The Henderson Scale of Plot Derailment measures how far a character action has diverted the plot of a game. It was named after a collection of anecdotes regarding a Trail of Cthulhu player who ‘beat’ the GM as revenge for being consistently antagonistic to the party.
That sounds like a very game specific thing though. I have spoken to people that have talked about it in reference to D&D but my question is: how does it work in Dungeon World (if at all)? As far as I understand it, DW punishes you for just that reason for preparing to the extent where you can be derailed.
Because DW is so driven by the fiction, it doesn’t really matter how complex the back-story someone makes or what strange things they do, it really will just help the GM by triggering his moves (to help the story if they are a good GM or to be a jerk if they are not).
So extrapolating from that, my first thought is that maybe DW pre-empts and encourages Henderson-style play because it will help a good GM to:
- Portray a fantastic world
- Fill the characters’ lives with adventure
- Play to find out what happens
My second thought is that perhaps I’m stretching the analogy of DW with games that people use the Henderson Scale in (which is very possible). If that’s the case, why does it not apply?