So, I’ll state publicly right here.

So, I’ll state publicly right here.

So, I’ll state publicly right here. Making fronts for DW has been a challenge. I feel like I’m missing something. For now Im just running dungeon crawls like I know how, I populate a map. How do you guys go about creating them?

16 thoughts on “So, I’ll state publicly right here.”

  1. I am working on my first front right now. I’ll share my thoughts after I spend some time with it. I’m thinking a read through of Vincent’s Apocalypse World MC section will be illuminating. 

  2. Yeah, I’m reading the rules and may be getting hung up on some of the actual details. Actual play recordings, etc may help make me understand how it’s all supposed to work.

  3. I’d make one of my next session…..but I have no idea when that will be 🙁 – Come to PAX East and I will run a game for you at Games on Demand 

  4. I like to think of the Fronts as the major dangers and movements of organizations within the game.

    In my own game, I started writing up the dangers on a particular island that our playing group has become shipwrecked on. I decided that there would be three different factions at work creating complications in the lives of the PCs. 


    1) Shrine of Yog-Sethis. On the island is a shrine to a lost and all but forgotten shadow god who longs to break free into the world at large. So that’s bad. 

    2) The Precious Gems. Also shipwrecked on the island is a shipload of pirates led by a female captain named Ruby. She is actually one of a fleet of female pirate captains all named after precious stones. They may have helped shipwreck the party on the island in the first place, so that’s no good.

    3) The Groda Bonga Tribe. A tribe of natives to the island are resistant to outsiders invading their territory and if riled up will respond violently. Possibly dangerous.

    Impending Doom:

    For each of those major headings (or fronts), I decided to come up with a “what’s the worst thing that could happen” concept and that is the Impending Doom for each.

    1) For the Shrine, the worst thing that could happen is the Shrine opening and a creature known as “The Winged Death” escaping to go consume a nearby island village.

    2) For the Precious Gems, the worst thing is that they could summon their other allies and a pirate fleet could descend on the island pillaging and murdering all there.

    3) For the Groda Bonga Tribe, the tribal council could assemble and make the blood sacrifices needed to empower their warriors to enrage and go to war against all the outsiders (aka the party/pirates).

    Grim Portents:

    Now I just had to figure out what steps there would be between where things were at now and that Impending Doom. Those got more involved, but I just came up with the different things that would be interesting/bad news for the party for them to react against. Then I either used existing NPCs to populate the island (villagers, pirates, the like) and statted up the Winged Death just in case. Now to see whether they are able to escape the Isle of the Damned with their skin intact!

  5. So, fronts: fronts aren’t the population of the dungeon. They’re telling you what, at a high level, is in the dungeon so you can then populate in as much or as little detail as you like.

    What I might have done without fronts is go room to room on a map deciding what’s there. So the goblins are in this room, then I want some variety so I add the lizardmen over here, and then there must be some conflict between them so this room has the remnants of a battle, etc.

    With fronts we’re trying to push you towards the right amount of prep for DW, which is generally to have the big picture of what’s going on in the dungeon (“dungeon” being defined loosely as “dangerous area”), what things are living there, what they might do, and how it might get worse. That’s all fronts are—a procedure for putting together the basics on how a dungeon might work.

    From there, if you like, you can take notes on particular locations, maybe even mark them on the map. DW is built so you can improvise (and sometimes you’ll have to) but filling in some details won’t hurt. Just beware that the combination of player abilities and GM stuff makes DW very dynamic, so that room may never be seen or may change dramatically.

    I’ll try to find some time to come back later and share some fronts from games I’ve run or played in.

  6. Are you making fronts before or after you’ve run your first session?

    I tried writing one before my first session and things were flat. I wrote one after my first session, and it was a lot easier.

    What I think will work best for me is zooming out from minor fronts to larger campaign arcs. So after the first session, I can begin to lay out the smaller things and what happens if they spiral towards doom and gloom. Then after my second session, I can take those small things (some of which may have grown) and expand them into greater threads.

    At a certain point, I would imagine I should stop spinning up threads and focus on resolving them (i.e. don’t pull a mid-series Wheel of Time)

  7. Yes, Jeremy Friesen is right!

    First session, just show up with some general ideas for a dangerous situation the players can be in—temple of evil cult, goblin den, swamp ambush, whatever. All you need is something that you can fall back on if your questions to the players during character creation don’t point you in another direction.

    From there you start them in a tense situation and let things snowball. Make moves, do what makes sens given the dangerous place they’re in.

    Then after that session you make fronts!

  8. Write fronts after the first session, write them about things that interested the players during the first session.  If they fought some zombies on the way to the steading and authored some cool details, ask yourself what the worst case scenario is and then connect the dots between.  If the steading getting overrun is a worst case scenario, what happens just before that?  I bet survivors lock all the doors to the homes and shops and the keep.  Before that, I bet the king and the guards evacuate.  Before that, I bet there are zombies roaming the streets harrying villagers.  Oh, hey, that looks like a front the players would be invested in [stopping].

  9. Yah, I made my Fronts after the first session was over. I used one of the Dungeon Starters to create a dangerous situation and then after we played through the session it looked like things were going a particular way due to player actions and my reactions to what they were doing so I made the Fronts for the island it looked like they were approaching.

  10. I think, after my first demo, I’m going to try to make some fronts as it was an actual first session and then I’m going to post it somewhere. So we can reason on actual play.

  11. Fronts are by the definition of AW something you make with cues taken from players, it is designed to preclude time intensive setup. I think DW supplements, modules, and any type of dungeon mapping materials are the best aid available for first session gameplay. 

    Personally, I’m a fan of using Ben Lehman’s HQRPG tables to inspire tables for generating first session premise.


    1. Famine

    2. Raided

    3. Magical disturbance

    4. Foolishness

    5. Mercantile opportunity

    6. Exile

    7. Civil disturbance

    8. Boredom

    9. Family crisis

    10. Romantic entanglement


    1. Rainforest

    2. Ruins

    3. Desert

    4. Mountain

    5. Swamp

    6. Underground

    7. Extraplanar

    8. Lost civilization

    9. Tundra

    10. The sea

    Signature monster(s):

    1. Orcs or ogres

    2. Goblins or trolls

    3. Kobolds or shadows

    4. Ghouls or ghosts

    5. Devils or the possessed

    6. Dragons or rival adventurers

    7. Dire beasts or giants

    8. Angels or ordinary people

    9. Magicians or elemental beings

    10. Owlbears or chimera

  12. How do you guys do fronts for stuff that’s more one-shots than a proper campaign?

    I’ve just started up a one-shot DW game, and by necessity I’ve had to go in with more of an idea as to what’s happening, to at least provide the party with impetus to investigate the one-shot dungeon. As such, the only front I have was pre-chosen. What I didn’t do was fill in all the dangers – those still come from the party in-play.

    So by way of example, I knew beforehand that the adventure was going to involve trying to find escaped spies in a flying mountain sky keep, so the front for this one-shot is called “Traitors!” My first danger was also pre-selected (the spies manage to pass on the information they stole), but I left it at that.

    The players managed to come up with the other two dangers during the game – “the lord of the sky keep hunts the PCs” (they’ve gone around murdering the city watch) and “Baron Mardred’s ploy for power” (I told them they’d travelled for two weeks to reach the sky keep, and asked them to come up with events that happened to them along the way, and one of the events was “an organised group of kobold mercenaries attacks us; they work for Baron Mardred, who is growing ambitious”).

    This seems to work pretty well for me, but there might be a better way of doing it?

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