Ok, so the moves. The opener needs to be “Swoosh”, simple as that. It is, I think, a scene entry move, which is a bit more meta than most DW moves, but I’m ok with this, because it meshes well with my table’s playstyle, but I understand it won’t be everyone’s bag.

Fiction wise, this is the character stepping into a scene at an opportune and awesome looking moment. It’s not a combat move per se, and stylistically it’s a bit different than the Dashing Hero’s In the Nick of Time even though it’s in the same general space. It’s easy to envision, but that doesn’t make it easy to articulate.

The trigger for the move is basically “There’s a scene going on which you’re not involved in, but you could be.” That’s a little open ended – I think the intent is pretty clear, and as long as no one thinks the fiction is teleportation or something similar.

So, when it goes well, the character should basically step into the scene at an opportune moment, so the question is whether this is a dice move. Easiest way to test that is to ask whether or not failure should be an option, and if so, what it should look like. At first glance, it doesn’t seem like a dice move, partly because failure (you don’t show up) is boring rather than play driving. But at the same time, this seems kind of dull if it always just works.

Which suggests the right answer might be to hybridize it so the action always works (that is, you always show up), but the context is shaped by the dice. On a 10+ you get to look totally awesome, on a 7–9 there are complications and on a 6- it’s bad. How bad? My first instinct is that the 6- result is when you step out of the shadows with your hands wrapped around the knife sticking out of you. I don’t want to explicitly say that’s what happens, but I want to keep that idea in mind as I pull this together.

Structurally, this seems like the kind of move where you’d pick a good number of outcomes on a 10+ and a smaller number on 7–9. The most obvious ones seem to be “Appear where you want”, “Appear when you want”, “You are not being hunted”

I don’t think that’s the final list yet, but I feel like this is the right direction. Functionally, this brings the character into the scene, but it also has a good chance of complicating these scene in some way. I love that, because that is absolutely a play-pushing result. So the trick is really that I want to make sure that 7–9 pushes one bad outcome and imply that the 6- pushes them all.

Easiest way to do that is 2 bullets: “Where and when you wan”t and “not being chased”. 10+ pick 2, 7–9 pick 1. That leaves the whole “wounded” part of 6- out of it, but that is really within the bounds of a normal hard move, so there’s probably no need to explicitly articulate it. That said, I’m not 100% sure what stat to go with. I’d originally been thinking Dex, but that was when I was thinking something more stealthy and less narrative. However, I think I have a fix for this. So I’ll put a pin in it there, and call it:

Swoosh When there’s a scene you’re not in, you can enter it so long as there’s some reasonable way for you you to have gotten there. When you do, roll +Bond (use your rating with any character in the scene):

  • On a 10+ You show up where and when you want, and you’re not being hunted.
  • On a 7–9 you show up where and when you want or you’re not being hunted

Ok, that move took rather more thought than I expected, but I’m ok where it ended up, though I’m not sure it’s sufficiently swooshy. Next step is to look at the patron stuff, but that’s probably going to be its own post.

10 thoughts on “Swoosh

  1. Dave Chalker

    +Bond is kind of interesting, it is a way to encourage the teamwork aspect of it, but doesn’t as much work for scenes of rescuing NPCs are showing up behind the villain. I often slot this kind of thing into Charisma in other games, both being the stat of having more connections due to the force of your personality, and it also being the most meta of stats.

    1. Rob Donoghue Post author

      Huh, that suggests I need to clarify that it be a scene with other players – I don’t want it to be used to jump into cut scenes and the like.

    2. fredhicks

      I’d love to see it be three bullets where you’re picking two at 10+, to be honest. When you’re picking outcomes I find it most delicious when you’ve always got to leave one of them on the table.

      1. Todd

        I like 3 for 10+, as well. Maybe they can opt to leave off one of these two, for something potentially better. (e.g. “You impress someone with your arrival. +1 forward interacting with them”)

  2. Jesse

    When you go *swoosh*, dramatically reveal that you are in a location you could physically get to but where your presence is unexpected, poised to act. Roll +dex. On a 10+ it is perfect and surprising. On 7+ choose once from the list. On 6- choose three times.

    1. the going was rough. Take 1d6 damage and describe the injury. You may take this option twice. If this would take your last hit point, you’re holding yourself up with grit and professionalism — take the last damage after you do what you swooshes to do.
    2. Somebody noticed. They’re pissed off, and while they aren’t here yet, they will be soon!
    3. The spot you’re in is imminently imperiled or precarious. You may make your poised action “avoid danger,” and wait to do something useful in a minute.
    4. You had to promise something to someone in order to get here, and payment will be due soon.

  3. Bryant

    Disclaimer: different tables, different styles.

    I agree with Fred, a third bullet would be nice. Where/when you want, not being hunted, and… “someone in the scene is happy to see you” as the third?

    I am a bit leery of the move in general because it implies a new limitation on non-Agent PCs. By creating a move for this you’re saying that other PCs don’t get to show up in scenes at opportune times. For stock Dungeon World this is not very relevant to play; the assumption is group play at almost all times, I think.

    Maybe this ties into the Separate Them GM move in some way? Hm.


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