Ok, I’ve got a short starting session with Dungeon World behind me now, and liked it enough to buy the book!

Ok, I’ve got a short starting session with Dungeon World behind me now, and liked it enough to buy the book!

Ok, I’ve got a short starting session with Dungeon World behind me now, and liked it enough to buy the book! I got past my hitpoints issue after realizing they don’t increase when levelling, and work more like RuneQuest’s hitpoints; I got it that a strong hit could cause lasting or permanent injuries or being knocked out. It’s really easy to hack, eg. rolling double 1’s could be ruled to increase damage by +d6 or cause direct effect, making even minor opponents potentially big threat – as well as perhaps maxing damage on double 6’s – I love rules for fumbling and crits!

What’s interesting, I’ve never liked having races as Classes, but now when I look at DW classes, I miss thinks like night vision and figure that races might work better as Playbooks in DW, but with stronger ‘multiclassing’ option. What kind on opinions you have on Elf/Dwarf/Halfling on DTRPG? How Tolkien-like they are? (planning to run some Middle Earth some day).

Two more thins I’m curious about how everyone’s using the system – Do you use Positive moves (e.g. an ally arrives to save the day)? If you do, do you have a special condition for it?

What kind of invulnerabilities/special defenses do you use for tougher monsters, other than fear/reach/need to climb to damage bigger ones? Do you often pick some details from D&D? Eg. Iron Golem’s Metal -tag, do you think it gives the normal weapon and magic immunities to Iron Golem? How do you handle Vampires and Weres? I’d love to hear some examples!

There’s Dungeon World codex for monsters, but is there any place for basic location types as threats (eg. basic Dark forest, Haunted mansion, Northern route, Desert trade route etc.) for quick use? Place for gathering Villainous opponents and complicated event-chains (Threats that build into something bad as a sum of events, misunderstandings, villain manipulation etc.) would also be cool thing to have 🙂

20 thoughts on “Ok, I’ve got a short starting session with Dungeon World behind me now, and liked it enough to buy the book!”

  1. I’m not a big fan of these “positive” moves, it takes power away from the players. I’m not saying that the GM should just outright slaughter the party, but if anything positive is brought to those dark, horrific dungeons it should be brought by PCs themselve. Don’t bring an ally to save the players, the PCs should be the rescuers.

    Dungeon World isn’t as descriptive as D&D when it comes to monsters, leaving you a lot of blank spaces that you can fill in, use this to your advantage: if your players are veterans and are used to the good old monsters from D&D, feel free to bring those same creatures, but with some unexpected twists to catch them off guard, maybe your werewolves are immune to silver (some kind of new breed or whatever).

    The great thing about DW is that it allows you to be freeform as much as you want when it comes to adventure design. Just take a look at my examples, I can put them together to make a new adventure: the characters have to find out what happened to a group of monster hunters that disappeared after setting out to hunt werewolves in the nearby forest. The locals are afraid because those were well known, experienced hunters. Maybe they were overwhelmed by these new, intelligent werewolf breed that’s immune to silver.

  2. Yeah, in my game the guy playing the dwarf asked “Can I see in the dark?” to which I responded “I don’t know, can you and if so is it infravision or dark vision? Keep in mind that if you decide dwarves can see in the dark in this world then that probably means that many monsters can too; your choice”

  3. Of course you use the moves for positive stuff. The ranger has the drop on some goblins, dead to rights, it’s way easy peasy, and says “I skewer them with a pair of arrows.” They look at you to see what happens. There’s no risk, there’s no danger, it’s not even really volleying cause they’re RIGHT there. You make a GM move. Probably offer an opportunity suiting the class: “Cool, they’re dead, and it looks like they have a map of the stronghold in their sacks? Good job taking out the scouts, girl. Rock on. What do you do?”

  4. Yep! You can easily utilize GM moves for positive things too.

    Look in particular at “Give an opportunity that fits a class’ abilities”, “Offer an opportunity, with or without cost”, and “Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask”.

    Give an opportunity according to class: you give the player an opportunity to call up aid or something else good, and it relates to what they can do as a character.

    Offer an opportunity: you can give them a price or not, but either way you give them an opportunity to improve the situation.

    Tell them the consequences: sometimes, consequences can be positive!

  5. Lots of insight and info, thanks a lot for your replies! Being used to have everything on paper, it’s another thing to get used to just add things like ‘Sees in darkness’ for races. I guess shortness of dwarves compensates for it, but elves might need some limitations, or else everyone in my games wants to be an elf 🙂 (yep, strong D&D background!)

    Pedro, I guess you’re right about stealing player’s spotlight, but it’s just such a common and great trope in fiction, that I’d like to include it. Perhaps it should just be paid attention to allow the heroes make the final move while the ally wins them time, rescue the rescuers etc. Besides, that kind of things create stronger bonds between heroes and npc’s.

    Alfred Rudzki and Andy Hauge, I first thought that surely isn’t a move – but thinking again, I’m quite convinced that’s an opportunity without cost 🙂 I feel I’m continually trying to twist my brain like rubik’s cube to align it right with PbtA!

    About racial features as compendium classes, I’d think of racial features with something characters begin with, perhaps improving them later, therefore I’m not sure I like that idea. Before finding DW/PbtA I got familiar with The One Ring, where races replacing classes as character options feels very right, and that stuck in my head. Especially, as I’m planning to run a ToR -campaign with Darkening of Mirkwood one day (feels quite natural to convert stuff there to threats)

  6. Remember that a lot of Dungeon World is shared world building. I often ask questions of players as I think of them. For example, at one point I asked my halfling player do you think orcs hate halflings more than any other race and why? He thought about it and said yeah they do because in the distant past halflings stole an ancient elven relic and framed the orcs for it. If elves feel super powerful then ask something of your players that might be limiting

  7. Antti Lusila Now that’s more like it. Creating bonds with NPCs is very important, but as you said, the NPCs should be secondary, they’re the brave souls that without their little help, the players would never be able to save the day.

  8. Antti Lusila: Don’t fret about twisting perspective too hard! Remember that the core of PbtA is this: the players do something to the world, and you respond appropriately. The players do things by acting and sometimes rolling dice, and you respond with GM Moves.

    The Moves in Dungeon World are there to inform you what sorts of things you should be responding with.

  9. I think if I ran DW, I’d have characters pick classes, and if they had a racial option, they could substitute some racial moves whenever they could gain a class move.

  10. Antti Lusila I would recommend the racial playbooks if starting with the things that make them the race they are is important to your game. If I remember them right, most of them can gain multiclass moves in them to grab something from thief, wizard, etc if they still want to be somewhat of a classic fantasy character (I know for sure the Human playbook does).

    As for picking racial moves like a compendium class, don’t think of it so much as ‘they didn’t have that ability until now’. Think of it like Legolas in the Lord of the Rings. We didn’t know until the second movie when Aragorn asked “What do your elf eyes see?” that he could see an incredible distance. So it’s more like they didn’t show that aspect of themselves until a moment after they levelled up. I like to think of all the classes this way. The Wizard had a spell he’d been waiting to try out, the Cleric could have cast Storm of Vengeance (I think that’s what it’s called) all along, but didn’t dare risk angering her god by doing so until the final battle with the BBEG. If you explain the situation fictionally, then your characters display that characteristic that Dungeon World tries to illustrate, the characters are heroes from the start, not newbie adventurers just starting out like in other RPGs. I hope this helps out some, I kind of went into a rant. 🙂

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