Seeing that *W narrators (GMs, MCc, EICc,...) operate on principles and agendas and not so much on the Rule Zero, I want to try a DW game using an engine for GM-less play (such as Mythic GM Emulator).

I have a rough idea of how to make it work using a "template" Fronts, randomly choosing from the list of GM moves, and so on. Do I need to describe them in the question to show why I think that the idea is plausible at all and to allow the answerers to build and improve on them?

The reasons for my wish to try it out:

  • I want to be a player as well.
  • I am just so curious to try.
  • My group of friends seem to act out and participate in world-building more freely when it is a circle of peers and not narrator versus consumers.

Do I need to elaborate on that in my question? I think that giving this information invites various frame challenges of "How do I facilitate such a game? - You don't. Let someone else GM. It is not interesting at all. Play a different GM-less game." which I'm not really interested in.

We have tried playing Fiasco, Microscope and DramaSystem - all was fun and everyone was involved in storytelling. A couple of games of Apocalypse World and Worlds in Peril came to a halt after a couple of sessions each.

Internet search on the topic netted me only a number of forum threads consisting primarily of the Question followed by a mix of "I think it cannot work" and "I tried it and it sorta works".

I also found a mention of "Night Witches" *W hack that is supposed to be GM-less, but is not available to me. So that at least must mean that it is mechanically possible.

I suspect that the question should have a clause requiring the answerer to support the answer with experience, but what else can I emphasize to better scope it?

How could I formulate a question on how to facilitate a GM-less game of Powered by Apocalypse so it is answerable and a good fit for SE format?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that as long as it makes clear that only answers from people who have actual experience with doing what you are asking are acceptable, it would be OK? O_o \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 11:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I realise this is a "how do I formulate this" question, but if you haven't looked at "Fellowship" that might be relevant to your interests: drivethrurpg.com/product/177662/… \$\endgroup\$
    – glenatron
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 11:05

1 Answer 1


It's hard to give advice for improving a hypothetical question; in practice, it's nearly always more effective to just ask the question, and then deal with any edits it needs as they are brought to your attention. Often that kind of in-place editing is enough, but if it needs more intensive workshopping, that needs a real question to start from anyway.

One red flag that I see here though is that it sounds like you have some ideas but haven't tried any of them to see if they have actual problems — the problems you want to ask about are as hypothetical as the question. That often gets a question closed for being vague, opinion-based, or too broad (maybe all three). This happens because it's very hard to write a question that clearly and precisely describes a problem before you know what the problem even is.

Showing what you've tried already in order to discover the answer, and detailing what problems you have directly experienced in trying to find the answer, can help avoid writing a vague question.

Besides, asking “I have ideas for how to do this, are they plausible?” can't be answered until someone tries them. Other users are rightly going to wonder why the person who is in the best position to test the ideas to get some practical data hasn't yet.

So my advice is twofold:

  1. Try out your ideas. You can even do this by yourself if you have no willing guinea pigs in your group — even a solo test can show where there are obvious problems during play that aren't obvious “on paper.”

  2. When you have a concrete idea of what your roadblock is, just ask the question.

A bonus bit of advice: Reconsider whether it's actually impossible to learn from the design of Night Witches. Whether professional or whether just for house rules in a home group, designers learn by studying others' designs, and studying a ready-made method of doing exactly what you want is something that is worth reconsidering, since it's available online. At worse, if finances or online payment methods are barriers, you could just ask how the GM-less portion of Night Witches works on a forum where the game is discussed.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "It's hard to give advice for improving a hypothetical question; in practice, it's nearly always more effective to just ask the question" -> "It's hard to give advice for playing a hypothetical game; in practice, it's nearly always more effective to just playtest it". Questioner is at least consistent in wanting to measure twice and cut once ;-) \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 19, 2016 at 22:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .