Are you a GM and your first session of Dungeon World is coming up?

Are you a GM and your first session of Dungeon World is coming up?

Are you a GM and your first session of Dungeon World is coming up? Are you seeking advice or curious what you need to bring to the table? Here is some basic information for those just getting started.

The Dungeon World Guide ( is going to be your best friend. You really only need to read to page 27 as the second half refers to more advanced topics you’ll cover after your first session.

The official Basic Moves and The GM sheets can be found here (, pages 1, 2, and 25 respectively. One of the best GM cheat sheets I’ve found is this one ( It sums up everything you could possibly need for reference at the table.

For your first session you do not need a lot of traditional prep. You won’t need an adventure or any concrete plans for what should happen during the session. An opening scene and making sure to end the fiction with “What do you do?” will take you to many wonderful places.

However, many folks find they are more at ease if they have some starting information already laid out. I would consider two approaches if you want to have some prep done up front:

1. You can use an Adventure or Dungeon/Adventure Starter. Here is a list of free products ( that will serve this purpose. While any of these is suitable, the two I see used the most around here are The Slave-Pit of Drazhu ( and The Indigo Galleon (

2. You can create a basic adventure outline, grab a few monsters, and try to be loose and open. I had my first session not to long ago. I started an adventure with my family ( and one with just my wife ( This format and these adventures in particular, have both worked extremely well for us.

If you need a quick map for a random dungeon I highly recommend DavesMapper ( Also, simple 5-room dungeon adventures are available here (

The most common advice for any new game is to begin by asking questions. This is a great way to get players invested, connected, interested, and interacting with the world. Some people ask two or three basic questions to get started, others (like myself) have a five minute interview where I ask them about their PC’s history, personality, motivations, goals, and desires.

Johnstone Metzger wrote two articles full of questions and alternate bonds which I personally found useful in my pre-game interviews; Setup-Up Material ( & Setup Questions for Non-Humans ( He also created a slimmed down and reorganized version of the Dungeon World rulebook called Truncheon World ( I personally recommend it for personal reference.

It is a common practice to begin your game in media res. This means start in the middle of the action. Several great examples can be found here ( and 19 more here ( The idea is to start in a situation that demands immediate decision making on the players part. This makes it extremely easy to “Begin and end with the fiction”, “Ask questions and use the answers”, “Fill the characters’ lives with adventure” and “Play to find out what happens”.

Following combat in your head can be a little confusing if you are not used to the Theater of the Mind gaming style. In our games we try our best to simply describe what is going on. Though, when there are a lot of people involved or a combat is particular complex, I tend to have a notebook and some mini’s nearby to make things clear. Different people enjoy different styles, no single style is “the correct way to play.”

This should cover all of your bases for your first session. I recommend having a Basic Moves sheet for each one of your players as well as yourself. Print out the GM Screen if you think the information on it will be helpful to have as a reference. I always have a notebook that I draw maps on. These are simple but extremely helpful and often it adds to the fun.

Many people use Index Cards for notes or to keep certain information on hand (like ready to go monsters). Pencils, erasers, dice, and character sheets. Each player will need 2D6. Non-NPC/Player caused damage (pg. 21) is rolled on a D4, D6, D8, and D10. You can have one set for the whole table (since it wont be all that common) or each player can have these on hand as well.

Once you get your first game out of the way there is an entire world of possibility for Dungeon World. I highly recommend you take a look at this post ( to learn of the major DW resources. Also don’t miss the pinnacle of DW narration, A 16 HP Dragon ( I wish you the very best of luck! Happy Gaming ^_^

27 thoughts on “Are you a GM and your first session of Dungeon World is coming up?”

  1. I’ve changed the permissions on the two links in question to Public. I have no trouble viewing them without being signed into Google. Any chance you could verify David Benson or Matthew Seagle?

  2. Samuel Hinz I don’t think it will work as a GM screen because it is just too large. I have trouble fitting a 3 panel screen at my table and this baby would be 9 panel if you didn’t include the first page. When I first acquired this screen I thought about reorganizing the information so it only contained exactly what I needed. Doing so proved to be too difficult.

    I think the screen has a lot of useful information but a lot of it is unlikely to be used at the table. Traditionally GM Screens only contain the info your likely to reference every single session. This is how I would alter the GM Screen:

    ~ Pg 1: is the front cover, toss it.

    ~ Pg 2 & 3: are the Basic Moves and The GM sheets, toss em.

    ~ Pg 4 & 5: Order Hirelings, tags, damage rules, treasure table, keep.

    ~ Pg 6: is equipment list which I would toss.

    ~ Pg 7: is Create Hirelings rules, keep, but steading tags, toss.

    ~ Pg 8: is Create Steading rules, toss

    ~ Pg 9: is Steading Evolution and Monster generation toss

    ~ Pg 10: is Quick NPC lists, I would toss

    As you can see I deem around two and a half pages worthy of GM screen status. A lot of the tossed content would be great to have on hand as reference material but you aren’t likely to use it each session.

    Monster generation rules are cool but I would ditch those and use these ( instead. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any other GM Screens floating around =(

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