I’m somewhat nervous about my third session of DW tomorrow.

I’m somewhat nervous about my third session of DW tomorrow.

I’m somewhat nervous about my third session of DW tomorrow.  The players have progressed beyond my initial set-up and I’m left with many fronts, but no clear direction.  This is the part of DW that has me the most nervous.  As a meticulous planner I feel powerless and directionless.  I’m not sure how to proceed with my fronts, or if I even should.  I have an initial scene that I will present to my players that arose naturally from our two previous sessions but, unlike those sessions that were very defined and restricted (escaping a prison-dungeon), this session is wide open.  I’m powerless to predict what they might do and where they might go.  Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can prepare and keep my narrative on a somewhat predictable path? 

9 thoughts on “I’m somewhat nervous about my third session of DW tomorrow.”

  1. I agree with Christopher Stone-Bush.  Don’t prepare.  Do your first scene and go from there.  Just react to what the characters do; let them lead you.

    There’s a fantastic little book called “Play Unsafe” that’s a perfect primer on how to play in zero-prep games.  It’s pretty cheap and available as a PDF.  It might be useful to you!

  2. I understand the fear of going into a session with nothing prepped, David Benson. Especially if you’re a planner or just beginning to get the hang of improv GMing.

    When you can do is look at the actions of the characters from the previous two sessions. How does the world react to those actions? 

  3. I’m going to agree with Christopher Stone-Bush and 

    John Aegard.

    One approach that’s worked well for me is to have things loosely prepared that might discover the party, as opposed to the other way around – if the action stalls and the players look to you for adventure, bring the adventure to them! Literally have it kick down the door, or crash through a window, or fall out of the sky.

  4. If you really want to feel “prepared”, use leading questions – it’s an old improv trick.

    For example, you could start your next session with these:

    Thief, now that you’re free, you need to pay off a debt to the thieves’ guild. What do you owe, and why?

    Wizard, what important thing did you have to leave behind? Who might have a replacement?

    Cleric, if you’re not mistaken, you have an ally who lives nearby. Who is this person and what is the name of the place they live?

    Even without the answers, you can form a vague idea of where this could head…

  5. I think you should play to find out what happens. I’m a prep-a-holic. I prepared an entire adventure for my wife and after two encounters I was ready to deliver some serious info so she could get the adventure started. Instead she picked up on part of my area description that I had not intended. She wanted to know what that tiny and dark silhouette on the horizon was.

    She found this run down shack with nothing inside (I’m hoping she’ll just move on). But there was that massive wall of dirt where one of the walls should be. She turned into a badger and started digging through. This led there to a mine with nothing interesting in it. All passages closed off, one led to water, and another had a large rock crushing machine with a small hole in the ground.

    She tries to figure out whats on the other side of the hole. To further discourage her I made the next five feet of this small hole solid rock so she couldn’t shine light down there. So she came up with a way to get a torch through the hole, tied to some rope, with her staff tied near the torch to act as a perch. She flew down into a large cave which was large and utterly dark.

    She turns into a bat and uses sonar to map the area. About 100 feet down is a river (I put there to explain the previously flooded passage). She investigates the river, finds out there is a hidden Murloc underwater palace, and is now trying to figure out how to get her group down there and able to breath underwater so she can check it out.

    I just gave up with my prep and trying to nudge her in the directions that I wanted. Now I’m playing open ended and things are rolling along just fine. It really is a different kind of mind set but it really does work. Just go with the flow and describe what the players see. You never know what they’ll pay attention to or what kind of information they’ll introduce into the world. Encouraging the use of Spout Lore doesn’t hurt either ^_-

  6. Marques Jordan, that is awesome.  Your wife is the kind of player who would have driven me crazy in standard D&D, but is an inspiration in DW.  Thanks for the advice.

  7. The great thing about this is that my wife is very quiet in situations where she stands to be judged for personal contributions. She tends to shy away from the spotlight. When we played B/X D&D with some family members she was very quiet and rarely tried anything out of norm. In Dungeon World our first session was the same but on the second session she started to come out of her shell. I think she feels more comfortable with DW because it is structured in a way that encourages player input.

    She doesn’t have to feel like she is going against the grain or messing with anybodies plans (well not until I told her =P). She really enjoyed the range of creativity that the Druid provided and she loves the possibilities that are present for her to really try anything she can imagine. I think it is this aspect of DW that I love the most. Imagine what you want, describe it, and the GM will tell you mechanically what needs to be done to make it a reality. DW gets a +1 for quiet types in my book =P

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