Just finished session 2 of my first DW campaign, and I feel like I’ve done a decent job of making most of the…

Just finished session 2 of my first DW campaign, and I feel like I’ve done a decent job of making most of the…

Just finished session 2 of my first DW campaign, and I feel like I’ve done a decent job of making most of the characters feel awesome.  I am having trouble, however, finding ways to highlight the bow-wielding ranger with a hawk animal companion in an underground dungeon.  Most of the time they just end up firing away with their bow, which is okay for now but will get boring soon enough.  The party is still level 1, so no advanced moves are in play yet.

What are some ideas for giving the ranger more chances to make their presence felt in an indoor dungeon crawl?

22 thoughts on “Just finished session 2 of my first DW campaign, and I feel like I’ve done a decent job of making most of the…”

  1. Have you provided the Ranger the opportunity to hunt and track within a dungeon yet? If they party is in a truly living, dynamic dungeon then surely they’ll stumble upon signs of passing creatures that they’d want to locate. (Locate because the creatures are their mark, or locate because the creatures are fearsome and the party wants to know exactly where they are so they can be avoided. Either works.)

  2. Believe it or not, Dungeon World is actually not very good at traditional dungeons where all there is to do is fight stuff in mostly featureless rooms.    You need to have an interesting environment for them to work with, or it just devolves to everyone rolling Hack & Slash or Volley.   What kind of awesome things can  you do with a bow and a hawk?  Well, you can engage enemies that otherwise would not be engaged.   You can fetch items from places they would normally not be accessible. You can cut ropes with a well placed shot.  You can help allies from across the battlefield.  You can harry an enemy spellcaster even when he’s behind a wall of allies.  You can hurt the Cave Troll that is busy knocking your melee allies around the room.

  3. You could also introduce an enemy that’s too [fast/strong/hyper-aware] in combat to simply attack head on, and will require the Ranger to slow it down, knock it senseless, or disarm it before the party has a chance of getting a hit in?

  4. Jonathan Spengler  There will definitely be opportunities to track in their future, but I hadn’t thought of using it as a way to avoid enemies.  I would have to find a way to fictionally sell them on an enemy so tough that they would want to avoid rather than fight.  Or maybe try and have something stalking them while they’re wounded, so they have to hide their trail….

    Mike Pureka  thanks, I’ve been doing a couple of those things accidentally but those are good ideas to have in my head more consciously – I might try to fit in some more inaccessible places for enemies to attack from or to retrieve items from.

  5. You can also play to the hawk’s specifically-chosen trainings and strengths (and weaknesses, though depending on the situation you may want to save that for later). Whatcha got to work with on that end?

  6. shaydwyrm Some ideas for hunt and track uses in a dungeon. (Squeezed out between tasks at work.)

     – Interference. If you’re racing with an enemy faction to a location or object the ranger could find them and slow them down.

     – Monstrous distractions. A powerful but otherwise uninterested/neutral wandering monster could provide a useful distraction.

     – Treasure hunting. The party finds that the object they’re seeking is gone, taken from its pedestal before they could get there! The ranger quickly becomes the MVP.

     – Counter-tracking. Gnolls have your scent and you fictionally have time to shake them? The ranger can find them and lead them astray.

     – Rescue missions. Rangers don’t only hunt and track enemies. If the party is rescuing the mayor’s son from cultists, hunting and tracking the boy would be invaluable.

  7. James Etheridge The hawk is trained to hunt and guard, and its strengths are adaptable and camouflage.  Adaptable, in particular, I’m not quite sure what to do with.

    Jonathan Spengler Thanks, those are some excellent ideas.  In our campaign in particular, there’s an NPC that the party didn’t have time to rescue but is planning to circle back for – if I have him not be there when they get back, that seems like a perfect opportunity to let the ranger take center stage.

  8. You can play a move against the ranger where the hawk is captured by an enemy. The enemy escapes and a now highly motivated ranger can go on a tracking mission of vengeance.

  9. Mike Pureka I suppose if the player never uses his animal companion it would be useless. I just prefer to use moves to make the players lives more complicated instead of just dealing damage. With my group a set back like hawk snatching just leads to my players into awesome mode. I suppose it all depends on the fiction and your players.

  10. Erik Buchanan

    The original question was “How do I make this player feel awesome” and the answer to that is usually not “Steal some of their character features”.

    It’s a good setup, but it’s not a good setup when you’re worried if the player is having fun with his character.

  11. Once again its about your players. I have one fellow who

    loves to score crits on enemies but than bitches about how unfair it is when they crit him. I wouldn’t steal his hawk just to avoid whining. My main group understands that when I use any move against them that it isn’t personal.I’m complicating their lives to keep the story fresh and they enjoy pulling my gamemaster carpet from under my feet by coming up with creative solutions. So if you have a table full of the first guy; don’t steal the hawk. If you’re players see complications as coolness waiting to happen steal their hawk. Its all about the players and staying true to the fiction.

  12. Even more specifically, this is about what makes a character feel awesome. I don’t think having the companion captured is a bad idea for a complication to introduce at some point. But when the ranger is already feeling less dynamic and competent than their companions, taking away one of their defining class features seems like poor timing.

  13. I’ve seriously struggled with animal companions in my games. Both rangers I’ve run chose birds, and in both cases they were largely ignored.

    In the first case, he used his bird to help retrieve a weapon while he grappled an orc. It worked, but on the 7-9 result I had the orc swat the bird aside and into a tree.  The player got sad that his bird was hurt and never really used him again.

    In the second case, the bird was a pigeon and the ranger never really used it for anything but scouting. Even then, the other players had to remind him to use it. We often just forgot Pigy was even there.

    So really, I got nothing for you. I guess this is a long-winded way to say “sub.”

  14. Jeremy Strandberg you know animal companions can aid in combat in addition to offer all kinds of roleplaying opportunities. I had 3 different people play rangers and all made heavy use of their animal. Of course this opens up moves against said animals so rangers be aware!

  15. Erik Buchanan

    Two things being “sides of the same coin” doesn’t make the interchangeable.  It’s the proverbial carrot and stick.  They are two sides of the same coin – they both influence behavior.  But that doesn’t mean that you can use them interchangeably and get the same results.

    “Making a player feel awesome” is one side. And if you’re trying to figure out how to make that side happen, saying “just use the other side” is not useful.

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