Dungeon World in Japanese!

Dungeon World in Japanese!

Dungeon World in Japanese!

Originally shared by Andy Kitkowski

Dungeon World in English, in Japan. Adam Koebel ran DW for me, Hayakawa, Emily, and Brian from Blue Kabuto over in Cafe Daydream in Kanda. A great time was had!

Then, a few days later, I came back to run Dungeon World in Japanese for a few new gamers! It was an interesting experience. I used Kambayashi (“Felis”)-san’s excellent Japanese character sheets and rules summaries ( https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-znoCh8p4zEY3RRMXJpaHV5YzQ/edit , https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-znoCh8p4zEOHUyYzdDZncyMUk/edit ) , but at the same time I had English sheets in front of me so that I could remember which ability was which: I’m not so good that I could roll “Jijitsu no Shikibetsu” (Discern Reality) off my head with no problem. I ended up learning like 20 new vocabulary words that night, with only a minor headache to show for running it for like 3 hours! (unfortunately, I was in a daze so I forgot to take pictures)

The adventure was cool! I went all “Thieves’ World”, basically having a scummy fantasy town; a dwarven kickboxing female mob boss who assigned the players some work; and haughty thief racist elves (there were two dwarven PCs) to serve as the bad guys.

The player pool was interesting: I told Okada-san (one of the co-partners who works at Cafe Daydream, a friend and the designer of the Ryuutama RPG) what I planned to run, to make sure there was table space. He then threw out the description of the game (like they do with all set games) on Twitter, and I had two players (plus Hayakawa-san, in that picture there, who came by after work)! It was a great collection: BOTH of them (both guys, one in early 20s, the other in late 20s) were nice, the older one brought homemade sweets for us. And both of them were RPG novices. 

The younger guy had only played Dungeon Command a few times, and was interested in RPGs. The older guy had also played DC, but also one single session of d20 (I think it was 4th edition IIRC), and also was interested in something new, yet with familiar (western fantasy) trappings. But both of them heard the title “Dungeon World” and imagined a combat-heavy “going room to room slaying things and giving high fives” game, which surprised them that it was so heavy RP-focused, and player-focused (to come up with new facts, descriptions, etc).

And know what? The both friggin rocked it. Great PC choices (thief and fighter, putting a lot of description into their characters, motivations, items, etc when asked), flowing role-play in character, and so on. Hayakawa joined us soon into the scenario as a Cleric, picking Dwarven and Evil, to great effect (he didn’t play a psycho “fishmalk” evil type, but rather a cunning recruiter for his cult, so that was cool). They ended up having a ton of fun, the role-playing carried the scenario, high action-y battles, and everyone had time to shine. And Hayakawa, the clearly more experienced RP-er (he’s played more World of Darkness than I’ve played anything, ever, in my life; he used to fan-translate all the WoD books into Japanese years before official release) really gave opportunities to help the new players shine rather than out-RPing everyone, which was deeply appreciated. 

Highlights included:

*  A promise to the kickboxing Dwarf mob boss that they’d ferret out the mole in her organization and “bring him to swift, dark justice” (and in return, be awarded treasure from her unfenced treasury). Then, later, in a bloody battle with the elves, ended the conflict with a negotiation with them, promising “to let the mole live and come back to our guild”. The three PCs weighed their decision on their way back to the mob boss, basically wondering “Do we tell her a lie, and say there was no mole? Do we tell her who the mole was, then beg her to let him live, because of a promise made to a rival guild? (that makes no sense!) Do we fight her to let the mole live?” Hayakawa’s evil Dwarven cleric came up with a solution that worked for everyone, albeit a dark one: They talked to the mole, ushered him outside without telling the mob boss, “set him free” but first taking a hand as payment for betrayal. That honored the promise to the elves (and making him useless to them), while at the same time appealing to the rough-and-tumble mob boss. “Medetashi, Medetashi”.

* The players really picked up on narrating things for themselves. Notable examples were me letting them choose what they saw, and thus picked up, from the reward treasury: They all picked not “powerful weapons”, but cool tricky gear that would benefit their class in some way (Thief: A mirror that lets him teleport to any shadow within sight; Fighter: “I don’t need anything; I proved myself in battle again” (while at the same time pocketing a fistful of rubies).

* I got to narrate two fantasy “bros” trying to recruit them into a thieves’ guild upon reaching town. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a middle-aged white guy RPing as a 20-year-old ‘Host Club’ Host from Osaka in fantasy garb.

* The “final fight” was with a combo of a powerful male Elven fighter in armor, and a female Elven parkour-archer (both reskinned monsters), fighting together in the sewers. Just to ham it up a bit, I had the Elven fighter talk like an honorable samurai (“Nanore!” “Announce yourself, cur!”) and named him DEATH MASTER (“DESSU MASUTA-“), which got a lot of lols. But not as much as when parkour-archer started getting into it, the players called her (out loud, then in-character) “Legolas-yarou” (“F’in Legolas wannabe”). 

* And even though it was bloody, they were a hair away from taking down Death Master, when they decided to give negotiation a try now that they had the upper hand, leading to the rest of the adventure.

All in all, the players had an awesome time! Many low bows were given at the end(and from me, too, for them trying out this new game and being such good sports about it, and giving it their all), and they said they’re going to come back later and try out other new games. Sweet!

Now if only there were an official Japanese release of DW! …I need to talk to Kambayashi, then Adam/Sage. (^.^)

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