Sell me on Dungeon World

(owen) #1

It’s too quiet in this corner of the forum. Someone sell me on Dungeon World!

What’s it like? How is it different from the other BWHQ games? What’s it got in common? Strengths and drawbacks? Inform me!

(KarlM) #2

Dungeon World was not designed by BWHQ, its a PbtA game designed by Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel. In I think 2016 BWHQ became the publishers, hence it’s presence on these forums.

I haven’t played it.

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(Anthony) #3

Specifically, it’s one of the first games fitted off of Apocalypse World by Vincent Baker. Completely different mechanically from anything BWHQ has designed.

(owen) #4

Yeah, I was somewhat aware of that. But I still figure it ended up under the BWHQ umbrella for reasons and so I’m curious what those might be.

I also notice the Dungeon World section has disappeared from the main forum listing. Hrm?

(Anthony) #5

That was my bad. Should be back now. I was trying to lock town the top level category.


This podcast SpoutLore has really made me appreciate the potential of the system – it’s pretty rules light which gives a lot of room to focus on the narrative and providing good mechanics for developing and complicating the story.

It also emphasizes a shared responsibility for world building between the players and the GM.

I think a lot of what I just described is pretty similar to BW but the rules-light approach makes it a little bit easier to casually dip into.

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(Drozdal) #7

There is bunch of podcasts associated with Gauntlet network that feature either DW actual play, or conversations about game itself.

(Matt) #8

Burning Wheel is Adam Koebel’s favorite game and is a huge influence on his design philosophy. It has a few mechanics that are inspired by BW: When you fail a roll, you gain an XP, you have bonds with PCs and your alignment are essentially Beliefs (which you get XP for following, changing, fulfilling), and there’s a move that’s inspired by Circles.

Not sure how familiar you are with the Apocalypse Engine, but it’s not the swiss army knife that BW is. It is quick and easy with guidelines for players and GM to get across a specific feel. Dungeon World was made with typical swords and sorcery adventure in mind and it does it quite well, just like BW. But the game isn’t designed for a campaign of small village drama that Burning Wheel could support.

Its tools for the GM are wonderful, above all. Burning Wheel, especially when starting out, is a hefty game and takes a lot of practice to really get a handle on. Dungeon World is a lot more accessible with concrete rules for the GM, treating them like another player rather than an actual master. I’ve taken that experience with me over to BW and it’s made my games a lot more successful.

Hope that helps! Love both of these games.

(Aaron Griffin) #9

Dungeon World is notable for how it takes the typical style of RPG many of us grew up with, and spells out the GMing side of the thing perfectly. It still influences the way I GM games to this day. In fact, my Torchbearer twists are almost always Dungeon World GM Moves.

If you have never read a PbtA game, and are familiar with D&Dish mechanics, Dungeon World is at least worth the read.

(Crusoe) #10

Start with nothing more than a group of characters and how they know each other, ask the players questions, bring a theme or a scenario outline to the table if you want, and just go from there. DW is mechanically very easy, encourages developing player authority in the setting, and, as long as you’ve got enough ink in the printer for playbooks and move sheets, is a very reliable way to get a good game going with absolute minimum prep.

Adam Koebel has talked about how D&D gave rise to both Torchbearer, crunchy, grinding and all about how many torches you have left, and DW, which is much more cinematic in its approach. I think this may be the most important insight. Just the way equipment works makes DW worth a play… in any event it’s a 10 session 10 level campaign game, great value for the book, and if you really don’t like it you’re not stuck with playing it for long to get the full experience.

(Colin Booth) #11

You know that thing that happens every time where you look at the cover of a D&D players manual and think “this must be an awesome game about kicking in dungeon doors and being an absolute badass”? And then that thing where you start playing D&D and you always end up thinking “I don’t feel like a badass, I feel like a paranoid murder-accountant.” Dungeon World is the game that makes you feel like the door kicking badass you always wanted to be.

As others have said, it’s a PbtA dungeon crawling romp where everyone feels like a badass, the GM gets to lean back and make nonsense happen, and the system supports that mode of play (instead of fighting you over it).

(Günther) #12

My problem with DW is the same as with all PbtA games. I need to look up moves all the time. While in skill based games, every skill works the same, moves all come with their special consequences. It seems that I’m the only person with such a bad memory or bad look-up skills (or moves?) - as no one else complains about this.

(Aaron Griffin) #13

In PbtA games you are not limited by the moves. I’m not sure where this idea comes from. You can still do anything you want, but when a move trigger matches, the dice come out. If no move trigger matches, the GM decides the outcome.

It’s generally everyone’s responsibility to pay attention to move triggers.

(Matt) #14

If you’re talking about GM moves, those are mainly there for inspiration. You look at them when you don’t know what to say, along with any notes you might have. You can play a session of DW just fine without ever looking at the GM moves so long as everyone’s having a good time. And if you were to think back on that session, you’d probably fine you were making moves all the while.

If it’s player moves, then you might need more common moves sheets! This is when the conversation stops for a minute. In BW, this would be the “what does success look like to you” moment, one where everyone checks in on the fiction and probably come out of character.

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(Thor) #15

Torchbearer and Dungeon World are basically siblings. They’re both born from the same source, but express different things about D&D.

In Torchbearer, you play this guy:

And in Dungeon World, you play this guy:

(Jeffrey Alfaro) #16

Your table should have a basic moves sheet for each player and the GM, a GM sheet for the GM, and the playbooks for each character. While I don’t personally need to look at these sheets much, I usually too anyway or encourage players to do so when they’ve triggered a move. Yes, you’ve got to pause and reference something for a moment, but that’s also okay because the pause gives a moment to consider the fiction and process or catch up on order to make the most interesting choices.

(Emir Pasanovic) #17

Also, I look them up all the time as well, even after a year of GM-ing. It’s just easier to figure out a consequence, but also to not miss anything. That’s why there are those cheat sheets.

(Jim Jones) #18

In a PbtA game, you shouldn’t really be looking up moves. Instead you describe what you want to do and everyone at the table, including all the players and you and the GM listen for things that might trigger a move. If it does, you resolve it with dice and move on. If it is not clear that a move is triggered, the conversation about what exactly is happening continues ues and maybe then a clear idea of what move might trigger will present itself. That was a big leap for me, but it helped a lot when I made it.

(Jeffrey Alfaro) #19

I think by looking up moves we were all just referring to reading the text of the move to verify that’s its been triggered and what to do after that.

(Jim Jones) #20

That is what I figured, but I wanted to stress that the looking up should happen as a result of what is happening and not to prompt what is about to happen.

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