Tens days have passed since I first dove into Dungeon World, a game that everyone seemed to be talking about. I quickly became excited myself – so much so in fact that I’ve already created a game accessory for it (check out my Dungeon World Debility Cards here).
I knew immediately on day 1 that I liked what I was seeing and, over the next few days I became… well, “enthralled” is the word I have used I suppose. As “the DM” for my circle of rpg-playing friends, running a game of Dungeon World was one of the first of my considerations. Can I run this? Does it seem like it would be fun to run? Do I think my players would enjoy this?
The concept of the game is very different than what I am used to as a ‘meat and potatoes’, or ‘mostly-dnd-for-the-last-twenty-four-years’, kinda guy. I’m not ashamed to admit it took me a few days to wrap my head around it, but once I was able to set aside all those years of gaming that were keeping me from “getting it”, well, I got it!
Now it was time to setup a game.
As you may have guessed, it turns out (from everything I am reading) that newcomers to roleplaying games tend to catch on pretty easily to Dungeon World. That’s not to say that experienced roleplayers can’t, because they can, but I understood from my own experience how a long history of gaming experience can get in the way of learning something new (or at least catching on to it quickly).
As it turns out, I happen to know 5 people who are very new to roleplaying games (including my wife) and I figured they would make a fantastic group for my first try at Dungeon World GM’ing. It was quickly determined that this setup was agreeable, and the first game day was set – which happens to be the same day I am writing this!
Reading The Rules
My earlier research into Dungeon World was the beginning of my preparation. After all, this included a reading of the rules, as well as a reading of the guide (get the free PDF here if you are interested – it really helped me understand the concept). In case you weren’t aware, the developers created the game using the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. What that means is that it’s freely available online (granted, it has no artwork, etc). I’ve ordered a physical copy of the book which should be here in a week!
After reading the rules and the guide over a week ago, I have since gone back and re-read the rules again, from the beginning. I’ve also been spending a lot of time reading through posts on the Google Plus group “Dungeon World Tavern” (an amazing community by the way).
At this point I have the rules down well enough to run my initial game. Time to move on to other things…
The next bit of preparation needed was to print out the materials that were to be used. This would include character sheets and the basic moves for reference at the table. Once again, these are also freely available from the Dungeon World website.
One of the great things about the characters sheets (and the simplicity of Dungeon World) is that your character sheets have essentially everything you need on them. What I mean by that is that they have the rules for your Class’s various aspects right there on the sheet(s). When you level up, your available moves are there, and spells as well, along with their descriptions. Simply check-off the box indicating you now have it learned/equipped!
To double-check we have everything we need, a quick look at the Dungeon World rule book indicates the following should be on hand for your first game…
- A few copies of the basic moves
- One copy of each class sheet, double-sided
- One copy each of the cleric and wizard spell sheets, double-sided
- The GM sheet
Also suggested is a reading of the entire rulebook, so at this point, having read through the rules twice, plus the guide and finally having printed all the materials, we should be just about ready to go!
For the first game of Dungeon World, it’s recommended that you keep things very open and malleable. With DW, you will be asking a lot of questions of your players, such that their answers will fill in the empty spaces of the world. For example, the Rogue might ask what the King is like, and a perfectly reasonable response from the GM would be, “I don’t know, what IS he like?”.
After the first game, there are suggestions about how to approach campaign/plot building through the use of “Fronts”, “Dangers”, “Grim Portents” and more. I will be saving those bits for the article covering how this first game went.
Wish me luck!