A Tournament Deathtrap Dungeon

A Tournament Deathtrap Dungeon

A Tournament Deathtrap Dungeon

Did anyone get this? I wonder how you can do “tournament” stuff in Dungeon World. The game is just too fluid to have these kinds of contests right? You would need GMs that are really really in synch with each other to offer a sameish level of adversity right? 

Does this module address this? 


14 thoughts on “A Tournament Deathtrap Dungeon”

  1. I asked this same thing in the first post. Got me wondering how it can be done. If it’s done right, this would be amazing.

    Have to be structured pretty heavily I think, wouldn’t it?

  2. I’m less-than-impressed with the previews they’ve posted. I’m certain that a lot of it is just taste (I’m not a huge fan of GRIMDARK METAL DEATHTRAP DUNGEONS), but the big thing that rubs me is the way they present “moves.”  


    When triggered by a crusader

    crossing the Great Seal, the eye

    opens and all crusaders in the

    chamber not explicitly avoiding the

    closed eye’s gaze must Defy Danger

    with CHA:

    10+  The crusader resists being transmuted

    into a gold statue.

    7-9  One of the crusader’s limbs or one

    important item they’re carrying

    crumbles to gold dust.

    6- The crusader is permanently

    transformed into a gold statue.


    Stabbing the eye’s pupil disables the

    trap. However, unless the crusader

    used a nonconductive object (like a

    wooden staff), she is shocked by an

    arcane bolt – Defy Danger with DEX

    (7+) or take 3d8 damage and become

    forever vulnerable to magic.

    Like, they’re functionally the same as any given custom move one might write for a dungeon, but they’re not Defy Danger. It’s a pretty minor thing, but to me it speaks of not really understanding who DW works and what makes it awesome.

    And the fact that none of the previews have even hinted at how “head to head competitive” would work (when DW doesn’t really handle PC-vs-PC stuff very smoothly)… that makes me very skeptical.

  3. SVD Press publishes single-session adventures that favors theatrical DMs, promotes over-the-top action, and high-stakes decisions made under pressure. The style of play is not suitable for everyone but, if you play into it, it makes for one hell of a ride.

    Early D&D’s tournaments may be a different style of play than DW was intended for, but it’s not impossible to emulate. I see DW moves as defining the important aspects of the genre and play style and then moving the fiction forward from those keystone experiences. With custom moves, you can change the tone and style of a game from DW-standard to one more suited to the old tournament-style games. In this case, high stakes with lots of narrative consequences (such as a missing limb, or new challenges for the other parties). Making this work with your group requires some up-front communication about how it’s different than stock DW, but that’s just good DMing.

    I haven’t’ read the module yet, but I expect that the DMs will have a list of moves that can be triggered by the party they run. When the conditions are met by their party, that DM simply announces it to the room and the other DMs will know what to  implement it in their game. Think of each party as a front and as they achieve certain goals, the danger for everyone else intensifies. Shouting it out to the room is a fun, interactive way of inciting everyone to get a move on because they are being outpaced.

  4. I’m really disappointed in the one true wayism in this community. Playing the game differently than you (being a general “you”) do at home doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s not “wrong,” it’s different. And that’s great.

    I personally played this module for DW back at GenCon in 2014 and it was one of the best games I’ve ever played. It’s as simple as that. It’s a great twist on both Dungeon World and the classic death trap dungeon. While the game I participated in didn’t have the head to head mode, I’ve spoken with people who play tested that and they had nothing but great things to say about it.

    Instead of judging something before reading or even trying it out, leave your preconceived notions at the door and embrace something new.

    Y’all are better than this.

  5. I playtested this one, and I have to say that there’s no reason why it can’t be run head-to-head at one or multiple tables. I had two teams of about 4 players each and even with the player knowledge leaks inherent from only one GM (head-to-head mode is supposed to be seperate GMs at seperate tables) it was great. If you think you can’t run DW this way, you’re building walls that aren’t there.

  6. I think people are thinking too rigidly of DW. Yes, this tournament style challenges DW conventions, but remember that is EXACTLY what DW did for D&D style RPGing in the first place.

    DW in of itself is a tool for gaming, and is being used in a particular context, and even here is sticking to the general principles of DW but, again, is contextualizing the moves. Defy Danger works exactly as expected: drawing from the fiction.  In this instance, from a trap that will kill a player. Using up Resources as a soft move explicitly states that this includes inflicting damage. In the case Jeremy Strandberg provides, this is explicitly illustrated and not even through abstract HP damage. Resources may include one less hand by which objects may be manipulated or held.

    I think DW as a tool is being regarded too narrowly, and here is an example of one pushing the conventions of this tool to its limits and challenging the status quo (which DW originally did) and being condemned for it.

  7. Sorcerer Blob: peace, man. I’m glad you and others enjoyed the game; I’d love to hear how the head-to-head stuff works from someone who’s bought, read, or better yet run the module. I’m particularly interested in knowing if they’ve done anything improve direct PvP, which is notoriously gear-grinding in standard DW rules.

    That said, I think Tim Franzke’s original concern is pretty valid. Two different GMs will run a game of DW very differently. Just think about the conversations that keep popping up about regarding how to resolve the imminent attack (must you defy danger/defend first? can you narrate your action directly into a H&S?) and how many different opinions people have about that topic. Now, extend that to an ostensibly competitive “tournament mode.” If one GM always insists that you always need to defy the danger before you can you counterattack, that GM’s game will run more slowly and be ultimately harder than the other GM’s game. I think that’s a legitimate concern.

    (In practice, I’m guessing it’s not actually that big of a deal because I imagine that two GMs running this in tournament mode would come from the same “play culture” and have similar styles in regard to making moves. At the very least, the variance between GMs is probably no more a problem than it would be in the old school tournaments, where the the GM’s descriptions and rulings were so important to how play resolved.)

    Also, I stand by my critique of the presentation of the moves. They are not Defy Danger. Defy Danger is a specific move:

    When you act despite an imminent threat or suffer a calamity, say how you deal with it and roll. If you do it. On a 10+, you do what you set out to, the threat doesn’t come to bear. On a 7-9, you stumble, hesitate, or flinch; the GM will offer you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice.

    The moves in published in the previews say stuff like “all crusaders in the room not explicitly avoiding the closed eye’s gaze must Defy Danger with CHA,” and then explicitly spells out the results.  I’m not objecting to the results; they’re brutal, metal, and generally spot-on for the tone they’re going for (they’re not really to my taste, but I can see how they’d be fun).  I’m objecting to them be called “Defy Danger.” In the eye example, the GM isn’t presenting a danger or a catastrophe and asking the players what they do. The players aren’t saying how they deal with it. The move says you’re rolling CHA even though this clearly doesn’t involve “using charm and social grace” (which is when you use CHA to Defy Danger). 

    If the move were just “when the eye opens,  all crusaders in the chamber not explicitly avoiding the eye’s gaze must roll+CHA” and had the same results, I’d be totally fine with it.

    Yes, my objection is nitpicky and kinda pedantic. Of course I can just interpret it as “roll +CHA and here are the results.” But seeing that misuse of a term (not just once, but repeatedly) in a published-for-sale $13 module undermines its credibility and makes me pretty skeptical.  Like, if I picked up a D&D 3.5 or Pathfinder module from the shelf and it insisted on players making Reflex saving throws using their Acrobatics modifiers, I’d dismiss it as amateurish and poorly done, and probably wouldn’t buy it. Same sorta thing.

  8. In this case, head-to-head doesn’t mean PVP. Each team has their own instance of the dungeon to explore, so they won’t encounter each other if they happen to hit the same room at the same time.

    However, what one team does affects other teams. Team A claims an artifact treasure, then the other teams cannot claim that artifact. Likewise, a team can set traps for other teams to encounter.

    Teams that are lucky and skilled enough to survive to the final encounter then work together in the final climactic battle. 

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