We finished our Dungeon World campaign yesterday.

We finished our Dungeon World campaign yesterday.

We finished our Dungeon World campaign yesterday. I learned a lot about how Dungeon World works from it, especially how to handle campaigns, as well as a few gripes I’m beginning to have with the system.

I will miss the crazy bonkers actions of my players. Their nigh game breaking strategies were hilarious and their exploits legendary.

28 thoughts on “We finished our Dungeon World campaign yesterday.”

  1. The arbitrarity of miss results

    Even if you follow your agenda and principles, the arbitrarity of the net result puts me in an uncomfortable dilemma sometimes. Too harsh could be really mood-killing for that player, but too soft will make the miss more or less inconsequential.

    XP on failures

    I’d rather have more basic moves that gave XP to be honest. While it gives incentive to take risks, It often makes people take unnecessary risks. Nothing short but killing a character off will make them stop it, and I don’t want to make examples like that.

    The math

    +1 means that it is equally likely to get a miss as it is to get a 10+. This bugs the hell out of me, because it means that your character is more or less only good at one stat at level 1, making that stat so stupidly better than all other options. This is more of an intellectual problem though.

    Leveling speed

    This is way too fast, exactly because of XP on misses. Removing those might make it excessively slow, unless substituted by something else.

  2. Couple of quick notes:

    Its your game table, so you can control the flow of xp and how much to level.

    The openness of what happens on a miss is part of what let’s you still have control over the feel of a campaign/story. If there’s more hard moves with associated story, then its tenser. Adjudicating this may not work better. Perhaps more templates for campaign feel and suggestions of failing hard forward, so to speak.

    For the most part, you can manipulate the above without much impact to the feel of the game. One suggestion I read previously in this group was to award someone an xp after a miss for the given encounter or obstacle. This means 1 for a miss in a combat, but not 1 per miss. You could also tally them all up and split them, or do player pools where they get to give xp to those who they think did well, etc. Nothing is set in stone.

  3. I have only GMed a handful of games at this point, but leveling does not seem to be that big of a deal in DW as it is in many games where you start out with so few hit points and abilities that 1st level fatality is not uncommon.  In DW you start out with an established character and leveling is not going to have an immense impact on your character other than modifying some stats to a +1 or +2. You gain some new moves and slight improvement on current moves, but it’s not like you are striving to get to a level where the ubermove unlocks. The “uberness” of a move is determined by the fiction not necessarily a printed stat or move. I could easily see going to something like Gamma World and leveling become irrelevant or marginal at best.

  4. At first I had some problems with leveling quickly but after a while  realized that going up a level has less of an overall impact then other games. My only issues (albeit small ones) with DW is the way it tries to emulate D&D, I prefer how games like Apocalypse World and Tremelus handle stats, damage, etc.

  5. Ehm, the levelling too quickly dilemma was caused by the fact that players leveled two levels at a time and when the campaign ended, one player would level up three times in a row.

    Maybe I should have pointed this out.

  6. It’s strange – as a player, I think 2 of the things you don’t like are the ones i particukarly appreciate of the game. I like to Be hit by GM moves: they’re almost always interesting, and I feel confident my character can take it. They’re much more than a simple ‘miss’, and that’s what sings about them.

    For that same reason, I don’t have trouble with getting XP on failure, and I like it that it gives me a big incentive to roll on my low stats – it makes my character more interesting, it pushes me to get out of my comfort zone (‘I’m a barbarian, i hit things’) and see sides of my character I would not normally see, such as knowing stuff about the world. I don’t think it’s a stupid risk, I think it’s exciting!

  7. I mentioned this somewhere else but whenever someone marks XP in our game it goes into a communal pool. Also the End of Session questions each contribute a single XP to the pool. Then the XP is divided evenly among the players.

    Recently I allowed a player to spend a point of XP as Preparation (a +1 bonus), I might do that again. 

  8. I’m with Alberto.  I love rolling 6- in DW and pick sub optimal but cool courses of action because of it.  The XP takes the sting out of failure and I love seeing the left turn things take thanks to the DM move.  They may seem arbitrary to you but to the players, that may be the unexpected turn that makes things interesting.  With regards to the math, remember a 7-9 is fundamentally a success for the player.  Your move should just add minor complications and drive the story forward, not make it feel like failure.  By the numbers a +1 results in success 72% of the time.  Xp is certainly something you should adjust to taste for your group.  When I do one shots or con games I usually have them level up every 5 XP.  I would adjust the XP needed for leveling to taste for your group.

  9. I agree the math is a problem since it limits the design space. But some may see it as a good thing because if the mechanical design space is limited it forces you to work with tags – which may or may not lead to better fiction.

    I like levelling quickly because my characters always die. So I seldom get to play high level characters. The highest I ever got in Pathfinder was level 5. 

  10. While I have yet to experience player death in DW  (we’ve come close and I have no problem with them dying) bringing in a new character is not nearly as painful as it is say in D & D where a 1st lvl anything would be dead meat adventuring with lvl 3 or highers. 

  11. For leveling speed, wouldn’t the simplest solution be to adjust the leveling requirement?  For example, make it 10+current level XP or 7+2x current level? 

    We have not made it to high levels in DW, but I would expect the number of misses per session to decrease as stats get boosted, slowing the level progression down.  What have folks who adventured at higher levels experienced?

    I know some complain that DW adheres too closely to D&D, but I think that “feature” gives it a higher level of acceptance.  I encountered the AW rules back when they first came out, but the unconventional rule set coupled with an uncommon genre didn’t click with me.  With DW, the D&D familiarity drew me in and allowed me to convert three different D&D groups over to the system. 

  12. “Keys do a different thing, though, and encourage to explore characters in a different way… “

    yeah, improving a game is all about doing things in a different way.

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