A little early morning thinking.

A little early morning thinking.

A little early morning thinking.

Originally shared by Ezio Melega

Differences between D&D (any edition) and Dungeon World


This is a strip about a D&D adventure, where the GM has coerced the group to stay and fight, feeding them possible tactics. The Bard finding a tuning fork is apparently a turning point in their fight with the monster.

How we would have played this?


Bard: “I search in my equipment for something to use”

GM: “Yes, you find it! It’s a tuning fork, then you klutz, it falls and the beast is disturbed by the sound, good work!”

Very few back and forth, nothing added we didn’t already known, the GM basically feeded his pre-tought story to the player.

It’s not possible for the player to have envisioned that scene: she don’t know anything about it, and without knowledge she hasn’t agency or the possibility to weave e credible and entertaining story. She can only wait for informations to be given to her.


Bard: “I think I’ll read the situation, checking my possessions and keeping an eye for the beast reactions. I roll + WIS… 7-9, I got one question: “What here is useful to me”

GM, checking his notes: “You use a lute, so you probably have a tuning fork. That is, strong sounds disturb the beast. How do you discover it?”

Bard: My carachter can be a bit of a klutz, so I suppose that she drop the tuning fork, and a disturbing sound came out”

GM: “Very good, the beast is dazzled and angry”

This time there has been a strong back-and-forth. The GM used his own preparation, but the system let the player mantaining agency, creating new and interesting pieces of fiction: the GM didn’t need to invade the carachterization of a PC, and the player was allowed to make a colorful (yet useful) scene. In this way GM and Player collaborate to create a credible world fed by ideas coming from both.

This is the many difference between the two games.


7 thoughts on “A little early morning thinking.”

  1. Got it, thank you.

    That’s the way I’ve always seen D&D played, expecially edition from Advanced to 3.5, but I know very well that different scenes have come up in the years with very different ways to play it, ways that could easily bypass that problematic.

    That’s the way I’m familiar with.

  2. In fairness, I think it often takes an experienced D&D DM to overcome the tendency to step on players’ agency. d20 systems are iterations upon a resource management style game, not foremost a storytelling engine, so players are more often left reacting with what they have written down on their sheets, instead of contributing creatively like DW’s co-operative improv style allows, and explicitly encourages. Ezio Melega  I think your observation is quite accurate.

  3. Thank you Travis, you got perfectly the point I was thinking about.

    With D&D you can overcome the lacking of the game in that particular field when you are experienced enough. Powered by the Apocalypse games are first and foremost collaborative story engines.

  4. I think that seems more like a 6- roll to me: give it to them, but with consequences “sure, you find something useful: a little metal gizmo that you find out is a tuning fork when you accidentally bump it and it rings out, drawing the displacer beast’s attention.”

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