I am going to be running a table at Free RPG day and will be running DW.

I am going to be running a table at Free RPG day and will be running DW.

I am going to be running a table at Free RPG day and will be running DW. I want each game to only run about an hour or so.

What quick start mission, module, or one shot do you suggest I bring?

14 thoughts on “I am going to be running a table at Free RPG day and will be running DW.”

  1. One hour is tough unless you bring pre-generated characters, which I don’t like for DW. Character Creation can last up to an hour sometimes when we’re starting a new game.

    But, with pre-gens, I think any of the Sword Breaker zines by Logan Howard could work in an hour, and also any of the Dungeon Starters by Mark Tygart.

    I just really don’t like the idea of Pre-gens for DW lol

  2. 1) what is this Free RPG day you speak of?

    2) I agree w/ Brian, I made a post about my own issues w/ time/player constraints: https://plus.google.com/+CharlesGatz/posts/2fVFqUp6WBR

    3) In the interest of giving a “yes, but” answer, I think maybe a better way to run a tight 1-hour one-shot is to just throw away anything non-essential (basically everything but the core 2d6 requirement, HP, armor), like I did one night at a bar (which still went out to 2 hours, but I could’ve skipped an encounter.).

    a) Have the players pick a class or role, but don’t get bogged down by reading over all the class moves. If they’re not familiar w/ D&D, have them just come up with something, a genie, a sentient tree, a mutant, whatever, and decide on one active move, and maybe a passive. If they think their character should be able to do something as it comes up, use the “yes, but…” approach, and roll with it. I had a character pick a caster type, and she came up with a move similar to a portal gun right before the boss fight.

    b) speaking of “boss fight”, I’d probably aim for just 2 encounters, the first relatively straightforward to get their feet wet (i.e., hack and slash, defy danger, and/or volley come up), and then straight to the Big Bad… Ask the questions to get them to why they’re in this fight (e.g., the intro to Deadpool), so that you can get straight through the ‘tutorial’ with enough time to segue into the boss fight — to the players, it should really just feel like one extended fight.

    c) Assign modifiers, not stats: plus 2, a few plus ones, two zeroes, and a minus one.

    d) Make gear selection as streamlined as possible: everyone can start with adventuring gear and rations. Healing potion/ antitoxin/ armor if it makes sense for that class, but let them at least pick their weapon(s), without fussing too much over tags (“we’ll get to that if it comes up, but for instance, 1 piercing means it pierces one point of armor, precise means you can use your DEX instead of STR, that kind of thing”).

    e) probably just personal opinion, but forget about making camp and UaPJ… basically any of the advanced moves. Also, they’re unlikely to feel that XP is worth anything, so maybe use it another way — spend an XP to re-roll (or give another player a re-roll)?

    I could probably come up with some more ‘strip it down’ tips, but I still need to grab lunch 🙂

  3. Charles Gatz Free RPG Day is a ‘national’ ‘get-people-into-the-hobby’ event where local game stores host RPG games with varying systems. Publishers provide small quick-start rule sets or samples, and store staff or other volunteers run convention-style sessions. (usually ~4 hours.) It’s a great chance to try out a new system and meet other local gamers, while hopefully giving your host store some always-welcome business.

  4. I work at a school and I have ran multiple one hour sessions with players using stripped down characters. Like Charles Gatz stated, so I think that’s good advice. I don’t ever really care about gear, gold, loot, etc. outside of maybe 1 or 2 sought after weapons. I just make sure that there is pressure and action. I have ran hour sessions for Language Arts Special Education classes of about 8 or so kids at a time and I just have to try to be really REALLY narrative focused and not care about things like gold or healing. I support that by not letting anyone a second to rest between scenes. In media res and no travel times. Just scene after scene.

    What I’m going to be running at RPG day is just going to be enough to showcase the mechanics and how it is different from DND, Path, etc.

    Does anyone have a quick one shot that they think really plays into the feeling or is quintessential to the mechanics/genre?

  5. Mark Tygart Well well well, Mr Tygart. I am so honored to have you attention! Thank you so much for setting the gold standard on what pick up and play games can be. I was already looking into your Bad Moon Rising and Crypts of Oblivion. You are the master!

  6. As an alternative to pre-gens, have you seen Peter J’s simplified playbooks? (G+ isn’t letting me + his name alas)

    drive.google.com – Dungeon World Simple Playbooks.pdf – Google Drive

    They do as Charles Gatz suggests and leave out stat numbers – the player’s chosen Background dictates their base modifiers, and then they get to add +1 to one and -1 to another.

    The playbooks also simplify the base moves to just a few simple choices (e.g. the Druid’s “Shapeshifter” move lists specific animals along with their moves, the Wizard’s “Cast a Spell” move lists the magical effects directly in the move rather than having a spell list, the Fighter’s Signature Weapon is chosen from a list etc.)

    Instead of listing the advanced moves on the back, they give the Basic Moves and a quick “how to play” guide.

  7. I was thinking of recommending this one (and thought against it [note]), and while following the comments, thought, “that name looks familiar…” so I’ll call Mark Tygart out for a “mini-dungeon” I ran for a group of 3 first-time players (but had all at least played something similar once or twice before) plus my (gamer) gf. The Tombs of Atuan:

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7cav44145d9a3U2NjFWR0ptWjg/view … it went well, despite them not ever encountering the Painted Room or Room of Chains — they did, however, pick up on the “someone” added to the Labyrinth move, and rescue a person from one of the characters’ backgrounds (all them, very DW, much fun). I felt it showcased the Labyrinth move as a way to abstract and offload the traditional dungeon crawl, using the most basic form of being dropped medias res: imprisonment.

    [note] However, I can’t recommend the Labyrinth move for a 1-hour session, as there’s simply too much unpredictability in the dice, and works best (imo) with a sort of “5 room” design, as the Tombs of Atuan does. You’re looking for a two, three at the most “room” adventure “micro” dungeon, if you will — or something entirely different and more PbtA-ish.

    As to starting with imprisonment, I first heard of DW from this guy: https://youtu.be/AIFxPXlTzlQ when I was considering running D&D games, but wanted to see what else is out there (I’m also excited to get into The Strange…). That particular video is a bit long (there are antics to skip or enjoy), but the first encounter is a prison, a popular choice for a reason. I wouldn’t follow things to the letter, but there’s a lot of good advice there. Note that his “room DCs” are just some kind of threat you can push DD rolls with.

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