I’m thinking of running a Dungeon World game with some friends in the future.

I’m thinking of running a Dungeon World game with some friends in the future.

I’m thinking of running a Dungeon World game with some friends in the future. DW seems aligned towards campaign-style play, so there will be some planning to do to keep a long-term perspective I guess.

Anyway, on to a question I have: How often should I call for a roll from the players? How many rolls do other GMs request from their players? When I tried a one-session game of Dungeon World previously (didn’t finish the scenario) one player commented that “there was a lot of dice rolls”. It made me wonder a bit about how many rolls are appropriate. Generally I tried to keep the tests constrained to “challenging tasks” and combat, but even that made rolls come up every 5 minutes or so.

So, how often do the dice roll in your group? Would you prefer that there were more or less tests?

24 thoughts on “I’m thinking of running a Dungeon World game with some friends in the future.”

  1. According to the rules, the dice rolls whenever you trigger a move that tells you to roll dice.

    Personally, I think the game gets better the more the dice roll. All those misses and partial successes make the game utterly unpredictable and exciting 🙂

  2. You should only call for a roll when the fiction demands that there is some pressure or credible hindrance on the player(s). If there’s no reason why they wouldn’t succeed (ie no one trying to stop them, no ticking clock, not dangling over a yawning ravine, etc), then there’s no reason to roll.

  3. Page 18 in the book: When a player describes their character doing something that triggers a move, that move happens and its rules apply.

    Just searched for it. The only move with a debatable trigger is Defy Danger, as having lots of time to do something most often mean that there is no danger if you take your time.

  4. the crux there being ‘triggering a move.’ for instance, to defy danger, there has to be a danger to defy. If there isn’t one, there’s no move; they just get what they want.

  5. Well, Adventurers have a tendency to put themselves in dangerous situations, don’t they? The session I refer to took place in submerged ruin, slowly filling with water, giant amoeba rising from the muck. A fight with some giant spiders also required a lot of rolls. You have to choose the triggers and let people react as well, otherwise there’d be even more tests.

  6. Jeremy Tidwell That’s right 🙂 But ultimately, the GM does not decide when a move triggers. If there’s no danger, the GM cannot decree that Defy Danger triggers. If there is danger, he cannot decree it doesn’t 🙂

  7. Yes, that’s true; the player’s reaction to the fiction calls for the move. It’s just up to the GM to have the final word if something is a move or not. It’s usually pretty obvious, but it can be tricky.  My previous post is my general rule of thumb.

  8. On the contrary, they went past fast and without any fuss from my part. But I have played and talked with people who think there should be much fewer dice rolls, more like 3-6 per session (outside of combat). Other games of course, but still. 

  9. I try not to have a hard and fast rule on that, since it’s driven by the fiction and the players.  If they do dangerous stuff a lot, each instance is a defy danger roll. I have a bunch of those in any given session.

  10. So… any ballpark figure of how many rolls there would be in a typical session for you? We’re kind of skirting the question here. 🙂 It would be interesting to use as a reference for me. I might have been pushing to many dangerous situations on my players?

  11. I’m not skirting the issue, I’m saying that the question is moot 😀  They should be rolling as often as the fiction dictates.  If it’s a session where they’re not doing a lot of dangerous things, maybe they won’t roll a lot.  If it happens smack in the lair of the main boss bad guy, there’s gonna be a lot of rolls. (I’ve had both happen in all the DW campaigns I’ve run.) There’s no valuable metric there.

  12. Kasper Brohus 19 misses! Sounds perilous!

    The question is not moot, since it just means I wonder how often “the fiction dictates” in a typical session for you. I understand that it will differ according to what happens, and that there will be more in the action-packed parts of the plot. That’s generally true in other roleplaying games as well (except maybe Call of Cthulhu). 

  13. What exactly triggers a move is subjective. The fiction is a very abstract area and moves are fairly concrete. It is the job of the people playing the game (not just the gm) to determine when the abstract fiction calls for a concrete move. Its gonna be different for every group. If your group thinks there’s too much rolling going on. Try to scale it back a little.

  14. I guess it depends on the background of the individual player as well. This one in particular had only done online forum roleplaying before, while most of the others were more used to Neogames style rule-fests. Harmonizing with different players and expectations is the biggest difficulty with one-shots.

  15. Josh Harden I didn’t mean to say that rules should be followed thoughtlessly. If you dislike an aspect of a game, modify it! In Fate, dice only hit the table when both success and failure is interesting. Similar house rules could work for Dungeon World, like assuming that you roll 12 on the dice when you have plenty of time and no distractions. Make the game your own! 🙂

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