Comment I got after a game I ran on Saturday:

Comment I got after a game I ran on Saturday:

Comment I got after a game I ran on Saturday:

“At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to learn a new RPG, that’s why I was hesitant to join at first. But within two ’rounds’ of combat I understood the rules”

Another player joined two minutes before I started so I didn’t have time to explain the moves as thoroughly as I had for the other players. I turned to him first to see what he wanted to do in response to the action I’d set in motion. He was caught by analysis paralysis so I moved to another player and came back to him. By the end of the game I could tell he “got it” too, completely into the game without the analysis paralysis new players of other games usually still have at the end of their first session. The third player at the table immediately got the rules too like the first guy.

Sadly, I had one player hung up on the D&D way of things, the whole session he was rolling unasked for int checks to see how his character reacted instead of just roleplaying it (I had to repeatedly tell him to forget what he “knew” of paladins from other games, that DW is different). I haven’t had this issue come up in private games with my friends. When initially explaining the game I usually stress the things that are the same between DW and D&D and then drill down into the differences and that so far has worked for getting new players into the game. Sometimes I’ll describe DW as like D&D but more roleplay-y and less mindless killing-y.

Does anyone have any suggestions for teaching a new to DW player? I could tell this guy had had fun but I don’t think he’ll be craving to play again the way I was after my first session. Most people I’ve taught the game to are pretty excited to play again either with me or on their own too.

24 thoughts on “Comment I got after a game I ran on Saturday:”

  1. I don’t think a guy who’s rolling +INT checks unasked to see how his character reacts to something is having trouble with DW in particular. That’s outlier behavior for most RPGs, certainly most versions of D&D. 

    Was he looking to you (the GM) for explanation after each of these Int checks?  Or just using them to decide whether his character was smart enough to take a certain action?

  2. We had the same problem in Pathfinder, believe it or not, and the PF GM has a table rule: do not roll before you are asked, or given permission. 

    It works pretty well.

  3. “Before you roll dice for anything, tell me what your character is doing and I’ll tell you if the dice are even necessary.” maybe.

  4. He wasn’t doing spout lore. He was using the rolls to decide if his character was smart enough for an action. He did a lot of unasked for rolling, even after I tried to explain that he only needed to roll if I asked him to in response to the actions he wanted to take. As in literally I would say [in response to a monster or dungeon move]: “tell me what you want to do, I’ll tell you what, if anything you need to roll”

  5. Think too many people out there have this mindset especially when coming from stuff like d&d or other rules-dense games. Why I recommend games like Dungeon World, Fate, Call of Cthulhu, Trail of Cthulhu, Monsterhearts & Eclipse Phase; all are not only easy to learn but also are essentially 1-2 book system for players so they are never buried in rules or books, leaving them to have more fun with the game than learning the rules.

    Also good way to learn a game is find some good audio actual plays to let them get used to the rules & see the game in action.

    Another thing for getting people hooked into DW is asking them if there was a particular adventure, hero and/or setting they want to try then give them that. Maybe diving into what they’d be comfortable with will get them more open to other game systems.

  6. Fred Hicks that’s an amusing term I haven’t heard before. I did let it go in the moment but on later reflection it seemed like he wasn’t getting the game. At first he pulled out his 4e organized play PC and asked if he could play it (I dunno maybe he heard I was running dungeon world but chose to hear D&D) I told him sure he could have the same backstory but he would have to make the character anew with DW rules. Then he chose the paladin and then launched into a treatise on how PF/3.5/4E paladins work which was when I asked him to forget what he knew and focus on what his sheet said and what I was telling him. It just seemed like he wasn’t getting it, perhaps that was my perception.

  7. Wynand Louw I was running a game in public and with my friends I’m ok with ultimatums like that but with strangers I try to be less confrontational with my table rules. 🙂

  8. Yeah. I mean, the reason the dice rolling itself doesn’t bother me much is because it’s a comfort zone thing. It’s fun, neither bad nor wrong, but it is extraneous, and that may well be the sticking point. “You’re clear that you rolling the dice for that is just for you, and doesn’t impact the game mechanics at all, right?” 

    Dungeon World is fiction-first. Pathfinder, as run by and for many, is more system-first. So I suspect he’s looking to engage with the game where he thinks the entry-points are.

  9. Darren Priddy y this was a one shot that will hopefully be expanding into a regular thing I do in public at a store. Not a campaign per se, probably a series of one shots with only a few recurring PCs. I’ve hooked my regular play group on DW (if only they’d try FATE, but they don’t like the dice). I’m looking for advice for bringing people into the system whom I only have four hours or so to sell them on the game.

  10. John Kramer Yeah, but then you’re still committing the weird dice thing. d6-d6 has the advantage of simplicity with very familiar dice — the same dice you’d use to play DW, in fact. 🙂

  11. Fred Hicks I’ll try that. I was hoping to use the funny dice for my rolls even if my players preferred another method. I even have enough d3 labeled d6s and actual 3-sided dice to pull it off.

  12. I have curtailed this at my table by catching them “diceturbating” and making sure I make moves on them for every 6-.  They realized that rolling the dice can have consequences.  The dice for my tables signal who has spotlight and extraneous rolling can steal that spotlight.  If they want to roll to see if they are smart enough, no problem, but I’m going to treat it like a defy danger and be expecting some hard choices or the situation to get worse when the dice come up bad.

  13. Casey McKenzie again, with your friends, that’s a great rule, but when you’re trying to teach players you don’t know in public I find a less confrontational stance works better. It’s not that he was stealing spotlight, he would make his + int rolls when I turned to him to see what he was doing. I’m not even sure where making an int check to see how smart you are comes from, I haven’t seen that kind of roll since 2e D&D. I’m more used to players roleplaying that sort of thing based on their stats as opposed to rollplaying it based on a die roll.

  14. I would prompt for “fiction first”.  It is the number one thing I stress to new players.  If on his turn he said he wanted to roll his INT to see if he was smart enough, I would respond with “OK, so you are defying danger with INT and the danger is you won’t think of/do, the good idea you have.  Roll them bones!”  I don’t think it is confrontational, but it does highlight one of the best parts of DW.  That even on a fail something interesting always happens.  The story is moved forward every time the dice hit the table.  If that is the way he spends his spotlight, I would let him.  If he gets a 10+ then I would ask for the roll needed to do the thing he wanted.  If it’s less than 10 then he probably has a choice to make or the situation is now changing.

  15. John Kramer the Defy Danger with Int thing might work, but its potentially penalizing the player. Unless he’s actually doing something that would require quick thinking, and that would succeed based on said quick thinking, you’re calling for a roll (with potential consequence) where you wouldn’t normally.  And the player could very well object with “I just wanted to know if my character would think of that; if he didn’t, he wouldn’t have just sat there doing nothing!” (or variations on that).

    Another way to address it (if this behavior is actually a problem) is to assure him “You don’t have to roll dice for that in this game.”  Just like you don’t have to roll to hit when a pawn attacks a knight in chess; it just happens.

    Then he might be like “oh, sure, I’m just using it to guide my decisions, like flipping a coin” (probably not using those words, but close enough).  And that might be OK and how this guy plays RPGs.  There lots of play habits that are way more annoying.

  16. If its not disrupting, let him. I rolled unasked too for disadvanteges occassionally in another system too see if my char would do that dumb thing, for example.

    If its a a critical situation, you could work it in as a move, whatever fits the fiction – maybe a defy danger, if not critical maybe a spout lore and you ask him some things on the list

  17. My issue was less with the unasked for rolling than it was with his assumptions that his class should play the way he was used to from other games. Like I don’t feel that he got as much from the game as the other players who put away their preconceived notions and had fun with the game in front of them. I don’t fall into the fallacy that the GM’s job is to make sure everyone has fun, I feel my job is to provide an environment where fun is possible, whether a player has fun or not is somewhat beyond my control; however I wonder if my way of introducing Dungeon World is doing a disservice to some players like this guy, by describing the ways it is similar to D&D and then describing the differences. Since most gamers have played some iteration of D&D before I find it’s a good entry point to DW, a way to engage them in their comfort zone before pulling the rug out from under them with all the ways it’s different. But I’m pretty old school and I understand the B/X influence on DW and perhaps younger players who’ve only experienced “crunchier” versions of D&D will be confused.

  18. I don’t think your approach is doing DW a disservice at all.  Re-reading this whole thread, I think the issue is that this guy wanted to play his 4e organized play paladin.  And he sounds like someone who role plays through the mechanics on his charcter sheet (hence the Int checks).  So when he sat down to make “that character” as a DW paladin, it didn’t jive with his vision of that character.

    If I were in your shoes with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I’d have told him “No, it’s better if you just make a new character.”  He might have still picked paladin and still gone off on different games’ takes on paladins, but then you could fall back on “yeah, but a paladin in this game doesn’t work like that.”  And you wouldn’t have been messing with his prized character, you’d have just been telling him how paladins work in DW. 

  19. Jeremy Strandberg g that sounds pretty accurate to what I saw during the game. I’m always trying to improve my chops as a GM, even after 20+ years at it so when something like this crops up I like to examine it to see what I can learn so I can avoid it in the future. Especially with a game that I love, such as Dungeon World. I’ve run many a one-shot for many systems for many strangers over the years but I think this is the first time I’ve seen a player view the game I was running through the lens of another game to this extent like this player did.

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