First Game Report:
Wow! I’ve never seen my players light up like they did after our first game of DW. We’ve been gaming together for years, playing such games as D&D 4th, 5th, Pathfinder, Fate, and Call of Cthulhu. They LOVED Dungeon World. I have got to tell you, I have a tough group. One is a Mechanical Engineer, one a Computer Network Specialist, and the third a freaking college professor at Western Washington University. They ate it up and begged for more.
I didn’t know if the whole creation process would appeal to them and they were skeptical at first, but I could see them warming up as we started introducing the characters and creating bonds. By the time character creation was done they were laughing and mocking each other and acting like they’ve played these characters for years. It was brilliant. The game, though, really came alive as I put them in a position of stress and started asking questions. The creative juices were really flowing and they were on fire. So, the setup….
The players began the game kneeling at the lip of a huge pit. They were naked save for loincloths and bound hand to foot with chains. On a raised Dais was a man of obvious wealth and importance along with a retinue of personal guards. A few other important figures were there as well. The whole procedure was being witnessed by a throng of what appeared to be villagers. From there I started asking questions. Here’s what I got:
The wealthy and important man was the Lord Duke Graffly Pridesmoor, Duke of Dragonspine. His personal guard is called the Black Drakes and they are led by Sir Brack Middlesex. We are currently in a town called Crag Keep and the men with the Duke were the Mayor, Reginald Belknapp and the Sheriff, Lord Carlyle Cockspur. The Duke lives in a manor called Sentinal Hall about 20 miles from Crag Keep. A small village has sprung up around Sentinal Hall called Humbletown. The Duke is known to have a personal servant who, some say, is also an assassin. He is called Manderly the Mute for nobody who has ever heard his voice has lived to tell.
1. Why did the Duke have you arrested? – The Duke had been clear-cutting the trees of his realm, Dragonspine, which is a mountainous realm and so trees are scarce and valuable. The party ranger, Grendis, attempted to foment a rebellion among the Duke’s slaves (apparently he is a slave-holder. Imagine my surprise) in retaliation for the clear-cutting.
2. What secrets do you know about the Duke? Will, the party mage, slept with the Duke’s wife, Rose, and learned a secret exit from Sentinal Hall. Lucas, the Paladin, found out that the Duke impregnated one of his slaves and so had her thrown into the Pit. She gave him the Duchess’s most valuable gem for safekeeping, which she had stolen.
3. What do you know about the prison known as “The Pit”? – Nobody has escaped in recent memory and there is tale of a hideous and ingenious trap therein.
4. Has anyone ever escaped the Pit? – Legend says a great warrior named Tarell escaped the pit. People use the tale of Tarell to inspire children and some people claim a cult has sprung up surrounding his legend.
5. What do you know about Crag Keep? – Fantastic Food (they can’t all be winners!)
6. How did you end up in Crag Keep? – Grendis the Ranger was hired as a guide to lead Will to Crag Keep to conduct “Wizard Business” Luther came along for the hell of it.
7. What is interesting about Mayor Belknapp? – He lost his leg rock-climbing and is said to have a clockwork limb now. Nobody has seen it though.
8. What is known about Sheriff Cockspur? – He has a hair-trigger temper and spends a great deal of time with the Duke.
9 What secrets do you know/have that you hope will not be discovered before you are thrown into the pit? Grendis: Knowing arrest was coming, I threw my spear into the pit days ago. Will: I stashed my spellbook with a local merchant whom I can trust. Luther: I’ve squirreled away the Duchess’s gem on my body. Don’t ask where.
After the question session we realized that the Paladin had not completed his oaths. He immediately claimed his oath dictated that he had to slay the Duke, who was a foul and oppressive tyrant to his people. It could not have worked out better.
So, going in with nothing I now have a town in the mountains with a mayor and sheriff, a Duke who is the over-arching villain. The Duke’s wife who is sleeping with a party member, a group of elite warriors who protect the Duke, and a small keep and village.
The game flowed very well and everyone had a great time. I made some mistake, but the players didn’t seem to mind or notice. They had several major fights. The first was with a couple of giant fire beetles. It was brutal and savage. What would have taken a couple of rounds in D&D turned into a desperate struggle for survival against truly terrifying foes. That was nothing, however, as the next fight was with a Roper. One party member ended up wrapped in tentacles and, with both feet braced on either side of the thing’s maw, struggled to prevent the thing from devouring him. The players were on the edge of their seats and all came very close to death. Again, in D&D it would have been a tough fight, but nothing like it turned out in DW.
Thank you all for your help getting me ready for this. It was a tremendous success and it wouldn’t have been without your guidance. On that note, anyone have any ideas where I can go with the campaign once the players escape from The Pit? I’m going to re-read the campaign/fronts section and see what I can come up with.