I spent some time ignoring something else and pondering what to do next in my #Dungeon_World  lunch-session game.

I spent some time ignoring something else and pondering what to do next in my #Dungeon_World  lunch-session game.

I spent some time ignoring something else and pondering what to do next in my #Dungeon_World  lunch-session game. 

I had originally planned to put a semi-dangerous dungeon #maze between points A and B, but started to just feel “blah” about the inevitable…

“We go left”

“Ok, the hall goes 20 feet and forks left and right”

“We go left”


Sure, some players enjoy drawing a map and figuring out where they are. But when you’ve got two 1-hour sessions in a week (if you’re lucky) there’s really no time for that.

My solution? Present them with the fact that they are in a maze, and ask them how they want to deal with finding their way through it. Come up with some time-frames based on the nature of the maze, and some different ways of getting through. 


*They’ve got the map/widget that lets them take the shortcuts: 1 hour.

*Leaving a trail or making marks of some sort: 12 hours.

*Wandering around in the dark: 3d10+20 hours.

Advance your fronts and such when they spend too much time walking in angular circles. Use up those rations. Enemies use the time to prepare an ambush at the exit. You get the idea.

Perhaps more importantly, take advantage of all this time the characters are getting to spend with each other in a (possibly) relatively safe environment, and prompt for some interludes.

In the end, you didn’t have to draw a precise maze map, the players didn’t get bored, the maze was navigated, things possibly happened elsewhere, and the players got to RP with each other.


8 thoughts on “I spent some time ignoring something else and pondering what to do next in my #Dungeon_World  lunch-session game.”

  1. You could write a custom move for navigating the maze. Situations like this are where DW shines, since it allows you to write rules for fictional situations that (in most rulesets) are not actually covered by the rules.

  2. But also ask your players if they’re interested in an old-school mapping dungeon-crawl. A lot of people really enjoy that. Although (as you said) maybe not for a lunchtime game.

  3. Noah Tucker I agree on both counts.

    An environmental move or something akin to a perilous journey would work well. I didn’t get into that since I figured it would follow naturally for a DW GM.

    And yes, definitely ask the players in most cases. For my particular situation, it just seemed like the sort of thing that should be there, instead of a simple access tunnel.

  4. Zachary Zahringer Do it. If nothing else, it’s an exercise in making your games productive and running things efficiently. Also, the PCs should use villager/level-0 playbooks, being the cooks working for the king. Crap. Now I might have to do that during a hiatus.

  5. I’ve favored environmental moves for dungeon crawls, since it allows you sidestep drawing out complex maps. I also use index cards as rooms/FATE-style zones. http://slyflourish.com/fate_style_zones_in_5e.html

    For each room or zone in the dungeon, you need a title and a few words of description for things that the PCs may encounter. On your end, each room can have a few hazards that need to be dealt with, whether they be monsters, traps, sounds of impending danger, or environmental dangers. Keep these secret until the PCs encounter them. (Maybe on the other side of the card?)

    As for exploring a maze, I think a variant of Undertaking a Perilous Journey would be the best idea. There was an interesting version posted before here: https://plus.google.com/+KasperBrohus/posts/ULjq9MCiSEL

  6. Good advice so far, and I would lean towards a custom maze navigation move. I would also look at why you’re having the characters explore the maze. It might be something where you can “zoom out” and resolve things with a single move.

  7. I agree that using just one move is probably the best choice, until you’re making the maze an epic undertaking, in which case it can be done in stages, with events interspersed between legs of the journey.

    When you navigate your way through a labyrinth, choose one member of the party to act as cartographer, one to watch for danger, and one to scout for traps and secrets. The cartographer rolls+INT, the watcher and the scout roll+WIS.

    On a 10+…

    …the cartographer marks a way through the labyrinth that you can take again without danger.

    …the watcher will spot any trouble quick enough to let you get the drop on it.

    …the scout will find any hidden dangers or opportunities in time for you to react to them.

    On a 7–9…

    …the cartographer leads you through in a reasonable amount of time, but your map will be incomplete so you can’t go back the same way again.

    …no one gets the drop on the watcher, but neither do you get the drop on them.

    …the scout misses at least one hidden opportunity or trap, some cost must be paid; either time, HP, or resources.

    Any advanced moves that modify Undertaking a Perilous Journey also apply to navigating a labyrinth.

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