Looking for some inspiration!

Looking for some inspiration!

Looking for some inspiration!

I’ve got a small group of 2-3 (depending on who shows up) players who are really new to tabletop RPGs in general, but seem to love Dungeon World. I am certain at least the paladin and ranger will attend, the 3rd player will be new if she shows up.

I did a first session where they infiltrated a castle where a party was in progress, stole a coveted weapon and barely escaped with their lives. They loved that session.

The second session was more typical “hack and slash” encounters while they made their way home with that treasure, and while they felt OK (especially the ranger who rolled absolutly exception on all his rolls) they told me afterwards they felt it was less fun than the first session.

For the third session, they found they need to go find an ancient artefact.

What i’m looking for is interesting situations that one could find themselves in, trying to find a hidden and/or protected treasure, that don’t (neccesarily) involve combat. These guys really seem to like puzzeling / strategizing, more so than just murdering everything they see.


10 thoughts on “Looking for some inspiration!”

  1. Have you looked at the Plunderground Zines from Ray Otus. They do exactly this. I HIGHLY recommend Kazarak and Ape City (not just because I gave some input into them).

    You can pick up back issues at jellysaw.com

  2. The artifact is the possession of a group that…

    1) Could smoke the PCs in a stand-up fight, or at least really hurt them

    2) Are people, not just monsters (though bonus points if their neighbors consider them a bit monstrous)

    3) Have a non-sinister use for the artifact, ideally one that’s pretty core to their way of life.

    E.g. suppose that the artifact is glowing disk of gold, that radiates light like a sun. Divination/rumor/whatever points you towards a group of morlocks who use the sun-disk to grow food underground.

    There’s dozens of these morlocks, and they’re pretty tough! They keep this sun-disk in a vast central cavern, high up in a nook or a catwalk or something. There’s a “holy” morlock or two who tend it, exposing it for a few hours every day and covering it up the rest of the time. They’re blind. All the other morlocks avoid the central chamber when the light is exposed, as they are both unworthy of it and it hurts their eyes (though they could stand it if properly motivated).

    The blind holy ones are of course corrupt, uttering prophesies and demanding bloody sacrifices that serve their (or the chief morlock’s) interests. But for most of the clan, the sun disk is basically their god and it’s definitely the source of their livelihood.

    The dwarves nearby? They hate the morlocks. Think they’re all sorts of awful, and probably have good reason for thinking that way. But most of the morlocks are just simple farmers with no love of violence… they just want to farm and appease their god and provide for their kids.

    Now… the PCs need the sun disk. Show them all of this stuff… don’t hide it. Be generous with the truth. What do you do?

  3. I’m not the best puzzle designer but it sounds like you could also grab players’ attention by tying their encounters (combat out just exploration) in to larger plot threads and reveals. That will give them more motivation to care about the outcome and will make the world seem bigger as well.

  4. In order to get to the location they have to deal with environmental hazards. Weather, rock slides, drowning in lake or river, etc. Those situations can lead to alot of problem solving and risk taking without ever drawing a sword

  5. Great stuff guys! I think i’ll use a variation of what Jeremy suggested. We already established the existence of a type of giants/ogres that was working as muscle in the city. Maybe there’s a remote city of those ogres that is, sortof, civilized-but-not-so-friendly. But they will need to deal with the ogres in order to gain access to the artefact.

    Maybe the ogres may be willing to help them if they manage to impress or convince them somehow, but will require them to bring something else back from whereever the artefact is held. Something that would make them even more dangerous – do they betray the ogres or create a potential dangerous new enemy?

  6. It may go without saying, but you should also ask your players what elements of the first two sessions they particularly enjoyed, and what they found less interesting. Do this after each session for a while and you’ll get a good idea of the sorts of gameplay they want to see. Each player will likely have a different set of preferences, but that’s ok – you can accommodate many modes of play in a single session. You should discuss your own enjoyment when doing the post-session discussion, too – the GM is another player and should enjoy the game too.

    With the first session, did they particularly enjoy the part when they were interacting with the guests at the party, the infiltration/stealth bit, the bit where they grabbed the magic weapon, or the part where they barely escaping with their lives? With the second session, were they less excited about the combat encounters because there were too many, but fewer would have been fine? Were there any encounters they thought were particularly interesting, or particularly uninteresting?

    (Mind you, moderation in all things – don’t get too hung up about it. It’s not solely the GM’s responsibility to entertain, everyone should be trying to ensure everyone at the table is having fun. It’s also ok to include things folks are less excited about occasionally… a roller coaster isn’t much fun if it always stays at the same level.)

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