I’ll be running my first Dungeon World session at my local game shop, Big Robot Games, tonight.  Really looking…

I’ll be running my first Dungeon World session at my local game shop, Big Robot Games, tonight.  Really looking…

I’ll be running my first Dungeon World session at my local game shop, Big Robot Games, tonight.  Really looking forward to it!

I purchased the PDF a couple months ago and I’ve been reading it (as well as online resources like this community) while thinking of how to put some of my adventure ideas into the framework shown in the rules.  This is the only part of the rules where my brain isn’t working right yet.

I have the basic ideas I want to run with, including plenty of blanks and avenues to veer off on, but I think I’m just struggling with the official terms “Front, Danger, Grim Portent”.

I am going to run the game tonight, see how it goes, then probably be back here tomorrow with a recap and solicit some advice regarding where I should categorize what I ended up with.

Thank you to the posters here for the questions and answers that come up – it really helps!

11 thoughts on “I’ll be running my first Dungeon World session at my local game shop, Big Robot Games, tonight.  Really looking…”

  1. Don’t Worry to much about the Front Terminology. The Author himself said he needs to revisit Fronts. All you need to keep in mind is to have a bare-bones outline of who, Where, Why and What potential outcome are – From there you throw the players into the mix and see what happens. 

  2. Actually, Sage just doesn’t quite grok how to use fronts in play. I wrote most of that chapter and use them like crazy.

    A front is a bad thing happening in the world. An invasion of orcs, an evil prophecy coming true.

    A danger is an element of that front – the Orc warlord, his cadre of assassins, the shaman who advises him.

    A grim portent is a step between here and there. Things that the dangers do to advance the front. The warlord unites the clans, the shaman summons a demon. They are things the pcs should be working to stop.

    The impending doom is what happens when the grim portents go unchecked. The warlord overthrows the human kingdoms, for example. The end of the road. Bad news bears.

    It’s an organizational tool to help you present a fictional world that moves along without the pcs. A forward momentum to the universe so you can think offscreen.

  3. It’s mostly just that the Fronts are there to engage the GM in prep – they’re not optional advice. Fronts are a framework for DW play and trust me, once you’ve got them down, they’ll help you run the game better.

  4.  I just re-read that section of the book, and I must say that your brief description here better fits the way my brain works.  That makes a bit more sense now, at least to me.

    Without too much detail, I’ll try to sum up what my adventure is intended to be and maybe y’all can help me with categorizing the bits.

    There are two locations, a Human Town and a Goblin Village.  They are about a half day walk between them.

    The Human Town is intended to be a relatively blank slate with a single defined person, the Crazy Cat Lady.  The Crazy Cat Lady is actually a witch/necromancer.  For years she has been stealing the souls of the humans and putting them in domestic cats.  The human zombies and skeletons are kept in a secret underground cavern.  Her plans are to take over the human town and grow her undead army to take over the world, etc…  She has recently suffered a setback by the arrival of the nearby goblin village.

    The Goblin Village is unique in that the Goblin Chief is trying to establish regular trade with the Human Town.  The village offers entertainment in the form of goblin cage fights where bookies take bets.  The Captain of the Goblin soldiers doesn’t want the relationship with the Human Town.

    This was originally intended to be a D20 (Pathfinder) game adventure, which has much more detail and definition of events than I want to use in Dungeon World, so the rest is really up for grabs.

    That said, here are some of the behind-the-scenes things I had planned, as items for the characters to discover/foil/help with…

     – The Crazy Cat Lady is trying to stir up trouble with the humans by saying the goblins are stealing, when in reality they are just collecting on lost bets.  If she can get the humans and goblins to fight, that reduces the number of living that her undead need to eliminate.

     – The goblin captain is covertly trying to rouse the goblins to rebel against the Goblin Chief, simple because he doesn’t like humans.  He doesn’t want to kill them all, he just doesn’t want to be nice to them.

    Other open-ended things:

     – The cage fights are wildly popular with the goblins, and becoming moreso with the humans, although the humans keep it quiet when in the Human Town.

     – There is at least one human in league with the Crazy Cat Lady

     – The undead are becoming restless

     – Some goblins want to trade more goods with the humans.  So far the humans get entertainment and the goblins get coins.  Some goblins want more…what?


    Originally, this adventure had a tidy start, middle, and end; in the style of D20 typical modules (mainly because I intended to run it with different audiences).  In the Dungeon World setting, I want to let the players help write the story, so it’s way more open and I’ve left out many bits.

    After we do character creation tonight, I plan to start the adventure something like this:  “After a couple days in Human Town, you’ve heard enough rumors and been approached by enough people about the thievery of the nearby Goblin Village to go check it out.  You walked for half a day through the sparse woods of this late autumn day when you saw your lengthening shadows stretch out before you, pointing to the Goblin Village.  What seems like moments later, you find yourself surrounded by the squealing greenish-brown creatures, hooting and hollering for their favorite.  You are in a crowd of goblins surrounding a roughly-assembled wooden cage where two of the brawniest in the lot are attempting to tear each other apart.  You realize you’ve bet more than you can afford to pay on the goblin who is on the fast path to defeat.  What do you do?  Who decided to place such a large bet?  Why did you pick that goblin to bet on?”

    There is, of course, a bit more to it, but I thought this might be enough to get some advice.

    With what I’ve given, what’s the Front(s)?  Danger(s)?  etc…

    Thanks for any help!

  5. You’ve got some room to determine that depending on your focus.  It might all be one Front (Bad Times in Human Town) or there might be multiple Fronts if you think you can break them down into different dangers.

    The thing is, generally, an “Adventure” is just one Front.  Look at any old D&D module – they’re pretty much one thing to deal with. 

    Within the Front, there are more than one Danger.  Each one has steps towards resolving their badness.

    You only really need multiple Fronts in long-term play.  When you’ve got a Campaign Front and the players have options to go up against one of a list of various Adventure Fronts.

  6. Sounds like a great start for an adventure, I always like having multiple selfish NPC’s with their own motives.

    You already have a lot of your Front worked out. You have your Cast (Cat Lady, Goblin Chief), just remember the GM principles and give every NPC a name. Your Danger’s are pretty clear (Evil Necromancer, greedy Goblin, Undead) what you realy need are your stakes and your grim potents and Impending doom.

    So For Stakes just ask yourself what decisions the PC’s are going to have to make. Seems to me like you might have ‘Will they support the Human Town, or the Goblin village?’ other possibilities exist, ‘will they restore the souls or just slay the undead’. Once you are aware of the choices they have to make you can present the options more clearly to the players.

    Your Grim Portents is basically ‘What will happen if everything goes wrong, or if the PC’s do not intervene?’ Which I imagine would be ‘Destruction, The Cat lady takes the souls of the humans and turns her army against the Goblins’

    Then your Doom are just 2-3 stepping stones towards that grim ending, consequences if things don’t get stopped right away. ‘Tension rises’, ‘Fighting breaks out’, ‘Town goes to war!’ for example.

    That’s my 2 Silver anyway. I’d love to see how you end up organising your Front and how the game goes.      


  7. Adam Koebel

     Good point.  I should have mentioned that this is currently a one-shot, but could become a regular game if the interest is there.  It would make sense to create more fronts if this specific world continues.  As you point out, a module would be one Front – and this was designed to be a module from the start, so that fits.

  8. What a fun session!

    We spent about a half hour on character creation and covering some of the basics, then about 2.5 hours playing.  All four players are experienced in D20 games, so there were some pleasant surprises for them as they were freed to do things the other systems don’t allow without “breaking” the rules.

    Our classes were Wizard, Ranger, Fighter, and Paladin.  I ended up pretty comfortable handling the group of 4.  The way the game progressed, I think my limit for an in-person session would be 6.  The party actually split at one point, but the nature of the rules allowed me to cut between scenes and keep everyone engaged and active with time to think of their actions while talking to the others.

    “The Goblin Chief seems intrigued by your thoughts of increased trade with Human Town and he wants to hear your ideas.  Think about that for a minute…”

    Then I turned to the other side – “So the Ranger is sniping from behind a tree and the Fighter has formed a wall with the Paladin to break the charge of the goblin patrol.  The shifty Goblin Captain leads the patrol in a charge, crude spears raised in front of them.  What do you do?”

    Because of the narrative nature and minimal dice rolling, we are able to handle several actions in a couple minutes that would have spanned a bunch of rules, different skills, and at least a couple “rounds” of combat that would have taken about 15 minutes in D20.

    This let me have the party split without actually neglecting anyone because the rules take so long.  I like it!

    This was the first narrative RPG experience for the group and they took to it like fish to water.

    It’s so relaxing and liberating to just play without having to worry about “can I do this?”.  The players are already talking about a next session.

    Thank you, Adam and Sage (and all of the contributors, of course)!

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