Some basic moves for clones lost on a planet

These are some ideas for the moves on the character sheet if my game Awake. In the game the players are memory-less manufactured humans that wake up into an alien world. Then they have to deal with that, try to explore and survive in a strange landscape.

I’m not looking for an incisive critique of the moves so much as looking for someone to “get” what I’m trying for and offer suggestions or encouragement for how to foster that.

Here’s flavour / chargen text:

You awoke without words or sense, gasping and shivering. While your brain was activating you were animalistic, terrified, and you scrambled for safety, but then your mind started. You have operating memory but no autobiographical memory – and you don’t remember how you know that.

You see others who fall from the ice as ᴄʟᴀɴᴛʀɪʙᴇғᴀᴍɪʟʏ, and you know their names. You need them, and they need you. They are you.

Your name is a combination of an honorific and a term from mathematics. Select an honorific and a word from mathematics from the examples on the back of this character sheet.

Pick one physical attribute with a distinctive color. Think how it’s used in animation to convey character and make them easy to spot. That’s yours.


That’s what you are. Moves are what you do.

Basic Moves

  • Traverse
  • Take a Risk
  • Struggle
  • Encamp
  • Contact


When you Traverse, you’re crossing unknown areas, like a thorny wilderness or a city district. You might want movement or knowledge, but it’s both.
One person rolls +Traverse, they are leading the group. If another person rolls they’re moving separately from the group, with all the dangers that entails.
On a hit ask 3, on a weak hit ask 1:

  • How is this place changing?
  • What are the cycles of this place when it’s in equilibrium?
  • What will help me survive here?
  • What’s my best route past/through?
  • What’s interesting but off the path?
  • What’s the most dangerous thing here?
    The MC will tell you how far you’ve traveled.

on a miss, ask the MC “Did we attract unwanted attention, or go the wrong way? Did we miss something?” and the MC makes a move.

Take a risk
When you take a risk you’re defying danger or digging in to endure danger.
10+ you do it, avoiding the danger or cost. In addition, ask one of these, as appropriate:

  • What’s my true opponent here?
  • How was this made? / What’s the source of this?
  • what is the weak spot or best position to take here?
  • What have we been overlooking about this?
    7-9 you slip, hesitate or stall. The MC will offer you a worse outcome, a hard bargain, or an ugly choice.

On a miss, you’ve exposed yourself to additional risk or cost, so prepare for the worst. The MC makes a move.

When you Struggle, you’re wrestling with a creature, trying to get above a landslide, or fending off a stinging swarm. It’s not pretty.
On a strong hit, you can choose 2:

  • deal harm as established
  • avoid harm
  • get in a better position
  • Ask a question
    • What does it intend to do?
    • how can I get it to…?
    • ?
      On a weak hit, choose 1 and ask what else happens. The MC may ask you about the options you wished you could choose. The MC makes a move.

On a miss, prepare for the worst. The MC makes a move.

When you camp, you’re resting together as a group, letting people recuperate. This can be done in any environment so long as the group is reasonably safe.

Like traverse, one person rolls for the group. This is whoever is handling the most watches, or who is tending to the others. If only one person takes watch, they take 1 stress (or 2 on the second night, or 3 on the third).

On a strong hit, we’ve recovered. Players who weren’t on watch can turn a damage into a stress. Everyone can then eliminate 1 stress. Ask the MC if the rest was uneventful (it probably was).

On a weak hit, it’s as a strong hit except each player has to roll a die before improving damage or eliminating stress. If they roll 1-3 then there is no effect. Ask the MC if the rest was uneventful (it might have been).

On a miss, prepare for the worst. The MC makes a move and your rest will probably be interrupted.

When you Communicate you’re trying to get your ideas across to someone who has different culture, language, and biology. You may not feel like it, but you are incredibly good at this.

On a strong hit, you get your idea across and create good conditions for their response. You can converse, sort of, and you can build on this later. Ask the MC 1 question about how to communicate with them.

On a weak hit, the main point gets through, more or less. They misinterpret you in some aspect and their response is confused or garbled.

On a miss, you’ve been significantly misunderstood, or caused unintentional offence. Prepare for the worst. The MC makes a move.


Off hand, it seems like take a risk could/should be split along the defy danger/digging in lines. The two seem like they should be different things to me.

The camp move feels harsh, with all recovery and everything hinging on a single die roll which everyone else necessarily will not have any part in.

Could you point me to a good digging in move? I thought about Endure hardship or something but I draw a blank for how it would work.

Agreed on the rolls. What if everyone picks “watch” or “recover”, and everyone rolls?

There’s definitely some things you could mine/adapt from Defend from dungeon world.


When you stand in defense of a person, item, or location under attack, roll+Con.

  • On a 10+, hold 3.
  • On a 7–9, hold 1.

As long as you stand in defense, when you or the thing you defend is attacked you may spend hold, 1 for 1, to choose an option:

  • Redirect an attack from the thing you defend to yourself
  • Halve the attack’s effect or damage
  • Open up the attacker to an ally giving that ally +1 forward against the attacker
  • Deal damage to the attacker equal to your level

Changing the flavor of the text to match your setting, and maybe changing some of the results you can spend hold on should get you close.

I think each person picking between watch and recover and everyone rolls would work, so players can prioritize. Or, you could flip it to just a single take watch roll with anyone that rests getting healing automatically; the failure of watching doesn’t stop folks for recovering, but would incentivized having people on watch and the stress consequence would incentivize having more than one/rotating.

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What about…

Endure Hardship
When you Endure Hardship you’re letting harm roll over you, you’re digging in to wait it out, or you’re pushing through despite the pain.
On a strong hit, you shrug off the impact, or its significantly muted.
On a weak hit, you either take the brunt of it, or ask the MC “what does it cost me?” - it might be position, taking a condition, or some other consequence like getting separated from the group.
On a miss, your defense cracks, buckles, or is obviated. Ask the MC “How bad is it?” and expect setbacks as well as harm.


Will there be some sort of Help / Hinder or Aid Another move? Or some Comfort and Support-style thing you could roll into the Camp move? Like “if you reveal a vulnerability or ask for help, roll with advantage”, for example?

I feel that there should be something here that ties the group together, something that empathizes the ᴄʟᴀɴᴛʀɪʙᴇғᴀᴍɪʟʏ thing.

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I have the extra player rolling an extra die,

aid is best 2 of 3 dice
interfere is worst 2 of 3 dice

Share in consequences for both.

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But you’re right it’s not enough - it’s not thematic enough

One thing I’m trying to do is put more specific prompting questions from the Players back to the MC.