Question to the players of DW:

Question to the players of DW:

Question to the players of DW:

Does this game really feel different (as a player) than playing an OSR clone (or OD&D/AD&D)?

Because I played Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG yesterday and it was lots of fun because it is an easy to learn system and you can still narrate your actions although they might have no in-game consequence. I.e. I said: “I’m charging right in!” but I had a level 0 char who couldn’t charge.

I can imagine (I’ve never played DW, only GMed it) that a dungeon crawl in DW wouldn’t be that different. Depends on your GM, of course.

As a GM I like the partical success mechanic in DW because it helps me to propel the story onward but is this as valuable to the players as it is to the GM?


17 thoughts on “Question to the players of DW:”

  1. It does to me, for a couple of reasons.

    First, starting characters feel reasonably sturdy and competent – more like 4th edition 1st level characters than OD&D ones.

    Second, it’s really easy to get out of the “Vancian” magic rut, which I disliked from the moment I encountered it. (That is, in 1977.)

    And finally, the fixed difficulty thing seems to encourage players – mine, at least – to go ahead and try tough challenges of all kinds. Bold advance becomes the norm.

  2. I’ve never played either old school type games or Dungeon World, but I’ve run both, and I can tell you that my experience in watching player reactions maps pretty closely to what Bruce Baugh is saying. OS characters poke around and become increasingly cautious and the players focus on survival. DW characters become bold and occasionally foolhardy, and the players really embrace the advancement of the fiction.

  3. I should add that “bold advance” is not a synonym for “fight everything”. One may boldly advance to parley, or scrutinize, or trick, or do any number of other things to/with. DW is good for that.

  4. Yes, it does and in a good way. You still feel as if you are playing standard fantasy, but you have far more agency, feel less fragile and far more heroic.

  5. I feel more empowered in DW because I have more input into the game (plot and setting) and always feel like I’m making meaningful decisions. Because other players are empowered as well, I care about their input way more than I ever did with AD&D.

  6. As a GM who ran both, I can say that the focus of the game is totally different between, let’s say, DW and DCC. In the latter, you focus on slow paced exploration, dungeon survival, careful resource management, efficient combat tactics by the players, take the most out of random rolled elements, and more generally, survive a dungeon to gain more power to survive harder dungeons; in the former, the focus is on kicking asses left and right, develop character relationships, build together a coherent world, and find out what happens in the world you created. They do not just feel different, they are two totally different experiences.

  7. To me, as a player, DW feels like Amber RPG with dice. The narration pushes the story forward almost as much as in Amber, except when you trigger a move and have to roll dice, whereas in Amber you’re relying completely on the GM interpretation. But overall, it feels much the same as in Amber, which is quite different from D&D and OSR games.

  8. (Disclaimer: my discussion is primarily about very early D&D, which I’ve only run, not played.)

    I had been running original D&D (actually the retro clone Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox) for about a year when I came to Dungeon World as a player and now as a GM. I found a kinship between the two games. The key is that both put the fiction first; neither one works well if you engage just with the mechanics. The difficulty in both games is incredibly dependent upon GM interpretations of the fiction. On a more shallow level, both games are relatively rules light, easy to teach, and have fast character creation.

    As D&D evolved over the years, this became increasingly less true. It was mostly dead by 1st edition AD&D. Interestingly, the early playtest drafts of 5th edition (D&D Next) wound things back much closer to the OD&D era.

  9. Sophia Brandt It really depends on how the players approach the game. I’ve experienced some sessions of DW that felt very much like playing other dungeony games, but I’ve also had some that felt very different. DW has the potential to be game-changing (pun not really intended) but it’s still up to the players to make that happen. To do it, you have to actually do it! 🙂

  10. I find that the games tend to take a more “badass epic” turn in DW. I can literally throw demon lords and demi-gods at the players from the first session, and just because you are level 10, 20 orcs are still a headache. That changes the game a lot in my experience.

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