I know that in Dungeon World the GM doesn’t have to roll dice.

I know that in Dungeon World the GM doesn’t have to roll dice.

I know that in Dungeon World the GM doesn’t have to roll dice. But what if the GM rolls all the dice for the players? Wouldn’t that make it a more immersive experience? Players could focus on the fiction completely outside of character creation and levelling up.

13 thoughts on “I know that in Dungeon World the GM doesn’t have to roll dice.”

  1. They would, and it’s important to remember that physically picking up the dice or not can have rather far-reaching effects. In Mouse Guard, for example, when you offer to help somebody (they get a bonus die), you must physically hand it to them, skin to skin. It’s highly stressed and very important, and it speaks to the foundation of the game.

    Similarly, in DW who rolls and who doesn’t really matters. If the GM rolls, it reinforces the idea that they are in charge and in control — which isn’t true, at least not in *World games.

    The GM not rolling is very valuable — I can’t remember if it’s in the rules, but I don’t even roll the monsters’ damage die, even though I am responsible for them — I have the players do it, roll for the damage they’re about to sustain. It adds gravity, weight, consequence.

    You tell them to pick up a d4 to find out what the damage is, it’s not so bad. You tell them to pick up a d10, they feel the tension even before the dice hit the table. They feel that heavy thing in their palm, albatross-like.

  2. I also think it’s worth noting that immersion is different than being engaged. There are people that come up with character moments and say things in character, and they may not be engaged, but they are actively getting into playing the game and advancing a communal story.

    While its generally assumed that fewer rules moments intruding on the game equals deeper immersion, I’m not entirely sure that is true. Additionally, what really gets someone immersed in a game, assuming that “immersion” means thinking as if they are their character, living in the world being presented, is going to vary a lot.

  3. I ran 2nd edition dnd for years with players only rolling to hit and saves. Everything else I ran. They didn’t even know their Hp but had to rely on descriptions of their current state. The players loved it and always said it was their best dnd experience ever. But it wouldn’t work for everyone.

  4. I thought about doing a horror game where the players didn’t know their characters’ stats or HP and I, the GM would roll everything. But that was going to use Ubiquity, a pretty traditional system that’s largely pass/fail.

    With all the player facing moves in Dungeon World and other PbtA games, I don’t think I would want to play with the GM rolling everything.

  5. Since DW grants a great deal of player input and agency, it seems counterintuitive to remove the dice from their hands. For myself, as a player, I wouldn’t want to play in a game where I never rolled. Beyond that, I’ve grown so accustomed to not rolling the dice in DW, that I may have players make all rolls the next system I use.

  6. People have their own dice and don’t like others touching them, people sillily believe they have their own power. It’s nonsensical but its human to feel that we put our own fates on the line when we personally roll. That’s the beauty of rolling for yourself in an rpg. I would not be happy with the gm rolling for me on a fundamental level.

  7. All the arguments against stand, but I’d be interested to try it, as a player. The GM rolls, parses all moves and offers the appropriate choices–a much different experience than vanilla DW, but worth exploring.

    More work than I’d like as a GM, though.

Comments are closed.