Just started playing Dungeon World, working through the details, but enjoying it very much.

Just started playing Dungeon World, working through the details, but enjoying it very much.

Just started playing Dungeon World, working through the details, but enjoying it very much.  Still getting used to using “moves” deliberately.  I just let them do whatever they want, check the basic moves and if it’s not obvious, choose a stat, make a roll and go with it.  I don’t get the ranger move “Perilous Journey” on a 10+ you succeed.  And one other thing, the immolator has “Conjure Burning Brand”.   Does that mean they get to use that three times in one day or scenario, and then if they get a 10+ they get to choose from some more options but still only get 3 uses?

11 thoughts on “Just started playing Dungeon World, working through the details, but enjoying it very much.”

  1. I can’t speak to Immolator at all, but Perilous Journey:

    * is a general move for the party (Ranger tweaks it so one player takes two roles & rolls)

    * it covers overland/water/etc travel between places, when you really wish you could walk into Mordor.

    * It can be applied liberally as a way to pressure resources

    *if you’ve established interesting places, visit those directly

    * if you haven’t, Perilous Journey helps you to decide where to fill in some stuff on the map

    On a 7-9 things go as planned: travel at reasonable speed, maybe encounter someone on equal footing. On 10, the characters have an edge: a shortcut or fair winds, berries right next to the road, and so on. On 6- you as the GM rack up moves as usual, reveal their effects as it makes sense.

  2. The Burning Brand is summoned using the move, ie the player says I summon my burning brand, they roll, pick their options and can use it 3 times before having to summon a new one. There is no “once per day” or any such limit to it, just reroll the move every time you lose it.

  3. As a limit to any power that can be used lots and lots, I like to tailor how hard my moves are when that inevitable six comes up. People who are summoning a brand every few minutes tend to find their lives get much more complicated much faster 🙂

  4. I’d be careful about this phrasing: 

    “I just let them do whatever they want, check the basic moves and if it’s not obvious, choose a stat, make a roll and go with it.”

    Most things a character wants to do you can either just let them do it, or find a way to apply a basic or Playbook move to it.

    Writing custom moves is a lot of fun, and makes the game rich, but simply “choosing a stat and making a roll” will re-frame the GM and Player relationship in an unhealthy way.  

    The GM in Dungeon World has a very strict set of rules to follow, and for good reason.  The GM is there to play to find out what happens just as much as the rest of the group.  you need to adhere to the GM principles and agendas, and the GM moves.

    Also, game mechanics are generally player-facing.  The Players should generally have access to what is on the line when they roll the dice.  If a situation comes up where a player wants to do something completely unprecedented and it really ought to have a custom move written, then pause the fiction and engage the players in a little meta-game conversation.  Ask the party “what is going on here?  What could be gained?  What is at risk?”  Then together, sketch out a move, before any dice are rolled.

    Once everyone is on the same page, everyone is bound by that move.  When the dice fall, the players and GM are both sitting on the edge of their seats, playing to find out what happens.

    Finally, write that move down!  Share it with Dungeon World Tavern!  Learn to write better and better moves, that keep the fiction chugging along every time the players trigger them.

  5. One of the things I find hard is that my players want to reach for the dice at every opportunity. I frequently have to step in and say “okay you x y z and accomplished what you were trying to do. Now, what do you do?”

    They are very eager to make a move or have some dice contest for almost anything.

    The rule of “If the consequences of failure aren’t at least as exciting as the consequences of success, don’t roll” is handy but I have found the GM often needs to reinforce it. 

  6. Paul Ooshun very much so!

    So many other games teach us that the GM is there to stand between us and what we want to do.  Victory must be dragged from the GM’s cold, dead hands, and the dice are the only weapon we have against them!

    It’s hard to break that habit when you’re with a GM who is also “playing to find out what happens” and “being a fan of the characters.”

    But the game experience is sooo much better once you get there!

  7. Andrew Fish this.

    Though technically most games DO instruct the GM to “be on the player’s” side. 

    It’s an interesting thing, being the GM. The players naturally see you as “the enemy” because you control the enemy, and they want to “beat” you. Even though they know you’re on their side.

    Mostly, the players WANT you to make their lives really hard, challenge them to the very limits of their ability to solve problems.

    I just like throwing curve balls, and the occasional “insurmountable” danger, just to see how they will react. It’s ok to sometimes place a monster they cannot defeat (yet) via conventional means, see what happens and how they deal with this problem 🙂

  8. Well, your comments are appreciated.  As an experienced GM I know it’s only the learning curve that has to be walked out.  If I didn’t see the potential Dungeon World has to offer I wouldn’t play it in the first place.  After 30+ years of running rpgs I kind of know what makes a memorable adventure for me and my players.  Don’t get me wrong, I still always have doubts about my own ability to create mood, tension, and keep the players proactive and challenged, but normally it gets better with every adventure.  I’ve had to start new groups almost every other year or so; and, that makes for some exiting campaign, plus getting to know new folks is also a major component to rpgs.  Also, it’s allowed me to get outside my box.  As a result, I haven’t played D&D since 2nd edition was over with.  BTW, has anyone played Servants of the Cinder Queen?  I guess I should put that on another post – never mind! lol

  9. I came to DW after about 25 years of playing and running games.  DW was my first look into a whole new style of gaming.  It’s not unique to Dungeon World, although this is a game close to my heart for bringing me into this new world.

    I’m reading into your comments deliberately, perhaps none of this applies to you.  but in your post you mention what YOU (GM) can, do, and have to do.  You know what makes a memorable adventure.  You struggle with occasional doubts about your ability to create mood, tension, and keep players investment.  You start new groups.

    In my old gaming life, GM was the figurehead, and carried the heavy burden.  Peace Keeper, Time Keeper, Canon-Keeper, Story Teller, Calendar Arranger….  GM was a heavy burden, but some of us were compelled to game, to tell stories, to carry the burden to get that prize.  And for the longest time i never questioned that this was the way it ought to be.

    I’ve come to learn that this is not integral to RPGs.  The group can be mindful about responsibility toward the group’s activity.  GMs can be “just another player.”  Players can be accountable to come to the story engaged.  If someone is disruptive, the group can handle it, instead of looking as one toward the GM/Authority.

    In Dungeon World, i can sit down with nothing more than a few friends and blank character sheets and within an hour be laughing my ass off, or scared, or anxious, or content.  Making memories.  

    After that first session, assuming i’m GM, all i need to do is put a little thought into the people, places, and things discussed in session one, arrange them into loosely organized fronts and dangers, ask a few stakes questions about what might be interesting to play, and then QUIT Meddling with it.  Next time we meet, i have just enough information to improvise responses to the players, and i can once again sit back and be enthralled by the unfolding story.

    For 25 years i either spent hours writing stories and then struggling to keep players on task, or playing stories and being frustrated at being kept “on rails” by the GM. Now i can just enjoy telling stories with friends.  Instead of thinking seriously about integrity of character, integrity of story, integrity of plot, i can think seriously about integrity of social experiences, and how well the artifacts of any RPG i play (setting, characters, rules, etc.) contribute to what i’m really seeking – dialogue with others, through play.

  10. Well said. For me, the thing up front is the social connection that rpgs cultivate. I also want to have a memorable time, so the story is still something I hold dear. DW is D&D all over again, and I’m referring to the red box with that killer wizard on the front, but more sophisticated. I worry most when running a Sci Fi or Horror ased game. Medieval fantasy fits like an old shoe. DW is great like that, but it won’t be exclusive for me. I see many years of play with DW, as long as people still play table top rpgs. However, and I don’t mean to offend, there is another system that appeals to me more that I always go back to. So if DW is the old pair of shoes, my other game is that pair of jeans that you wouldn’t get rid of, even if they had holes everywhere!

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