So, I have been thinking about an anology that someone made: “I have remarked previously that I feel like D&D is a…

So, I have been thinking about an anology that someone made: “I have remarked previously that I feel like D&D is a…

So, I have been thinking about an anology that someone made: “I have remarked previously that I feel like D&D is a canoe whereas DW is a jet ski.” by Ray Otus

So this is interesting.  I wanted to explore this a bit.  (Really liked the last post I made had 53 comments, so great conversation)

So, how would you slow it down a bit and give room for more development, descriptions, and a deeper roleplaying experience.  I know that the point of DW is to keep driving the characters forward and keep things moving, but just like a movie, we should have some slower spots.

15 thoughts on “So, I have been thinking about an anology that someone made: “I have remarked previously that I feel like D&D is a…”

  1. IME Dungeon World already has more of those than D&D, because you’re not thinking as much about your character “build” and you’re not waiting your turn to just make dice rolls. You know the old saying, “D&D is 15 minutes of fun packed into four hours”? Well to me, a session of Dungeon World is more like three hours of fun in three hours.

  2. Uncharted Worlds has a “Cramped Quarters” move which establishes character scenes to cover being stuck in a ship with another character on a long journey. I feel like I’ve also seen PbtA hacks that require players to set character scenes for recovery purposes.

    Both of these things slow the pace down with character focused scenes, to break up the drama focused scenes.

  3. I agree with Tim Jensen about “character build” particularly.

    In my prior RPG experience, i almost always had a badass character concept in mind, and almost all of the play experience was working toward meeting pre-requisites and slowly building up to be able to accomplish, mechanically, what i wanted to accomplish thematically. Most campaigns faltered well before i was able to achieve the epic result of all that work. And while i enjoyed playing, i have since looked back and realized that i was mostly looking forward, instead of at the scene-at-hand.

    In DW, i quickly came to appreciate the idea that your character starts off as a badass. You can pretty much do anything you want right out of the gate, and level increases add a bit of flavor, and maybe a little edge, but they aren’t nearly as significant as the level increases in my previous games.

    Furthermore, in DW we’re discouraged from over-defining our characters right out of the gate; instead, character creation is simply making a few choices that lay out a bullet-point list of our character, and we then discover who they are through collaborative play.

    Instead of anticipating how i can make my character become who i want them to be, i am encouraged, by the rules, to explore who my character was, is, and is becoming. Instead of looking forward, i’m encouraged to focus on the scene at hand, but through moves like Spout Lore i might well look back, forward, left, and right to discover/establish some detail about my character’s history, often collaboratively with the other players around the table.

  4. I like a nice ramp up and ramp down for my sessions. Before the session, I like to ask “So, where would your character be on a lazy Sunday? (Resting up after that huge battle last session? Or back to sword training? Or tinkering with that magic item?)” such that the players realize that the characters have slow-paced moments (and lives outside dungeons). If I everyone is interested in the answers, I ask follow-up questions. I show the characters that we can (and maybe should) care about their daily lives.

    It’s not a novel technique, but it works for me.

  5. Hmm, I once played Shaintar for Savage Worlds and the creator made a small PDF that I wonder could be adapted for DW.  It was called A Day in the Life.  It was a great way of running a down time session.  The “Day” part was a bit misleading, it was more of a couple of weeks.  We had some great roleplaying come out of it.  Perhaps a few Moves based on this could be made for some free form role playing.

  6. Well, free form compared to some stuff. There was basically only 3-4 rolls for the session.  The options that cold be accomplished were things like: Patrol, Training, Crafting, Carousing, Gambling, Exploring, Researching, ect.

    Each of these had some chance for failure and provided some extra bonuses for success.  Also, it used a suit of cards.  The number of cards drawn was based on the tasks chosen, further modified by the character’s hindrances/edges (bonuses and Flaws) and each suit was a different type of complication.  The numbers on the cards could provide bonuses or negatives to the roll, representing the difficulties or fortunate events.  The Player and GM would then inturpert the cards/results into a good story of what they were up to in the downtime.  All in all it sounds complicated but was really quite simple, and interesting way of doing it.

  7. Andrew Fish Today, I had a fighter who was the best pugilist around. He was being influenced by a an evil force. So I asked him who did he kill in the ring? He came up with a name we added a couple details and bang we had a cool backstory because something bad wanted inside.

    Killed the poor guy, a good clean boxer, not like our hero who just wanted to beat the guy’s head in. Widow and children left behind it was great.

  8. I think its on the GM at the start to encourage things. I really like the campfire stuff that Steven​ is doing for west marches. So yeah maybe ask a few questions like So fighter after that bit with the gonlins what do you think sbout when your resting.

    Hopefully by doing this ut encourages the players to do their own thing next time.

  9. i’ve been thinking on this issue further, and another of Tim Jensen ‘s point sunk home:

    “D&D is 15 minutes of fun packed into four hours”? Well to me, a session of Dungeon World is more like three hours of fun in three hours.”

    This conversation is framed around the concept of slowing down the pace of DW to “give room for more development, descriptions, and a deeper roleplaying experience.”

    Another thing that i’ve found in Dungeon World is that i no longer see discrete “combat encounters” and “non-combat encounters” with their separate rules and pacing.

    Instead, all of game play takes place within vignettes within a scene. If Bobo The Ranger is shooting arrows at the gnolls, Frankie The Fighter might still be haggling over the bar tab with the inn owner. Each player can jump into and out of “combat” and “non-combat” simply by declaring what they want to do.

    Even when they set the stage for a GM move and i soft-move at them, they generally have latitude in how they want to interact. If i have a gnoll throw an ax at Frankie above, Frankie might bat it aside and charge into the fray, or Frankie may tackle the innkeeper to the safety behind the bar to keep haggling. Or whatever else they choose to do.

    By giving the Players more discretion in how they want to react to the GM, instead of tying them to a limited “combat round” worth of action(s), the players can carve out that “slow” narrative space themselves, as fits their fancy.

    I’ve had players stop invading hostile forces with no combat, and i’ve had players stand up against the “immortal” enemy that i expected them to flee from, figure out a trick to remove its divine protections (which i didn’t know about, until they started investigating the scene), and kill it.

    One sign of a good GM then is to follow the story wherever the players are looking, rather than trying to force their attention to some predetermined spot. And when a player takes some action, encourage it! Let them play differently, and be a fan of their character!

    So yeah… i don’t think DW’s fast pace comes at the expense of development, descriptions, and deep role playing. Rather it allows us to make efficient use of our time, as Tim noted.

    Everything the characters do can reveal or resolve something significant to the overall fiction. Instead of hours of rolling dice and waiting your turn for a Nat 20 to give you something to remember.

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