Weary from a recent bout of system-hopping, my group voted the other night on what system we should commit to for a real meaty campaign. In the end it came down to D&D vs Dungeon World, and by golly, Dungeon World won, albeit with a hint skepticism on several fronts.
Well, to be honest, there was a distinct hint of “Well, if this crazy game blows, at least we won’t have invested a lot of prep/learning time in it. No harm done.” So… as DW’s primary advocate and soon-to-be fledgling DWGM, I feel like the pressure is slightly ON.
You know what really bugs me?
At one point in the pitch, I was explaining the collaborative relationship between character generation and world-building, and I said something to the effect of “If Grym the Barbarian tells me he learned how to chuck a spear hunting giant centipedes in the foothills of an ice-covered mountain range, then that’s how I know, as the GM, those monsters & places exist.”
One of the players said “Then what if I tell you I’m a bedouin warrior from a hot desert planet?”
What I should have said: “Well, that would be excellent. Our fiction would account for the barbarian’s transmission to your dune-covered realm! Did he fall through some kind of portal? Was he brought here for reasons unknown by a group of celestials whose ship crashed in a sandstorm?”
What I actually said: “Well, I assume just because it’s more of a story game, we won’t all turn into a bunch of dicks.”
So yeah… not good. I have about two weeks to work on my SAY YES muscle. This is gonna be good for me…
PS. I’m planning to take, like, ZERO prep work into the first session. Well, a few ideas or images, a list of names to stick on NPCs, but that’s about it. If people have had much better experiences starting things off with a “Starter” doc, then feel free to set me straight!
17 thoughts on “Weary from a recent bout of system-hopping, my group voted the other night on what system we should commit to for a…”
“a hint skepticism on several fronts”
I’m imagining the Grim Portents of these fronts. 😉
The first answer, at least to the point before it becomes abusively disruptive to the fun that the rest of the group is having. I have ran a lot of DW for a lot of different groups and really I haven’t ran into a scenario where I had to give an unqualified no. It’s really not about saying just yes, it’s saying ‘yes and’ so you and your group can tie in all your crazy ideas.
I usually have a hook, the “in media res” approach. “So tell me why you’re on a wagon? Who’s chasing you? What in the wagon is so valuable?” Generally speaking that’s usually enough to get the players engaged, a feel for the group, and a chance to immediately make them do things.
I think your group will be pleased. The apocalypse world books state that you should invest at least 6 sessions in the setting since the game really does get richer the longer you play it.
As for advice, there’s some dungeon starters if you’d like them. Maybe I can gather up some of the stuff I’ve found for that.
Joseph Roth’s hook idea is also how I start most first sessions, for conventions I usually start with ‘you are in a room, something is trying desperately to get in.’ then go around to each player asking questions about the scenario.
1. Someone eye-rolls as I explain for the third time “Dude, that doesn’t mean you only have three arrows.”
2. Several players are seeing how high they can stack d6s
3. I ask “Who or what do you seek in the Obsidian Cave?” Someone says “A GM who actually does his homework.”
I got them to commit to at least 2-3, but you’re right, I should have gone for broke. 🙂
Thanks very much! But actually, I do know where to find Starters. And I think they are excellent examples of what I could do for future sessions. I think I just don’t feel that invested in them because they aren’t my own babies.
Joseph Roth Steve Wallace
That’s the plan!! Thanks. 🙂
Have you read the book unframed? Its really helped the improv and yes and problems I had.
Sometimes you have to say what you actually said.
Ranger: My goat climbs the wall.
GM: Cool. Its a mountain goat.
Ranger: My goat barfs gold and I buy everybody a drink.
GM: Cool party trick. Roll DD Cha. If you fail they attack you.
Ranger: My goat barfs a fireball and incinerates them.
GM: Don’t be a dick.
Michael Greene It happened to me.
GM: You come from this land. Tell us, who is buried in this crypt.
Player: But you’re the GM!
Wesley Naval I’ll check that out! Thanks!
Wynand Louw Sad but true, I’m sure. In fact, I love my group. In this case it was purely hypothetical dickishness from someone who was genuinely curious about how the game runs. That’s why I was more concerned about my own instinct to block.
Don’t beat yourself too hard, Michael Greene . I’m sure it’s going to be super smooth 🙂
Jordan Raymond Thanks! I’m sure you’re right. (They are a creative bunch.)
Where I can find that Starters you are talking about Michael Greene?
Kamil Beulich I found out about these here in the tavern a while back… http://www.finemessgames.com/DWsupplements/dungeonstarters
Is it wrong that I see nothing whatsoever wrong with the answer you gave?
Thanks. I will take a look at them.
adding don’t be a dick to GM moves.
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