Someone on reddit was asking how Dungeon World played over long campaigns, since it seems like characters can level…

Someone on reddit was asking how Dungeon World played over long campaigns, since it seems like characters can level…

Someone on reddit was asking how Dungeon World played over long campaigns, since it seems like characters can level up very quickly, gaining xp for each failed roll.  I haven’t played a long campaign before- how have you guys found it?

I also commented that you could draft a custom move to slow down XP gain:

Measured Practice

When you have downtime and you spend time practicing your abilities, choose a single ability score you failed a roll against since your previous rest and roll against it now. On a 10+, mark XP and take +1 forward to that stat. On a 7-9, mark xp. On a 6-, well you’ll just have to try again next time.

Your thoughts on each?

26 thoughts on “Someone on reddit was asking how Dungeon World played over long campaigns, since it seems like characters can level…”

  1. You get through the first couple of levels quickly, but it slows down considerably after level 4 or so. Most of your xp comes from alignment, end of session, and bond resolution from then on.

  2. It’s been my experience that most of the XP gain comes from failed rolls – especially those from Discern Realities and Defy Danger.I run an actiony, intrigue-filled campaign, so maybe a lot of failed rolls shouldn’t be unexpected.

    I’ve also haven’t noticed any slow down in advancement. I’ve run five sessions and the player are all 3rd and 4th level (again, note my actiony and intrigue filled campaign description). I am pretty certain that a custom move for adjusting XP will be soon forthcoming. 

    In short, I don’t think that XP gain will slow down as the game progresses is an inherent truism. As in all things, YMMV.  🙂

  3. For a short campaign I allowed players to spend an XP for a +1 bonus after a roll. Since I tend to make brutally hard moves on a 6- level progression nearly ceased!

  4. Not only was this a non-issue for a campaign I ran in the past, but in our current campaign it’s 10xp to level across the board for every level. However, our current campaign is soul-crushingly difficult (per player requests) so it makes sense. We’ve already had two deaths and last session we almost had a whole party wipe.

    I’ve also changed up the end of session questions and they don’t get xp from drives (because we switched those out with backgrounds). Works well with our group.

  5. There’s a lot to be said for which character type you play and what’s going on in the game.

    I’m 27 sessions in with a Fighter and i’m level 10.  The other player in the game is only level 8 or 9?  She’s also switched her character class from Thief to Ranger in the process.  And taken more than one level in a CC.

    As the Fighter i get to roll a lot of Hack ‘n Slash, which means i’m doing the one roll in the game that gets easy repetition (maybe Volley, too).  Whereas you don’t go into a fight and roll “Discern Realities” nine times to kill the monster, you do roll HnS.  Which means i’ve got more room to fail, which gives me more room to gain XP.  Also, i’ve kept that fancy -1 in my Int for most of the game.  So whenever i want to bank a few points, i just roll “Spout Lore” and say something stupid.  Not only does this beef my XP, it flows perfectly with the kind of character i’m playing.  Whereas our Thief/Ranger player was struggling to keep up, but not by much.  A two level disparity is not a big deal, if you ask me.

    Man, i really wish i’d kept track of the game sessions where i did level…

    Anyway, further observations:  For a long while i was really concerned about leveling past 10.  I did not want to drop my character, as we’re sort of in the middle of a big adventure.  I did not want to suddenly shift attention to a side-kick, either, for the same reasons.  But changing a Fighter to something else is… hard.  I didn’t want to play a Paladin.  So i was planning on retiring and picking up a new class, until i read the Barbarian’s moves, and thought, “no, i could work with this.”  So we all agreed i wasn’t going to suddenly become the stereotypical Fur Bikini Barbarian.  TL;DR – the Level 10 Transformation could be better supported.

    And, yeah, i agree that leveling slows down a lot. But what has kept us moving forward is the natural inclination for the MC to answer the questions at the end of each session.  Sometimes we get Treasure, sometimes we don’t.  On rare occasions Bonds turn over.  But we almost always learn something new and interesting about the world.

    Alignments are the same as the character class stuff.  As the Fighter aligned Good i get to bank XP every game where there’s danger and someone else is there with me.  As the Ranger…well, our poor girl just keeps asking “Were any animals aided by what we did?” and the answer is almost always No.  We ended up having to go out of our way to find animals for her to help so she could bank some XP for it.  Of course, if we were playing a game of Animal Hospitalers that would be switched.  So, again, depends on what kind of campaign you’re running.

  6. but you can just do that by the standard rules. 

    Changing Alignment

    Alignment can, and will, change. Usually such a change comes about as a gradual move toward a decisive moment. Any time a character’s view of the world has fundamentally shifted they can chose a new alignment. The player must have a reason for the change which they can explain to the other players.

    In some cases a player character may switch alignment moves while still keeping the same alignment. This reflects a smaller shift, one of priority instead of a wholesale shift in thinking. They simply choose a new move for the same alignment from below and mention why their character now sees this as important.

  7. Whatever you like. You can go from Neutral to Good, using the descriptors in your playbook or from another playbook (not in play). You can stay neutral and write your own new descriptor or choose a neutral descriptor from another playbook OR 

    choose from the list on page 33. 

    Really, all the rules for that are on page 32-33. 

  8. I’ve not played a long campaign bit I’m concerned that failure becomes too infrequent. Those 7-9 results are a big part of what drives the game, and they become less frequent as abilities approach 18.

  9. Someone statted this out actually.  At a +3 bonus, you’re still looking at a 16% 6-, 41% 7-9, 41% 10+.  That’s plenty to play with… and I think you could just make the full failures and partial failures that much more punishing… or exciting!

  10. What is “long”? I ran what I consider a medium length game, I think about 30 sessions averaging 3 hours. The PCs were in the 7-9 range when we wrapped it up. And a heck of a lot had happened in that time, far more than I’ve seen in that time frame in D&D 2e, 3e, or 4e. (OD&D comes close.) Your mileage may vary.

  11. My experience is as Alan’s; been playing weekly for over a year, 3 hour sessions, various missed weeks, and the characters are at 7-9 (plus a new level 1). I expect to see use of the over-10th-level rules shortly. 

    I don’t see any need to slow things down.

  12. From the comments, it looks like many people are running sessions in the 3 hour range. I’ve run 5 sessions of 6-8 hours. Maybe the length of the session influences the perception of how quickly advancement occurs?

  13. Gordon Spencer, if your games are twice as long, then for X hours of play you’ll have half as many end – of – session XP events. That is probably why your xp are mostly from failed rolls. Though I’d expect that to create more slowdown not less. Some of the long games also mention fewer end of session xp. My games have been 2-3 pickup games and advancement seemed very fast to me, almost all xp from end of session.

  14. As a side note I’ve noticed that at out table DW plays so much faster and smoother that in 3 or 4 hours we get in as much adventuring as we used to in 7 or 8 hours.

  15. It’s a small thing, but for our group we’re seeing about 3 XP from end of session. Our group finds bonds tough to actually act on and we all have high standards for ourselves, so we’re only cashing them in maybe once every 5 sessions.  Alignment gets claimed maybe every other session.  And we typically claim 1-2 of the questions each session.  Different play styles could easily swing that from typically getting 1-5 a session.

  16. Burning Wheel only allows you to accrue a single ‘test’ from one encounter. So if you roll Sword 15 times in a fight, you only take one Test of swordskill -> improvement (IIRC, the hardest test).

    If people wanted to mod XP this seems like one option, and one that would also flatten the XP curves described above with Fighters rolling 15+times. The fighter would still get more XP, because it’s more likely to roll one Miss on 15 rolls than one miss on one (eg Discern Reality) roll. But there is less likelihood of real divergent improvement.

    Of course, then on some misses there wouldn’t be XP – and if that’s really important to your players, then there’s that. (Although, if you are knee deep in an appropriately challenging fight and you’ve already Missed once, the fictional incentives to not Miss again should be significantly grim not to care about this…)

  17. We’ve been playing a campaign weekly (with a few missed weeks here and there) of 2-3 hour sessions for a little over a year now and only last session did we have our first character hit level 10 (a character that has been there since the beginning of the campaign). I’d say it’s a decent speed, but if I had weekly games that ran double the time, then I’d require more XP to level, probably.

Comments are closed.