If you’re walking in on the middle of the Advanced Fantasy Dungeons series, there’s an index here.
After removing concepts of desperate or controlled position from various rolls by reducing the presence of disadvantage, I feel I need to revise the basic procedure and GM moves to reflect the GMs communication and enactment of fictional positioning.
The basic procedure of Advanced Fantasy Dungeons is:
1. The GM describes the situation and what the PCs see, hear, feel, smell and recognise.
2. The players ask clarifying questions and the GM answers until the situation is clear to them.
3. If a clarifying question would require a PC to take action, the GM clarifies the level of risk that action entails, and confirms that they want to take action.
4. If the players state an action they want to take in response to the situation, the GM clarifies the level of risk that action entails, and confirms that they want to take action.
5. If the PCs maintain their intent to act, their actions are resolved, the situation changes, and the procedure starts again.
If the actions result in a change of procedure (to combat, dungeon, wilderness or town procedures) transition to those procedures as appropriate. The basic procedure always applies.
Now we need to know what “clarifies the level of risk” means, what “PC actions are resolved” means, and how they’re related (the answer to that is GM actions).
When clarifying the level of risk involved in an action, the GM considers the situation the PCs are in, and the action they are proposing. If there is no risk, the action happens. If there is risk, an ability check (or other roll) is required.
On a success, it happens. On a partial success, it happens and the GM takes an action that does not negate the success. On a failure, it does not happen and the GM takes an action.
The action the GM takes on a failure or partial success depends on the level of risk. For a low risk action, the GM action taken in response should be to foreshadow danger, to increase the level of risk, or to escalate the stakes. For a risky action, the GM can take any action to threaten the PCs or their agenda. For a high risk action, the GM should take an action that will cause harm to the PCs or their agenda.
We have an excellent list of GM actions, but in action resolution, we focus on these ten;
Increase the level of risk
Escalate the stakes
Separate them to face temptation alone
Threaten something dear to them
Limit the impact of their actions
Lose an opportunity
Introduce a complication
An NPC does something impactful
The GM can, of course take any action at any time,:
Offer an opportunity at a cost
Give what they earnt
Tell a secret
Show the impact of their actions
Follow their lead
Cut to the action
Something happens off-screen
I feel like we can name these two sets of actions, but weak and strong don’t feel right, and neither do soft and hard. I’m not sure. Please, recommendations!
This has been a part of the Advanced Fantasy Dungeon Series! Let me know your thoughts on this approach to the basic procedure, or if you’ve a better way to categorise the GM actions.
11th June 2022