The Player Agenda
This is mostly intended as a primer for people who are brand new to Dungeon World or not yet fully comfortable with its methods. Consider it as a series of guidelines to help influence the game:
– Have fun
– Become familiar with your character’s moves
– Do something dangerous
– Act, don’t react
– If you ask a question, be ready to answer one
– Look for interesting facts about the world
In my experiences many people who are trying out DW for the first time come in with a set of expectations. For the most part, a lot of them may be correct in the context of a game with more structured play such as Dungeons and Dragons, but Dungeon World takes a great step forward by increasing player agency.
15 thoughts on “The Player Agenda”
Wish I had this earlier tonight, I ran one of the worst games of my life tonight, and I think getting everyone on the same page might have done a great deal to help…better luck next time, I guess!
I hope you will find it useful in the future!
What went wrong?
Matt Smith Yeah, I was going to ask you how your game went tonight. What happened?
Bernabe Costales Good list. Another good one to add would be something like: “Always follow the fiction.” And possibly: “Don’t be afraid to act creatively” 🙂
Matt Smith ugh! Sorry to hear that. For me, DW is a new learning curve. GM methods are different than I am used to. My 2nd session felt better than my first. Keep it up and it will get smoother each time.
Thanks for the encouragement!
Tom Miskey I just didn’t use enough “yes, and” I guess. I would ask a question, my players would respond with some flippant remark, and I didn’t know how to handle that…so I just started running it like a D&D game. “Okay, roll charisma. You fail.” Ugh, gets me fired up just thinking about it.
Anywho, I’d rather not plaster my whining all over Bernabe’s awesome list suggestion.
Thanks for the list man! I am sure it will help in the future!
Thanks for the additional suggestions, Misha Polonsky! I would take “Always follow the fiction” as-is, but I think “Think fantastically, execute decisively” may be better worded for new players (trying to retain the more authoritative/guiding tone of the GM agenda).
Matt Smith In my experiences I tend to just see through those types of conversations to their logical conclusion before throwing the dice. Many players coming from a more rigid rules system can have that type of attitude, but it may be part of unfamiliarity with the breadth that Dungeon World has to offer.
Yeah, I guess I wasn’t too confident either. Thanks for the advice!
GM Rondor I definitely agree with the learning curve part. I’ve played with several different GMs and I GMed my first DW game last night, and every game has been very different. It’s definitely interesting seeing how different GMs run the game. Both of your games have been awesome so far!
Bernabe Costales “Think fantastically, execute decisively” – you really can’t word it any better than that. I like it a lot.
Matt Smith Sorry to hear it didn’t work out that well. We already talked earlier, but again, I think with players new to DW, it’s important to establish first and foremost: this isn’t a game where the GM describes everything exclusively and is the only one responsible to entertain the players; nor is this a game where the GM just sits back and the players do all the work. This game is a conversation about a story.
Kasper Brohus ran a really great Hangout game today and said it best: it’s a reaction game. The GM describes things happening in the world, the players react and describe how they react. Everyone works together as part of a conversation about the story.
Can’t wait to play again!
Misha Polonsky Yeah, it’s even a reaction game for the GM. 🙂
A “principle” players should follow as well should be be a fan of the other characters. That shouldn’t only be the GM’s job. I can be as easy as shifting the spotlight sometimes, by asking a leading question to another player.
“So, how do you think we should handle this? Haven’t you been doing _____ in the past?”
James Savko, playing Dunwich the Bard, did this in the yesterdays game with Misha Polonsky, who played Cadeus the Fighter. They were talking to a contact at the tavern. “We’ve got the information you need. Fill her in Cadeus.”
I’m not sure if he did it on purpose, but we did speak of pulling the rug out beneath each other prior to the game. It shifted the spotlight though, and allowed another character to take the lead. That was pretty cool.
At that point, no one knew what was going on.
That was a very intentional move during Kasper Brohus’s game. I wanted to include Misha Polonsky in the scene, and it was in line with what we had talked about before the game. =)
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