With August finished, I'm sharing the second half of these lists. You can find the earlier half here. #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 17-31.
When you attempt to preserve a volume against vermin and the ravages of time, roll. On a 10+ you keep it safe and intact. On a 7-9 you only lose a portion of it—the cover, illustrations, a chapter, etc. On a miss, your efforts backfire and the pages become a nest for a hungry something.
When you double down on a lie with an elaborate fabulist tale, roll. On a hit they either buy in completely or are overwhelmed at your audacity. On a 7-9 choose: one important person disbelieves or the construct falls apart soon. On a miss, there’s an embarrassed silence and a GM hard move.
19 Movable Objects
When you move the goalposts in your argument, roll. On a 10+ you realize you’re a terrible, gaslighting person. On 7-9 you realize but can’t apologize. On a miss, you succeed but kill a little bit of everyone’s soul.
20 Bones in There
You find an armored giant in the wasteland. When you scavenge a fallen mecha for parts, roll. On a hit, can strip out the pieces and resources you need. On a 10+ several systems share compatibility and your time jury-rigging your repairs is halved.
On a 7-9 there’s something familiar in the wreckage. Say something about your connection to the fallen pilot, AI, or mecha itself and mark stress. On a miss, the skeleton’s a trap: rigged to blow, ready to collapse, filled with corrupted circuits, laced with a mnemonic virus. (from @auzumel)
21 Capital! Ship Combat
When you take to the seas to give those louts a good thrashing, roll. On a hit, you seize the day and teach them a lesson they won’t soon forget. On a 7-9 you lose some ships, but you can’t make an omelette, eh? On a miss, who knew those fellows could fight so well? (for the P.G. Wodehouse Adventure RPG)
22 Dice in Pools
When you roll doubles, record the value of one of those doubles on a separate sheet which carries between sessions. If you gain a small straight, gain a minor boon from your good; on a large straight, a major boon. On a five of a kind, take a major boon and gain an advance.
23 Friends in Space
A move from my Scoundrels in Spaceships WIP, Plutonian Shore @Alexi Sarge
When you patch something up (a device, a person, a relationship) roll +Warm. On a hit, you’ve stabilized the target. You and anyone you’re patching up can regain an Edge or unmark a stat. On a 7–9, it takes a sacrifice to complete the work—perhaps parts scavenged from some other device, or a question answered totally honestly.
24 Prepare for the Future
For the Academy of the Blade playset from Hearts of Wulin
When you try to get dressed to the nines, roll. On a 10+ you’re breathtaking—catching the eye of everyone wherever you go. On a 7-9, choose: you look good or you look great but you had to buy, beg, borrow, or steal to get there. On a miss, you overdress for the event, wear the same thing as someone else, or have a wardrobe malfunction at the worst moment.
25 Rethink Fantasy
GM Move: During safety tools discussion establish a hard line against racial essentialism. Talk about culture & peoples as shaping personality. Even then avoid easy tropes like "the culture of Orcs is violence"
F*ck biological essentialism.
26 A Television Show
At session start, one player should present a B-Plot hook from their character’s background or lifepath. If the B-Plot story significantly intersects (or even solves) the A-Plot mission, all players may mark an XP at session end. The B-Plot player marks an extra XP.
27 Initialize Initiative
When the group first encounters a shady organization with an acronym name, go around the table in turn with each player suggesting what a letter stands for. They gain +1 Forward to taunt members of the organization when they call it this.
When the arch villain attempts to redeem themselves with a single heroic sacrifice, roll. On a 10+ people see through the tissue of evasions and misrepresentations. On a 7-9 the villain’s condemned, but a few noisy apologists remain. On a miss, all the lies, murders, and betrayals are forgiven because of being bullied, “good” family, or just a single selfless action, regardless of the bodycount.
When play gets to a strong dramatic scene or cliffhanger, anyone may nominate it as the cutoff point of the session. Poll the table. If they agree, go to end of session moves. If not, run suggested capper scenes or continue play generally.
If a move has specific questions you spend hold to ask, you may adjust and modify the wording & phrasing of those questions to fit the present circumstance or events so long as they keep with the spirit and fictional methodology of the original move.
When you consider tweeting your theory of GM dice fudging, roll. On a 10+ you think better of it. On a 7-9, choose: it's a flash in the pan of awful or a more dire piece of ttrpg discourse emerges. On a miss, god help us all.
Last year a bunch of Gauntlet folks managed to meet in person and hang out f2f in Columbus for Origins. There's both a joy and weirdness to meeting online players irl, not least of which is to see how much their play style bleeds into their everyday life.
It has been 16 years since Dread was published…which should make many people feel old. OOH it’s only been a year since Starcrossed came out, and that’s about as joyful a gaming thing as you could want.
GUMSHOE reinforced a basic idea in investigation games: checks for clues should move you forward. When it came out, some players who already grokked fail forward as a concept critiqued it for being obvious. But for lots of people it wasn’t.
I’ve played (and run) games where a failed perception check had stalled things until the player thought of another thing to check out. Then they risked stalling again until they finally rolled well. Or the GM got frustrated and pushed things forward regardless of the roll.
But removing investigate rolls cuts out some design space. That roll can measure the cost of investigating. Learn what you need but it: takes time, costs resources, alienates someone, alerts a foe, draws attention, hurts you, harms rep, destroys evidence in the process, etc.
Collaboration at the game table's great, but before you jump in with suggestions for someone else's scene, take a breath and a 10 count. Give them a chance to consider their own response.Learn your fellow player's styles. Some folks respond more deliberately.
Inspired by a discussion about gestures to designate "at-table OOC" talk (@Dm_LSP's thread), did your group have a gesture? From @edige23: we put a hand flat on our head like a hat. We used it rarely-- to make absolutely clear it was OOC so the GM didn't gotcha us.
You can only intuit where edgy is for you. For everyone you have to ask. That’s why we have at-table safety tools.
The toughest place to balance humour is in a horror game. On the one hand cracking a joke can absolutely destroy a GM’s attempt at creating immersion. On the other you need a release valve for the tension. Good players wait until a breath-catching moment to crack wise.
Be the lever to help move other players into scenes. Ask fellow players to come along for your solo scenes. Offer to work on their plot threads. Be boosters for the cool things they do. Talk their PCs up to NPCs. Be generous with your play.
It ought to be strange that when a Kickstarter-published rpg corebook which deals with people from a marginalized community and comes from a smaller publisher doesn’t have any discussion of tabletop safety or cultural considerations.
There's a particularly condescending GM response where, when you ask if you can do something, they say yes, but then elaborate about how it shouldn't be possible and they're only doing you a favor, really. Yes/no/but. Don't make people feel bad for asking.
28 Close Rectangular or square tables are better than round ones at f2f conventions. They lower the distance between speakers and make it easier for folks to lean in to say something or listen closer. That means an overall drop in the noise level of the room.
25 Years Ago Me: "Cool, you have to buy different skills for different animal types. Makes sense."
Today Me: "wtf?"
Ease of and access to transport is one of the most impactful decisions you can make about a fantasy world- both for civilizations and your players ability to feel connected to a place and see the world. There's a reason you get airships so late in FF games.
Sharing your experience can be great-- you can help folks over the bumpy parts of the hobby or a game. But experience can also gatekeep hobbies. It can cut off explorations and discourage players. Listen to what someone asks before you advise & explain.