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In the first post on this blog, I gave a brief rundown of the fictional events of our first game. In this post, I want to take the time to break down these events in terms of game rules: the moves that were rolled, my memory of their results, and how the rules drove the fiction of the session.

The game starts off with Judd volunteering to roll the commonweal move:

Commonweal (roll+Civility)

At the start of every tale, one of the Company, roll+Civility to set the condition of the enclave. On 10+, choose 3 boons for the tale. On a 7-9, choose 2 and the Demiurge chooses 1 want and 1 bane. On a miss, choose 1 and all wants and banes are possible this tale.

The version above is not the one we played with; the one Judd rolled was much worse. In the version we used during this tale, rolling 10+ meant you got all your boons (little positive effects, like having lifestyle paid for free) and none of your wants (dangers that will be operant this tale) or banes (boons’ antonym; small bad things that can happen during the tale). This makes 10+ kind of unsatisfying: it fails to draw the Company’s attention to the boons, thus nearly ensuring they won’t use them, and it gives the Demiurge not much to work with as well. Hopefully the version above rectifies this.

Judd rolled a 10+ and then I, as the Demiurge, was not told by the move what to do. The game tells you what to do when the action comes to a stop: React. Reactions are the Demiurge’s moves. So I use the be rapacious Reaction.

Be rapacious

Humanity is voracious and in the process of taking everything from demihumans. As stores necessary to survival grow scant, demihumans also find themselves desperate, starving, and sick, driven to emulate their oppressors.

As a Reaction, you may choose to separate people who were together, capture someone, or take or destroy something of value, or something vital to improvement or continuing survival of the enclave. This can be as simple as taking a nonessential thing that really mattered to someone or as complex as a government rule that takes all firstborn children.

Build examples: Tax collectors begin a survey of the enclave, slavers come to ogle future wares, criminals express interest in a lucrative trading stall, a law is passed rendering illegal the moss gnomes use to digest food from this plane

Release examples: Someone is imprisoned for speaking sedition; a ceiling collapse strands the Halfling in the ruin, away from the rest of the Company; the authorities burn the elven grove; the orc clan’s warwolves have all been poisoned in the night

The Company were very interested in the insecurity of their water, talking about it a number of times on their own as we build the enclave. So I decide to use a building be rapacious Reaction, threatening to take their water.

When I asked Tom how Shalan begins his day ordinarily, he said that he patrols the area around the enclave to keep it safe. He would be the perfect person to spring this on. So I let him know that, while he’s out on patrol, he comes upon an Imperial guard unit who are bricking up the spring that the enclave relies upon.

Shalan wants to get closer and hear more, so I tell him it sounds like he’s attempting to persevere under duress. I ask him to roll+Serene.

Persevere under duress (roll+Serene)

When you persevere under duress, or draw upon deep reserves of strength to endure hardship or peril, confirm with the Demiurge the source of the duress and roll+Serene. Then, on a 10+, you manage it successfully. On a 7-9, your equanimity will falter. The Demiurge may choose 1 or 2:
— You will achieve what you seek, but it will cost you more than you thought
— You will only accomplish part of what you sought
— You will not produce exactly the results you seek, but something equivalent comes to pass
On a miss, the Demiurge may bring the full force of the duress upon you, now or in time.

The duress here is the attention of the guard polycule and the danger they represent. Tom rolls really badly; this may not have been the one where he got snake-eyes, but it might as well have been because he got a 6-. I need to bring the “full force of the duress” upon him, but I want him to learn what he’s trying to learn. So I take the “in time” option and I say that Shalan gets close enough to overhear that it’s Ade the merchant, trying to stop free water so he can sell it to enclave. But when he heads back to warn his friends, I tell Tom that Shalan misses the fact that the guard are tracking him back home.

Next time on Moves Snowball

We get to see Shalan bring trouble to Nob‘s family.

Do you want to playtest Demihumans?

You can! Download the basic kit, and if you reach out to me I can hook you up with the draft text.

(The rules text above is from the current draft of the rules at time of writing and could change.)