Im looking forward to getting my savage world group to try dw. Looking over fronts, dangers and grim portents my question is this; does writing up an adventure this way really necessary? I’ve ran games for over 25 years and my adventures have always been open and molded by the players. Is this just a helpful set of tools for new gamemasters or is there hidden values in going by the book?
Im looking forward to getting my savage world group to try dw.
Im looking forward to getting my savage world group to try dw.
17 thoughts on “Im looking forward to getting my savage world group to try dw.”
Hmm… On the one hand I tend to think that if you’ve run games for over 25 years you know what you’re doing. But on the other hand, AW-based games are designed to be run a certain way. Fronts, Dangers, and Grim Portents help you do that with Dungeon World.
I would say read through the relevant sections, keeping an eye open for things you already do and thing that you’re being told to do differently. Run the game the way you’re being told to run it for a few session, if only to see how “vanilla” DW is meant to be run. Then change it up if you feel it needs to be modified.
Maybe not the best advice, but I have a pet peeve about changing things without first trying them out as intended.
Don’t worry too much about Fronts etc until a few games in. They work best as organisational tools to keep your notes. Let the worldbuilding happen mostly at the table.
In my view Fronts, Dangers, and Grim Portents are optional. Running a standard game worked for me and a lot of experienced players I know. Nontheless, it´s worth a try and leads to refining your gm skills.
Then there’s always the argument that, if you don’t use them, you aren’t really playing Dungeon World. They are an elegant mechanism, I think, and I’m happy to use them. Providing menus of options is present throughout the rules set, effectively lowering improvisational barriers. And speeding play.
Think of it as a note-taking method.
My read is that they make your planning optimal and efficient. If you don’t care about that, don’t use them. 🙂
Following on Fred Hicks, you may well (after 25 years) already be optimal and efficient. It’s even possible you find Fronts and Grim Portents to take a step backwards.
Going against the grain, my opinion is to run the game as you and your table prefers. Some folks treat RPG rule books like bibles, can quote chapter/verse and never stray from rules as written. That’s fine, if that’s your bag. On the other hand, some folks prefer to tinker and edit, ultimately playing their version of a game. Far as I’m concerned, that’s the spirit that brought us something other than D&D in the first place. Do as thou wilt, I say.
Fronts change the game dynamics at the table radically.
You can play DW as (1) Exploration: Open the door. Fight the monster. Take the loot. Think ODnD.
Or you can play it as (2) Story: Run on the railroads of pre planned encounters that lead to a pre planned resolution. Think PFS.
Or you can run it as a (3) Sandbox. Let your players loose without clear objectives in a world with stuff to do.
Lastly you can run it with (4) Fronts. Populate your fantastical world with independent, intelligent agents that have motives and goals. Agents that have an impact on the world and will inevitably come in conflict with the players. Then let your players loose among these antagonists and see what happens. Play to find out!
I believe fronts may be the single most important RPG innovation in decades.
Quote: Fronts is the story that happens if the PCs don’t interfere.
Don’t think of Fronts as “preparing an adventure”. The adventure happens at the table, spontaneously out of what the players do.
Adventures can work without (pre)writing those, and most first sessions are exactly that.
I’m not sure if this counts as “hidden value”, but this is the value of *World game Fronts for me:
Fronts are about keeping the NPCs active and the setting coherent and dynamic.
They are “database” that Moves (both the GM and the players’ can draw from) – when the players look to you, when they ask questions from Spout Lore or Discern Realities, when they fail a roll and you get to make a hard move, etc…you can look to your fronts.
They are also a “countdown” to bad stuff happening (if the PCs don’t interfere) which helps you keep the beat.
Why not run the game the way you normally run a game and see how it goes?
Fronts are a name for the motivations and results of those not running characters. If you’ve been gming that long, in story campaigns or ones even with recurring villains and npcs, you’ve probably already been using them without giving them a label aside from campaign notes.
Definitely the way I’ve been running NPCs/the world (since the 90s). 🙂
Yeah, I mean, it’s not like Vincent was working from a vacuum here.
Thanks for the input. I’m going to do an experiment since i’ll be continuing my savage world game for a while. I’ll take the various “fronts” from my current game and write them up the dw way. Its funny, I’ve been gaming for years and have always ran games like dw but with a skin of what ever system’s game engine.
Aye the fronts to me are like a tv show story arc of a handful of episodes. You can always do some more prep earlier with key settings and let everyone fill in the rest of the world then gradually add more of the front as the characters are more involved with the world & the bigger threats are more prominent to the better skilled player characters.
Also there are free or inexpensive adventures for DW out there, take a look at those to see some examples.
I was largely running games in the style Fronts suggests, but I found a lot of value of forcing myself to try and use them. It helped push me out of a few comfortable ruts, in part by formalizing what I had been doing in a hand-wavy way. Impending Dooms ensure that the factions/issues in play will impact the world, giving them significance and creating stronger incentives for the PCs to get off their asses and get involved in something, anything. (Or to at least make an active decision to not get involved, or in one memorable case, to decide to help the Impending Doom along. I love players.) Grim Portents kept front and center in my mind that off screen actions need to have on screen ramifications to matter in play. Stakes Questions remind me that it’s more than “here’s a bunch of stuff happening,” if there aren’t any questions I’m interested in discovering the answer to, I’m going to be less engaged.
My advice: try them. I don’t think they’ll hurt, and they may prove useful to you. Per the book, basically ignore them for the first session. I’d start fleshing them out before the second session, but I find I usually need another session or two before the world is fleshed out enough that I can have an initial set of complete Fronts.
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