LF Dungeon World GM.

LF Dungeon World GM.

LF Dungeon World GM.   I have been running a game on Thursday nights for a couple of weeks.  People are having fun, but it is occasionally a bit clunky.  Last night was our first attempt at using tricks of the trade move, and well… I just don’t think I got it right. 

If someone wants to run a game Thursday nights in June from 8:15 EST until roughly 11pm, I have 3-4 players including myself that would enjoy playing and learning with you.

We have been using Roll20, with skype for voice, since the roll20 app does not seem to provide voice to one of the players.

21 thoughts on “LF Dungeon World GM.”

  1. Might try google+ with roll20, not sure if you’ve tried it but been.using it for months in a Call of Cthulhu RPG game with little trouble most of the time.

  2. Joshua Bailey  I don’t think anyone has any need to maintain the current game.  It was designed as a “lets learn how this works” campaign, and we have lots of things that will go better next time.   But if someone prefers to run with what we already have, that would be fine.

  3. I’m happy to ad-lib a few example scenarios here and now for experimentation. If a few folks want to be players, I’ll be the GM.

    Is it 6- or 7-9 that felt clunky? We can have a go at a few examples of both in different circumstances.

  4. Matt Smith  — some background.

     They were staying in the well fortified tower, since the 25 foot tall magical construct guard dog seemed to be watching them.  The wizard explained that the construct is controlled by spirits to perform certain tasks.  The wizard then failed his roll (provided by an artifact) to find the spirits in the area, the artifact temporarily “shut off”  So they have no way to control the spirits (another move) that control the construct, and they decided to explore the wine cellar.

    The thief went to check the trapdoor for traps.  I figured the dungeon exploration starts out as a wine cellar, so the trapdoor is not trapped.    The tricks of the trade move says to use it when entering a dangerous area, so I thought it did not apply.  After some discussion about how this move no longer allows for any tension about finding out if there are any traps, The player chose to examine the door closely triggering a discern realities move, and got 1 question.  He asked what happened recently.  I said nothing…. it has been 100 years or more since this door has been opened.  Total lack of anything interesting with this answer.

    They move to the next door, and the player tells me tricks of the trade has a hold…. what does a hold mean?   So I re-read tricks of the trade, then explained what holds are for.   I allowed him to roll it, and he gets 1 hold, which he uses to establish the 2nd door is not trapped.   He picks the lock and rolls a 4.  I have very little planned out other then an old and rotting wine cellar which has a “cave entrance” caused by a tsunami 150 years ago, and a “hidey hole” that the wizard’s book told them about.   I had no idea what to do with the 4, and the thief has no “thieves tools” as a choice for equipment.   So I told him it takes a long time to open the door, and it is incredibly noisy…. while I am trying like mad to figure out what could be in the caverns that would come up to check the noise.  I played up the noise a bit, so they are all truly worried about it…. but still no ideas.

    They go into the wine cellar, and since the Thief is the one to figure out how to open the secret door to the hidey hole, I decided their would be an undead thingy in there, which knew they were coming due to the noise.  It began screaming at them as the door creaked open.

    They continued to open the door, and the thing ran out at the thief.  He decided to jump out of the way, and knock some barrels loose to roll over the monster.  Failed his defy danger roll,  And was scratched.  The thing then turned to get the mage, who held up his staff and attempted to parley with the mindless creature.  It took about 15 minutes of discussion before I figured that the mage did in fact hold up his staff and attempt to talk to it as the first action… this would not work well, but it is what the mage wanted to do.  So I allowed a defend move if he wanted it, since his staff was up.  He really didn’t want that, since he was trying to talk to it, but took the defense move since the mindless thing was attempting to clawing him anyway.

    The fighter did his business and hacked off an arm,  then the thief let loose some barrels.  I decided this was a volley move, then when he rolled, could not figure out how he would lose ammo, so took that choice away.  I told him to roll his class damage, and he thought it was environmental damage.  I said that might be true, but I didn’t know where those rules were, so role away, (the think only had 1 hit point left).

    Game over for the night.   Things just felt clunky.  I don’t have enough of a grasp of the rules, or how things flow… when I used to run games, I would plan out lots of details…. I am trying not to do that, and it leaves me uncertain of what my options are.


  5. For the trapdoor or any old pieces of engineering or magic put somewhere remote for a long time & a looking for traps kind of roll, I’ve always thought of it not only looking for deathtraps but also just being aware of alarms (intentional or accidental alarms) as well as making sure it’s structurally sound. Just because there isn’t a deathtrap there, it might still be a hazard with spikes, broken pieces or whatnot that has to be fixed or carefully avoided in order to get past.

    I’m all for the idea of doing the tutorial starting game to let a group get used to the system but it does sound like the rules were getting on the way of the story. Live & learn as with all Rpgs.

  6. Sounds like you handled it pretty well. For the barrels, I might have used a defy danger and then applied the thief’s damage die. Whether it’s environmental, doing the class’ damage is always a safe and fast call.

    The trigger for trap expert may seem like it defuses tension, but it actually focuses it to where it’s needed; in a dangerous area. The danger doesn’t have to come from traps, but in order to make the search tense, there needs to be the threat of danger – whether there’s traps or not! 

    Your decision on the miss to choose two of the compromises to hit them with is valid, it increased the tension while still moving the scene forward.

    If you’re not sure on a threat or monster, you can keep it vague, describe shapes and movement, sounds and smells. this is how horror makes something scary, by keeping it undefined and unknown. I like to have a few environmental dangers around, too. Old wine cellar? the cramped, cold space had the musty smell of dry mold and rot. The floor, ceiling, and support beams ground under your weight as you move along, you get the impression that one wrong step could be your last.

    What do you do?

  7. timothy Lewis Sounds like a really good learning session. The way I would have run that is not the same, but that doesn’t mean my way is necessarily better.

    Armchair quarterbacking:

    When in doubt, ask the players. Instead of scratching your head over “what could possibly come get them now?!?” give some vague hints, and then ask one of the players to contribute to the fiction– “Thief, you hear something behind the door– what’s it sound like, Fighter?”

    “Uh…. moaning?”

    “Yes, that’s right! Mage, how many voices are moaning?”

    “Just… one. It’s a small room.”

    Boom– now you know there’s something there that moans, but there’s only one and the room is small

    For traps/tricks of the trade, I like to use a different method. Basically, there is no trap there unless they fail at something (get a 6-), and at that point, the thief can spend their hold. OR, if the thief succeeds, I’ll say “yes, you definitely see the trap; let’s talk about what it looks like…. I say it’s a rolling boulder trap. Tell me– what’s the trigger?”

    Thief who wants more loot out of this adventure: “Uh… a gold statue?”


    Basically, you’re taking on a lot more as the DM than you need to. Your players can contribute just as much to your campaign, even the very obstacles that their characters have to overcome. I prefer to bounce the obstacles around the table– if the fighter is trying to overcome a challenge, I want the mage and the thief to describe it. If the mage is talking to an otherworldly creature, I ask the fighter if it’s actually a demon, or some low-level imp.

    I’ve done the opposite, and it always turns out Not As Awesome as it could be. The less prep I do for DW, the better the game flows. I might make a front for the PCs to come up against, but ultimately, they can overcome that front pretty early on and still have a lot more story to tell.

  8. If someone asks a question that has an utterly uninteresting answer, I might change the answer. 😉

    “Is there a trap here?”

    “Nnn–yes. And you found it! Tell me more!”

  9. Stephanie Bryant is all over it. I will add one more thing. If there is “boring up front stuff” before they get to the good part, I believe strongly in not wasting time on it. For instance, getting from the trap door to the secret door can happen in a couple of sentences of flavor, then straight to something that matters.

  10. Great answers, thank you all.

    Two more things.

    The party was stuck in the tower, unwilling to confront the hug construct in the courtyard, and debating about priorities with some notes they found, and about how to get out.  The spent quite a while discussing this, and felt like my job was to increase the tension until it forced them to take action.   I feel like I failed to add tension.   I mentioned the construct,  I had parts of the ruined keep blowing over in the high winds,  but It seemed like no real tension was added.   Eventually with the Wizard’s failed roll to use the artifact, they went into the cellar.  Is the indecisive role playing delay something that a good DW GM will fix automatically?  or is it just part of the game, and the slow pace is fine some of the time?   When I asked the players afterwards, they did agree that the pace was slow for this scene.

    Second thing is a clarification on the request for a GM.   During June we could play on nights of the week other then Thursdays…. it is July and beyond where Thursdays are “the time”, but I expect I will want to GM again once I get some more practice with the rules, and seeing how it is supposed to go.

  11. To be quite honest, I think you’re doing fine. This was your first time and there are always issues because we’ve all been trained by other systems and styles. You recognize where there’s an issue and you’re coming here to get help with what to do. I wouldn’t (if I were you, my opinion solely) turn the game over to someone else to learn unless I really stunk it up as a GM, and you didn’t. You just need some confidence building and advice – both of which you can get here.

    If the party is bumbling with discussion and the bottom line is that the adventure waits below, draw them there. At this point it’s your golden opportunity to make a move. Have something (undead of some kind maybe) that you hadn’t planned for suddenly be beneath that trap door, clawing at it and they hear it. Instant intrigue. Never be afraid to throw in the unplanned to get things moving.

  12. timothy Lewis for the construct and the wizards failed roll, I’d recommend following up on one or more of the threats you had already posed.

    There’s wind blowing through a hole in the tower (failed roll with the artifact), something swoops down through the opening, what is it and why has it attached itself to the fighter?

    The huge construct stands at the door menacingly (same failed roll). The construct starts pounding on the door, seems like he doesn’t care if you answer it. He’s coming in.

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