I enjoy my DW group and I may have my own group this fall.

I enjoy my DW group and I may have my own group this fall.

I enjoy my DW group and I may have my own group this fall. Since I haven’t been posting much or writing on my blog lately, I plan on working through my notes to create my campaign front. It is somewhat non-European Fantasy meets the East India Company meets flying ships.

One of the major features of the campaign front is the proliferation of libraries. The common folk are quite literate. The basis for the boom in books is the widespread use of a magical device that basically acts like a photocopier. In other words, what if Gutenburg invented a copier instead of a printing press.

One of the mechanical changes that result from this is a change to the Spout Lore basic move. A roll of 10+ is the same, but a roll from 7-9 results in finding out one true fact and one fact that may or may not be true.

If a character has access to a library, Spout Lore may not even be rolled, depending on the quality of the library. If it is rolled, the quality of the library will modify the roll.

More to come. Wish me luck. As always, anything I write is free.

29 thoughts on “I enjoy my DW group and I may have my own group this fall.”

  1. I’m having a pediatric moment, so I’ll point out that a campaign is made up of multiple Fronts. Every group with resources and an agenda is a potential Front. Noble house with ambitions ? Front. Pirate captain with a grudge ? Front. The impending Ice Age ? Front.

    The trick to using Fronts on a grand scale is to play with the time scale. In what would otherwise be downtime, players can do things that would take weeks or months. Meanwhile, the living world marches on, and when you have weeks and months to play with, that’s the time to take moves from Fronts that you couldn’t work into play before.

  2. Tim Franzke I’m creating the world for the group. They will be creating new characters when we start this fall.

    The request was to be in one of my worlds, so I am adapting it to Dungeon World.

  3. Michael Llaneza http://www.dungeonworldsrd.com/fronts#TOC-Campaign-and-Adventure-Fronts 

    To set up a campaign front, don’t I first have to build the world the group will be adventuring in?

    I’m a big picture person first and then I can create the details. I can’t make the adventure fronts until the world is more fully defined.

    There’s more to come, but here are some of the ideas brewing.

    There is the evil president of a Trading Company, but what schemes does he have outside of the characters? Is there a planet he/she controls that provided him with the power and wealth he/she has now?

    Bigger than that, what is the effect of a magical photocopier on the world. Since it is a common enough piece of magic, literacy has gone up. What else?

    Every character has a kind of chess set with them as standard equipment. Playing “chess” between sessions has an in-game effect. Heck, they can even play in-session if they want.

    I have psionics. I am building psionic characters. For the players to choose a psionic character, I have to define that for them. They have not seen any psionic characters. (I haven’t seen them in DW either, for that matter.)

    Hope that helps better explain where I am coming from.

  4. You should be setting up the world with your players when you first sit down to play. It’s in the First Session chapter.

    Also Ezio Melega posted a brilliant example on how to do that a few days ago.

  5. Tim Franzke I don’t understand. I must be missing something. What are you trying to say?

    What I hear is that the group has to create the characters first, then I create the world around them. Is that what you are saying?

  6. Tim Franzke They asked to play in one of my worlds, I have already created it, I am simply translating it to DW. I guess I will have to just disagree with you.

    Granted, I can see the fun in the group creating a world together using something like Mircoscope or even some kind of mind map. I’d like to do that one day.

    The group I play in now didn’t do what you suggested. I created a character, got to know the other players and then off we went.

  7. I added a move for our Eberron campaign, Gather Information. The players description of how they are gathering information determines the stat; talking to people and asking around, + CHA, observation, + WIS, research in a library, + INT. Here’s how it turned out:

    GATHER INFORMATION [new special move]

    When spending time gathering information through research, asking around town or by talking to contacts, describe what you are looking for and how you are doing it and roll + [CHA or INT or WIS]. On a 10+, choose three. On a 7 – 9, choose one. On a 6-, you still choose one, but the GM will introduce an additional complication. 

    • You gain the information that you were seeking

    • You make a new contact or improve an existing one

    • You gain unexpected, but useful, information

    • You do not arouse suspicion or draw unwanted attention to yourself

    • You manage to complete the task in half the time  

  8. Love the idea though if player characters are from different regions, I think the lore spread would be different depending on how the countries viewed each other (where rivals might write their opponent country history different than fact). Of course the more literate but possibly undereducated world falls prey to fake treasure hunting books (as in the nonfiction book Grimoires), scams of fake authors stealing credit for another authors work, paper/binding smuggling and much more if you go into the unhallowed tomes set by the H.P. Lovecraft mythos where some books are locked away never to be read.

  9. Darren Priddy Those are great insights. Thanks! I’ll explain the photocopier a bit more in a future post, but I will say that the library “culture” is that most people read the equivalent of romance novels. The treasure hunting for all kinds of things is definitely a part of it.

    More in a bit!

  10. John Payne a culture reading is good but if they’re reading the equivalent of romance noveld, I’d personally go insane. Plenty of other magical fun possibility too: magic bookmarks that provide light but also spy on the owner, living books that capture people or try to spread like a virus, flying books, etc.

  11. Darren Priddy I agree with you. The interesting stuff you mention will be encountered by the characters. Libraries will be more interesting to the characters because unlike the non-player characters, they will be utilizing the libraries for more than just a lending library.

    Library directors wield a lot of power because government officials, merchants, etc, come in all the time asking for copies. Information is valuable, so the devices have a way to generate two copies of everything, one for the librarian’s personal use.

    There are also non-magical ways to thwart a copier. In other words, I make books, scrolls, incantations, and any other written material un-copiable. 

    Just like you say, there will be all kinds of magic items and intrigue if the party wishes to go that direction. I am pre-coffee, so I feel like I am not explaining it very well.

    Thanks for your ideas and insight. Hope I am explaining it better. Otherwise, I’m heading for the coffee.

  12. Tim Franzke I grew up in an area without a gaming store. We cobbled together the rules with whatever books we could get. As a result,  I do not believe I have ever played an RPG by the book in my 30+ years of gaming, except for Ars Magica.

    I respect those that do follow the book — there’s no wrong way to play an RPG if everyone at the table is having fun. I certainly have not cornered the market of the right way to play, I have a lot to learn. I enjoyed the post you mentioned and like I said, I would love to play that way sometime soon.

    If no one enjoys my playbook/campaign front/setting then I’ll go back to being a player in the same group and having fun with what we’re doing now. I see these guys every other Saturday and Wednesday and every Sunday. We know each other pretty well, so I’m okay if one or more of them say “this just isn’t working John.”

  13. Here’s a DW-ified version of a Spout Lore/Research move for a hack I’ve been working on.  You might find it useful for yours.

    When you spend time researching, investigating, or trolling through your memories, ask the GM a specific question and roll to get answers.  If you do it by…

     – Pouring through books, scrolls, etc. roll +INT

     – Dredging up memories, roll +INT

     – Investigating a scene and looking for clues, roll +WIS

     – Asking around, roll +CHA

    On a 10+ the GM will answer your question clearly and helpfully from your character’s point of view, even giving you a chance to ask a few clarifying questions.  On a 7-9, the GM will give you a partial or cryptic answer and tell you how you could learn more.

  14. John Payne np, just got done on first draft of DW introduction adventure for group new to DW featuring a wizard tower so lots of fun with books in that and happy to share some ideas.

  15. Jeremy Strandberg This is great! I have a lot to mull over as I like both suggestions.

    Thanks to everyone for the discussion. Keep it coming. This is one of the fun things about gaming for me. 🙂

  16. John, you are doing an awful lot of prep work on your own.

    Do you think your players would have fun inventing parts of the world (“blank spaces”)?

    Do you find that some of your best ideas or pre-planning often goes out the window the moment your players decide to move the game in a completely different direction? Does this make you railroad them or do you toss your planned material and improv a session that is beloved and memorable?

    If the answer(s) is/are yes,

    Then I would suggest a Dungeon World-centric DM paradigm shift:

    Instead of asking yourself awesome questions and developing the world, come up with awesome questions to ask your players during the game to build the world. Remember, any ideas you have you can use later — the fiction doesn’t exist until it is out there on the table for everyone. You don’t answer the questions they ask. You play the game to find out!

    Player X, Gutenburg invented a device that copies books like a xerox machine, leaving scribes to become information experts, scholars and librarians. What sort of curator does the Library of Congresses have?

    Player Y, Marcus Yolo has been traveling to the Indies to collect a rare collection of cultural tomes — but he uncovered something unexpected that has the local populous in an outrage. What is it?

    Player Z, the President has tasked LARPA to develop the next best tech to outdo Gutenberg’s device for sharing knowledge. What is LARPA’s big idea, and what do they need to pull it off?

  17. Clinton Pong I would love to be a player in a setup like this. If I can carve out the time, I would love to be a player on G+ where the first session runs like this.

    I will ask the group if they are up for it. Like I said earlier, I see these folks multiple times a week. They did not want to be a part of creating the world for our current session (in which I am a player), so I believe that they would not want to for the session this fall. It’s not even a guarantee that I will have this group in the fall as we may still be campaigning in our current setup.

    I am doing a lot of this prep because that is what I am used to doing, especially with a world that I have already created in one form or another for four other RPGs. I like converting it for DW because so many things become easier compared to Pathfinder and even Savage Worlds.

    I don’t railroad. All of this is really just a bunch of main ideas, moves, classes, new spells, and a short list of things that are different from a traditional fantasy setting. The rest is usually determined as we go along. Instead of working with the players to do that kind of work (which would be a lot of fun), I’m setting up a framework and a bunch of random tables.

    If I get a brand new group from scratch where  I do not know any of the players, then I will offer to run the first session as you and others have suggested. I’ll provide my ideas for custom classes and look at theirs and more. I’m not against it at all.

  18. Plus what I like about DW where if the group is fine you can get the GM to create a structured bit then let players fill in the rest of the world or take the basics from the GMs structure to fill in enough color & details for the GM to take the player details to expand on the world when the adventure goes there.

  19. John Payne Adapting an existing setting for DW can be done. What you want to do is, instead of telling the players a fact about the Library, ask them leading questions about the Library. That way you still have your prep, and the players don’t have to study a history and civics text to learn about the world.

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