I played a couple games of DW and was wondering about some design choices, particularly:

I played a couple games of DW and was wondering about some design choices, particularly:

I played a couple games of DW and was wondering about some design choices, particularly:

1) Why are there so few choices to make at lvl 1? You basically choose your class, race and stats, and you’re done. All your moves are pre-written. Other AW-based games leave you a bigger choice. Why is that?

2) Why does the amount of xp you need to level up increase at each level? Is it to reproduce the “leveling up gets slower and slower” from old school games?

3) Why so little xp is given for things that are in the player’s control (ie. bonds, alignement and the three questions), while a good amount of it is randomnly given away (1 point per failure on a roll)? The latter is bound to point 2), since your stats get higher when you level up and therefore it gets harder and harder to fail, therefore slowing down your leveling up even more.

Thanks for the attention 🙂

Adam Koebel and Sage LaTorra, of course, but everyone, feel free to butt in! 

20 thoughts on “I played a couple games of DW and was wondering about some design choices, particularly:”

  1. Yeah, 1) is a case of making for quick and easy character gen, which is great. If you want to add a bit more choice, you can do what I did: let the players get a free advance at level 1. It’s one more choice, they get an extra something fun to play with, and it doesn’t break anything.

    2) I’m pretty sure it’s exactly that. Also, XP in DW is much easier to get than in AW, so requiring one more XP per level to level up hardly delays anything.

    3) The players can get up to 4XP per session for stuff in their control (resolve a bond, plus the three questions in End of Session). XP on a miss does two things: it offers a consolation prize for rolling poorly, and it rewards taking risks and failing (which leads to new story developments) with character growth.

  2. My players have gone one of either two ways: either they’re lucky SOBs who’ve got 10+ on every roll or they’ve failed every time. As Alex says, the XP when you fail is a great consolation prize so no-one feels like they’ve had a bad time. Having players at different levels doesn’t unbalance things as much as you’d think, too.

  3. 1. Modern mechanics with an old-school feel. Think back to the earliest editions of D&D,. Character creation was a quick and simple process. Pick a class, pick a race, assign your stats, you’re basically done except for equipment. DW captures with well.

    2. Pretty much just what you said. Also, by not having progression be linear, you get a longer lifespan out of the characters (once you reach 10th level you’re basically done).

    3. See your question #2. Since it takes so few XP to level up, and you get most of points for “failing” if anything else was giving you large numbers of points you’d level up too quickly.

  4. Re 1), I don’t know, but I didn’t feel like I was not getting enough choices when I created my character.

    Re 3) I like getting XP on failures a lot, because it makes the player risk a lot just to have those points, and that makes for a fun game in my experience.

    Re 2) The slight progression doesn’t change much IMO… What changes is that higher level PCs in my experience risk LESS because much more is at stake in case of a failure, so they level more slowly because of that.

  5. And I don’t need a computer program to generate a character or to level up.

    (Had to buy Hero  lab for pathfinder… OK, I’m a bit slow, but still.)

  6. 2. Re: bonds being “out if control”. It is possible for the players on both sides of the bond to work mutually on getting it resolved, even though only one of them is getting the xp for it. So if my ranger has “Janus knows nothing of nature and I will teach him about it”(paraphrasing here). Janus’ player could try to play up his cluelessness about nature and give my ranger plenty of opportunities. 

  7. Some classes have more choices at char.

    gen than others, but most of the “options” actually should come from the questions the GM asks during the first session. Those questions can have potentially SO much influence on the setting.

  8. Yep, people have pretty much nailed it already:

    1) I think there are a lot of choices as-is, but we’re definitely balancing speed and customization.

    2) Pretty much, yep. Also to extend play a bit, and to give the players another reason to push themselves.

    3) Miss XP is there to reward taking risks and, basically, being an adventurer. It also salves the sting of failure.

  9. yeah. Few choices in character creation, endless potential in the long run. It’s customary in DW to create your own compendium class at some point in the campaign!

    And, think of the magic items! Gee. Endless potential.

  10. Alex Norris Not disagreeing with your whys, just want to say that 1) char gen is pretty quick in AW too, and b) I think you actually gain XP faster in AW than DW.

    John Desmarais Once you reach level 10, there are still options for compendium classes, apprentices and starting a new life.

  11. 1. I find that the group as a whole can increase ‘choice’ in chargen by asking provocative questions….

    The skeleton for each race and class is bare for a reason, how you answer the veritable gamut of questions about the classes and races in play (and not in play) is what gives so much choice to the process. Once they are authored into the narrative and setting backdrop of your Dungeon World, no two classes or races or games for that matter will ever be the same.

  12. It works far better with people coming from 4E (which has a measure of narrative control baked in) than it does with people coming from 3.x, actually.

    It’s also how DW is supposed to be played (and one of its greatest strengths), so if it’s not working for your players, you need to teach them rather than just shrugging and moving on.

  13. Alex Norris possible, I basically don’t know anyone playing 4e.

    Anyway, it’s not about moving on, I am talking about freezing staring at the sheet, when something can be solved the old school way, i.e. by judicious use of the information and tools, or with a nice narrative, explaining why that is not a problem.

    Too much involvement in those situations makes me feel a little to much like being a pushy and railroading gm, which I don’t really like.

  14. Nathan Roberts

    My statement about the difficulty of managing players that think they have to find mechanical solutions instead of describing what their character do in the fiction without getting heavily involved in the process.

    I wasn’t asking for any advice on running rpgs, but in case you would give it anyway , the emphasys is not on what to do, but strictly on how to do it.

  15. Nathan Roberts  No, I wasn’t asking for help. I was merely sharing my experience with a kind of a situation that can’t be solved by following the narrative, since the players don’t build a narrative and search for rules instead and my feelings about that.

    If you feel like helping, a proposal to solve the actual problem instead of “read the book and follow the instructions given” would feel much less patronizing.

     I will stop answering on the topic. 🙂

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