Hey guys, I’m having a weird situation here, and If not properly handled it might become a problem later on.

Hey guys, I’m having a weird situation here, and If not properly handled it might become a problem later on.

Hey guys, I’m having a weird situation here, and If not properly handled it might become a problem later on.

You see, one of my players is always very enganged with the game, he truly enjoys it, more than the other players actually (the others enjoy it greatly too). He asks lots of questions, enjoys his moments under the spotlight, is interested in the story, etc. So far so good, right?

The problem is, this guy is a big hack and slash fan, spent hours and hours playing games like Path of Exile, he’s a true min maxer to the core, and at times he kinda complains about Dungeon World and its “limited options”, suggesting that we should try another, more crunchier system, something like D&D that has more character customization options.

So, one of the players told me he wouldn’t be able to play on the next session, so I suggested the others that we could play a d&d one shot, using the free rules and pre-generated characters available on the Wizards’ website, and they agreed. I made a very small, deadly dungeon populated by goblins and let them explore it during this session, teaching the mechanics as they delved deeper, kinda like a tutorial.

In the end we all enjoyed it, but most players seemed to feel like there was nothing they were missing, kinda like a “nothing to see here, folks” feeling, except for the minmaxer. His eyes sparkled with all the spells and whatnot present on D&D, and loved the more tactical combat (we used a grid and tokens).

Alright then, most players seemed to prefer Dungeon World, but the one that preferred Dungeons & Dragons is being very vocal about it, almost like he’s trying to convince the others to make the change, and I’m not entirely sure about how am I supposed deal with this (I enjoy both games for very different reasons, maybe leaning more towards Dungeon World).

So, what do you guys think? These guys (most of them newcomers) are all very close friends and I don’t want to get into awkward situations because of boardagmes, you know. Any suggestions?

26 thoughts on “Hey guys, I’m having a weird situation here, and If not properly handled it might become a problem later on.”

  1. Can you give him a crunchier playbook like the Wizard? Also, there is no reason you can’t use a map and tokens in DW if your players all want to.

  2. Talk to them. Be honest about what you want to run. Be open to hearing what they want to play.

    I can kind of relate to your situation, and at least for my group, it’s no big deal as long as we keep each other in the loop. Since I’m usually the only one willing to GM, I have a lot of leeway in picking what we play. So, I run a regular campaign of Dungeon World, a regular campaign of Urban Shadows, and a monthly grab bag of whatever we’ve been hoping to try. I check in with my players to find out which games they’re digging and which they aren’t. They aren’t always in agreement. Some like D&D better and would prefer we play it all the time, but I’m not interested in running D&D right now as anything more regular than one shots, and I make no secret of it. One of my players has been thinking of starting up his own D&D game as a result, and if he does, I’ll happily scale back on other games so we have time to play.

    Good luck!

  3. Will P​​​​ He is a wizard already, also, how would deal I with Dungeon World’s abstract distances when playing on a grid? We already use a hex grid as our world map, but what about dungeons?

  4. Pull him aside and say “hey, I love how much you put into the game and I want you to be happy. On the other hand, I get the impression that you want a crunchier game like D&D and no one else seems to. Are you going to be unhappy if we keep playing DW? Do you want me to put it to a group vote which one we play – and if I do, will you be able to live with the result if it’s DW?”

  5. I say do not try to solve this “in game” as it’s not an in game problem. It’s a player problem.

    I completely agree with Jason Tocci​ here; talk to your players. It seems like one player wants an experience that Dungeon World isn’t giving them, while the other players and you are getting the experience you want.

    Sit down with the vocal D&D player and try to work something out. Maybe they can DM a D&D campaign on alternate week or something. Maybe they can run a game after this one finishes.

    If they keep trying to “convince” people to switch to D&D, you might need to pull them aside for a talk.

  6. Pedro Bastos 13th Age is a D&Dish game that uses relative positioning and abstracted movement. Generally each PC can move as far as they want in a turn unless they run in an NPC (or an NPC moves to intercept). It uses a map but you are not counting out movement speed. I’ve used the same type of setup in Dungeon World with no problems. When a player has the spotlight they can change their relative position (and will have to defy danger if fictionally appropriate). The relative positions feed the fiction … you can’t hack & slash an Orc that is on the other side of the room from you. You can’t really Volley at an Orc that is standing right next to you.

  7. But in general the answer to every problem at the table is communication. As suggested by others, talk to the player that doesn’t seem happy.

  8. Pedro Bastos If you want to map out the battles (and I’m not saying you should) you could try using zones like in Fate. For example, a room is a zone, or if it is a big room maybe it is two zones, and if a player and an enemy are in the same zone they can move about and attack in melee no problem. But if they are in the next zone you will take time to get over there before you can melee. Then treat ranged tags like: near can fire into the next zone, and far can go one more. Closer ranged tags still invoke DD in the right context.

    The crunchiest playbooks that come to mind which might appeal to your player are the ones from Grim World. But really, it just sounds like DW isn’t this players type of game.

  9. Jason has a good point. The Battlemaster from Grim World is pretty crunchy. I have a battlemaster that used the multiclass moves to take the wizard cast a spell options. Always have tons of options.

  10. Oh, also, I recommend picking up Class Warfare. One of my players lamenting “I just want more customization options when I level up!” now loves Dungeon World thanks to that supplement.

  11. Chris Stone-Bush​

    I got the “true d&d player” feeling at first too, but that’s not the case, he’s more like that kind of player who’s played too many MMOs and thinks that he needs to maximize all his choices during character creation and progression to deal the maximum damage whenever possible so he can blast his way through combat.

    To make him justice he’s our most enganged player and was the quicker to grab the rules and Dungeon World’s gameplay style, heck he even seems curious about GMing.

  12. Well that’s good Pedro Bastos​. I would really go with with Ray Otus​ suggests. Pull his aside, tell him how awesome it is he’s so engaged in the game, and ask him if he’s happy to keep playing DW.

    I can’t tell if he’s being obnoxious about pushing for D&D, but if he is, you need to talk to him about it. My friend wants to run a 5e one shot next year, but I don’t really care for D&D. Im going to play anyway, mostly because I like hanging out with my friends. I’m not going to talk about DW during the game, or say how I feel DW does things better because that’s a dick thing to do.

  13. Chris Stone-Bush​

    He complains outside of the game, but I’m pretty sure that If left unchecked, this might start to get awkward or obnoxious (that’s why I’ve come here and asked for your opinions : P).

  14. So yeah guys, I’ve talked a bit with some of the players individually and I think we’ve clarified a lot about the situation. When I finish talking to all players personally and as a group, I will tell you folks what kind of conclusion we will have gotten.

    But for now really I’m thankful for your help folks, I didn’t actually believe that I would get so many good responses, this community we have here is truly one of the best : )

  15. Pedro Bastos My group uses a play mat. It’s pretty easy to guesstimate on it. Hand range is when miniature bases are touching. Close is around a square or two away. Reach is three squares. Near is around twelve inches and far maybe twice that. If someone wants to get somewhere, as long as it’s roughly between six to ten squares away (who cares if it’s cool right?) then they can get there. Defy Danger along the way if needed. And that’s all roughly tracked by the way. We never measure, it’s just a lot of eyeballing mostly. You get to the point where you just say “Yeah, that looks about right”.

  16. Your players seem to want different things from the game – so if it’s at all possible, maybe it would be best to get that one player to vent their optimization needs into a game in an other table instead of trying to convert the ongoing game into a different system the players aren’t interested in?

    Not to suggest that you should boot the guy entirely, of course.

  17. Pedro Bastos​ I don’t know your GMing style, of course, so don’t take offense from my words. Can the problem reside in you, GM? You know, DW is a very different beast to manage, in comparison to other RpGs.

    You need in depth description of what is happening in the battlefield, forcing warrior characters to act/react to menaces. Use Defy Danger move MORE AND MORE than Hack’n’Slash (it’s you that must choose the move, not the player).

    So, warrior is fighting two powerful Orcs. One of them is wielding a long, bloody pike. The other two have nets and an heavy godenak. Is the player eager to roll that H’n’S? No way. Describe how the orc is keeping him at bay. What he does? Want to deviate the pike to enter in very close combat? Defy Danger on Dex, maybe Int.

    Then, is he in close combat? Remember, you DON’T have to “count turns” as you do in regular RpGs. Before every other player can act, you narrate that the Orcs with nets and godenak are on him! A net is flying right now! What he does? Roll aside to avoid the net? Good, Defy Danger on Dex.

    But now it’s too late to avoid the heavy godenak of the third orc! (yes, you can do that if players are facing LOT of enemies). Tell Jim that he could try to simply lessen the hit putting his arm as last second defence and impact the blow. Defy Danger with Con. Then, narrate that this is a golden opportunity to disarm that Bastard orc from his godenak, now that he have it blocked in his armor, of course he could ignore the hint, and do what he wants… But ehi, a disarmed orc is surely less dangerous. Maybe a nice Defy Danger on Str to disarm it.

    A second later, you could ask to the warrior if he would to try to hit both the pike orc and the disarmed orc, with each of his weapons (maybe its sword, and the stolen godenak) in a risky, Heroic move. Cool isn’t it? Two attacks, two damages, maybe a single Defy Danger move on Str. Go for it!

    Only at this point you speak to the other players and ask “what do you do?”.

    I love this kind of “dynamic / movie combat”, a thing you usually can’t obtain with “standard” system a la D&D, 13th Age, AGE system, etc.

  18. Andrea Parducci​ “it’s you that must choose the move, not the player”

    This is patently false. Gaming with you must be real fun, with no player agency and all that jazz.

  19. Perttu Vedenoja​​​​​​ I probably explained bad. I’m saying that the player should NEVER say “I want to attack the orc, THEN I want to roll Hack’n’Slash”. The player describes what he wants to do, and it’s the GM that have to choose the right move (or the action could not even deserve a move).

    And this is actually part of the PbtA rules (not hints on “how to play / GM your game). 

    You can understand that phrase I wrote, reading the next example I made (Warrior vs. enemy armed with long pike. No HnS, you GM explain that he need a way to go “into” his long reach, before to fight well. Etc. Etc.)

    Edit: also, I felt your last phrase rude, no matter what was my vision about the game, or my tastes about RpGs anyhow.

  20. I wonder if I’m defining “customization” differently than your player. For me, the more abstract a system is, the more free I feel to customize my character. Systems like Fate and DW rely on player creativity rather than rules for customization; I find this abstraction far more enjoyable.

  21. DW is not for everyone. I have a friend that is a game designer. Actual and published and in the biz for a few decades. He couldn’t wrap his mind around DW. He enjoys narrative games but the concept of the GM not rolling and the feeling that anything less than a 10+ is a “You get screwed, somehow” moment. I have tried explaining it but the view that even a 7-9 is a partial failure he couldn’t get over. “Failure” has a whole different meaning and shouldn’t be used in the context of this game. That said, we have some great games that we played, over the top Feng Shui 2, Savage Worlds, Toon, HC Draconus, just to name a few.

    Some people just don’t fully get DW and wont. It is not a fault of theirs, they like the crunchier games and are used to having the GM provide the plot and drama and having the “Bad Guys” get a turn, independently of if they “fail” or “succeed”. That said. Maybe your problem player is not cut out for DW at his heart. Yes, he is invested in the game and enjoys the fiction from what I read BUT I feel that he needs something more tactical or Old School.

    No harm in changing games every once in a while and you should. Your plotlines should not be tied to a system. A world, yes, but not entirely to a system. I wonder what it would be like to make an adventure and run it in several parts: Each session a different base game. You make the characters up in the multiple systems ahead of time and let them know to bring each character sheet and the system that the session is in will be a surprise.

    That could be a fun experiment. I shall have to explore it.

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