With August halfway done, I thought I'd share what I've come up with so far (since it will be easier than one massive truckload post at the end. #MoveMonth (from @stophackandroll) gives a word or phrase and asks you to write a PbtA-style move for it. #RPGaDay2020 (from Autocratik) OOH invites small meditations on roleplaying. Here's days 1-16.
When you duel with your love, roll. On a 10+ something intervenes: a friend, other enemies, realization. On a 7-9, one of you is wounded (choose) but each gains an insight about the other. On a miss, you cradle them in your arms as they die, so much left unsaid.
2 A Poll of Players
When you agree to put on the play, poll the players on what they wish to perform (comedy, tragedy, farce, etc). Randomly assign roles (director, lead, effects, costume) as adults never listen. In order players pick: title, hurdle, advantage, and why the play's cursed.
3 A Thousands and One
When the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one, roll. On a 10+, a slight disorder of the stomach caused you to imagine the Martian explosions. On a 7-9, it is a hoax causing panic and fear. On a miss…But still they come. (apologies to Jeff Wayne)
4 Shift Narrative Control
When you enter the big chase set-piece, the GM describes the camera POV for the 1st sequence up to the huge obstacle, then passes narrative control to player 1. They describe how that's overcome, then up to the next obstacle. Continue until the GM resolves a finale move.
5 Go Fast
When you kick in the boost in a desperate play to make it over the finish line, roll. On a 10+ you sail through to victory. On a 7-9 one of your rivals grabs the drift and steals first place from you. On a miss, the Blue Shell catches you.
6 Backroom Deal
When you flashback to a deal made w/ the villain's lieutenant roll. On a 10+ they point a gun at their boss, giving you an edge. On a 7-9, the mastermind cackles as the incinerator doors open under their former assistant's feet. On a miss, It's a double-double cross!
7 Under the Hood for Fellowship 2e
by @Sam Z (he/him)
What is thy bidding, my master?
When you take this move, immediately narrate a scene where you reveal a greater threat than the current overlord.
Create a new level 1 Overlord with 5 stats. The current Overlord is demoted to General.
8 Clocks on Clocks
When it's the final countdown, roll. On a 10+ you unburden yourself and speak what you always kept secret. On a 7-9, you both speak, interrupting each other but that moment's almost enough. On a 6- you've waited too long & left so much unsaid. Perhaps in the next life.
9 Temporary Permission
When you add that podcast feed everyone's talking about, roll. On a hit, you download it easily. On a 10+ it’s well organized and tagged letting you find what you want. On a 6- there are too many episode and you run thru your data plan. On any result, leave a review.
10 Out Maneuver
When you try to exit after they start telling you about their character, roll. On a 10+ you extricate yourself. On a 7-9, you escape but must throw someone else under the bus. On a miss, you're penned in and forced to nod along. Mark exhaustion.
11 Out of this World
(for MotW) by
@Max Kämmerer (he/him, they/them)
When you first encounter something so strange, terrifying, or otherworldly that you can hardly comprehend it, each player rolls + Cool. This move is meant for ancient or even alien creatures. A regular old vampire won’t get you this riled up, but an ancient Old One or extraterrestrial being might… the Keeper decides when this move is triggered, but players may suggest that their character should have to roll it if their character is particularly vulnerable to this kind of creature.
On a 10+ you keep your cool and take 2 Hold.
On a 7-9 you barely catch yourself and take 1 Hold but -1 Forward to your next aggressive action. On a 6- you are terrified, stunned, the GM may make a move as hard as they want. Take -1 Ongoing when acting aggressively against it until you Roll a 10+ doing so or you had a moment to gather yourself.
When spending hold describe how that looks in the fiction.
Spend Hold 1-for-1 to:
- Get in a cheap shot. Take +1 Forward to your next aggressive move.
- Take Cover. Take +1 Forward to your next defensive move.
- Distract it. Give someone else +1 Forward to their next move.
12 Qualifying Statement
When you finally gather yourself together and confess your love, roll. On a 10+, you don't manage to confess, but through a misunderstanding they invite you along with them to some non-romantic event, reinforcing their cluelessness. On a 7-9, your confession's interrupted by something (a duel challenge, fire drill, charging bull, etc). On a 6- choose: they reject you, they don't remember you, they interrupt to ask advice on confessing to someone else.
13 Learn from Each Other
(for Hearts of Wulin) When you start a dual training montage both participants roll 2d6, pick one die, and then reveal their choice. On a 10+ you both work in harmony—picking up on each other’s strengths & weaknesses in a fantastic ballet. Both of you take +1 Forward to Duel or New Technique & gain a bond w/ the other. On a 7-9, the practice fighting turns more intense. The PC who put forward the low die marks an element. The PC with the high die may mark XP or create a bond. On a tie, both characters do both.
On a miss, the training reveals the tension between the two and the fighting becomes real. The PC who put forward the high die marks an element and reveals a secret to the other. On a tie, both characters do this.
14 A Radical Crawl
When you bow down before your overlord in hopes of changing their viewpoint or behavior, roll. On a 10+ their laughter at your idealism is sincere, but their promises are not. However they spare you punishment. On a 7-9 your temerity irritates them and they inflict mild but ongoing punishment at random. On a miss choose one: you “disappear,” they inflict harsh penalties on you and your loved ones, you’re completely co-opted by their system.
15 Reverse XP
When you roll with your lowest stat and score a hit, mark XP.
16 Action Reaction
When you try to rewind time, roll. On a hit you make your move again. On a 7-9 the move has an additional complication: suffer harm, break something valuable, hurt a loved one. On a miss, fate recoils. The original result happens w/ a bonus GM hard move.
While the Gauntlet began in Houston, the first time many heard of it was through our dual podcasts: The Gauntlet Podcast, looking at indie games played, and Discern Realities, dedicated to Dungeon World. Online gaming, organized via Meetups+ complemented that.
Day 2 Change
The big change for The Gauntlet came when we started our Patreon to support the podcasts. Jason wanted folks to get their money's worth and so started Codex Magazine, which would grow into an amazing thing supporting rpg writers and artists.
Day 3 Thread
The thread running through The Gauntlet's history has been a focus on playing-- actually getting games to the table. We started with a couple of meeting apps-- and got kicked from one because we got too big. That led us to create our own dedicated calendar app.
Day 4 Vision
This year the Gauntlet Community's leaned into our vision as an online gaming club working to support, teach, and introduce folks to online gaming. We've done 2 free open gaming weekends so far & we're working on another round of GM workshop/camps open to everyone.
Day 5 Tribute
Last year we lost Paul Edson, a friend of community. He'd been editor for Fear of a Black Dragon, sharing an ENnie for it. His death hit everyone. He's still missed. Rich Rogers' ENnie-winning Hit the Streets might not exist w/o him. Same for Gauntlet Comics Universe.
Day 6 Forest
Anyone run a game and describe something as a forest and then go, "wait, are these actually woods? Is there a difference? is it a stand of trees? is there another word I ought to be using?"
Because home stay has increased that like 300% for me with lots of words.
Day 7 Couple
Has your relationship to dice changed? Handfuls and dice varieties used to be the standard, but we've swung back to single die-type pools and two dice resolutions.
Not as satisfying to shake in a Crown Royal bag.
Plus now nearly all rolls are virtual...
Dear Past Self: You know what would be cool? Writing down the names of NPCs you create off the cuff, maybe with a little statement about who they freaking are. Would that be too hard?
–Sincerely Self About to Run the Next Session.
Which weighs more, a ton of D&D or a ton of PbtA?
We have a free program Gauntlet Gameway giving early rsvps to our online calendar to gamers from marginalized communities (BIPOC, LGTBQ, genderfluid, women, etc) and/or under financial hardship. We want that accessible to more people.
Yes, the second edition of Nobilis is gorgeous, wondrous, and a singular work of art. But it just doesn't fit on a shelf with the other books...
If there's a message we want folks to take away from The Gauntlet online session it's a) that online play can be dynamic & fun and b) playing with safety tools enhances and focuses the play. We want to model that with every session we post, record, and talk about.
Take a breather. Pre-Covid I'd run 5 sessions a week, 3 on the Gauntlet. I love, love running, but realized I was burning out. I cut a game, now doing just 2 per for us. I had weird guilt. You want to be the good GM, but you need to take care of you.
(as in Bruce) The biggest tension in gaming is between the superhero rpg which has deep stories & character play and that which has involved power & combat mechanics. How do we get the feels of Masks and the conflict complexity of Mutants & Masterminds?
Running online isn’t like running f2f. There’s a set of techniques and frameworks to make it click. But those shouldn’t be a barrier. We have a collection to help here:
If you need help or have questions, message us.
Yes, it’s harder to read cues and reactions when you play online. But that just means you have to be bigger, flashier, more expressive. Make faces, lean into the camera, gasp at events. React big and bold when cool things happen in other folks’ scenes.