Soliciting advice for running DW for Free RPG Day…

Soliciting advice for running DW for Free RPG Day…

Soliciting advice for running DW for Free RPG Day…

I’ve tried this “mad libs” method: but the group has since (possibly) fizzled out before even reaching the BBEG. Another game I’m trying it in is for a solo PC, and just started, so I don’t have much real experience with it.

I’m trying to decide between trying the “mad libs” method, putting some of my Plundergrounds issues to work (thanks Ray Otus ) and something else. I think “Ape City” would make a great one-shot, but “Kazarak” is just so much material, it might be valuable in case the players get really into it, and we’re not ready to pack up and call it a day… and “Hordes” has that classic dragon trope, some of the Pathfinder/D&D types may appreciate.

Also, advice for beating “creative block” would be appreciated. In another game I’ve run, it’s painfully obvious that my players are bored, “OK, how do we get this show on the road?” (said while playing another game on their phone), and frustrated (in post-game talk), “Maybe you’re making the world a bit TOO dangerous? It seems like every time we try to do something, we get our clocks cleaned and run away with our tails tucked…” (admittedly, they were trying to defeat the orcish horde as 1st/2nd level characters, and defend a town ruled by a corrupt government.)

8 thoughts on “Soliciting advice for running DW for Free RPG Day…”

  1. Do one of the Dragons from Ray Otus’s #Plundergrounds 3. Basically take a common trope and turn it on its head. I think that could get your creative energy flowing and give you a chance to showcase lots of shiny bits from the game for people new to role playing games in general, new to Dungeon World specifically, or new to some of the creative output that is coming from the Dungeon World community. Win win win.

    The nice thing about the dragon hoard is that you can fill it with other nasty or creepy things. You can give them plenty of chances to shine and use the front/doom clock to pace it according to the real world time that you have available. They may not ever meet the dragon, if it looks like they won’t be able to handle it, or you can end on an epic fight that could go either way and leave them telling stories about the encounter.

    If you are worried about killing them off with something that is too tough, you can always have them trigger something that either closes them off from the dragon (a precariously stacked tower wagons and passenger coaches comes crashing down with a 6 – and blocks the tunnel between them and the dragon that they were fighting) or causes the dragon the run off in order to live to fight another day.

  2. Regarding creative block and boredom, how about rotating the GM? Challenge the phone guy to running a session.

    My group is small (4) so for many games the GM has a character in the party.

    Another way to combat boredom is to integrate character goals into the campaign. Do a workshop in session zero. Find ways to interconnect goals between characters.

  3. As a GM running DW at Free RPG Day, I opted to lay the basis for adventure (inspired by, write out about 20 “impressions” to lay out, and just see if anything grabs the players. I’ll use them as the same way Fronts work, but only really explore and advanvce things that the PCs latch onto. I’ll work their characters drives and everything into the play as well.

    If anyone seems to be disengaged, I’m planning on getting them directly involved in the play by asking questions, i.e. “Cleric, you’ve heard of a foul ritual these people, if you can call them that, enact on moonless nights like this. What does this ceremony entail? Why does your God want you to stop it?” etc. – The Shallow Sea.pdf – Google Drive

  4. Something I’ve been doing for a long time, which is the high-level inspiration for my next Session Zero product World Building Cards, is to use Magic: The Gathering cards for inspiration. You don’t even have to own any M:tG cards to do this, because you can look at every card ever made for Magic here: – Gatherer – Magic: The Gathering

    I’ve played M:tG on and off for a very long time, so I have lots of cards laying around. I made an “inspiration” set several years ago. I have 100 “people” (usually humanoid creatures, but there are some exceptions), 100 “places” (non-basic lands and any card that looks like a place) and 100 “things” (artifacts and spells that look like weapons and armor, etc). Then shuffle each stack separately and draw one from each. Now you have a person, place and thing that you can start asking questions about to spark your creativity. I’ll use any aspect of the card (name, art, abilities, flavor text etc).

    I just pulled the following:

    Araba Mothrider (Samurai on Giant Moth)

    Crumbling Necropolis

    Thousand-Year Elixir

    Even the names spark my creativity, but the images and flavor text are great too!

  5. What a great response! Allow me to address/thank everyone in reverse order.

    Brian Holland I had seen your story cards in other posts, and thought they were a solid idea. Similar to “Story Please!”, a similar product/extension to “No Thank You Evil!”, it worked (well enough to get backed), and useful for a session I ran w/ my 5yo niece. I had never thought of just looking at MTG cards for inspiration (and if I used my own physical cards, it would be sad, started at 4th edition, and ended on Mirage). One of these days, I’ll get around to properly thanking you by supporting Session Zero on Patreon.

    Daniel Jensen Thanks for the tips. I’ve never really known how to use the “Impressions” in dungeon starters. How exactly do you present them? (maybe I should make this a separate post?). I’d like to find a way to start in media res, but they always sound like something you’d mention as they do something relatively mundane, like just walking along, they see whatever.

    Scott Maclure Thanks. For the ongoing campaign I was referring to, we’re obviously past “session zero” time, but I do think a sort of meta game conversation will happen before our next session. The disengaged player is an avid board gamer, who has suggested we try a collaborative storytelling game he brought along (I don’t recall the name, but it involved a big cloth scroll). That might be nice for a break, but as it’s an every-other-week thing already, I’m hesitant to break away from the campaign for long. As to rotating the GM, I can certainly ask, but none of them have read the book, and may not be interested in DMing. I’m also wary of having my own “character” to play, as I’m having a hard enough time just DMing.

    Jim Jones You have the honor of providing the advice I’ll actually probably end up taking. Maybe I just needed to hear it from someone else. I re-read Hordes last night, and realized it’s got that bit of DW that I’m pretty comfortable with by now, the Labyrinth move… and you’ve confirmed my hunch that for a FLGS that sells D&D and Pathfinder books, a dragon will be a familiar trope to explore.

    Yochai Gal Thanks for just being the first one to respond, and add fuel to my desire to get on the Session Zero Pat-wagon… 😉

  6. Oh, 100% start in media res!

    I’d throw the Impressions out in the downtime, in answer to Discern Realities, as a result of a miss, or maybe just during narrative play:

    “Ranger, you loose your arrow and trace it’s arc up. Just as it dips back and plummets, you spot a trail of bluish smoke to the North.”

    Maybe your idea for the smoke is that it’s a foul magic ritual, or a group of ogres making camp, or anything. If the PCs investigate, great! If not…well, that trail of smoke isn’t really that important after all.

  7. Welp, all my planning (and so much printing) was for naught. We went to the shop the weekend before to introduce ourselves and get familiarity with the shop. The owner already had his materials, and when I mentioned we were familiar with Numenera, he offered their FRPGD module, and said he was considering getting their core book (at least) in stock. So, in the interest of running a game they might actually sell (I’m sure the margin on the DW book is thin), my gf offered (with my encouragement) to run the Numenera module.

    We were of course still prepping Saturday morning, and as it was our first FRPGD, we didn’t know we should’ve been there as soon as the store opened. The owner let us know they had “about a hundred” people in the first hour (mostly families, though), but had to tell a couple guys interested in Numenera to come back later (apparently they didn’t). We got there around 3, and only one guy showed up to play D&D, and he basically ignored my pitch for DW (whatever, I didn’t want to run a solo game for a stranger anyway). After 5, the owner was “off the clock”, as well as another employee, so we started up the Numenera game. Another guy joined in, the owner threw in the towel after a couple hours, citing a short attention span, and the three of us plodded through a module that seems to not have been play tested, finally calling it quits when the store closed at midnight. Ah well, I’ll probably look into finding a local meetup…

    Thanks again for everyone’s suggestions!

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