TL;DR – I am very excited about Dungeon World after looking into it thoroughly recently. I recommend checking out it by starting with the Dungeon World guide located here on their official website.
During the Summer of 2012, yet another RPG Kickstarter began for a game called “Dungeon World”. In looking it over again (here) now, I recall giving it a glance back then. There were murmurs of it on Twitter that eventually prompted me to hit Google with a “Dungeonworld Kickstarter” search. I had merged the two names into one but Google, as usual, understood well enough what I needed.
My initial pass on Dungeon World
At a glance I didn’t see anything new. It apparently was going to allow you to hunt for treasure, fight monsters, and crawl dungeons… the thing is, a had a few games that already let me do this. As such, my lack of patience found me quickly scrolling down the Kickstarter page (more scrolling = more better when it comes to these, right?) before abruptly killing the tab and getting back to whatever I had been doing previously (likely something entirely unimportant).
Fast forward to 4 days ago (June 4, 2013), literally 1 year to the day since the Dungeon World Kickstarter had launched. Unlike many of the other RPG Kickstarters I hear about (or am asked to promote via Twitter), Dungeon World was still being talked about, and in fact, increasingly so. It was something that always seemed to find it’s way to me, no matter what I was doing at the time.
I had to know, what is this “Dungeon World”…
I ended up on the official Dungeon World website looking around for more information. Not much there helped me immediately, so I simply threw out a quick tweet to those who might share their experiences… the feedback was amazingly positive. I started hearing the word “narrative”, and things that demonstrated this was a game focused on said narrative over mechanics – and that while they (mechanics) existed, they seem to come to the surface only as needed.
I was intrigued…
Before long I was reading a guide, and it is at this point I would say, if you are interested in knowing more about Dungeon World please do check out this Dungeon World guide (link goes to the official DW site/page for the guide, which is a PDF). It was exactly what I needed, and in reading it, things became much clearer to me, and I was hooked immediately, especially after reaching the end and reading that particular in-game write-up.
…then I was excited.
I don’t mean to sound over-dramatic, but I honestly had not been as excited about a table top RPG (in my 24 years of gaming), and I do indeed get excited about these kinds of games.
The more I read about Dungeon World, the more it seemed to have been created specifically for me. It seemed as though the developers said… ok, we’ve been watching how Weem DM’s his games. We’ve seen how he adjusts his games, through the various editions of D&D, to match with a playstyle he is trying to draw from his players… let’s make a game tailored towards that style and focus.
…so what is it?
I’m afraid of over-simplifying the game and/or butchering the concept (it’s still new to me after all), but do I want to give you a very quick idea of it, as I see it. Essentially, the game is focused on the narrative aspect of play. In fact, the system requires you to express what you are doing narratively, as it is FROM those descriptions that the GM can determine his/her responding actions. This is not an arbitrary thing either. It’s not as though the game is trying to train you to be more descriptive despite working fine without them. Rather, the game NEEDS you to be descriptive – the GM will not otherwise know what possible responses can be given, and from them what moves can be attached.
Success in all things is determined by a roll of 2d6, plus an appropriate modifier based on the action being used. A 10 or better is Success, a 7 to 9 results in Success, but at a cost, and a 6 or below is failure. Damage is primarily calculated based on your Class. In fact, a glance at the weapons list would show you they lack damage listings at all. You could be just as successful attacking a Goblin with your sword as you could be by kicking him in the face, pushing a barrel over on him, or jumping down on him from an elevated position… as long as what you are doing makes sense in the narrative, you are good to go! Once your action(s) has been decided upon, an appropriate “move” is selected that best fits what you are doing, which determines your modifier. Roll the 2d6 and add your modifier as mentioned above.
At this point, the action is narrated by the player working with the GM, and the GM responds accordingly. If you succeeded, you pull of the action (in some cases, that will be applying damage to an enemy). If you succeeded at a cost, you pull of the action, but the GM may immediately present an immediate danger to you or a party member as a cost of that action. You may have succeeded in hitting the Goblin with a Fireball, but that caused 3 of them to suddenly change directions… they are now bearing down on the Cleric… the GM could then turn to the Cleric and ask… “What do you do?!”
There is no initiative, nor turn order. Want to do a few actions at once? Explain what you are attempting to do, and if it makes narrative sense, it happens! As the action unfolds, the GM will move around the group putting players in immediate danger, and prompting them for a response.
There is much more to the game, but I wanted to keep this short.
…but that said, what’s next?
Do note that I have yet to play the game, after all it’s only been 4 days since I discovered it myself, but I already have a group of 5 people who were ready to play an RPG and now it looks like that RPG will be Dungeon World (they were excited to try it after my description of it to them). These players have little to no experience with RPG’s so that is very exciting as well. I love introducing people to these games, and I think Dungeon World could be an amazing new experience for them.
Additionally, I want to mention that you may seem some (more) Dungeon World related posts, images and perhaps other materials here in the near future. It will really depend on how our first play goes, but I would imagine we’ll have a good time and you could expect to see more about this game from me in the near future, including a post about our first experience with the game.
…my last words.
Finally, if you are interested in learning more about the game (I certainly suggest you do!) please check out the guide I mentioned earlier. I read about the game in a few different placed, but it was the guide that really opened my eyes to what it is that made this game really stand out.
- Dugneon World Guide (Start here!)
- Dungeon World Official Site
- Dungeon World Rules (Free/Online) – “…While everyone should buy a copy to support the creators, they did generously license it under a Creative Commons Attribution license. As a result, you can read it for free (minus all the nifty art and nice layout)…” – Alan (Below)
- Dungeon World Google Plus Community (Great community from what I hear, and am seeing so far)
- Dungeon World Subreddit
NOTE: This was written very quickly, and with almost no editing. I do apologize for any mistakes, or troubles reading it. I’m out of town using a laptop that is not mine and quickly wanting to share my thoughts and excitement!