Dragonslaying on a Timetable: How To Run A Tight 4-Hour Dungeon World One-Shot

Dragonslaying on a Timetable: How To Run A Tight 4-Hour Dungeon World One-Shot

Dragonslaying on a Timetable: How To Run A Tight 4-Hour Dungeon World One-Shot

When I run Dungeon World in a four-hour Games on Demand slot, I want our game to resemble a simple, traditional fantasy adventure story — a story in which some characters travel somewhere, do something, and in the end are all changed.

I’ve evolved some techniques that hit this mark pretty consistently.  If you want to run tight Dungeon World one-shots, these may be helpful to you!

(Next, I need to document how to do this exact same thing in just two hours, because our Games on Demand environment is evolving towards shorter games and I want to follow that.)

30 thoughts on “Dragonslaying on a Timetable: How To Run A Tight 4-Hour Dungeon World One-Shot”

  1. Damian Jankowski yeah, for me it can be tough to get a group of 4-5 players through character creation, premise creation, 1st scene, 2nd scene, bathroom break, level-up, final scene, and epilogues in four hours — which is more like 3.5 hours by the time everyone arrives, gets settled, and leaves early to make the next thing.

    Also, I don’t mention this much in the doc, but at Games on Demand you can’t assume that anyone at your table has played DW or D&D or even any roleplaying game before. So there’s almost always some teaching in there too, or at least prompting for it so that the players can teach each other.

  2. Excellent article!!

    I only did one con table so far but used my normal campaign starter procedure:

    Choose playbooks

    Create characters.

    Introduce characters around the table and ask questions.

    Do bonds.

    Explain the basic moves in a few seconds.

    Then drop them straight into the fire!

    Example. You are on a field, hiding in a hedge. Something explodes a few feet from your hiding place, showering you with dirt and blinding you with smoke. A small band of scavenger goblins scurry by, looting the maimed corpses of fallen warriors that litter the field.

    A goblin finds you and immediaty attacks you with his bonesaw. What do you do? (Resolve the fight)

    Who are the battling armies?

    Why is there war?

    What city is burning on the horizon?

    You are not soldiers. Why are you here?

    A small troop of (one of the armies, preferably the evil or more evil one) come marching by. They see you. What do you do?

    So premise creation and worldbuilding happens during the first scene.

    You can also finish the first scene before you do premise creation and worldbuilding. Eg: After the pcs kill a band of baddies, ask, “Who the hell are these guys and why did they attack you? Where do they come from?’

    My point being that you want to get to the action as quick as possible.

  3. Marshall, thanks for the kind words! I don’t think this is going to evolve into a paid document.  This is probably its final form.

    (Doesn’t look like I can tag people into comments here anymore, I only get +*** when I try.)

  4. Wynand, I need to try your sequence at some point!

    My instinct is that I want the premise settled before we start rolling dice, but I know a lot of people have success doing that differently.

  5. Hi +John aegard this is AWESOME! Thank you so much. Could please check if I did sth. Wrong with your file. I ve opened it on my phone and am afraid I did sth Wrong … 🙁

  6. Sure Jason Morningstar, I’d love to hear how you do your two-hour thing.

    I did a two-hour game once with three players, two scenes, one premise, some teaching, and no bathroom break. It worked fine but I want to experiment with that style more before I document it.

  7. Jeff Bradley I’m not sure if PAX East will have a Games on Demand area but if there is, that would be a good place to look.

    No guarantee you’ll find DW there in a compatible time slot and of course no guarantee that the GM will run it in this style.

  8. I’m Seattle-based so I run these kind of games at local things like PAX, Emerald City Comicon, Go Play NW, and Gamestorm.  Am thinking about going to Gencon next year and if I do I’ll be all up in the Games on Demand area there.

    Your one-page reference sheet is super boss!

  9. I am thinking of linking to this in Plundergrounds #2, but all the links are a bit long and in weird places. How would you feel about me hosting a copy of it in PDF form?

  10. That’s cool. I’ll use your short URL. Yeah, my thought was to post it as a straight PDF and to shout your name from on high, but it’s easier for me to link to your stuff in some ways and it’s good for that doc to change/grow with experience/time.

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