Very new to DW, just finishing up my FateCore Dresden game and will be running DW as a one-shot (first time at the…

Very new to DW, just finishing up my FateCore Dresden game and will be running DW as a one-shot (first time at the…

Very new to DW, just finishing up my FateCore Dresden game and will be running DW as a one-shot (first time at the table) in the in-between time. I am basing the Adventure on Skullcrusher Mountain by Jonathan Coulton – pretty basic Evil Overlord on mountain has captured the Baron’s daughter and her hand-maidens. His forces include Pony-Monkey Chimeras and a Doomsday Squad.

I am trying to build my first Front and things are not flowing for me.

The Chimeras are mish-mash monsters that the Overlord created, got bored with, and released on the mountain. They are a rampaging horde of hungry monsters found in small packs led by an alpha.

His doomsday squad is comprised of large insects slavishly loyal to their Overlord. They patrol the caverns and protect the lair.

The daughter is betrothed to the son of a nearby lord that does not want her and so he has hired a mercenary group to see that the baron’s group (The PCs) fail in their mission. Should she not return in XX days the betrothal is cancelled.

13 thoughts on “Very new to DW, just finishing up my FateCore Dresden game and will be running DW as a one-shot (first time at the…”

  1. Sounds like you have over built it, especially for your first time running DW. I recognize this because it was my instinct in approaching DW at first, too.

    If you want to tell the players a story, plenty of systems exist in the same genre to facilitate your game.

    DW is about playing to find out what happens. The GM should be surprised as well.

    I recommend that you read the First Session section of the book again, and give DW a shot.

    When you get to front and danger development, the beauty is that they don’t tell you what IS happening, but rather highlight questions about what interesting things MIGHT happen.

  2. Having played a long time and made very extravagant fronts in the past I can honestly say… It’s the least important thing in the game.

    Use them as countdown clocks and nothing more. Lemme show you:

    What will happen if the chimera are left to roam?

    1. Build nests and mark territory

    2. Hunt anything they can take down

    3. Dare to venture down the mountain

    4. Devour lone shepherds, sheep and travelers

    5. Hatch spawn, overrun villages and destroy natural habitats

    What will the Insectiles accomplish if they aren’t stopped?

    1. Patrol and defend the Lair

    2. Marshal into a buzzing legion

    3. Oppress the weak, kill the strong

    4. Set into motion the Bad Thing the Overlord wants

    5. Do the Bad Thing for the Overlord

    What will the Mercenaries do to stop the heroes?

    1. Spread rumours about the heroes

    2. Race them to the mountain

    3. Put obstacles in their way

    4. Attack the heroes

    5. Ally themselves with the Overlord

    At any point the heroes can stop a clock, but the question is, can they stop them all?

  3. What Tony said.  A Front is mostly a tool for you to organize your thoughts about what the bads are doing off screen, so that when things go sideways for the heroes you have a list ready to go.  This helps breathe life into the world and its villains.  

  4. A ~4 hour one-shot DW game has room for about 3-5 “scenes” (dramatic situations that more-or-less resolve themselves).  Don’t overplan it!  And whatever you do plan, make it something that can be resolved in 3-5 scenes.

    Right now, you’ve got… 5 threats:

     – Insectoids & tunnels (infiltration)

     – chimeras

     – doomsday squad

     – rival mercenaries

     – Evil Overload

    If each one gets its own scene, you’re going to be tight on time. If any of them drag long or spill over into multiple scenes, things will get cut short.  Plus, there’s a likely scene of confronting the damsel in distress and deciding what to do about her desires vs what they were paid to do.

    Seems like too much!

    I’d cut cut cut mercilessly, down to the big bad, the minions defending him, and another outside group at cross purposes.

    I’d also lean more heavily on the “ask questions, use answer” style of play.  Don’t tell them they’ve been hired to save a baron’s kidnapped daughter. Tell them that they’re peering over the ridge at the Overlord’s fort and ask them what or who they’ve been hired to liberate (or “liberate”). Then ask who hired them, and why.  And then ask who else might be trying to get in there and do the same thing? 

  5. I want to thank everyone for the advice. I will cut thing down and open up more blanks. Mostly the table wants to get a feel for the mechanics and see if this can slot into our one-shot collection between main games.

  6. it’s a great system, and a lot of fun.  Perfectly suited for one-shots, with quick character creation once you get the hang of it.

    It’s strongest suits from the GM side of things:

    1) Minimal prep!  Practically none before the first session, so it’s essential labor-free before a one-shot.  

    2) Constant surprise!  You are required by the rules to be a fan of the characters. You throw problems in front of them, and then wait for them to start solving them, often catching you by surprise!  Just remember to be their fan, and find ways to support their hijinks.

    In many other systems you are an adversary to the players and are invested in balancing a world for them to pitch themselves against. In DW you make their lives dangerous to give excitement to the world, but you don’t need to anticipate, balance, or solve anything and can simply let the players swim through the troubled waters as they see fit.  

  7. Andrew Fish Yeah I hoped as much. It should blend well with the Fate games that I currently run as the bedrock of both games is so similar. Non-adversarial GM, small number of focused mechanics, heavy narrative style blended with and supported by the mechanics.

  8. If it’s your first DW session, take your adventure and set it aside for another day. Keep character creation down to 10-15 minutes, at most. Ask a ton of questions. Frame the opening scene around the answers to some of your questions, in the middle of the action. Don’t just start in a tavern. Start in a tavern that is on fire, with a summoned purple worm swallowing it from below while the city walls are being torn down and overrun by the lich’s monster army!  🙂

  9. Tony Ferron Thanks so much for sharing your opinion. I love the way those  questions are structured and am going to steal that framework for my own games. 

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