Hey, I might be running my first session of DW soon and I am looking for an adventure to run – preferably one that…

Hey, I might be running my first session of DW soon and I am looking for an adventure to run – preferably one that…

Hey, I might be running my first session of DW soon and I am looking for an adventure to run – preferably one that can be played in a single night (3-4 hours + 1 hour chargen) – to serve as playtest and introductory adventure to the system. Is there an “intro” adventure anyone could recommend?

47 thoughts on “Hey, I might be running my first session of DW soon and I am looking for an adventure to run – preferably one that…”

  1. If this is meant for an ongoing campaign, I advise against using any of the pre-existing scenarios. If it’s just for a test run, I’ve heard good things about Indigo Galleon, and the front in the Dungeon World Guide.

  2. I agree somewhat with Alfred Rudzki; if this is meant to turn into an ongoing campaign, you might not want to use a published or pre-existing scenario. Campaigns of DW are more fun (in my opinion) if the players have a lot of input about the setting and what’s going on.

    However, I learned by running pre-existing scenarios, as I felt it took some of the pressure off. If you feel the same way, you can use one of Marshall Miller’s starters (which are all good). Or you could even use an adventure module from another game (like D&D or Pathfinder), so long as you don’t try to use it exactly as  is. But that might be a bit advanced for a first time out. 

  3. Echoing prior sentiments, with the caveat that if you’re looking for a longer game then there are some good campaign starters floating around. Nothing wrong at all with getting a leg up to help you get into things; I know it can be a bit paralyzing just starting out with nothing at all to go on, although you’ll need to polish those improv and reincorporation skills as the game progresses.

    That said, if you haven’t seen it already Tim Franzke put up a pretty excellent “what to do in the first session” primer a while back. It has a lot of good advice on how to spotlight characters and build up your first Fronts, definitely a recommended read. I’ll see if I can find and link it.

  4. Don’t use “adventures”, you don’t need them.

    If you want for your players to really taste what DW, how different and great it is, follow Tim and mine advices.

    Less work for you, more enjoyment for everyone.

  5. It’s going to be a stand-alone session, with no continuation, so optimally I am looking for something that can easily be finished in one night of gaming.

    We’ve never tried the game before and right now all the bits ‘an pieces of the game are kinda floating around in my head, so an adventure would be really useful 🙂

    I’ve found Joe Banner’s site and a lot of the adventures there seem good, so I think I’m covered.

  6. Can I be a bit harsh?

    No, an adventure will only hinder you.

    The game is explicit in not having anything prepped, the game is tought to be created at the table with everyone and with multiple heads thinking about it and sharing the effort.

    Trying a prewritten adventure you will risk to find it at odds with the charachter’s purpouses, and in DW characters will do exactly what they want.

    Also, without a pre-written scenario you can have it ending exactly when it will be appropriate. It’s easier to run a one-shot without a starter.

    Follow the rules, read the articles you have been linked to, use your group.

    Don’t be afraid about improvising even if you are not used to it: DW has a great framework and would make improvisation easy and fun for a chipmunk. Just trust it and throw youself into a new experience.

  7. You are free to be harsh of course, as I am free to disagree. I have never played this particular game before and I find adventures hugely useful, especially if I haven’t played it before.

    Looking at Joe Banner’s adventures, they seem very useful. They give me examples of fronts and monsters, they give me a map to use and so on. Yeah, they require that we fit the characters a little to the scenario – but not much, they basically just require the characters to be adventurers. One of them in hand, I find that I am a lot less worried about running tonight’s game… which is what matters here. 

    Once I’ve actually run the game, I’ll take the training wheels off, but that is for later ^^

    And don’t worry about being harsh, I think your opinion is incorrect, but you didn’t present it particularly harshly 🙂

  8. I’ll ask a provocative question: you have never played this game, I’ve played it a lot, written about it, translated it, demoed it at the second largest convention in the world for total strangers…

    On what basis can you dismiss my advice as incrrect? ^^

  9. One thing is the huge amounts of adventures available, if they serve no purpose and only hinder people, strange thing that people make them, buy them and play them.

    I have played a lot of different rpgs, in my general experience it’s always more fun to run that first game with an adventure in hand. I value my personal, general, experience from playing ~50 different rpgs across 17 years higher than your specific opinion on this game.

    I’ll only be using it as a framework and will discard or add things as the group and I need. If we come up with a cool idea, I’ll run with that.

    And hey, you might be right. Next time I play I’ll probably play without an adventure, maybe it will be more fun. It will be hard to evaluate whether that is because I know the game better, and thus run it better, or because I didn’t start with an adventure.

    Anyway, I am off to play either The Quartz Monolith or the Aberrant’s Eye (think I will pick the latter, I like starting with a perilious journey).

  10. Suit youserlf.

    If you need help playing DW how it is written instead of hammering it to your preconcepts, you know where to find people like me or Tim ^^

  11. Alexander, use your judgement, if no one at your table has ever played a World game then having a starter with you to help guide you is not a big deal. When I first started playing it with my family, only my Kid had any experience at it, and the other players appreciated the guiding, cause just the freedom that they gained a DW version of their Pathfinder character was a little more than they were ready for.

    As you get more experience and as your players get out of the tradition of being guided so much you can prep less and less.

    It takes some getting used to. Ezio per his own words clearly feels comfortable playing how DW is written. But that is his experience. But just because it’s “easy” for him doesn’t mean anything other than it’s easy for him.

    When I first started DM’ing it, I would bring a little prep… Mostly just questions that I would use to get it started and a few monster concepts that I would like to use. I even actually wrote a few basic scenarios… I never had a player complain about this. Several of whom had lots of World experience at the time. They were all good GMs and players and understood that there is a learning curve. As it turned out, I only ever used them as a very basic guideline and did plenty of it by the seat of my pants.

  12. I’ve had tons of success running pre-written adventures inDW. As long as you’re prepared to let things go off the rails, it can give you just the right amount of grounding. A lot of times a published adventure can give you solid background detail and point in directions that you would never come up with on your own. No “hammering into preconcepts” necessary!

  13. Wow, people, let’s not ruin the community by telling people they’re doing it wrong. Any fun is good.

    Run Drazhu, I do it all the time and it’s always different. DW doesn’t really allow the hammer.

  14. I’m sorry, I tought this was a Dungeon World community, how can possibly talk about the rules of the game ruin it?

    From page 177 onward.

    Think about fantastic worlds, strange magic, and foul beasts. Remember the games you played and the stories you told. Watch some movies, read some comics; get heroic fantasy into your brain.

    _What you bring to the first session, ideas-wise, is up to you. At the very least bring your head full of ideas. That’s the bare minimum.

    If you like you can plan a little more. Maybe think of an evil plot and who’s behind it, or some monsters you’d like to use._

    If you’ve got some spare time on your hands you can even draw some maps (but remember, from your principles: leave blanks) and imagine specific locations.

    The one thing you absolutely can’t bring to the table is a planned storyline or plot. You don’t know the heroes or the world before you sit down to play so planning anything concrete is just going to frustrate you. It also conflicts with your agenda: play to find out what happens.

    And the Agenda Fill the Characters’ lives with adventures

    Filling the characters’ lives with adventure means working with the players to create a world that’s engaging and dynamic. Adventurers are always caught up in some world-threatening danger or another—encourage and foster that kind of action in the game.

    Yes, fun is good, but are we talking about DW or another game?

    How can following the rules, the principles, teach how to use the game ruin a community about that game?

    If someone enters in the community talking about some other game and refusing talking about DW will you defending them because “They are having fun”?

    Those are the rules. The manual is very clear on how to build a first session. Those rules work, and I’m perfectly willing to help other understand them.

    Everyone have any right to change it, but they will hack the game, will not try the original deal.

    Good? Bad?

    Neutral, can work or not, but I suggest to at least ry once the rules as written, even if they are new, even if they are different, and THEN you will understand what you need to change to suit it to your needs, not BEFORE.

    Then you change and create a new game, very similar to DW or very different, that will use techniques better suited for you.

    OR you can ask for help understanding those rules.

    But starting off by not following them, by not even trying… why someone should even buy the game if they don’t even want to give a single shot at the rules?

    You like adventures? Ok, some are very good.

    Try without, try this novelty first, try what the game can do for you, then, if you really don’t like it, go back to adventures.

    Do what you want, call me an asshole, a troll and an arrogant, but don’t come tell me I’m ruining a gaming community for actually talking about the game rules how are they written.

  15. Ok, that I can accept.

    Sorry, I got very nervous. I’m sorry about that. I find very unpolite do disregard my (sizeable) experience in running first sessions for people who have never played before with a number fallacy (Smoke Coffin Nails, ten thousand americans cannot be wrong)

    The point is I think it’s actually damaging to cuddle insecurities.

    DW can be scaring, DW can be difficult, because it is different.

    It’s framework is very strongly bent to troupe and improvisational game.

    You create the world together, by asking question and building on answer, you tailor the game on the desires and imaginations of every single member of the group, GM and players alike. It allows for every character to be a protagonist, for an exciting, cinematographic gameplay, for an actually intense, quick, dramatic game of cool heroers, of bloody fights and high adventures. It allows all of this inside it’s own framework, what’s wtritten in the manual about creating the first session together, about using your fellow player inputs.

    It works.

    It works damn good.

    But it’s scary because, usually, it’s not done.

    It usualy is easier to use a prewritten adventure, and improvising, sharing, letting everyone contibute is more difficult.

    With DW it’s the other way around.

    Getting along is easy. Just follow the rule, throw in some danger and follow the snowball of player/GM moves.

    Tinkering with that is more difficult.

    You cannot do it without playing the “basic” game before. You cannot know what to touch.

    You cannot even know how to work out things that you don’t need from an adventure, because… you don’t know what you need.

    You have never played before!

    Just… follow the rule.

    They are written with YOU, with a normal player in mind, and will give you a new, exciting experience.

    THEN you can change it, but I think it’s totally absurd to advice to not try even once the game as is written.

    Don’t be coward and embrace the game, even if it is new, even if it is different.

    Then come back and discuss on your experience, not on your impressions.

  16. Cool beans. I likewise apologise if I misinterpreted what seemed an imperialistic tone.

    Sizable experience notwithstanding, everyone’s experience is different. I don’t think I would be playing DW every week if I hadn’t started by dipping my toes in via Drazhu, Indigo Galleon or Temple of Ungu. If there’s one thing I’ve really taken from DW (itself a hack of another system, encouraging further hacks and variations, Sage and Adam promoting starters like Drazhu on the official site) it’s that the amount of blanks you leave, and their size, are up to each GM and their players.

    Be guided by one’s own comfort level, whether it seems cowardly to a veteran or not. I’d be extremely wary of telling anyone there’s only one right way. It reminds me too much of Ye Olde Edition Wars.

  17. How can you define your confort level if you haven’t played before? How can you know you aren’t just scared from the new?

    The only thing I really am advocating is starting from the letter of the manual, then move from there.

    And I’m sorry… even if there is some great adventure out there, the letter of a manual, the “basic game”, so to speak, is another.

    Of course I’m willing to help learning it. I’m willing to offer advices, to write even longer articles than I already did about it, to follow every step the the preparation and answer infinite question, but advocating for not even try the game “full” before put in place correction strikes to me like a very misguided opinion, born out of habit and a sort of cowardice, or mental laziness, that have clinging to old habit like baby birds to the nest when we have a wondewrful flying harness.

    Try fly, try!

    Then, if you fall, you can find some other methods, but don’t be defeated before the fight!

  18. The poster is looking for a transitional step, which is great way to learn DW. Because playing a published adventure using DW shows you that published adventures can be more awesome than you imagined, and it can then make you want to play DW as written. That was my experience. But forget that my gaming life changed for the better, because obviously I’m a coward, mentally lazy, and clinging to old habits like a baby bird.

    There’s simply no need to frame things in terms of “cowardice,” “fear,” and “defeat” so please cut it out. It just comes across as macho bullshit.

    Here we have someone standing at the threshold of a mind-opening experience and you’re saying, “There is only one way! Any other way is cowardice!”

    Not the most welcoming attitude.

  19. I learned to run/play DW in exactly the way Jason Lutes described. For my first time GMing DW, without any prior play experience, I grabbed an old D&D module (Against the Cult of the Reptile God, I believe) and read through it briefly. I pulled out the Big Bad and their nefarious plans, some ideas for possible encounters, and made up some intro questions for the players. All based loosely on the published module. I even used the included map right out of the box so to speak.

    Having ready made information to fall back on if I got stuck, confused, or lost for that first game was great. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having prepared material to use if you need it. Especially if you’re just starting out.

  20. I must have a different rule book than some others in the community, because my book contains an Appendix 3 starting on page 384 called Adventure Conversion.  It has the following text: 

    Even better, maybe you’ve got a favorite old school adventure module and you’d love to run through using the Dungeon World rules. In this appendix, we’ll cover how to convert and adapt material from other games into Dungeon World and give you the same flexibility to run your favorite adventures using the rules in this book. 

    Therefore, the rule book as written does allow for the use of pre-written adventures.

  21. Yes, and then the capitle start to explain how to break it down to, basically, a color inspiration and a fantasy priming.

    Stop using clutches. Embrace the new.

    Also, please notice how that appendix is… an appendix, and how it talks about exceptions and particular cases.

    As I already said: there is nothing hinerently wrong in using adventures, there is nothing wrong writing, publishing and enjoying the, They are a nice part of third-party material and a source of inspiration… but the pulsing heart of the game is another.

    If someone is indecisive on how approaching the game, and wants to find out if they likes it or not… why don’t embrace it? Why try a somehow “exceptional” version? Why suggest to a newcome to alter the game instead of teaching them how to play with the core rules?

    You have a Lamborghini. Try to push it a little, even if you always drived Fiat. If you find out you don’t like speed then you can safely use it driving at 30 mph, but how do you know you don’t like speed if you don’t try?

  22. I figure, and maybe I’m wrong, but: the OP will run some adventure, and will hopefully understand the need to ad lib and keep it loose and tie the PCs into the heart if the game by asking questions – I believe in the OP. OP is probably a champ!

    And its a one shot game. This will either be one game in a bunch an it will suck or be fun and be shelved and it no longer matters and no one cares. Or it will be fun and they’ll want a campaign going… Then OP can follow the book all they want and crank out a personalized game world.

    It will all shake out in the end. 

  23. Yes, the Appendix talks about breaking the adventure down into a couple of pages of Fronts, Monsters, Maps (with blanks), Treasures, NPCs and Organizations, and maybe even a few Introductory Moves.  That sounds like exactly what the OP was looking for – a pre-written adventure, Dungeon World style.

    Irrespective of the fact that it is an Appendix, it is part of the rules as written.  Nowhere does it say it is an exception.  By your logic the sections on Teaching the Game and the Tag Reference carry less weight since they are Appendices.

    You are in fact saying that using adventures is inherently wrong because it violates the “pulsing heart of the game.”  Unfortunately  that is your interpretation of the game and obviously not the same interpretation as everyone else, given the other responses to this post.  Some people have successfully made the transition to DW using pre-published material.  Some continue to use that type of support and others do not as best fits their different play styles.  

    There is nothing inherently wrong with suggesting jumping in with no prep, but it is not the only way to play.  Don’t forget that not every GM or even whole group may be as creative as others.  Some GMs may not be as comfortable jumping in feet first into a new system.  The use of pre-published material can be a source of inspiration or guidance to help them make the transition.

  24. Actually the first part of that appendix clearly states it as an ecception. “There are cases in wich you don’t want to use the complete rules…”

    Adventures are not inherently wrong, just… a clutch. The game can work fine without. If you want to skip some of the potential (maybe because you are not interested in that potential) I’m fine with it, but I cannot understand why it should be a first choice when the bulk of the game talks about something else.

    It’s not wrong, but it is… an expansion. Try the core game before running expansions.

    Just to be clear: I have personally wrote a “jumpstart” scenario, the equivalent of an adventure, for anoter PbA game, Sagas of the Icelanders, that’s even more strong on the improvising thing than DW, and that’s not “the core” of the game either, but I did because I feld I needed it for a particular occasion, and haven’t regret it.

    Just I know it’s a particular interaction of the game and I tried it at is fullest before write it.

    Same things goes for several Monster of the Week mysteries used at con and even some little pieces of “narrative tools” for Apocalypse World and Monstherhearts.

    What I really am weary of the argument “sometimes you need help” when applied to the first try.

    One cannot know if they does, until they really try.

    We are human we cling to habits, we like what we know.

    DW can be different.

    A truism I sometimes cite is that a person will play as they have always played if there is the smallest chance to play like that.

    People will cling to habits even if they shouldn’t really fear the novelty and running pre-written adventures, having modules prepped by a third source is a long-standig habit in our hobby.

    It’s not an inherently bad or good thing, but it is something that can stop us from discovery new kind of play.

    By trying we can discover we have never needed them and we can embrace a different gamestyle with all your friends, enjoying it, or we can discover we really need them.

    But how can we know without trying?

    I think that keeping automatically suggesting adventures as an introduction instead of offering help to try your own thing will be greatly detrimental to the game and community on the long run, since they are a somehow tinkered iteration of DW, give a different experience and tend to reduce the innovative aspects of the game.

    This isn’t because I think adventures are bad, just they are a sort of “advanced” DW, to be used when you have already learned the basic skills of leaving fruitful voids, building on answers and make the carachters protagonists.

    This isn’t something traditional adventure drived games teach, but by clinging to your clutches, your habit since the beginning you risk to never learn and develop them, since you will still be wrapped up in you Linus’ blanket.

    Really, I think that as a community what we should struggle for, regardin new players, is to help them develop those very skills, to walk with their own legs, not offer them clutches when we don’t know if the will need them.

  25. Here’s an alternate point of view, from someone who also started GMing Dungeon World recently for the first time:

    I prepped my world first. I know it says not to, but I homed in on the concept of “Draw maps, leave blanks.” So I fleshed out a map, lots of town names, and even ~300 years of vague world history. Basically, everything you’re not supposed to do.

    For each of several starter sessions I ran to start introducing players to the rules, I took a simple goal and wrapped a small locale around it. E.g. your coastal farming town is besieged each night; you’re raiding a barbarian fort to rescue a mapmaker; you’re on a boat headed for a remote island wedding.

    Again, overprepped by DW standards. If I started a new campaign, I’d really like to focus more on the collaborative world-building.

    On the other hand, my players were new too. They didn’t really grok the idea that they could add elements to the world, so having a fleshed-out structure made it easier for them to recognize.

    Now that we’re three months in, I think we could do it again and everyone would be comfortable building the world collaboratively, but for your first one-off session? Use as much adventure prep as you need to be comfortable.

    Other tips:

    In each of 3 character building sessions, we discovered that bonds alone can drastically alter the world. When you get to them, don’t be afraid to commit 30-60 minutes of fun discussion as you let your players flesh out detailed backstory to explain the bonds (which they may have randomly penciled in moments earlier).

    Also, probably the coolest trick I’ve learned from the DW mindset is to deflect player questions towards other players. For example, in a subterranean monastery, one player asked, “Are there traps?” I didn’t have any prepped, so I asked each player to give me one idea for a trap they thought they’d encounter.

    Then I used every single one of those traps. After the first one, they knew roughly what they’d encounter — but not when, or how. And when their own trap ideas got them into rough spots, it was equal parts disastrous and rewarding for them.

  26. That text is not in the English PDF I am looking at right now.  The first paragraph states:

    There isn’t always time for prep. People aren’t entirely committed to a game—you just want to test it out or you’ve got a four-hour slot at a convention that you want to fill and you’ve never met the players before in your life. Maybe prep isn’t something you care about or you think it’s more fun to just take a map and run with it. Even better, maybe you’ve got a favorite old school adventure module and you’d love to run through using the Dungeon World rules.

    It presents no prep and using a pre-written adventure both as valid options.  An adventure is not a crutch, it is just another tool that supports the game.  Some people will use that tool and some people will not based on their play style (just as some people may use miniatures or other props to support the game).

    What we should do as a community is recommend options to new players and GMs based on our own experiences with DW and let them discover for themselves which of those options best fits their play style.  Saying “the way I play, is the best way” is not the right way to do that, in my opinion.

  27. I agree with Jason Lutes – and considering you have Adam playing Jason’s ‘Funnel World’ on youtube .. perhaps Adam isn’t against published adventures either;) 

  28. Just for the sake of proper credit, Adam uses Funnel World to play Harley Stroh’s published DCC RPG adventure Sailors on a Starless Sea. But thanks, Paul LoCasto!

    Ezio Melega, you describe the OP as being indecisive, but there is nothing indecisive in his post. He has a plan and is asking for specific recommendations to help with that plan. Responding to that request with suggestions to try the game as written is perfectly fine, but calling his basic plan cowardly and defeatist is not helpful to anyone.

  29. I don’t want to repeat that I’m not against adventures.

    And that paragraph does exactly that: listing case in which you could want to deviate from the norm of the game.

    My question stands: how can someone who doesn’t know DW know how much and what they must change to suit their needs?

  30. Hey there, and wow that escalated fast.

    It went… ok. Having the adventure was definitely a good idea, I think Ezio was underestimating the time constraints in this – we were 6 players and me, we had 4 hours, we needed to create characters and play. Starting with a clear adventure (you are going to investigate a crashed gnomish ship, in the ruins of an old gnomish settlement, going there will be a journey through a dangerous forest) was definitely a help. 

    Personally I love the process of starting from a few basic ideas and then sketching a world, figuring out basic conflicts, making characters that change the assumptions or embrace them… but that is not for a one shot game, 4 hours, that will never be continued. This wasn’t a “first session”, this was a mutual playtest of sorts, continuing the game was never in the cards, which I perhaps should have made clearer.

    Still, I should have closed us at 4 players, we ran ½ hour over time and we still only really had 1-2 “scenes” were stuff was happening.

    Still we did some stuff with the adventure and the setting… came up with interesting details about the larger picture, returning to the city (Steading) in the background would have been fun – the Bonds really paid off there.

    The quick resolution and easy to understand system worked well. Chargen was awesome. Running it, I stumbled a little bit when coming up with consequences for 7-9 rolls. Particular when defying danger, they were hard and varied a bit too much in severity.

    How “metagamey” do you make the results or choices? Does the choice have to involve something that the character could realisticly affect? 

    To be specific – the druid caused a landslide and got caught up in it. He rolled 8 to defy danger and I had him loose a piece of equipment in the slide (he could dive after it I suppose, but not much of a choice). Afterwards, one of the players suggested the following choice:

    – The druid would get caught in the slide, but it would hit its target.

    – The druid would escape it, but the slide would miss its target (or perhaps do some damage, but not the intended amount).

    I didn’t think of that, because in my line of thinking the slide had already started and whether the druid escaped it would not affect whether the slide hit the target. I had assumed that in DW there needed to be a fairly close causality between action and result. Thoughts?

  31. I think it can go either way, depending on game flow. I think there’s an example in one of the DW docs that’s very much like what your player suggested: get all of what you want + some of what you don’t, or less of what you want + none of what you don’t.

    Also, I agree that 7-9s (especially in volume) can become taxing. But your player has already given you the answer: ask players for suggestions! Usually at least one other player has a funny (but fair) idea for how to mess up another player’s day.

    By the way, having run sessions with 2, 4, and 5 players (not counting the GM), I’ve noticed that more players works fine but the game actually shines really well with only a few. The 2 player sessions were really phenomenal and the players/characters remained very invested throughout.

  32. The Players represent their Characters, so you should always aim choices at what their characters could reasonably do.

    So in the example of the landsliding druid, you could have offered something like… “You’re still communing with the spirits a little bit – just a threadbare link right now, rapidly waning – but you could slow this slide down to let yourself “off the ride” so to speak, but that’s going to lessen the impact when it finally reaches its target; or, you can pray for the best and get swept along full speed. Thoughts?”

    I figure that works because the Druid called the rockslide, I – personally as a GM – would be down with letting them exercise some power over it. I would not, however, frame a similar question to the fighter. Its out of their control! They swing swords or whatever!

    I’m sorry the game didn’t go as smoothly as you would have liked! I’m glad that you enjoyed what worked for you.

  33. +Alexander Munck – are you going to play it again? What would you do differently? 

    Ah – I thought Funnel World was adapting that specific DCC funnel to DW,  Jason Lutes . Now that I know its more than that, time to buy:)  

  34. Think of the consequences in terms of GM moves. The move you make doesn’t always need to be directly tied to the action, but it often makes more sense if it does. It is okay for the severity of results to vary depending on fictional positioning. Follow the fiction. 

    -You wedge your self free of the slide with your staff, but it is swept from your grasp  (Use up their resources)

    -You can vault over the slide with your staff, but you will lose it in the process, or you can try to ride out the slide.  What do you do? (Use up their resources, but as a choice)

    -Your disruption has angered the Earth spirits and the scope of the slide expands.  Wizard, there is now a large wave of Earth sliding toward you, what do you do?  (Show a downside to their class, put someone in a spot)

    -You can leap free of the slide, but you will need to “use” the cleric to break your fall if you don’t want to take damage.  What do you do?  (Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask)

    -You leap free of the slide and land at prone at the feet of your enemy (Put someone in a spot)

    -You leap free of the slide and cry out as you impact the hard ground.  Your maneuver distracts the fighter for a moment and in that instant his opponent is able to grapple him.  Fighter, yout opponent begins to squeeze the air from your lungs, what do you do? (Put someone in a spot)

    -You leap free of the slide, but the rest of the party is on the other side (Separate them)

    -You leap free of the slide, but land hard and sprain your ankle.  You will be moving slowly until it heals. (Deal damage)

    -You leap free of the slide, but land hard.  Lose d4 HP from the impact. (Deal damage)

    -The enemy Shaman slams his staff into the ground and the wave of earth is upended and now hurtling back toward you.  Thief you are closest to the approaching dirt tsunami, what do you do? (Turn their move back on them)

    -You leap free of the slide.  As you watch the wave of earth melt away, you see the head of a grotesque creature that has been uncovered. It’s large eye opens and stares straight at you. (Reveal an unwelcome truth)

    -You leap free of the slide.  As you watch the wave of earth melt away, you see the mouth of an ancient cave revealed. You hear unnatural cries echo from the cave mouth. (Show signs of an approaching threat)

  35. Huh, the idea of the druid having some measure of control due to being… a druid… is neat. Also need to keep in mind that I am not bound by the 7-9 examples listed for Defy Danger, but could use any soft move.

    The main thing I would have done differently was to run the game with only 4 players. Way too little time for that.

    The other thing would be to make the threats more immediate to the characters. Play a bit more “in your face”, sometimes I think I pulled the punches a bit. I might have a chance to run another game soon, so that’s something to keep in mind. Will still stick to adventures I think – creating the setting, forming the setting, etc is IMO for the first session where there’s a chance of continuing it. 

    Oh and I would start more in media res. I started them off on a perilious journey, which didn’t work that well – was irrelevant how many rations they used, I didn’t have any interesting threats in mind for the journey. Should just have started them running into something right before the mountain, then skipped to running into the rival party immediately after. Again, mostly an artifact of the format, this sort of playtest / stand-alone game really demands immediate action, with the barest of setups.

  36. Oh and another question: How do people usually deal with 6- results on spellcasting? I generally had the spell fail and hit them with one of the bad results suggested (draw attention, loose the spell, -1 forward on spells), though occasionally also another hard move.

    Random rules questions…

    The druid sheet seems to imply that the druid could pick both hide armour and shield, it doesn’t explicitly say choose one or the other. We ruled that it was one or the other, but I don’t know whether it was right.

    Do you guys generally rule that the bard has to keep playing to grant the continious effects? Like the +d4 forward to damage.

  37. Its good practice to use hard moves as your “turn” and maneuver your enemies around the field hard and irrevocably, to give the scene a sense of dynamism. you got a 6- on your spell? Cool, well you’re interrupted, buddy, when an arrow perforates your casting hand – and as the blood splash from that is flying across the screen Zack Snyder style, you spy (through your agony of course) the Orc skirmishers advancing their line up beneath the bridge and it looks like they’ve got crowbars? Yeah, They’re going for the sewers now, tearing the iron bars out one by one. That sort of thing. 6s are your turn to talk as intensely as you want, so bring the action you’re dying to run in the characters’ faces.

    The game won’t really be unbalanced by letting any given player decide what the text on their sheet means. Ask the Druid if its one or the other, store that answer in your head, and have the world respond appropriately to a Druid with a shield (disarm attacks, man! Make me happen!)

    As for Bard music? Well forward only lasts for one roll, so that gets used up immediately – as for the others? Yeah, I’ve got a Bard in my game I’m running now and playing does consume “more” time but in a cinematic way: it means, I frame them hard in terms of time. They were playing a song, right, so yeah guess what the Orc skirmishers are now flanking you, cause how the hell could you stop them? But hey you have time to draw a weapon so that’s nice. I’m talking Soft Moves. Use Soft Moves to gently frame when permissible, and the Bard’s music is perfect permission to put them on a time crunch.

  38. It sounds like you know exactly where your one shot fell down, so it sounds like you’re set to give it another try. I wouldn’t worry much, because your observations seem spot on.

    Definitely, definitely, definitely start in media res. It doesn’t have to be a fight, just make sure its a scenario that: Is Immediate, Is Threatening, Implies one or more Ways Forward. There’s a murder and the guards are busting down your door to arrest you – your thieves guild handler just jumped off the train with your coin – the King is on the throne and has just sentenced you to die, etc.

  39. Starting in media res is a good idea. Get the action started right from the beginning. However I usually start with an Undertake a Perilous Journey move. My feeling is that it shows the players how moves work (mechanically), gets three people involved, and is a fairly low stakes move.

    Coming up with hard choices on Defy Danger 7-9 results can be tricky. What I find helps is having a very clear picture of what the character is doing. When I as GM know what the character is doing and what the player wants to happen, I can make that decision much harder. Which I feel is the point. 😉

  40. I’ve gotten better about declaring, explicitly, the danger in a Defy Danger move. That helps me mentally frame what kind of Worse Outcome, Hard Bargain, or Ugly Choice makes sense for the situation. A 7-9 when the Danger is getting skewered on a pike is understandably very different when the Danger is getting swept out by the rapids.

  41. Agree with Alfred about using moves, both hard and soft to keep the enemy maneuvering and setting up trouble for the heroes.  This is something that newer GMs often forget to do – let the NPCs get into threatening positions.  And don’t forget about letting moves snowball.

    There is nothing saying you can’t use them, but I tend not to reuse the 7-9 results for a 6- spell failure as there are so many other possibilities.  Let the spell fail in spectacular fashion or better yet, let it succeed with unintended consequences.  Or make another move as described above to keep the encounter dynamic.

    -The power of your god is strong in this place.  As you use you magics to heal the Thief’s wound, a pulse of energy expands out from your holy symbol.  You watch in horror as the injuries inflicted on the two approaching Orcs begin to mend themselves as well.

    -You launch your magic missiles, but you lose concentration and they veer off course slamming into the base of a large oak tree nearby.  Bard, you hear a large crack behind you and turn to see a large tree toppling in your direction. What do you do?

    -As your spell goes off, you feel a disruption in the magical energies and instead of the intended effect, your sorcery rents the very fabric of reality.  A slimy, purple tentacle reaches through the tear in space-time and grabs the Ranger around the throat.  Barbarian, you see your companion being dragged toward a magical rift, what do you do? 

    -As you complete the holy invocation of darkness, you feel the loss of connection to your deity for a mere instant, but something goes wrong and your own eyes are filled only with darkness.

    -The fireball erupts from your hand but disappears a few feet away as its energies seems to be absorbed by the surrounding environment.  You shudder as you feel a disruption in the arcane ley lines and sense the awakening of something nearby that should have been left slumbering.

    -Your bolt incinerates the goblin in a flash.  As your vision clears, you see a half dozen more greenskins now standing in the doorway behind the smoking ashes of their friend.

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