Originally shared by Jamie Frost
Just GM’d my first session of Dungeon World. Was a bit rough, but I got some good feedback from the players. A couple of things that I’ve learned, before I go to bed:
1. A one-shot is a very different animal from a campaign. Players said they enjoyed the world-building, but it definitely dragged on too long and filled in a lot of detail that wasn’t going to come up, and was time that could have been better spent actually doing stuff. I need to find a happy medium where there’s enough flavor to lead to an interesting adventure but not so much that we’ve spent half the session setting things up.
2. One of my biggest stumbling blocks as a GM is still present: when I lose confidence or become uncertain about where things are going, I instinctively throw boring obstacles at the players, presumably to give myself time to think. I need to learn to let the players make their own trouble instead of doing that, and focus on interesting challenges instead of meaningless ones–and also to make challenges interesting if I find a scene dragging.
3. Things were slow starting, as I opened with the players in a “how do you get to the dungeon” situation. One of my players said that he is actually in favor of starting in non-combat encounters, and I agree that it’s good to get a bit of characterization going before the first die is cast, but I still didn’t handle it very well. I think the key is to start at a meaningful threshold–the GMing section touches on this, suggesting, e.g., starting at the doors of the dungeon, but I think that’s actually a bad example. If you choose not to go into the dungeon, you just go home and things stay the same. Same thing with the quest-giver situation I started with; one of the characters wasn’t tempted by any of the possible rewards given the risks, and so was going to abstain, and though he ultimately went forwards the fact that this was a valid choice with no immediate and apparent consequences was a problem.
So, key lesson: if “the status quo is preserved” is one of the choices, the decision is a boring one. PCs should never be allowed to play it safe, so every crossroads they come to should lead to a collection of equally important places.