So there is a discussion going on over in the RPG community about people’s favorite published D&D settings and it…

So there is a discussion going on over in the RPG community about people’s favorite published D&D settings and it…

So there is a discussion going on over in the RPG community about people’s favorite published D&D settings and it got me thinking about what a Dungeon World setting would be. My general assumption is that every game start’s it’s own brand new setting but that could be said of most D&D games too. The adventures I’m writing have a definite setting that they exist in but it is mostly implied.

So tell me about your favorite DW setting.

19 thoughts on “So there is a discussion going on over in the RPG community about people’s favorite published D&D settings and it…”

  1. I played in a game once, run by Stras Acimovic whose setting was a great and powerful city ruled by a demon emperor from his strange arcane power-factory palace.  The city was in the grip of a civil war between the Emperor and the Church of Talisker, god of honest labour.  The whole setting was essentially crafted from the ground-up during chargen and while I suspect Stras had some ideas before we started, it ended up going in some really neat, unexpected directions.  Totally cool and a great example of taking the tropes we wrote into the game and stretching / bending them to fit a weird world to play in.

  2. Darcy Burgess indeed it does!  In the monster descriptions, magic items and in the steadings, too.  They’re hints and prompts, but never a fully fleshed-out setting, leaving folks to fill in the gap and to bend and warp what we’ve given them to start with.  There are Elves and Dwarves and Halflings.  There’s magic and manticores, but who knows what all that stuff is like in your version of DW?

  3. I love fleshing out the setting during that (those) first session(s). Pure magic. I like my settings a little more like AW with the players treading and retreading the same locations.

    I guess I should share a setting though…

    My pet setting (maybe I’ll do a starter for it one day) is a planet shaped like a tear drop. The fat end is a sea and the pointy end is one giant mountain. The sea is the only thing that is flat, all lands are either slopes or terraces. The tide follows a 300 year cycle, rising or falling 50 feet/day. Every 150 years, civilization is pushed back to the gates of a small kingdom at the planet’s tip by the rising tide. Wars accompany a massive exodus as everyone in the lowlands pushes uphill. The lowland nobles ride the tide in massive armadas, raiding those too poor to afford boats. Then, for the next 150 years, adventurers and settlers and young nobles follow the receding waters, claiming and seeding lands, exploring newly emergent ruins, and fishing the ever receding sea. There are four main martial traditions that have evolved: fighting ship to ship, attacking the land from the sea, fighting uphill battles for land, and fighting back against a downhill foe. Anyhow, that’s the world I’d be playing in. Custom moves wold involve fighting in the surf, uphill and downhill compendium classes, destroying dikes and sea walls, and diving in submerged ruins. Monsters would include nasties left over in giant tidal pools, massive barnacles, clumping grasses, and of course the nobility.

  4. Yeah, Adam Koebel that’s what the “whaaa” was all about. You don’t just make a setting, you re-write the entire game.

    Really, in a lot of ways, DW is a setting for AW.

  5. Darcy Burgess I think you can do a lot with the default assumptions, but yeah, a “setting” can mean a crazy amount of stuff in DW.  Sometimes it’s just color, other times, a whole new set of Compendium Classes, race moves, etc etc.

  6. The two settings I’ll never finish; one that’s been something I’ve just had percolating in my head for years, and the other is the one my game takes place in now that’s being slowly assembled as we play it.

  7. Marshall Miller I am totally stealing that setting and making harpies, lobsterfolk, and merfolk a thing. I’d just need a threat to all (which I realized as I was writing this was dragons).

  8. How I make a Dungeon World Setting: write down all the monster settings, then decide what place each of those settings is in my world, then make a map. If I can find my notes, I can tell you how this breaks out in my (never used) DungeonWorldSeattle, but as I recall, celestials lived in the Space Needle and Harborview, Forest creatures lived in the Arboretum, Abominations were found near the high-energy magic conduit (I5), and swarming multitudes inhabited Capitol Hill.

  9. One of these days I’d like to go through the DW core book and the two backer supplements and collect every snippet of setting information that they include. It would be a weird mix of passing references to other planes, name dropping, etc.

  10. Marshall Miller , that is a cool setting, but I think your numbers are a little off–50 feet a day for 150 years is 2.74 million feet, or 518 miles.  I know fantasy physics, but the atmosphere of the Earth is only about 110 miles thick, and at the top of it you can’t actually breathe.  Five feet a day might be better. 🙂

    I have injected reality into gaming.  Somewhere, God is killing a kitten…

  11. That doesn’t actually help as much as you’d think, Josh.  Even if the entire surface of the planet is at a 45-degree angle, the difference between the bottom of the ocean and the tip of the mountain is ~360 miles.  The difference between the bottom of the deepest trench and the top of Everest/K2 is more like 11 or 12 miles, and it’s non-trivial to get enough oxygen on Everest without breathing equipment.  Assuming sea-level air pressure at whatever sea level is that day, there’d be a pretty narrow inhabitable band at any given time.  No one would ever build anything meant to last more than a few weeks unless the plan was to come back to it in a hundred and fifty years.

    Plus, a “planet” that’s 520 miles long is pretty small unless the fat end bulges like crazy.

  12. Yes, 50 feet of bank is lost. Also, diagonal horizon. Whole generations spent moving ahead off the water. Nobles hiding wealth in water proof cellars for their descendants to reclaim. You’re never not on a hill unless you’re in a boat. Yeah, I’m not sure of the physics of it all, just a mental image of a whole world that is one big mountain island. Maybe denser metals keep atmosphere like the planet is a cylinder rather than sphere.

  13. I was imagining a rod shaped core rather than a spherical one where the gravitational forces were more or less equal along the spine allowing the atmosphere to be spread roughly evenly along the majority of the planet.

  14. Oooo! A round world where the truly elite live at the poles where they can build without fear of the encroaching waters that pass by every thousand years would be cool as well.

  15. Despite Adam Koebel s assumptions I approach each DW game with no real presumptions. I take ‘play to find out what happens’ very seriously. I go in blank – the only things I bring are my general familiarity with the different genres of fantasy that fit under the “loose” umbrella of DW, and two beliefs – the PCs are a party, and the PCs are together.

    In general I’ve found that I spin in cycles (similar to Murderous Ghosts or Swords Without Master). I open my mind canvas and listen. In general my first move when starting a DW campaign is to try and figure out the nuance of what people are aiming for.  The tone of a character helps me lay down some color on that blank canvas.  If someone brings some Sword and Sorcery ideas to the table, that influences the setting. If someone tightens up on a D&D edition, that’s color. In general I keep asking questions till I get a good picture of what sort of personal fictitive arc they’re nosing towards, and then blend everyones together to ‘barf forth’ if I may.  Next I listen for a steady center.  I don’t pick people randomly, there are certain classes (fighters, wizards, paladins) that tend to provide a good target for plot. Then I use some leading questions “well why are you in the city” for the other players (“when was the last time you faced off with minons of Villain/Problem”). Then I drop them in the fire (start with action!) and work from there.

    In general I run with action till I’m unsure what happens next. Then I ask questions till I feel the direction steady. Then we usually have action till I get to a spot where I’m unsure again. Then I ask questions. It works pretty well.

Comments are closed.