11 September 2013


This Saturday I'm running Dungeon World, and I'm excited.

And why shouldn't I be? It's a semi-narrativist, semi-traditional game of dungeon crawling with an obvious love for its source material and no qualms whatsoever about giving you that old-school D&D vibe in a totally new way.

It's no secret that I'm in love with old-school dungeon crawling, especially in a system that lets you get away with making literally everything up on the spot. I mean, the entire game is based around exactly that; every roll lets the players or the GM dictate what's happening in the world, in totally in-game terms. And it's all player driven.

See, the players actually get to shape the world during character creation. You ask them what god they serve, and they just make it up. Where are the from? They make it up, and tell you a little bit about it. They have "Bonds" to other characters, and that lets them define who other peoples' characters are.

During play, it's the same way. When they want to attack something, the monsters get to hit back if they roll decently well. They can choose not to take this retribution damage, or they can choose to knock the enemy around a little. Or they can choose to hack extra hard.

And if they roll poorly? Then I get to "make a move," too. And it's always something cool. If it's just a fight, maybe their sword gets knocked away. Or maybe they slip and fall. Or maybe their enemy uses their momentum to push them towards the chasm they were fighting near. Or maybe now the valiant hero is in the middle of the hordes of monsters! Or maybe the bad guy's about to smash the super-important Crystal of Amun-Reth? It's all about making the consequences match the outcome. And it's all written directly into the way the game works.

The whole game is like that, and it's really exciting and really weird. Instead of thinking up even a skeletal plot, I've got to wait and see what the players come up with, draw (but not fill) a couple of dungeons, sites, and places, and come up with some names. I can't fit anything together yet, because I don't know what the players are going to bring. It's like getting ready for a jam session, and I really, really hope that they are going to bring their A game, because I'm going to bring mine.

I haven't been this excited about a generic fantasy game in a long, long time.

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