So I’ve DMed a few Dungeon World one shots and I really like the game. It brings forth the good stuff about the dungeon fantasy genre, the stuff I see from the outside and say “Oh, that’s neat!”, and wraps it in an Apocalypse Worldy coating of awesome. It’s a great, focused adventure game with a ton of neat stuff. It’s probably going to be my go-to adventure game from now on.
However, I’m not really grokking the whole Dungeon premise. I come from a solidly story-gaming background, the first game I ever GMed was Fate. I’ve only ever touched D&D once, and that was 3rd edition — the system ended up scaring me away from touching the genre ever again, until now.
I don’t know if I’m not asking enough questions, or what, but the first session dungeon — all of my games have been one-shots, sadly — almost always turns into a white room scenario. I make up monsters on the spot, we have a few cool action scenes, and so on. It’s fun but kind of hollow, and the genre is so outside of my comfort zone that I don’t really know how to handle it, where NPCs fit in, what would be adequate motivation for the PCs to be banding together on these epic quests in the first place. Which is where I’m stumbling, because I thrive in character focused, high action settings. But I can’t quite see the whole picture and I can’t see where the character focus goes.
It’s all so new and I’m stumbling, really tripping up, for the first time in my gaming life. I love and engage with about half the game, the Apocalypse World half. I want to meet with the Dungeons & Dragons half, but the problem is I don’t know where that half is coming from.
Please help me out here. What fiction should I read or watch? What are the core reasons for playing in the dungeon fantasy genre? What is your advice for meeting the high action with a character focus? Or for new Dungeon Masters in the first place?
How can I get the genre?