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The way that I always understood it, particularly in the case of Dungeon World (rather than any of the other Apocalypse World modifications) was that it was a convenient bridge between modern "gamey" RPGs (4th Edition being the clearest example) with lots of "buttons to push" so to speak, and OSR games where the "story" doesn't need to exist outside the actions of the players.

I've heard very many GMs of more modern games complain that their characters, whenever they want to do anything, first look down at their character sheet to figure out what dice they can roll to do it, because when "Speech" is a dice-related skill, like. At some point you're deciding from lists of skills, rather than thinking in terms of "what my character wants to do and how they'd do it." There was a post I read once, discussing what was wrong with 4th edition in the blogger's mind, and they use an example of a rogue who wanted to use a Monk Power. Something to do with a burning dragon kick. Anyways, in 4th edition, they hand you a button to push as a Monk, and when you push it, you do 3 cool kicks, and the 3rd one does extra damage because of the power of your chi. But why, they argued, couldn't a rogue do three kicks, and the third one does extra damage cause it targets the guy's throat? It's the same mechanical effect, and there's nothing stopping a rogue from doing it in B/X, except maybe that it's not exceptionally fair to allow rogues three attacks.

Now, for people used to playing in a freeform way, and used to thinking outside of the rules, and then getting the GM making a ruling on how that plays out at the table, there's really no reason to add shiny buttons in order to facilitate an experience they're already having without the shiny buttons.

It's like a point-and-shoot camera, or the camera in your smart phone. Is it as good as a SLR? No, not really. If you are just trying to take snapshots, they're about the same, but if you're trying to do something cool, then you find that the point-and-shoot limits you.

But if you don't know how to use a camera, then you could really use something that facilitates taking nice photos, and a good point-and-shoot is a good transition into taking nice photos, even though it's a limited tool in the hands of a professional.


Maybe I should have added an example. If everyone agrees you as the GM controls the world, and don't want to add t to it, maybe they would care for more narrative control of their characters? What I mean with "special effects" would be like if someone was bashing down a door and you as a GM asked them "So, how does that look like?"

While maybe not the most exciting example, but the idea would be to have more input as a player on "the world" of your characters actions, as opposed to detailing those dwarves you just met.

Was that more understandable?

I've found my players relish that kind of power, and it felt like some way to give the players more of "narrative power" so to speak.


Andreas: I posted this to my group's mailing list. So far, the only response is "Huh?" I don't think anyone (including me) really understands what you mean by 'approach the game more like a movie, and get to add "special effects" to the game". Oh, just now another response appeared in my inbox. "Special Effects? Deciding when to use them and what they are is the director's job."


I've found that if you approach the game more like a movie, and get to add "special effects" to the game, the player narrative parts can go over well even with players who are mainly there to discover the GMs world.

It would be interesting to hear how your players would approach such a thing. It would kind of side step the part about making decisions their characters would not be able to make.