In Freebooters on the Frontier, a PbtA game add-on/Dungeon World Hack by Lampblack and Brimstone, one triggers the emergence of DANGERS through various moves in the wilderness or in a dungeon. A Danger might be a trap, a creature, or anything else that’s… dangerous.
This sort of thing happens in vanilla Dungeon World as well, when a “threat” manifests through GM moves. Suddenly, there’s a danger to deal with. What do you do?
I’d like to discuss with experienced PbtA fantasy gamers what happens when there are multiple different dangers in the scene at once.
For example, last night we had a “boss” encounter. The (6th-8th level) PCs finally faced a long-time nemesis, the evil cleric Frunga – a maniac obsessed with Kobold genocide. With Frunga was her mind-controlled slave, a green dragon. Frunga herself was quickly dealt with: poisoned by a follower and left in a cataleptic state.
The evil Dragon, free from its bonds, served its instinct and attacked the players. (In fact, a “World Building” move had much earlier established that this would happen, despite the player’s mission to serve the Kobold queen and the “Connection” special quality that kobolds have for dragons.) A wild battle ensued.
Suddenly, a new danger appeared: a group of powerful minions that Frunga had summoned: a Fire Giant and a Troll! As the dragon battle raged, the Fire Giant and the Troll suffered damage from some a powerful ranged area effect spell cast by the Mage.
Now we’re getting to the question. The minions were mostly ignored by the fighter, the ranger and the druid as they fought the dragon and supported each other. Move after move: fight, shoot/throw, druidic invocations, follower moves and more, all directed at the dragon.
I began to feel that fighting the dragon while “ignoring” the giant and the troll should cause those minions – a second separate, danger – to pose more of a threat. A knee-jerk reaction is that one is defying the danger (aka “Make a Saving Throw” in FotF) of the Minions to attack the Dragon, but this leads in a precariously tactical direction. Which characters are exposed to which dangers? Soon you’ve got minis on the table and movement rates and ew. Then who is where? Some answers are implicit: the Mage and Ranger have ranged attacks, but that giant can close a lot of distance in a few steps.
Let me know your thoughts.