So a question: how do you folks deal with the issue of the actual stuff required for DW?

So a question: how do you folks deal with the issue of the actual stuff required for DW?

So a question: how do you folks deal with the issue of the actual stuff required for DW? The character sheets, sheets of multi class and bonus moves, your many resources as the GM, etc? In our past D&D campaigns (mostly 4e) with a friend as the DM, we usually used a digital character sheet he had written, so everyone sat around with laptops and iPads. Are most of you lot running full pen and paper games? How do you organize your materials? Do you use a screen?


25 thoughts on “So a question: how do you folks deal with the issue of the actual stuff required for DW?”

  1. I just print stuff out. Print out each player’s class sheet and their level up moves on one page. Print out the Basic and Advanced moves on a single page and leave it in the middle of the table. Or print multiple copies, one for each player. My GM stuff is in notebooks and scrap paper. I don’t use a GM screen.

  2. Scott McCafferty​ Thanks for starting this conversation. Right now, we’re using pen and paper, though all the manuals are digital. However, my plan is to write a DW GM tool that will not only track fronts and characters, but have the full searchable rulesets, wizards for monster, NPC, steading, and front creation but will also feed the players web-based character sheets, chat, and game mechanics (like result choice and levelling up) over WiFi.

  3. one printout of each class sheet, one printout of the basic and special moves sheet per 2 players, one printout of the monster-making checklist and GM moves… and maybe a sheet of scratch paper for me to track monster HP and impending dooms

  4. Doublesided colored cardstock for the core moves.  Each player gets one.

    Single-sided cardstock pages for character sheets / spell lists.

    A sketchbook for taking GM notes.

    A ~3 x ~2 foot artist’s sketch pad / butcher block in the center of the table for maps.  Pencils, pens, and colored sharpies abound nearby.

    I pace (when GMing), everyone else lounges wherever (usually around the map)

    People can use whatever dice they want, but I have a big foam set of d6s that don’t count as cracked when they fall on the floor or get thrown at someone for making a bad pun.  (Good puns = XP)

  5. For players: all paper

     – The playbooks (and spell sheets)

     – 1-3 packets with the moves sheet, gear lists (and tag dictionaries)

     – Scratch paper for taking notes

    I actively discourage them using tech during play. Keeps ’em more engaged with what’s happening at the table.

    If I prep a magic item in advance/between sessions, I’ll print it on a card and give it to them (with a paperclip).

    For me: combo of printouts, OneNote, and the online gazetteer.


    – I always have my monster creation cheat sheet printed

    – On the back, I put the monster treasure table + the GM agenda, principles, moves

    – A player packet (moves sheet, gear lists) for reference.

    At the start of a game or adventure arc, I’ll make notes in OneNote but print out the fronts map, name lists, questions I want to ask, any other details I might have trouble remembering and don’t want to look up on the fly.  I try to keep it to 2-4 pages. Scribble notes on it furiously.  Between sessions, update the OneNote.  That becomes my living document for the game.

    If I stat up a monster in advance, I do it in OneNote but don’t bother printing it.  Just use a scratch pad or the OneNote to track HP in play.  If my players mention a new beasty, I add a blank spot for it with whatever we said about it. Maybe stat it up later. 

    If I just need a monster on the fly, I’ll use my cheat sheet for HP & Armor & damage and track that on scratch paper. Add it to the OneNote later if it’s worthwhile.

    I’ll use the Gazetteer for reference on things that I don’t have handy, like if I want to read a player’s spell or move myself. 

  6. For first sessions I bring a full set of two-sided character sheets and a two-sided Basic Moves/Special Moves sheet per player (+1 for myself), and the one-sided The GM sheet (although I barely use it these days). I don’t bother with the Front sheets; they were cramped for my style. Beyond that: a notebook or loose paper, both for notes and impromptu maps, a copy of the rules (usually print, sometimes on my iPad if I’m trying to run extra light, especially if I’m hauling a bunch of games around for a convention), a pile of pencils and dice to loan out, and 3×5 cards to use a name/class tents. Almost all of it I keep in a folder.

    I’m comfortable with digital tools and have used from for various editions of D&D over the years, but I feel no benefit for Dungeon World. For first sessions I’ve never needed a GM screen; there just aren’t that many secrets on my side.  As the campaign progresses I start having maps I’d prefer the players not see, so I do want some sort of concealment, but I’ve been avoiding anything as striking as a GM screen. I find a GM screen marks the GM as special, and that interrupts the conversation DW creates. For concealment I’m using a side table or just closing my notebook when not referring to something in it.

  7. This is all great stuff folks! Another question: how many of you use tiles, boards, handmade terrain, and miniatures with DW? It’s clearly very playable without, perhaps even better, but my group definitely enjoys that tactile, visual element to the game. (again, we come from 4e largely, so that’s a big part of our experience so far.)

  8. I just use some scrap paper or a whiteboard, Scott. Rough sketches of the area with squiggles for the baddies, dots for the PCs, and red squiggles for death. 😉

    You can play DW with tiles, boards, 3D terrain and what not. But the freeform, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style of play DW encourages might make that difficult.

  9. I use a tablet ( for rules, reference sheets and overview of players stats/moves, sometimes pictures i want to show), a paper notebook, a portable whiteboard (The Noteboard, for sketches, on the fly maps and campaign map).

    Players have their char sheets and basic/ special move sheets.

    Thats all.

  10. I use that stuff all the time. Like you, Scott McCafferty, I played a lot of 4e so I’ve got a ton of minis, lots of maps, dungeon tiles, etc. (never got into 3D… too much space & hassle).

    The key thing, IMO, is not to let your group get into counting squares or crap like that. For anything outdoors, I literally toss dungeon tiles on the table to represent where terrain is. Screw the grid.

    When you hit some with a forceful attack, send their fig flying. When they defy danger by getting out of the way, move their fig.  When the block or defend, move their fig into harms way and/or drive their fig back. 

    I use “?” counters to note “you think you saw something slinking around over here” and skull counters to mark the fallen.

    As much as I can, I use the actual fig to inspire my monsters.  So when the players are like “what’s it look like,” I can be “it looks just like _this.”

  11. “Can I sprint up to the Dark Child to stab him before he puts the crystal in the blood bowl?”

    Without miniatures :  “Yes” / “Maybe – you’ll need a Defy Danger to get over that span of broken glass between you though.”

    With miniatures : “It’s… seven down, one over, you have a +1 DEX mod, there’s only two steps of ‘difficult terrain’, so yes.”

    I think miniatures takes something away, most of the time, in DW.  You’d be trading fast evocative imagery with slower tactical wargaming.

    If you guys like that kind of thing, check out   The creator of the * World system’s take on wargames.

    (EDIT : Jeremy’s take look solid though)

  12. The game I’m in right now is online but when I played face to face before this, we had the following:

    – print copy of the book for the GM

    – any notes the GM needed

    – a printout of the GM moves and agenda, if needed

    – a map of the setting as sketched out by decisions the group had made

    – a print copy of each player’s playbook

    – a copy of the Basic Moves for each player

    Because basically everything for this game is pretty compact, there was no problem shuffling around a few sheets of paper per person, by and large.

  13. FYI for those that are interested in minis with Dungeon World – we pay on a poker table with a tan vinyl service top. This means wet erase markers can be used to draw directly on the table itself, no harm done. I’ve even tested it by intentionally leaving lines on the surface after the game for several days before wiping clean, and there were still no marks left behind.

    So basically, if you have one of these service tops or just buy a piece of tan vinyl at a hardware store, you’ve got a grid-less wet erase battlemat, perfect for using minis but not getting bogged down by specific measurement.

  14. +1 for using minis with DW without gridding. Action scenes are fun and having a visual reference of positioning is often handy. I have done John Carr’s approach, as well as the whiteboard, and also Legos. Bring a big box, let people build their own minifig, stick a few flats together so you have space for everything and boom. As much if not more fun than Reaper minis or whatever brand you like. 

  15. when we play at the office, there is a table in our living room area that has a dry marker surface on it with multiple colors, we draw all over it, keep notes etc…

    Our other gaming space at someone’s house has a Dryboard mounted on the wall, and we just leave the world map and important notes on it and play without figures, doodles work fine.

    Havent used figures for DW, but you can totally do that with DW, and you can still answer the question of whether you can stab the bad guy before they kill the baby or not without using the grids.

  16. So I should really make a new thread for this, but since I’ve got you all here… I’ve been building a campaign world for rather a while. Basic settings, gods, backstory, big world changing thing that’s just recently occurred and will explain all manner of strange occurrences.

    Here’s my trouble. DW has a really low level cap, and if things go well, these guys might be playing this campaign for a WHILE. How do(would) you folks deal with this? Retire PC’s in exchange for new meat? Inflate the levels so it takes longer to level up? Stop giving xp for things like fulfilled bonds? What?

  17. I haven’t experienced this myself since nearly all of my games are one-shots of short campaigns, but this might help. As characters get better there is more they can do without triggering moves. That might slow down the level progression a bit.

    Also, and I know you didn’t ask about this, I think it’s a mistake to start a DW game with more than a rough idea of what the world or the campaign is like. Part of DW’s thing is playing to find out, whether that’s story or setting. Frontloading too much setting and campaign material prevents you from doing that and prevents the players from providing input.

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