So, Dungeon World doesn't have task difficulty numbers. I'm starting to see this design decision in the context of a particular play style, one where drama emerges from moment-by-moment - a sort of instant excitement style. It's okay to leap that chasm because the outcome will probably be pretty exciting, one way or the other.

I'm contrasting this with a style where that same leap has a 20% chance of death or crippling injury. Blithely accepting this risk leads to "meaningless deaths", of course, but since players know the odds, they generally won't do that. Instead, the chasm becomes a sort of "No. Go around me."

But it's not a complete "No." Later, when the party is fleeing the horror from area 19, or figures out that leaping the chasm will let them reach an area they can see from elsewhere but not otherwise reach - it's then that the decision to leap across acquires its poignancy. "Holy shit, we're going to do this."

This sort of drama takes longer to achieve, and Chekhov's gun frequently goes unfired, but there's a nice payoff when it does.

Explicit task difficulty and clear consequences, I think, are part of avoiding a last-minute internal struggle within me when I GM:

When I'm unclear with consequences and rely on qualitative fictional positioning for outcomes, the decision to kill, maim, or permanently transform a PC is the GM's choice, and that choice happens at a point when the bad outcome is certain. Now that you've failed, am I going to kill your character?

When I'm clear with consequences and probabilities, the choice is entirely in the players' hands: yes, crossing this chasm is worth a 20% per-PC chance of death, it's that serious. Wow, it was worth it, but you died.

(Inflammatory aside: I suppose the inverse of meaningless death is meaningless heroism!)

If I squint a bit, I can start to see DW's list of GM moves as the rough equivalent of dungeon-prep advice (e.g Jaquaying the Dungeon). It's just that instead of arming GMs with genre-appropriate moves (e.g. reveal an unwelcome truth) to prime their creative pumps for on-the-fly exciting outcomes, the potential for drama of various kinds is built into the structure of the situation - most of which never emerge at all, and a few of which emerge organically.
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