I recently read an article about writing Dungeon World classes that started off with a very simple tip that helped me a lot: brainstorm a lot and write everything down. I wanted to do this, but realized that my code structure for the project isn’t great for drafts and writing. I think the code will eventually be a good place for final products and great way for other people to contribute ideas and pull requests, but it’s terrible for spewing ideas at my computer and seeing what sticks.
In light of this revelation I created a simple Google doc for the Arbitrator – a badass detective – and jotted down ideas for moves. I started with the fiction, as advised in the article linked above, and slowly fleshed them out with bullet point items. I added thoughts for each move as I bounced around between ideas. Here are some of the questions and thoughts I would append to my move ideas:
- Could this just be a renamed move from an existing class?
- Should this move require rolls?
- Is there more than one positive outcome?
- What are some complications that could arise?
- What’s a cool name for it?
- Is this a starting move or an advanced move?
- Does this move work on its own or is it an extension of an existing move, such as Discern Realities or Hack and Slash?
- What characteristic best suits this move?
Eventually those moves turned into actual text and were given names. I present below the first batch of moves I have for the Arbitrator, the Starting Moves.
I Am Justice
When you give an NPC an order based on your Adeptus Arbites or Inquisitorial authority, roll+Cha. On a 7+, they choose one:
- Do what you say
- Back away cautiously, then flee
- Attack you
On a 10+, you also take +1 forward against them.
On a miss, they do as they please and you take -1 forward against them.
This move is just a copy of the I Am The Law starting Paladin move. All I’ve done is changed where the authority comes from. Boring, but effective.
When you use Discern Realities on a crime scene and roll a 7+ you also find a clue of value to you. On a 10+ this clue gives you a hunch that the GM will describe.
As a GM I like this move because I often times find that there’s information I want to give the players when they start poking around, but it doesn’t fit into any questions in an obvious way. It’s entirely possible this move shouldn’t exist as is and I should just get better at Discern Realities, but I like the fictional idea of the Arbiter gaining useful intel because of their experience with crime scenes.
When you torture or beat someone to extract information from them roll+Str. On a 7-9 they answer your questions and you choose 2. On a 10+ choose 1 instead.
- They pass out from the pain
- They add information they think you want to hear
- They resist for longer than you’d planned
First of all I love the name of this move. Confessor is similar to using a threat in order to gain leverage with Parley, but it’s thematically darker as the violence is required. I like the possible drawbacks, I think they give good prompts for creating adventure:
- If it takes longer, will the cultists friends come rescue him?
- If he passes out, does he do it mid sentence?
- If they’ll say anything to make the pain stop, how do you know which bits of information are true?
Take Them Alive!
When you successfully hit a vulnerable opponent you can attempt to disable them instead of dealing damage. Roll+Str, on a 7+ they are incapacitated. On a 7-9 choose 1:
- They get one last attack in
- You hit harder than you’d planned, maybe killing them
- They will need some time to recover to be of any use
Useful for wanting to grab up a bad guy for interrogation instead of pummeling them to death. Knock them out, break a leg, smash a foot, etc. I think I would like to add some more negatives to this move and have a choose 1 on a 10+ and more on a 7-9, but we’ll see.
An important thing to note about this move is the word vulnerable. You can’t knock out a Daemon on the first hit just because you have this move. He needs to be dazed or pinned down or near death.
Those are the starting moves I’ve got so far for the Arbitrator. I have ideas for advanced moves that I’ll continue to work on and post later.