Has anyone run OR played in, a Dungeon World game with 5 PC’s and had it go well?

Has anyone run OR played in, a Dungeon World game with 5 PC’s and had it go well?

Has anyone run OR played in, a Dungeon World game with 5 PC’s and had it go well? I know 3-4 players is the sweet spot for most, but what if you don’t want to leave a friend out? If it worked well, what did you do to keep things running smoothly?

30 thoughts on “Has anyone run OR played in, a Dungeon World game with 5 PC’s and had it go well?”

  1. I’ve run a DW game with five players at a convention and it went fine. I do usually prefer to cap my games at 4 PCs, but there’s nothing that prevents the game working with more.

    I just think it’s best to make sure everyone understands they’ll need to share the spotlight a bit more.

  2. Seven was my highest, I think. It was bonkers, but worked – just. It can be a good idea to nominate 2 players as captains and get all the other players to run their actions to you through them

  3. 5 is my limit. Make sure the session starts somewhere that doesn’t require any travelling (all the Moves being triggered are going to keep you in one place for a while). Make sure your Fronts bounce players off of each other so you can sit back and watch.

  4. I mildly disagree with Aaron Steed. I would only “bounce players off each other” if everyone was onboard with a more PvP style game. Some people may want to play a game where everyone gets along and goes on mighty quests. 🙂

  5. I’ve gone 6 and 7 with no problem. You just have to be good at moving the ball around. 5 seems the top end of the comfort zone. The more people the harder it is to incorporate answers to your questions, though. The answers can lead you in a lot of different directions.

  6. I ran with 5 for the first time (with DW, anyway) a couple weekends back and came away with these conclusions:

    1. I’d do that again if I had to, but I’m going to try not to. I really prefer 4. I have a hard time with players talking over each other.

    2. I need to explicitly rule that only one person ever rolls at a time, unless another player suggests before the roll how they might aid or interfere.

    3. Hammer hard on “to do it, do it.” It’s tempting when things are that hectic to just say “whatever, fine” when people are asking questions all at once and one says “I discern reality!” as if that means anything. Slow them down. Ask how they are doing a thing. Encourage them to lead with the description, then clarify with the name of the move if needed.

    4. Speaking of Discern Realities, either disallow multiple uses per scene or force things to keep moving at a pace at which they can’t consider that as an option. The game grinds to a halt when five players roll this and you have to come up with new answers to up to 15 questions. (But “one roll at a time” may be sufficient to fix this issue.)

    Good luck!

  7. ^what Jason Tocci said.

    Only difference: when there’s a pause in the action (or right at the beginning of an action scene), I’ll get everyone to declare their intended actions all at once, free-and-clear, with full opportunity to change their minds. We’ll figure out what each one is going to do and what move (if any) that triggers, but no one rolls until everyone has “locked in.”

    Then, everyone rolls at once. And I’ll narrate the results based on the conglomerate of those rolls, asking follow-up “what do you do?” questions as appropriate (sometimes even before resolving someone else’s roll).

    It’s not for everyone (you have to be able to keep a lot of data in your head, and feel comfortable choreographing the action), but it makes sure everyone has a chance to act (spotlight sharing), it tends to create a more fluid scene, and (especially against Big Bads) it tends to put everyone at risk (as opposed to just having the Fighter go up and tank a bunch of H&S rolls). Side benefit: people end up triggering Aid and Defend more with this approach.

  8. I’ve run six players games over hangouts and generally consider them nonsense chaos-fests. It’s difficult to manage the spotlight with that many players, people get bored if there are split scenes and stop paying attention, etc.

  9. Four PCs is definitely the “sweet spot” in terms of party balance and being able to give everyone the proper narrative focus, but five is completely doable. I consider five the upper limits of what a game like DW can reasonably support before it becomes a bit too chaotic to run properly, but so long as you can keep the Discern Realities and Spout Lore rolls under control and make sure everyone has a strong focus on some set of goals, you can run a great game.

  10. I think l maxed out at 9 once. Its hard to remember, it was all a messy blur. It has to be loud simple and exciting. Anything goes, there is no bad idea.

    What I hear from those who played is it was fun. I had a blast.

    It’s doable but not recommendable.

  11. It’s been a while but I ran with 5 or 6 people once. Might have been more. I really think it’s like any RPG in that you need to make sure everyone gets camera time.

    It’s not about not splitting the party or any of that nonsense, just making sure people don’t get bored. If you have more people then keep the cuts frequent otherwise people can wait a long time to do something.

  12. Jason Tocci I detest when I ask one player for check and everyone picks up their dice. I just tell them I didn’t ask them for a check so put the dice down.

    In Dungeon World I think it’s fair to say the realities have already been discerned and the move no longer triggers when other people look around—especially when people are only doing it because the first person rolled low. If they want to search or discern realities as a group they should use the helping move.

  13. My typical group is 5. I have no problem with it whenever there’s a complication or put some on this spot I think of a way to bring in someone who hasn’t acted in a while and it keeps the game going for everyone

  14. Matt Petruzzelli Well yeah, even with the smaller group, I feel like one person rolls for a move like DR or SL, the most fictionally appropriate one. Maybe someone can assist, and then that’s that.

  15. Matt Petruzzelli

    I allowed it once… ONCE as an example of why we wouldn’t be doing it cause when four of the five people all tanked their rolls I made moves so hard that it made them shit their pants. No one ever wanted to try that shit again.

  16. @James Mendez Hodes did you ever play a more codified RPG with the 8 year Olds like Basic Fantasy or D&D or did you just start them off with DW? What did you find easier being more free form or codified? I’m asking because I want to start some 8 year old’s off in the hobby and not sure what system to introduce them with first ect.. thanks

  17. I have done 6 once, 5 regularly. I prefer 4 or less. You have to be on your toes about prompting the quieter players.

    I suspect 3 active players would be best. (I have a group of two that is great, but I often wonder if adding one more would make it really sing. I also don’t want to screw up the chemistry.)

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