Hello, tavern! I have a DMing advice question for you!

Hello, tavern! I have a DMing advice question for you!

Hello, tavern! I have a DMing advice question for you!

A while ago, my players came across a magic item (a spear) that has some specific properties when it interacts with a particular named monster (a campaign villain).

However, they never actually bothered to identify the item (they don’t have any wizards/similar, so they didn’t even try). But they used some inference and deduction to know that it could be used against the villain.

I remember one of the players suggesting that maybe the spear did X, which was untrue. But this was speculation; they knew that they didn’t know its actual properties. I think the plan was to talk to a wizardly ally when they got the chance.

But they never followed up, and over time they’ve all decided that the spear does X when actually it does Y. I’ve tried to remind them that they never got it actually identified but they always conveniently forget that I told them that.

Last session, they heard a story about some magical legendary spear that did Y and their response was like “oh, that sounds like our spear except it must be another version because ours does X, not Y.” So they are now, apparently, 100% certain that the spear does X even though they have no reason to be so certain.

Part of the issue is that its usage is limited – only against the campaign villain, and they’re not quite there yet, but they’re planning for the ultimate showdown, in which this spear will come into play.

What they think it does is summons the villain (if you plunge it into the ground or something like that) but what it actually does is immobilizes the villain (if you stick him with it). So as you can see, the actual usage is quite different. They are planning around using the spear to summon the villain when that would have no effect.

My question for you, oh Dungeon World Tavern, is what should I do about the spear? What would you do? Should I let their plan work? Should I let their plan fail? Should I have a wizard tell them what the spear does?


Hello tavern!

Hello tavern!

Hello tavern! Newer GM here, and I have a question about “trying again” and how to handle it when players want to do so.

Let me paint the scene:

Our Fighter has recently acquired a cursed item that attracts undead. The characters do not know about the curse. The adventurers return home after some time away and learn that right after they left home last time, there was a bit of an undead rising issue. They were only home briefly, then. Now, they decide to go check out the local cemetery. The Fighter’s presence in the cemetery causes more undead to rise and basically try to eat him.

So the characters are in this graveyard, fighting wave after wave of undead. The Druid, who is shapeshifted as a wolf, describes sniffing out to see if she can smell evil magic, or a necromancer, or a person that’s not one of the characters. She Discerns Realities and gets a 7, and asks “who or what is in charge here?” I tell her that the Fighter is in charge.

The Cleric, who is a valkyrie, describes herself flying over the cemetery and trying to spot signs of an arcane ritual or something like that. She Discerns Realities and gets a 5. I choose to Reveal An Unwelcome Truth and tell her that there are no signs that a necromancer is here or was recently. Perhaps I could have been more descriptive or shared different information or something, but that’s what happened.

So here’s the problem: all my players are used to D&D. They think in their heads, oh, the cleric failed their Perception check, there was something to notice but she didn’t notice it.

So the Thief then describes that she will climb on top of a mausoleum and look around. I am dubious, and ask what she thinks she can discern that the cleric couldn’t. In other words, how is she doing something different than the cleric. She explains she’s looking for ambushes or something. It was thin, but I let her go ahead and roll Discern Realities. She got a 3. I confirm that she doesn’t see any signs at all of an ambush, or anyone else in the cemetery besides them and the undead, and I deal her some damage for her trouble as some of the undead climb up the mausoleum and attack her.

Then the Barbarian is like “I’m going to roll too!” And at this point I say no. I ask what he thinks he can contribute over and above what the Druid, Cleric, and Thief already did, and he admits he can’t think of anything.

We wrap up the scene, and have a bit of an in character chat afterwards. The Druid insists that this is somehow the Fighter’s fault (and indeed, I described all the undead swarming around him and attacking him when possible), and the Thief suggests it might have been the cursed item. But the other party members are skeptical, and ask some allies to look into the undead problem for them.

After the session, the Fighter’s player confesses to me that he didn’t have a great time “because too much relied on us passing these rolls that we kept failing.” He also complained that we couldn’t pass because “we don’t have an arcane character with the right skills.” Now this player is a close friend that I trust, who also GMs many different game systems but not DW. So I peel back the curtain and explain exactly what moves I was making (Reveal An Unwelcome Truth) and explain, again, for the hundredth time, that they are not failing rolls the same way that you fail rolls in D&D.

Anyways, I have two questions that came out of this.

1. More generally, how do you handle situations where the characters want to “try again” at something?

2. More specifically, how do you describe outcomes, in particular to Discern Realities and Spout Lore, that don’t make the players feel like they are missing a clue?

I’m converting a weapon from 13th Age to Dungeon World and I’m not sure what is considered the best practice.

I’m converting a weapon from 13th Age to Dungeon World and I’m not sure what is considered the best practice.

I’m converting a weapon from 13th Age to Dungeon World and I’m not sure what is considered the best practice.

Here is the line: “once per level, on a critical hit, it can make an attack against anything—a shadow, a spell, an emotional bond, someone’s fate, someone’s death. The thing you target has to be within sword’s reach.”

Which I think is awesome, but I don’t know how to translate the once per level on a critical hit part.

One alternate is: when you hack and slash, on a 13+ hold 1. You can spend the hold to target anything [edit: the next time] you hack and slash. But I’m not sure if that’s correct. Thoughts?

Hey folks, I’m hoping someone can help me with the fronts I’m developing.

Hey folks, I’m hoping someone can help me with the fronts I’m developing.

Hey folks, I’m hoping someone can help me with the fronts I’m developing. I’m having trouble with the distinction between an adventure front and a danger.

So at the high level, I want to have this evil empire that’s trying to invade. They’re trying to do this in two ways: 1. with an army and 2. by infiltrating and sowing dissent and rebellion so it’ll be easier to take over. The evil empire has basically a sultan and a bunch of advisors, who all have their own agendas, so like advisor 1 is warlike, advisor 2 is cautious, advisor 3 is sneaky.

So when I’m writing my campaign front, I got the description and cast part figured out. Now correct me if I’m wrong, the dangers would be something like:

Danger 1: The invading army

Danger 2: The evilest advisor

Danger 3: The internal rebellion

The part that I’m struggling with is what’s the advisor’s impending doom? Step 1, they stir the rebellion pot (but that’s a separate danger), step 2, they declare that their army will march (but that’s also a separate danger).

And then what about the other advisors, and the sultan? They all have their own agendas, they’re not a unified group. So maybe each advisor is their own danger?

And then the other part I’m struggling with is that danger 1 and 2 are both external, like they both are part of the evil empire. Then danger 3 seems quite separate, even though it’s caused by danger 2.

So should the internal rebellion be, a separate front? Because I want this to come up a lot, and within the rebellion they don’t know they’re being incited, so there’s a bunch of personalities and different strategies, and different things going on within this rebellion… so how do I know when something should be a danger and when something should be a front?