Do Dungeon World campaigns snowball like Apocalypse World ones do?

Do Dungeon World campaigns snowball like Apocalypse World ones do?

Do Dungeon World campaigns snowball like Apocalypse World ones do?

I’ve played DW a few times, but only one shots. My experience with AW, both from play and observation, is that the game really gathers speed as you go along. Things usually start fairly slow, with the players feeling each other and the setting out, strongly pick up around session 4 before going completely ballistic around nine or ten, provided the MC has been looking after their fronts properly.

Do Dungeon World campaigns follow a similar trajectory? I’m sure they CAN, if everyone pushes play in that direction, but is it as much a baked in part of the experience as you find in Apocalypse World?

12 thoughts on “Do Dungeon World campaigns snowball like Apocalypse World ones do?”

  1. It’s been my experience. Both the campaigns I ran kept taking unexpected turns and I could not tell you where they were going. Great fun to be as surprised by the campaign finale as the players are.

  2. I’d say they definitely snowball, though how “big” things go depends on the scope of the fronts and locations you write up.

    I’ve found that a big, complicated “adventure” front with multiple dangers can easily take 4-8 sessions to resolve and span 3-4 levels. DW doesn’t zoom out in resolution as elegantly as AW world does.

  3. Ours hasn’t, really, but I think that’s because we haven’t really wanted it to.  I prefer having a long-running picaresque; basically, I like playing D&D but find that DW mechanics are better at staying out of the way.  But if you want something that snowballs and explodes in a big finale, I think all you have to do is push a little harder at the Campaign Front, no problem.

  4. Tim Franzke It’s a small world in AW, isn’t it? In DW, if the city burns and the valley floods, you can always move on to the next one. In AW, that may spell the end of what was left of civilisation.

  5. I think the difference is scarcity. In AW there is never enough. Whatever your character needs, someone else has and you don’t have the requisite means to get it. Someone always wants what you have and its never a simple trade.

    Sure, in DW the fronts tick along if the PCs ignore them, but their agenda can be at total odds without as much ‘in your face’ unstable status quo that AW does.

    That said, DW can snowball along with the best of them, but you have to push the Front agenda’s hard and make their consequences felt in the fiction in ways that impact the PCs personally, threaten all they hold dear and covet.

  6. If the valley floods and the city burns in apocalypse world… that might have been the second — or any subsequent — session.

    It’s still not a disaster for the fiction to pick up and move on… think of how many times our favorite zombie apocalypse survivors have held hard to a hole-in-the-wall… and still had to keep moving when the pressure ramped up too high.

    As long as some survivor(s) crawl out of the ashes… there is still an unfolding fiction.

    A well made point, Nathan Roberts.

    In AW the scarcity is a front-stage motivator, a constant threat to survival and stability… this could be true in a DW game as well.

    The big difference here is in how the flow and pace is slightly altered between the two games — such that DW can snowball agendas as part of the scenery… for the players to admire and ignore at their leisure… avoid or relent to at their discretion… and plod along with their own goals and interests in mind, all the while.

    In AW the flow and pace pitches the MC into a sense of duty to ‘put both barrels in their face’ every time things seem to be getting a little quiet and comfortable… there is a constant pressure against anything the players might want to do… and the MC must often make an effort to resist interfering, and allow the fiction to emerge dynamically.

Comments are closed.