First post here, I have a question: How do you handle the passing of time in Dungeon World?

First post here, I have a question: How do you handle the passing of time in Dungeon World?

First post here, I have a question: How do you handle the passing of time in Dungeon World?

I understand that there aren’t any actual rules having to do with time and how it moves. But I’ve found it really difficult to handle in the game’s i’ve run. Especially with how the wizard and cleric classes work. It feels weird to just say “Okay you study your spells – an hour or so passes what do you do now?” but even worse is that it feels unfair to just exclude the wizard/cleric while everyone else does other things. “Okay the wizard is studying spells, What do you guys do?” So are there any other ways to handle it? What’s a way I can keep the wizard/cleric occupied while he’s studying while everyone else is off doing other things? Any help is appreciated. Thanks. 

10 thoughts on “First post here, I have a question: How do you handle the passing of time in Dungeon World?”

  1. I didn’t realize on your reddit post that you meant during the study/prayer time, but I think that’s supposed to represent the gear-checking and camp clean-up time for the other classes.  Honestly, I’d just pass that whole time as the “Lock and Load Montage”: the Fighter sharpens her battle axe and straps on her armor, the Thief poisons his blade, tests his picks, and practices some legerdemain, the Cleric performs the meditative katas of his deity, and the Bard rolls up the beds and folds the tent like a Bard should.

  2. It seems to me that handling the passage of time is not unlike how one handles the actions of a player character.  With actions/moves, you ask yourself “Is failure interesting or consequential?”  If not, there’s no need to roll or invoke mechanics.  Similarly, with the passage time, are there any Fronts with Grim Portents counting down to an Impending Doom? Are there any other time pressures in the fiction (“You scared off the kobolds, but they swore they’d return with their master”)? If so, then determine if the passage of time is relevant, otherwise there’s no need to take particular note of it.

    With regard to the Cleric’s Commune and the Wizard’s Prepare Spells, I’m not sure I understand how these seem “unfair” to the players?  It’s not as if the other players are frantically gold farming while the Cleric and Wizard have enforced downtime, right? And even so, Commune and Prepares Spells aren’t something that is required maintenance every X number of hours.  A first level wizard could cast magic missile 20 times in a day. 

    A Wizard would only need to prepare spells should the Wizard need to change the spells prepared, or to recover a spell that had been lost due to misadventure (a hard move from the GM, or the player’s choice on a 7-9).    In the former case, the Wizard is spending time to get a flexibility benefit for themselves and the party.  If time is a pressure, then the rest of the party might be defending the Wizard during this time. If not, well swords always need to be sharpened and armor always needs some attention.  In the latter, the Wizard is recovering from the result of a failure/move, and that isn’t just the purview of the caster classes.

    It’s worth noting that classes other than the Wizard and  Cleric can suffer similar time consequences due to hard moves.  For example, a Ranger’s bow could be broken in a fight, and it would take maintenance for it to again be usable.  A Bard’s lute might be knocked out of tune when the party is caught in an avalanche, requiring patient retuning or re-stringing.

    That’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth.

  3. I mean to say that if a player’s action is not obviously a Move, there’s no need to go hunting for mechanics or creating a custom move if it’s not particularly interesting or compelling.  The characters are cool adventurers having cool adventures, and as the GM we are their fans.

  4. I think both of these moves declare “when you have down-time”, which I think of as large chunks of un-narrated time. You don’t follow every aspect of your players lives, just the actiony-stuff. When they’ve had some down-time to rest, sleep, or whatever, they can study spells. If they need to study spells but there’s no down-time, then they’re out of luck.

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