Threats and Threat Maps

Dangers (née threats) are one of my favorite things from Dungeon World. They’re a handy tool for managing points of conflict in one’s game. I’ve probably thought about them way too much, which is probably due in some part to their poor presentation in the source material. For the Open Legend campaign we just started, I decided to go back to basics a bit and try the structure as described originally in Apocalypse World. That extends as far as using a threat map to manage my threats instead of fronts.

I like to run out of Scrivener for iOS on an iPad Pro. One of the complications of that setup is that it does not handle embedded graphical references very well. To work around that, I’ve come up with a textual way of representing a countdown. It borrows some language from Dungeon World; but, unlike in that system, the steps in my textual format are fixed (like the wedges are in the graphical representation in Apocalypse World.

There are three sections in a countdown. The first section consists of three steps. This section represents signs of threat as it makes its presence known in the world. These are things the PCs can stop. The second section consits of two steps. These steps reflect the threat’s impact on the world. The threat can’t be stopped at this point, but it can be mitigated. The final section contains just a single step, which is the threat’s full effect on the world. I label the sections containing these steps: grim portents, impending doom, and the catastrophe.

Threat maps, unfortunately, can’t really be managed by text representation. One could indicate the section of the map where they are located, but that doesn’t really help show the relationship between threats very efficiently. It really needs a visual representation to work. To handle that, I created a template in Affinity Designer. I then opened a copy of that template in Affinity Photo for iPad and made note of my threats directly on it. It’s not a perfect setup, but it seems to work pretty well. I’ve uploaded copies of my template in both the original afdesign format as well as SVG. The font used in the template is Alegreya.