase one description of your look.
The moment you have been waiting for is finally here. When vengeance is at hand, you may successfully acquire it. Nothing will stand in your way. Destroy your character sheet (preferably with fire) and describe with great relish how your character achieves ultimate vengeance. Keep in mind; sometimes the best revenge is a life well lived.
The Oneironaut (Alt Name: The Dreamer)
by Will P
When you have spent a year in meditation with the yogis of the Shakyamuni mountain clan, the next time you gain a level you can choose this move instead of a move from your class:
When you witness something impossible in real life, such as magic, you may roll +WIS.
At any time, spend 1 Lucid to:
If you have Reality Check, you may take one of the following moves when you level up:
The waking world bends to your whims. At any time you may spend 2 Lucid to attempt something impossible within the fiction. Roll Defy Danger to see what happens.
At any time you may spend 1 Lucid to Volley with WIS. Your damage die increases to d10 and you may choose to have either the forceful or the messy tag. If you would choose to reduce your ammo by one, instead spend 1 additional Lucid.
Only a Guest
At any time, you may spend 1 Lucid to change established details of a hostile creature.
by Phillip Wessels
When you drown in the fizzy, twisting currents of the mirrorwater, you feel yourself dissolve into its effervescence.
You see your allies move on. Are they grieving? You see your possessions redistributed. How do people make them their own? You see a doom come to fruition. How does hope die?
You awaken feeling the sand of the shore and the harsh bite of the wind on your wet, naked body. You feel completely revitalized--energized, even. It occurs to you that it has only been a moment, and what you saw was but a strange dream. The first person you encounter will advise you of subtle changes in your appearance (things luminescent, metallic and/or pristine).
You may take this move immediately upon waking; also gain 2 Constitution.
When you take harm that splits you open, roll+Con. On a hit, your wound doesn’t bleed; instead, it explodes with a blinding splash of liquid light. If this startles someone, take +1 forward to hack and slash towards them. The wound glitters and it is apparent to any that you are unnatural. On a 7-9, choose one: you repulse others with your eeriness, the curious objectify you, or you gain the full attention of a threat.
If you took the above move, the following moves count as class moves for you, which you may take when you level up:
When you put yourself into a liquid, it flashes with light. The light dims down to a soft glow; the liquid is cleared of any attributes except color and flavor, and is now slightly flizzy. If it is consumed by anyone else it grants them 3 hit points and +1 forward; if they do not have more within a day, they go into withdrawal and gain -1 ongoing for a day.
When you smack into a hard surface, roll+Con. On a hit, you splash out of another surface any distance away. On a 7-9, choose one: you don’t bring any belongings with you, you attract the attention of a threat, or you need a moment to ground yourself (-1 forward if you don’t). On a 12+, you may create a temporary portal that anyone can use.
When you are in contact with metal it rings slightly, has a more glittery appearance, and is found to glow if in the darkest dark. When this metal clashes with metal, roll+Con. On a hit, the air ripples and a spray of white sparks explode from the contact. The sparks ignite pure white flames. If someone is completely consumed by the flames, they are found nearby having drowned to death. On a 10+, the other metal explodes away. On a 7-9, choose one: the metal phases through and out of your touch, the ripple stuns you and you need a moment to ground yourself (-1 forward if you don’t), or the flames endanger an ally.
When you have a moment of physical intimacy with someone, roll+Con. On a hit, ask a question about them as if you had succeeded in discerning realities. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 1. You may spend your hold one-for-one at any time on the following options: they feel the urge to do what they think you want; they are distracted and take -1 forward; or they feel energized and take +1 forward. There is a physical tell of your influence; describe what it is.
When you befriend a monkey, you may take the following move when you level up:
Monkey Friends are the Best Friends
You and your monkey have a special bond. You can’t talk to it per se, but it will always act as you wish it to. When you and your monkey work together, take +1 forward to any action where a distraction or an extra set of hands would be useful.
You may then select the following as class moves:
When you let your monkey roam for a while in a civilized area and he returns, roll. On a 10+ your monkey gives you an interesting or valuable item. On a 7-9, the item is also dangerous or draws unwelcome attention to you.
Your monkey is always looking out for you. It will scream at the first sign of danger, ensuring you are never surprised. When an enemy would get the drop on you, you get to act first instead.
Dial M for Monkey
Your monkey is exceptionally smart. It can follow complex orders and understand speech, though you are the only one who can understand what it says. When you consult your monkey while attempting to discern realities, you can ask one additional question, even on a miss.
Mean Old Minerva’s Wagon of Gifts and Stories
Old Minerva has lived in her covered wagon, traveling from town to town, for as long as anyone can remember. Local women go to her for advice on many practical things, and children love her stories. She is generally tolerant of those who call on her, though she does not suffer idiots, and has a particularly short temper with men. She is never far from her wagon, which is filled with many strange and old things.
If you happen to meet Old Minerva in your travels, maintain a respectful tone with her. She always has something to help with whatever vexes you, but you may have to pay for it with a bit of your dignity.
Custom Move: Minerva’s Wagon
If you suffer Minerva’s abuse while politely asking for her help, roll+CHA. If you are a man, you make this roll at an additional -1. *On a 10+, she has something that will help you, either an object or information, and she offers it freely. *On a 7-9, as above, but she asks for something in return. The GM will tell you what.
The First Fear
They say all men grew-up in fear of a certain stick, and the First Fear is the progenitor of those sticks. If you are a woman brandishing the First Fear, your promise to withhold violence from the stick is always leverage in a Parley with a man.
Old Minerva's Bag of Sweets
This bag always contains a handful of sweets hidden amongst the rags, buttons and lint. You may always use the sweets as leverage in a Parley with a child.
Old Minerva’s Broom
The way Old Minerva sees it, most people are careless fools; apt to misplace their foolish heads, if not for the fact they’re attached to their foolish necks. Still, she often advises that giving the house a good sweep is a terrific way to find the things you’ve lost, as well as calm your nerves and clarify your thinking. Her own broom is particularly helpful in this regard. If you Discern Realities while sweeping an area with Old Minerva’s Broom, you may ask one additional question from the list, even on a 6-.
Old Minerva's Magnifying Stone
This perfectly clear shard of quartz helps Old Minerva read small labels, and closely examine folks complaining about skin spots, yellowing teeth, or whatever damn thing they’re on about today. If you closely examine a person or object with the Magnifying Stone, the GM will tell you a single fact about the subject that is hidden or secret.
Needle of Idle Safety
The way Old Minerva sees it, idle hands get up to no good, and it’s best to chop them off. Given that, you should endeavor to keep them busy, and the mending of clothes is both practical and economical. The Needle of Idle safety is distinguishable from normal needles by the fact it never rusts, and cannot be bent or broken. If you accidentally prick your finger while using the needle, it means some sort of danger is imminent, though the precise nature of the danger may be unclear. Perhaps something hostile is approaching your position, or your comrade’s amazing plan is actually quite a stupid one, or the minstrel telling you tales by the fire has ill intentions.
This marvelous beeswax, said to be a specially refined version taken from hives that have survived terrible storms, is often stored in a jar with a tiny, decorative weathervane affixed to the lid. Any object covered in the wax will not succumb to environmental hazards related to the weather. A scroll will stay dry in the rain; swords will not rust. A room will stay dry and warm if you seal its windows with the wax, even during the most violent blizzard or storm. The wax can even be rubbed on clothing and armor, transferring its protection to the wearer.
Chester the Cat was Mean Old Minerva's first and only pet. When he died quite suddenly from unnatural causes, she had him stuffed. To her surprise and delight, the taxidermied tabby was even more charming and loyal than before! If Chester is in your possession, and you leave some food out for him at night, you will awake with the certainty that a cat was sleeping on top of you. Chester might even wake you if someone with ill intentions approaches during the night.
Triton War Basin
Marvels of triton ingenuity, the war basins are a terror to inland and coastal kingdoms alike. These mobile fortresses resemble massive, stone bowls, and are propelled through the air by powerful deep sea magic. The outer surface of the bowl is carved into a labyrinth of half-flooded caves; the interior volume filled with seawater. A common tactic has the war basin flooding enemy strongholds and formations with torrents of water from above, while raiders and shamans sail down to dispatch any survivors.
Reach, 1 weight
This bony spiral is the symbol of office for a triton war basin’s Master of Pools and Fountains. The wand grants its wielder the ability to move and shape water as if it was an extension of his own limbs.
This whale bone club is the symbol of office for a war basin’s Chief of Drainage, who is tasked with clearing blockages and stagnant pools from its passages. When smacked against a stone surface separating two open spaces less than a club-length apart, a hole opens up to connect both spaces. The hole can be made as small as a pinprick, or wide enough for a man to crawl through.
These fish-shaped bottles are used by tritons to refill the water in their war basins when they are performing inland operations. The interior of the bottle is an extra-dimensional space. When positioned at the bottom of a lake or pond, and the stopper removed, it will suck down the entire body of water, creating a powerful vortex. So long as the stopper is replaced, the entire body of water can be safely transported in the bottle. Once the stopper is removed, the water will burst out in a powerful geyser, smashing the bottle to pieces.
This potion is used by triton raiders to perform aerial assaults on the lands below the war basin. When you drink the potion, you grow large, multi-colored fins that allow you to safely glide through the air. The fins fall away after a short time.
The liquid inside these tiny, pearlescent vials smells of sweet shellfish and sea-spray. If you swallow the liquid inside, your lungs instantly fill with seawater. For tritons, the liquid is a reminder of home, and functions as a narcotic. For land-dwellers, drinking the liquid is a death sentence.
Near, 1 weight
These enchanted nets, made of cave fisher silk, cannot be removed once they have entangled a target. Speaking the word "release" in Triton is the only known way of getting them loose.
The Ehnita Onekwenhsa Pact
by Andy Katz
As is known to all, living things with red blood in their veins only come to be on worlds with a Moon, and that those beings with the sacred power to Bear offspring are bound deeply to this life-giving force. In exchange for a few children over a lifetime, the bodies of the Bearers offer to the Moon their life-blood each moon-cycle.
What is known only to a few, is the way that one may invoke the terrible power of the Pact, and exchange all one's future children to summon and bind a Child of the Moon.
When you sit upon the Altar and offer your womb to the full Moon according to the occult customs of your people, a torrent of blood pours forth from the Altar's cleft, and out of the blood-soaked ground is born a Child of the Moon. The GM will describe its otherworldly appearance. Roll+CON.
On a 10+: Choose two.
On a 7-9: Choose one, and reduce your Constitution by 1 permanently.
The Blood Pond
by Judd Karlman
When you step into the Blood Pond while holding a symbol of life and a symbol of death, the symbol of life becomes a living construct and asks you permission to wield the symbol of death.
If you hand the symbol to it, it will come to life, roll +X, where X is every time you have visited the Black Gate and returned and/or how many times you have given birth. If you do not hand the construct the symbol of death, it will shriek hateful noises and words at you, dissolving into the Blood Pond.
On a 10+, hold 3.
On a 7-9, hold 1.
On a miss, the construct will attempt to kill you and hold your heart and skull as symbols of life and death in order to begin creating its own army of constructs.
The Spring of Rulers
by Derek Grimm
See image below.
What happened here recently?
Episode 30 celebration and Monster of the Week (00:22)
What should I be on the lookout for?
The Menagerie of Minor Magic (06:23)
What here is not what it appears to be?
The Bard’s Arcane Art move (08:27)
Arcane Art during downtime or Make Camp (11:56)
Ways of making Arcane Art more interesting (15:25)
What here is useful or valuable to me?
The Goddess of Blood & Cruel Fate (19:17)
What is about to happen?
Our ongoing comic strip AP featuring the adventures of Ramshackle Crow (23:07)
The City of Dis (23:48)
The job (28:13)
Finding the Hell of Burning Vaults (32:46)
The Menagerie of Minor Magic
The Goddess of Blood & Cruel Fate
by Jim Morrison
When vengeance pulses in you veins, travel west on the night of the blood moon until you reach the miserable stump of the Tree of Eternal Perfection. There, drink of blood drawn from your enemy or from a suitable proxy, eat an unhealthy portion of the wild red-rooted wormwood, and go to sleep beside the stump, all while clutching a drawn blade. Roll +bonds.* On a hit, you dream a vision of the Goddess of Blood and Cruel Fate, who weaves the destinies of men in crimson.
On 10+, the Goddess asks you when and where you will meet your enemy. The words you speak will come true, though it will appear to be the doing of mortal hands. When you wake, you expel the blood drunk as a black mass.
On 7-9, the Goddess asks what advantage will attain when next you meet your enemy. Impress her in your answer with cleverness or flattery, for the Goddess is fickle and may give the advantage you name to your enemy instead. When you wake, you expel the blood drunk, and much more, as liquid.
On 6-, you suffer terrible seizures. The MC makes a hard move.
* If you are not playing with bonds, or with the MC’s permission, determine your bonus as follows: name an interesting personal detail about the other character that your character could have learned in the fiction, but which has not explicitly come up during play. The MC may ask follow-ups, such as how you know this, or why it is important to you. If the MC substantially accepts your addition to the fiction, gain +1 to the roll. Repeat as the MC permits (the MC will judge the strength of the relationship and the relevance of the details to the current task). Max +3.
Discern Realities is sponsored by Scablands Press, publisher of The Indie Hack.
Discern Realities is produced by Jason Cordova & David LaFreniere; edited by David LaFreniere.