I realized that every bad session I’ve run of dungeon world has been because I didn’t stick to my DM rules, agendas,…

I realized that every bad session I’ve run of dungeon world has been because I didn’t stick to my DM rules, agendas,…

I realized that every bad session I’ve run of dungeon world has been because I didn’t stick to my DM rules, agendas, and principles.

This is comforting, though, because this leads me to believe that the ones who created this game have made the same mistakes before, so they made this game to reconcile those problems. I’m just too dumb to listen to their advice hahaha

20 thoughts on “I realized that every bad session I’ve run of dungeon world has been because I didn’t stick to my DM rules, agendas,…”

  1. I don’t look at Chapter 13 as “best practices”, I look at it as “These are your rules GM, follow them”.

    Chapter 13, page 157: This chapter isn’t about advice for the GM or optional tips and tricks on how to best play Dungeon World. It’s a chapter with procedures and rules for whoever takes on the role as GM.

  2. Avery Mcdaldno’s take on Vx’s rules is my favourite summation:

    “As the MC, it is your job to balance priorities.

    The game provides you with a short list of Agendas – ultimate goals you have in introducing any narrative twist or character. It is your job to decide which Agenda needs the most attention in any given moment, and how to pursue it.

    The game also provides you with a list of

    Principles – best practises for creating compelling stories and evoking the feel of a [insert genre trope here].

    It is your job to decide how to interpret the Principles in a given situation, and which ones to pay the most attention to. And finally, the game provides you with a list of Hard Moves – specific actions that you can take to create compelling situations and force hard decisions upon the other players.

    A big part of balancing your priorities is

    deciding which Agendas to focus on, which Principles to follow most closely in any given moment, and which Moves to make in order to deliver on those Principles.

    Another part of balancing your priorities is using your scene framing authority to give each player an equitable share of the spotlight, and to give each aspect of the characters’ lives its due as well.”

  3. I do too sometimes Andrew Huffaker! I saw something on here once that was like a GM Playbook with the Agenda, Principles, Moves etc. laid out in a nice format for GM’s. Don’t remember exactly where or when though. Yochai Gal, is this something you’ve put together, or have linked in your syllabus?

  4. Is there any particular thing you forget to do? If you only have a couple things you always fail to remember write each on a note card in BIG letters, even if it’s a single word, and keep them front and center. You STILL have to look down to see them though LOL.

  5. I’m frequently waiting for a 6- before I make a move. I ALWAYS forget that I can make a move

    A) When everyone looks to you to find out what happens

    B) When the players give you a golden opportunity

    c) When they roll a 6-

    I have made two note cards for myself (as I outlined above):



    It’s really helped, but I still keep them in front of me to remind me.

  6. Both are easy (and yet constantly forgotten LOL). But recently while play testing The Destroyer of Ages the party wanted to search the hoard for a second inner vault. They rolled, gained a hold, and Looked to me to see what happened. So I changed the environment and described that their search was leading them away from the central mass and towards what looked like a rainbow-colored stairway. When they wanted to move back to the center and continue their search they gave me a golden opportunity to reveal an unwelcome truth , i.e. tick off a grim portent of the Destroyer’s Ritual. So they traded in their hold for a treasure and moved on to look at the stairway.

  7. Sure, damage or any other Monster Move. It depends on what’s going on in the fiction as to what you’ll do of course. If there are 4 goblins charging your buddies and 1 standing back or off to the side, and everyone leaves the solitary goblin alone they’re giving me a golden opportunity to have that lone goblin:

    A) walk up and stab you with his spear for d6 damage because you’ve lost track of him

    B) Charge! into the thick of things

    C) yell down the tunnel to Call more goblins

    D) Retreat and return with (many) more

    IMO, “A” is the least exciting, but I could do it if I wanted to. I like “B” because, while it looks like “A” without the damage, it’s more interesting for the fiction because now the characters are “flanked”. “C” can be a lot of fun, especially if they chewed through the other goblins really easily. “D” looks like “C”, except that if the characters are paying attention it may Put someone in a spot because one of them may have to decide if they’ll help with the battle at hand, or give chase, and if they DO give chase you have the potential to Separate them.

    My biggest failing has been (and is why I created my note cards) remembering that I don’t have to wait for the 6- to do those things. At least once per session when I’m “in the thick of things” I forget about the other two (more frequent) opportunities to do so.

  8. Brian Holland I also find that I make too many moves soft moves. It really takes away from the drama when the players constantly hear ‘X is jussssst about to happen, but you have half a second to respond, what do you do?’ because of the diminished returns.

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