I was just listening to Koebel on Office Hours talk about running mystery campaigns in D&D.

I was just listening to Koebel on Office Hours talk about running mystery campaigns in D&D.

I was just listening to Koebel on Office Hours talk about running mystery campaigns in D&D. It made me wonder if mystery campaigns have worked well for you with DW.

If so how did you have to modify things to support mystery?

13 thoughts on “I was just listening to Koebel on Office Hours talk about running mystery campaigns in D&D.”

  1. I have done a mystery one shot which I think did pretty well. The one thing that kind of might kill it without thinking about it is discern realities…you could litrally have a player figure out who did it from that move alone unless a gm goes im going to have to limit the information i give.

    But i do feel that mystery means that you have an answer to the questions which goes against the play to find out what happens a little bit. I do feel its not DW by the book but if players are ok with that it would work

  2. Mysteries cropped up all the time in our Planets Collide game. I just described the immediate situation at all times, used the moves when they were triggered, and kept advancing and updating my Fronts.

    We never made a big deal out of Running a Mystery as something separate and distinct from the rest of the game, but we did have sessions where investigation was the main focus. It was quite memorably enjoyable to see the delight on players’ faces when they cracked a big question.

    And when they didn’t crack it, it was no problem. GM moves and Fronts made sure that the game didn’t grind to a halt.

    So in my experience, the game works extraordinarily well for the types of mystery that adventurers are likely to get into.

  3. I’d say that this is exactly the kind of thing Discern Reality is made for. I’d have to disagree with you james day . Sure a player could break the mystery with a DR if the DM provided to much information. However, as a DM I’d be cautious and only provide information that could be discerned. Use the move as a gateway to provide clues to the characters rather than the answer. Presentation is key here, where the answer is welcome in a hack&slash event where the players want to move on and get to the fight at hand, mystery is a time when the players want obscure and subtle answers.

  4. Robert Doe good call. If the party sees a dead body and they investigate with DR. I can say ‘You see two pin sized pricks in the victims neck’ not ‘A vampire named stradh bit this guy’.

  5. james day, if the only people on the scene are the vampire’s victim and the investigator, then the answer to that would be “you are”. “Who is really in control here” doesn’t give the character psychic powers

    (A compendium class or other tech might give them psychic powers as well.)

  6. What John at Deep Six Delver said. I believe the podcast Discern Realities covers this regarding a similar topic. I believe it was in regards to traps and other general ‘unknowns’. Sometimes “you are” and “nothing, it’s safe” are the right answer and can tell the players allot about a situation.

  7. If you want to play a mystery game you should reduce the amount of rolling and you want to give your clues often. It is important to realize that the fun part is not rolling to look in a library for some old books. The fun part is solving the mystery by working on the clues.

  8. What do you mean by “reduce the amount of rolling”?

    In Dungeon World, we only roll when we think a move is triggered. But when we think a move is triggered, we resolve it according to the move, and that might mean rolling.

    Are you saying we would ignore the triggered move and the rules when we think it’s better for the mystery?

    Or are you saying choose a different game if you want to run a mystery?

    The mysteries they solved in my Planets Collide Dungeon World game were solved by working on the clues, as you say. But not by ignoring it when moves were triggered.

    We didn’t aim to reduce the amount of rolling, and I think we rolled the usual amount. We probably rolled more than my earlier Dungeon World games, because we got better at recognizing when moves were triggered as a part of getting better at the game overall.

  9. I had a bad experience with a Master, and we were rolling a lot and failing. What I mean by reduce the amount of rolling is that not every search has to be a “discern reality” and not every thing they know has to be a “spout lore”.

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