Need advice for running DW with non-ideal / standard RL constraints…
We have a group of 6 or so (problem 1) at work that started playing 5e D&D during 1 hour blocks of time at lunch 3x/week (problem 2). After a semi-conclusion (first Bosses in a module were taken care of), the DM wanted a break from DM-ing, and one of the players wanted to drop out, so I suggested we try DW, thinking its flexibility would lend itself more easily to our two problem areas.
Side note: In an attempt to start things off with some buy-in, I followed the formula outlined here: http://www.rpgalchemy.com/dungeon-world-adventure-builder/ I had them initial next to the ones they wanted, and passed them around, and we went with the majority (but I kept a few other suggestions, like undead) in mind. They chose to explore an overgrown necropolis that lies in a tropical jungle seeking the cathedral of a fallen god. They are here to seek forbidden knowledge guarded by crazed cultists and a criminal mastermind.
Now, problem 1: I think one session in the 5 sessions we’ve had, every player was in attendance. I don’t expect this pattern to change, and my strategy to adapt so far is to declare “game on” as long as we have 3 of the 5 (maybe soon to be 6) players (plus myself). So far, this hasn’t been a real problem, but it tends to stretch the fiction. (Why wasn’t the barbarian leading the charge into the next room, and instead enters mid-way into the fray?) Encounters taking longer than one of our 1-hour sessions seem to be unavoidable, especially with some inherent unpredictability in DW combat. I’m really not looking forward to the “make camp” move, because it really wouldn’t make sense for a character or two to just be “lagging behind/distracted by butterflies/fire/whatever”, and if their characters are just sleeping, and I threaten the party as they make camp (I mean, they’re going to make camp in the dungeon, they’re kind of asking for it). What kinds of things can we do to address this inconsistency?
Problem 2: probably the easiest to address, but with our sessions limited (pretty strictly) to one hour blocks (during which we must also have lunch), what can we do to capture the suggested flow of a DW “session”? So far, I’ve started with a PvE type encounter just outside the dungeon (portray a dangerous world), then some guards outside the entrance, and now they’re in the first room (so far, an hour and a half — I may have spawned too many skeles on ’em…). This has taken 4 1-hour sessions (with a half hour of the characters doing some PC vs. PC stuff for half of one, but hey, 3 bonds fulfilled), and a few of them have enough exp to level up (one maybe straight to level 3). I had another encounter planned before the boss / cathedral, but this 4 hour mark seems to be where standard DW would say to trigger the “End of Session”. That’s really my question: in a series of disjointed 1-hour blocks, with occasional players drifting in and out, how do I know when to do the “End of Session” stuff?
Bonus problem: My cleric (‘s player) doesn’t feel very useful, even after/during the encounter with skeletons – and I can understand why, he just does his “turn undead” move, and stands there not getting hit and providing minimal protection to other characters he’s adjacent to. I thought this would be my “be a fan of the players” thing for him, but it was very underwhelming as it played out. I’m aware of a Priest playbook out there somewhere that’s supposed to improve on the cleric mechanically, but would rather stick with the core one if I can. Advice?
I know this is a bit of a ramble, so edits and updates are likely… Thanks in advance!