Would you be dissapointed as a player to go into a game of dungeon world that had the more traditional way of gm…

Would you be dissapointed as a player to go into a game of dungeon world that had the more traditional way of gm…

Would you be dissapointed as a player to go into a game of dungeon world that had the more traditional way of gm controls the world and you control your character? I.e you didn’t get any questions about the wider world just your character?

29 thoughts on “Would you be dissapointed as a player to go into a game of dungeon world that had the more traditional way of gm…”

  1. I would be disappointed if we didn’t get answered questions to define the world, but I have no actual issue with the GM getting to make the world, if that makes sense.

    GM enjoyment is also a huge part of roleplaying for me (As they aren’t just running the game for players, they want to enjoy themselves too) so if the GM has this great world they want to invite us into, more power to them – but I would like some creative input as to things like “This is the leader of the thieves guild… You’re a paladin, but how have you met him before and why did the situation turn sour?”

  2. I don’t need to control the world, but it would be a huge bummer to not get to place my character in the context of the world: the people I know, the places I’ve been, what kind of trouble I’ve gotten into, etc. So, yeah, I’d be disappointed in a huge way if I was never asked questions about the world.

  3. Some player’s moves straight up require that the player do some worldbuilding, like explaining how your character came to know something. There’s worldbuilding there, because if they say “I read it in a book”, that means they’ve declared that there are books on the given topic that they had access to.

    Why do you want players to not have input on the world? Are you concerned about having to write around contradictions and complications? I think it’s reasonable to edit your players when their ideas clash with your world, even if you’re not revealing how that clash works.

  4. Gary Chadwick​ I kind of want to do a hexcrawl type game with my own cool workd which is all about exploring that world. And I want to do that in DW because I feel the ruleset allows me the freedom of inprovising with random tables and stuff like that.

    So I guess my question is how would I bridge those two things. I know all about how Perilous Wilds does it but I kind of do want it to be aomething I know about so Im not completely scrambling having no clue. But I also do want the players to feel part of the world.

  5. Eh. Hearing the GM say they want the players/characters to explore “their world”, meaning a world that has been created entirely by the GM, is a red flag for me.

    If I wanted to explore someone else’s world, I would consume another type of media; books, movies, TV shows, etc. A big part of the reason I play RPGs is to contribute ideas to the setting and story. I enjoy the collaborative nature of RPGs and want to do more than simply experience someone else’s setting; I want to contribute.

  6. They’ll feel part of the world if you let them define parts of the world. Their characters are supposed to be real people, with real lives and real experiences leading up to the start of play, and that means some level of knowledge of the Way Things Are. If you want to do a hexcrawl in your own world, cool, but you need to have a light touch because once you start playing it isn’t your world anymore — its theirs because their characters are actually of it.

    If you want to preserve some mystery and make the hexcrawl truly about exploration and discovery and you don’t want your PCs saying things about the unknown world (which, to be fair, would literally be discovering things about the unknown world) just limit what sorts of things they’re able to remark on. Either be up front about it, and be like: “Hey guys, so anything you invent lore-wise needs to all pertain to Back East. The West Marches are untouched, unclaimed, unexplored territory, yeah? So, Cleric, your gods — or Fighter, who trained you, etc needs to all be tied into the Easterly Kingdom. Fair?” (It occurs to me now that wanting to make the hex crawl truly unknown screws over the Bard a little bit, because that she is supposed to be well-traveled and knowledgeable — so watch out for that!)

    OR, make a Custom Move to cover what you’re going for.

    We’re all Strangers Here

    When you answer any GM question with what you’ve learned in the West Marches, roll+INT. On a 10+, yeah, you’ve got the right idea, what you said is pretty much on track. The GM might twist a finer point or two, but you’ve got the big picture locked down. On a 7-9, the GM will tell you that you’ve exaggerated, understated, confused, or compounded the facts. Whoops! You’ll find out what you messed up eventually. On a 6-, you’re wrong and you should feel bad about it!

    For example. Probably not this one. But as an example, Custom Moves could hammer the game into the shape you want it to be.

  7. james day It’s easy to do a hexcrawl type game with Dungeon World; just start with a blank hex map.

    You created a cool world all on your own, yeah? So, do that again along with your players as you play. The result will be an even cooler world!

  8. Tim Jensen​ You don’t think I haven’t tried that? Basically I know myself as a gm when it comes to sandbox games especially.

    I need to know the world and everything around it before i can play. I need to have those random generators or interesting challanges in that town otherwise its not a fun game for me or the players basically.

    So ither GMs that can do that more power to them bit I don’t think I am that kind of gm sandbox wise.

  9. Would I want to play a game that is basically a hack of the core rules? Possibly – but DW would require A LOT of work to remove the current level of player agency. We’re talking about rewriting a lot of the rules so that they aren’t so skewed towards improv.

    So then… why not just play a system that’s better suited to the task?

  10. james day Have you considered having it that the players come from a world they know very well, and are venturing into the total unknown? Whether it’s like 2 continents on the same planet, or actual different worlds or dimensions, just having some split between home and the adventure.

    They know their homeland enough to worldbuild it, but the actual space the game takes place in is your domain where you build up detail for them to explore and discover.

    My concern with saying players can’t worldbuild is, even if they agree to it the players get boxed in and have more limited expression with who their character is. This compromise means they can still define a world, it’s just not the setting of the campaign itself.

  11. There are a lot of different views. Using DW as the rules set is a valid way of playing and having a world for the players to explore is great. There are stories to tell and in the telling you develop and evolve the world. DW as presented by the opinions above would not make a good mystery game. According to their play style the players would be making up the mystery and have solutions to it. I have run adventures in DW that I have converted over. I currently have a Shadowrun Hack that I am running the beginning adventures that were published for SR 1st ed, starting with Silver Angel and now I am running DNA/DOA. It can work. Now, I am adding things to the plot as I think that every GM should. A published material is just a start. There are those that are not familiar with DW and PbtA games and are used to the GM coming up with the content, then the players live in the world and change it by their actions. A game that can’t be changed by their actions is called Railroading.

    So by all means. I wouldn’t be disappointed. But remember, once the players are introduced to the world, allow them the chance to make their own mark and change things by their actions. They are not living out a Play that you are directing. The characters are IN the world and being the heroes of the story their decisions change the world. It is not necessary to have the players come up with the entire content of the world. Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, and many other worlds would not have been made if everybody wanted to create their own content on the fly DW style. Each game is different. If your players ARE familiar with DW and have played it be sure to let them know the changes in play style before playing.

    I say go fore it, but don’t ignore the impact the characters will have once you start playing.

  12. While I would not enjoy a game you are describing… It doesn’t mean your players are like me. They are real people, talk with them… If they are on board with your customized hack without collaborative world building, then go for it.

    I am not surprised at the responses here. We are not your fellow players, talk to them.

  13. “Player Agency” for me is the thing that makes it “not d20” you take that away, and I’m gone, period. No ifs, ands, or buts. it’s an instant deal breaker for me. Whether or not that actually answers your question has more to do with what you think of the scope of player agency, but a lot of others have already hit on big relevant points.

  14. If its a written setting like say Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, and such I wouldn’t mind as a player. I mean, DW is not intended for such types of games but it can work out. Otherwise, yes, I would be disappointed if I didn’t have at least some input on an aspect of the world.

  15. I would play it. If stated before hand.

    DW isnt that kind of game (and why your offered approach is so disliked), but doable.

    Actaully, World of Dungeons is probably the game for you!

  16. james day you might want to read John Harper’s blog post about GM questions and player input crossing “the line”.


    He’s talking about Apocalypse World, but obviously it applies to Dungeon World too.

    The basic idea is that as the GM, you can invite player input through leading questions without surrendering your control over the actual content of the world. It might be that with a clear understanding of “the line” established between you and your players, you can proceed with your game without giving up the parts that you enjoy, but without locking your players into being passive consumers of your content either.

    In a more trad game, a player might write a multi-page backstory for their character, but it’s written in isolation, is a hard slog to read (if it gets read at all) and much of it won’t come up in play. Instead, you can ask the players leading questions about how their prior life relates to the current experience, and it’s an interactive experience on which other players can chime in, it’s short and to the point and it’s relevant to the events at hand.

    So say you’ve worked out your hexcrawl in advance and you know what’s in each hex and you don’t want your players suddenly declaring that the hill with the Shy Tower is actually a lake housing an ancient water dragon. So don’t ask them what they find; instead you describe the hill with the indistinct tower on top. You’ve already decided why it’s called the Shy Tower and what’s inside, so instead you can ask questions which tie the players to the location such as “who was it you know that claimed to have seen the Shy Tower?” You can ask questions relating to the characters’ motivations like “why do you seek the legendary Sky Staff from the Shy Tower?” You can even ask questions like the ones from John Harper’s post, “what rumours have you heard about the Shy Tower?” Since they’re rumours they may or may not be true. A player might come up with something that you like even more than your current idea, or they might create an unexpected connection in an area you hadn’t decided (they suggest that the architecture of the Shy Tower matches that of the Ruined Lighthouse… you hadn’t really thought about the architecture, but if there’s a connection between the two places, then maybe that means…) And they may come up with something close enough to your prep that you can adapt things without having to toss out the whole thing.

  17. I feel like that goes against the spirit of the system, but that’s just me. I will say that the direction of our current campaign has been almost entirely driven by player ideas, with some additions behind the scenes by me to make it all fit together.

  18. I wouldn’t mind at all, as long as there’s an inlet of some sort for player creativity. If you’re stocking the world but I’m allowed to make all the plans and goals, that works just as well for me.

  19. If it is stated upfront, not at all.

    For example, the excellent Stonetop of Jeremy Strandberg is a Dungeon World in a very definite setting.

    I think the keypoint, here, is to let the players state things and amalgamate them with the premise.

    use questions – and the player knowledge of your premise to do so.

  20. I think what Robert Rendell says is spot on, and it’s a great way to run DW. I’m pretty cognizant of Not Crossing the Line when I GM.

    An established setting (like Stonetop) pretty much requires that you don’t cross the line. If I ask the players to make up fiction beyond their character’s realm of experience (e.g. “you open the chest, and find some ancient remnant of the Makers… what does it look like?”), you pretty quickly end up with stuff that doesn’t jive with the rest of the setting. (e.g. “It looks like some sort of high-tech raygun! Of course, we don’t know that… to us it looks like a metal cylinder with a handle on it on some strange gemstones, but it’s totally a raygun.”)

    Thing is, asking questions that stay on the character’s side of the line still presents players with tons of opportunity for world building. My players in Stonetop are constantly surprising me with details about the world that I never would have expected. Sometimes we have to talk about how a detail they’re suggesting fits or doesn’t fit into the other established stuff (even if it’s stuff I haven’t revealed yet). But in our game, some of the most important elements (the Hillfolk engage in slave-raids on each other, Gordin’s Delve is run by an exile from Stonetop who once poisoned a bunch of weak and sickly people during lean times, the spiders of the Great Wood have been growing larger and more numerous and more organized, etc.) have all come from me asking the characters about their pasts or their experiences or what they consider to be common knowledge.

  21. We do this in our games because we have a majority of players who aren’t comfortable making up pieces of the world. Me and the other GM of our group of friends will make a base concept of the world, then we build more onto it from the characters’ backstories. It works well for the people in our games, but I recently have been trying to let the players tell me more to see if I can get them to open up more.

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