Hello everybody

Hello everybody

Hello everybody,

newbie here.

I’m having some problems with the first session.

Usually I play more traditional RPGs, but Dungeon World got me kinda hooked on trying something a bit more story-gamey. Reading the book, basically everything made sense in my head, and after reading the “first session”-chapter my plan was: Character generation, define the world a bit with questions, than throw them into the first adventure (to make it diffrent from usual, they are already at the “Bossfight”: The roof ist on fire, the virgin is about to be sacrificed, The Cultists are looking in their direction and they’ve got to fight their way out of the burning Dungeon). Everything looked fine until I stumbled upon these:

dungeonstarters | finemessgames

I kinda gave up after reading the half of them. I think I couldn’t GM anything out of them at all, and I’m feeling kinda uncomfortable starting DW. Anything wrong with my first plan to start the game? I’m having the impression I totally got it wrong.


17 thoughts on “Hello everybody”

  1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your first session’s plan. My impression here is that you see what appears to be a thorough plan in these starters and it intimidated you into thinking yours is inadequate.

    If you think about it, a lot of that thoroughness is the recording of things (questions, goals, details, whatever) that you already have in your head. Just with the brief description of your idea, images and more enter my mind and I’m ready to play that session!

    So buck up and hold that session – you won’t regret it and, even if it doesn’t go as you’d like, this community is a great place to discuss the session and learn how to improve it – without paying a fee, even.

  2. I’m in total agreement with James Hawthorne and Marshall Miller. Don’t let those Dungeon Starters throw you off, Thor Graves, what you have is a  great place to start. There is nothing wrong with the set up you have. Burning dungeon. Virgin about to be sacrificed. A cult to deal with. All great.

    I’m rather curious why you thought you were doing things wrong after reading the Dungeon Starters though. From my perspective, you’re well on your way to building your own Dungeon Starter with the material you have so far. Not that you have to, of course.

    Not to pry, but what about the Dungeon Starters made you uncomfortable?

    P.S. – Love the Sky Chain Marshall Miller !

  3. As Christopher said, you’re essentially writing your own Dungeon Starter, and it sounds like a good start to me! I was running Dungeon World for a while, with happy players, before I “got” how Dungeon Starters are intended to work.

    If you haven’t considered it already, I like describing a mess of a situation (like you have), then asking the players to explain some of the details. Off the top of my head: What are the cultists trying to accomplish with the sacrifice? Who started the fire, and why? Who is the sacrificial victim? You can built an astonishingly large amount of world from those answers.

    Best of luck!

  4. Thanks for your answers and your encouragement.

    Christopher Stone-Bush: from the Dungeonstarters I did read,  I felt quite intimidated from how sparse the situation at hand was described and I also missed some urgency to act (Worst example, the “The Goblin Hole” with the whole Mmission statement “What have you sworn to do here?”).

    I understand that this is (for the starters) supposed to be resolved by the players, answering the questions, but as player I would feel quite overwhelmed with such openess and I’m quite afraid my players would be as well.

    Also I think I [still] need some kind of “skeleton” to build up upon, but wherever it’s buried in the starters I didn’t get “visible” enough for me. For example I’ll most likely won’t start without a crude dungeon map (leaving blanks,, of course)  to improvise upon.

    Tim Franzke I’m currently taking a look and I just noticed how short my attention span has become for YT. Nearly 2 hours, don’t know when I’ve seen a “clip” this long the last time, from start to end. Thanks for the link.

  5. Thor Graves Yes, the Dungeon Starters are sparse. But they are intentionally so. They’re not “complete” adventure modules, because that’s not what Dungeon World really does.

    Side Note: There is absolutely no reason why you can’t run a “traditional” adventure module in Dungeon World. I’ve done exactly that, to great success on several occasions. You just have to tweak them somewhat.

    One of the core elements of Dungeon World is collaborating on the setting and adventure. Which is why the Dungeon Starters give you questions to ask, rather than concrete answers.

  6. I was quite aware that DW and complete adventures will not work (just like a Whodunit will not make it past the first “discern realities”), however the starters still kinda shocked me.

    At least for the beginning i’d like a little bit more substance and I think it well roll a bit more freely once the Fronts come into play.

  7. Maybe i was exaggerating a little bit (or it’s just my view from afar, but reading it ‘What’s not what it seems? Who’s in charge?”), I thought it might change quickly from “who did it” to “how to get the murderer”. Of course a GM could always be quibbling arround the answers, but I wouldn’t like that.

  8. But “who did it” is not part of the questions. And knowing who did it and convincing authorities about it are 2 different things. The focus of the story just shifts. You know who did it, now find proof of it. 

  9. Historical note: The format for Dungeon Starters comes out of a time when the only people playing DW were people who were already playing AW, wherein most of the setting and situation is generated at the table with the players. The really loose premise was intended to allow you to use the same starter over and over and have the game turn out different each time, based on player input.

  10. Tim Franzke the focus of the story not just shifts, it becomes a whole different kind of beast (compare Ms.Marple to Columbo). But that’s good, as long as the GM isn’t an ass and enforces Ms.Marple even after everyone is in Columbo mode. All I wanted to point out: From reading I got the impression that GM’ing DW will provoke far more suprises (on both sides of the table) than planning a story/adventure in detail should ever work with (and that’s one of the reasons I give it a try).

    Marshall Miller I was under the impression they were some kind of newbie-starting help, thus perhaps my confusion (OTOH other newbies might work very well with it).

  11. My own reading of Discern Realities is entirely compatible with many sorts of mysteries. A big chunk is limiting answers to the immediate situation. The person in control of a situation isn’t necessarily the murderer. What happened here recently might reveal details about how the murder was committed without identifying the murderer; and it doesn’t necessarily apply at all if the murder wasn’t recent.

    For example, the PCs find the Duchess dead, a nasty red mark around her neck.  Someone carefully studies the body and uses Discern Realities:

    What happened here recently?  If the murder wasn’t recent, “Her body is cold; she’s been dead for a while, and there is no evidence anyone has touched her in a while.  So recently? Nothing.”  (The authors have explicitly blessed “Nothing” as a DR answer, pointing that it makes it easy to claim the +1 forward).  If the murder was recent, there are a variety of potential clues: “There are drag marks coming from the door. Someone dragged her body here from the next room.”

    What is about to happen?  Not quite on topic.  “The guards will likely be by soon, and it will look bad if you’re here.”

    What should I be on the lookout for?  Another good clue one!  “There is an imprint on the Duchess’s hand, it looks like she was clutching her seal tightly before she died.  It’s nowhere to be found.”

    What here is useful or valuable to me?  More clues!  “There a scrap of blue cloth under her nails.”

    Who’s really in control here? “No one”.

    What here is not what it appears to be?  Clues! So many clues! For a simple murder, “Nothing, it’s exactly what it seems.”  The “her body was dragged here” clue is appropriate if you haven’t used it already.  For a complex case, “The blue cloth is the right color for an agent of of Florin, but Florins always use wool, and this is linen.”

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