I am going to be running my first DW sometime with my group and I was wondering if there were any good tools for…

I am going to be running my first DW sometime with my group and I was wondering if there were any good tools for…

I am going to be running my first DW sometime with my group and I was wondering if there were any good tools for coming up with your own storyline or ways to spit off ideas with someone. I have some ideas already just not sure if they are good or not.

15 thoughts on “I am going to be running my first DW sometime with my group and I was wondering if there were any good tools for…”

  1. Just about 50% or so prep is good, you need to set some standards on the world/story then work with the players with creating the details. A few sites out there are good with actual play recordings. Seems for the games I know of the game is more into story/characters so as long as your story has a good core outline, the rest can be made up in game. Recording the game helps too for later review.

  2. I usually do about 10% of the prep ahead of time. Come up with a cool plot twist or two and then let the players decide everything else. I only bring the twists in when I have the option via a GM move. 

  3. Yup. You play to find out what happens. For me, that means coming up with the seed of an adventure; rough ideas of the who, what, where, why, when, and how. Then you turn the players lose and fill in all the details during play.

  4. Ask lots of questions, and use the answers. Come to the table with some ideas of your own, but be ready to abandon them or change them into what the players give you. Recently I ran a short campaign with a D&D module as a source of fronts and dangers, but I ended up using only about two paragraphs of background description. And this was a good thing.

  5. If I have an idea for a good campaign arc, I’ll try it on by baiting the players, but only with the most basic concepts in mind. If they don’t show much interest or point the story in a different direction with their answers/decisions, then I know where they do or don’t want to go. Always run with their ideas, even if you as a GM don’t feel as interested in it as your own idea, because (I promise you) the game will be so much better and you will end up really enjoying it.

    I understand the need to write everything up front – I’ve always designed my own campaign worlds, gods, backstory, etc. At the same time, DW taught me to use that same creativity but on the fly, based on the players’ input. 

  6. I’ve always started with an adventure idea; an Ice Witch is preparing to cast a perpetual winter spell across the region, a Serpent Cult is abducting people from a small village, a

    local noble needs an artifact buried in a Lich’s crypt, etc. I start the session with the PCs on their way to the adventure site with a very clear goal of what they need to do.

    But then I write up leading questions about the specifics. “Wizard, who defeated the Ice Witch centuries ago, and how do the legends say they did it?” “Bard, in addition to telepathy, what powers are the Helm of Ventoosler rumored to have?” “Fighter, you’ve fought against the Snake Cult before. What kind of tactics do they use?” Stuff like that.

  7. I thought about making it that no gods exist in the world so the cleric and paladin are not options for people to play. I also like the idea of using the grim world stuff for death of characters. I thought about the last breath being renamed to “cheat death” and figure out a way they cheat death because they are not going to a “god” to either beg for their life or what not. I also thought of having them start at a carnival/festival or what not and having them involved in different “games” to get them used to rolling for certain tasks and get them aware of the world and what not. I want to have one main threat so like orcs but they are led by humans since that brings about the surprised aspect of our own society has people that turn out evil and wanting to hurt others. I was going to be working with another gm and having 2 tables at my house run through a campaign in the same world. maybe one table being mainly magic users and others that think magic users are possibly evil or just don’t understand about magic. I don’t know where to go from there. maybe having the people attacked at the festival/carnival and get them away from their homes and to seek answers and/or revenge for loss of family/friends etc. I also thought of having maybe certain races being rare and only have like hierlings/npcs be those races and maybe having magic somewhat rare or only in certain regions of the world. Let me know how all this sounds.

  8. It sounds to me like you are establishing a lot of stuff before the game even begins. While none of what you’ve said seems bad or wrong, I would avoid doing this.

    Instead, involve your players in establishing these game world facts.

  9. Christopher Stone-Bush I will be giving the players lots of opportunities to add more. I just thought about having these ideas in case my players do have some difficulty contributing ideas.

  10. I agree with Christopher Stone-Bush. I think you will have that level of detail 2-3 sessions into the game anyway, except most of it will be authored by the players. You might be able to sell them on it up front if you forward that paragraph to them. I wouldn’t do that, though.

    I think the best Dungeon World games start in media res, with minimalist conception, like: “You are all clinging to a fraying rope on the side of a tower, in a burning castle under siege. A dragon is circling overhead. Fighter, what story did the thief tell you to convince you to come on this mission? Wizard, why are you really here?” And so on. Keep asking questions and use the answers. Follow your principles and agendas, and everything will turn out fine with emergent complexity and campaign theme.

  11. Roman Chang the one I goto is Role Playing Public Radio (on the networks sidebar of the page is button for actual plays) with a half dozen a few pages in. I’m figuring others are out there too.


    There’s some videos by others posted in the group here that also might have some too.

  12. The most practical advice I can give you is to springboard off character creation. Built into the process of creating characters are the questions about and answers to important things about the world. Whether or not you create lore about the world beforehand (and I would recommend, as many here have, that you don’t), the presence of these character classes means their player will have to engage with these issues at some point. If you want to daydream some ideas about the world, think of a couple of (not just one!) interesting answers to these questions in case someone needs help, but try to prioritize the player’s contribution over your own.


    • How did you get your title?

    • information about the barbarian’s homeland

    • information about the token of where you’ve travelled or where you’re from


    • How did you learn about your area of expertise?

    • What’s the history behind your chosen instrument?


    • The cleric is full of setting information, mostly about their deity and the structure and dynamics of their religion.

    • If you’re a human, how did you learn that wizard spell of yours?


    • If you wear furs or hides, what animal did they come from and how did you come to be wearing them instead of that animal?

    • Make sure the druid’s chosen terrain or terrains feature significantly on the map. If they’re an elf, they’ll also need a Great Forest; if they’re a human, they’ll also need a settlement where the druid could have interacted with lots of domesticated animals.


    • The history behind the weapon!


    • Where did you get your divine authority? Was it from a specific deity, or something else?


    • How did you meet your animal companion?


    • A human thief has ties to other criminals, as per their racial move. Ask about how they entered into their life of crime and who their associates might be.

    • Why do you know so much about poison?


    • Where and how did you learn magic?

    • If you’re a human, how did you learn that cleric spell of yours?

    The player characters’ bonds will give you even more world-building and background information. In my experience, this is the origin of the bulk of the lore you come up with. The ranger has guided someone somewhere? Ask the two bonded characters where, and why they needed a guide. Now you have a new, important location, or better yet, more information about an existing location.

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