DISCLAIMER: This is unrelated to dungeon world specifically. It is super long, and about rpgs in general.
I just wrote out my ‘house rules for all rpgs’ this is important because I play a lot of roleplaying online and I’ve played with power-gamers, manipulators, a brony, a drunk lady, as well as some really solid players as well. However, this is something I want out of the way right away.
I’m not sure if I’m missing anything or how relevant all of this is, but I’m gonna throw this long thing here in the hopes someone reads it through and gives me their opinion on it. Thanks.
1. I want everyone to be comfortable. Including myself.
a. I run a pg to pg-13 table. This may not suit your tastes, but it’s not going to become any more adult. I prefer to keep promiscuousness and sexual themes out of my games, but I do describe some gore and intense violence. That being said, I would like to implement the ‘x’ card. If at any time the mention of anything makes you uncomfortable, either say ‘x card’ or touch it in the middle of the table. We don’t ask you why it makes you uncomfortable, we just edit it out of the game. There is a huge document here:(https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SB0jsx34bWHZWbnNIVVuMjhDkrdFGo1_hSC2BWPlI3A/edit#) about it if you have any more questions. It’s as much for me as it is for you.
2. We are here to have fun and to collaboratively make a world of fantasy and wonderment. We play to find out what happens. We all decide on a setting, and we stick to it. If we want space knights of the round saucer, sure, but that means we’re playing a very different game from traditional D&D. If we’re playing traditional D&D, no space aliens.
a. Inappropriate Reasons to Play:
i. To beat Jimmy. (one-up-man-ship is never fun. Friendly competition can be.)
ii. To build the most powerful hero ever.
iii. To amass fortunes or level the fastest.
iv. For the lolz. Funny moments happen, but doing things ‘just cuz’ is unacceptable. If you’re bored go play a video game and leave this to us.
Note: as long as the story comes first, you can still prioritize some of these things. It’s when they are your singular goal to the exclusion of all else is when we have an issue.
3. Rule Zero. Kind of.
a. What I say goes. Up to a point. I will try to explain why I think that way, and what I’m going for and why I might rule differently than what the rules allow or what you want to do. I like to explain my thought process as I think tabletop role-playing is collaborative and fun, however I may not do it immediately. We can discuss the game cordially after we finish this encounter even if you think I ruined your favorite rpg.
b. ‘The unwritten rule of tabletop Role Playing Games:
The Game/Dungeon Master has the right to veto anything any player says, he has the right to change any rule or make up his own, he need not explain why he chooses to do these things.’
4. Begin and end with the Fiction. Don’t tell me. ‘I make an attack roll’. Tell me, ‘I attempt to slip between the ogres legs and slash at his kneecaps as I go by.’ Then I will tell you what to do mechanically.
a. Stolen Straight from Dungeon World: ‘Everything you and the players do comes from and leads to fictional events. When the players make a move, they take a fictional action to trigger it, apply the rules, and get a fictional effect. When you make a move it always comes from the fiction.’ Or in other words: the system is here to help us to make a story.
b. Or in other words, straight from the FATE system, the metallic rules:
The Golden Rule: Decide what you want to do, then consult the rules to help you do it.
The Silver Rule: Never let the rules get in the way of what makes narrative sense.
The Bronze Rule: You can treat everything like a character.
5. The Rule of Cool…up to a point.
a. The Narrative comes first.(I sound like a broken record) Every scene does not contain CGI explosions and epic matrix moments. Heart-wrenching death scenes are also a powerful part of role-playing as well. When it comes to combat, the rule cool almost always applies. As long as it makes sense, I don’t like to say no to players. However, just because dragon-riding pigmen with tattoos are cool, that does not mean they should burst in when you are professing your love to the princess.
http://6d6fireball.com/rpg/of-coolness-and-idiocy/ This person talks about the limits of the rule of cool, and I agree with a good amount of what they’re saying.
6. Final thought: I Challenge My players, but I’m really their Fan
a. I think dangerous, I make things challenging, and there’s a chance you might die. However, it’s all an attempt to make you shine as characters, as players, and as people. I’m not here to one-up or crush your characters, but I don’t want this to be a cakewalk. It’s boring if you just hack and slash an entire dungeon without going below half health. If your PC dies I will try my best to make it awesome and having a lasting effect on the game world. One of my players characters is enshrined for all time after turning to glassy diamond on a hilltop. Now let’s go have some fun!