[DW] Playing Dungeon World

edited October 2012 in Pitch
Now that Dungeon World is basically done, ready for release, I've been thinking I'd like to give it another try here.

Anybody interested? I could run an adventure or two, maybe continuing on from there if it's been going well at that point. If you don't have access to the pre-release pdfs, everything is CC-licensed and available in various ways. Here are all the rules in plain format, and you can download pdf/epub versions. You can also go to GitHub for InDesign docs.

If we get going I'll probably also post the character sheets somewhere, since those might be a little easier to use making characters than the plain text of the book.
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Comments

  • I'm interested in playing.
  • Cool.

    And I would be fine starting with a small party, two or three people.
  • I had a lot of fun last time.
  • Does that mean you'd like to join in, or is it more a vote of confidence?

    I thought there were some hit and miss parts the last time we played, but that's not very fair to the current rules. There've been, I don't know, multiple revisions since then. And it's not like I didn't have fun, either.
  • More a vote of confidence. Let me know if you need another player to make it work though.
  • I'd like to play. I can commit to post up to twice a day.
  • Happy to have you!

    There's two of you here, and I know probably a third coming. And there's a chance of getting others from over on barf forth, once Monday rolls around and people start browsing the net during office hours again. (c;

    So I'm not going to worry about getting into the swing of things for another couple days, but if you guys want to start claim classes and start building characters, be my guest and I'll be looking in and asking questions. And on Tuesday, say, I'll want to start to talk a little about tone and expectations.
  • Oh! And let's be introducing ourselves. I'm Michael, or Mike, whichever.
  • I, too, am interested in playing. Scott and Rich know me through an AW game.

    I'm, uh, Jeff.
  • edited October 2012
    I can see that. (c:

    Howdy!
  • hey, so we're clear, I'm cool with bowing out to give someone new a place in this game. I was more interested in watching how Michael GMs than anything. I can do that on the sidelines.
  • I'm dying to try out DW, so I can't resist this. If I know myself I'll check in here like pretty much all day (which is the Swedish day, that is, GMT+1), but I'll commit to once a day. I'll play with two or three others plus DM – I think five would be too many. Does that sound good?

    My name is Jonatan. I don't have much in the way of, like, referrals. I played a game of Microscope here once. I'm Jonatan on Barf Forth Apocalyptica. I've played AW, MH and my own Nobilis hack irl, neither online. I have the backer's copy of DW.
  • Any thoughts on classes?

    I've narrowed it down to thief, cleric, fighter or paladin. My choice will probably reflect what everyone else takes, and also on what kind of setting we're working with.
  • Okay. I remain uncertain of how well DW will work with a PUG, but I'm more than willing to give it a shot. I am Chamomile.

    I have a bunch of different character ideas, and I'm kind of avoiding fleshing them out until I know for sure which one I'll actually play, so here are my basic concepts, roughly in order of preference.

    1) The Cultist. This would either be a Fighter who uses the Multiclass Initiate to gain Cleric spells, a Ranger who takes God of the Wastes, or else just a Cleric. Really, I'd like to be a Cleric who uses the multiclass thing to get the Fighter's special weapon, since that's all I really want from the class. Or else a Ranger with the Cleric or Fighter's Evil alignment option. Regrettably, neither of these are actually available. The image I have of this guy (girl?) is a scimitar-wielding fanatic follower of some kind of blood god, who's generally creepy and unpleasant, but not the sort of Chaotic Stupid idiot who'll light orphanages on fire for fun or do things to irritate the town guard for no reason and rely on PC status to get away with things no one else ever could. In fact, obeying the law in town is actually part of the concept: Big reason why he likes going out into the wilderness to adventure is that he can follow the precepts of his terrible god in all its bloodsoaked glory and no one will throw him in jail for it. May or may not mesh with the rest of the party at all.

    2) The Barbarian. In the greek sense of being from a foreign and less cultured but still civilized place. This concept is a Fighter who is intelligent but also brutal and pragmatic, seeking gold and glory out in the wilds so that he can retire in a giant castle full of scantly clad women and tigers. Unlike the crazy above, he isn't evil, and he wouldn't murder an innocent person to take their stuff, but he is still pretty self-interested and wouldn't necessarily work with a group that planned on doing good deeds just because.

    3) The Wizard. This is basically just "hey, those Wizard spells look cool."
  • edited October 2012
    My vote is to steer away from the evil-crazy spectrum. Just my $0.02.

    I was thinking of playing a thief who's had his tongue cut out in penance for some crime. Communicating by gestures and facial expressions and the occasional grunt. I'd kind of like the challenge.

    The cleric idea was just to play a personable, relatively nice guy. I'm keen on supporting or less antagonistic roles, since my last character was kind of about being in everyone's face all the time.

    I've also got sort of a hankering for a low-fantasy game. Well, not low fantasy but lower than the present standard set by most fantasy games where there's a wizard on every block ("No big deal") and two in every adventuring party and everyone but the poorest adventurer has Extra-Special Totally Unique Gear and most allegedly feudal societies seem to have a broader, more stable and literate middle class than my own country. I mean, measured against that standard, even Tolkien is kind of low fantasy. But what if magic were rare and mysterious and often hidden, and monsters were strange things rumored to exist beyond the boundaries of human civilization?
  • edited October 2012
    Hey, I saw your post about this on the Apocalyptica forum, and I'd be interested in joining, if there's still room. :)

    I'm on the US west coast, GMT-8, and I can definitely manage at least one post a day, more if I'm online while others are around.
  • First off, I'm going to have to close recruitment at this point.
  • edited October 2012
    Okay, and it looks like I've gotten too many new folks while I was out today. I'm going to say I need to cut it off at four players. If it was an Apocalypse World I might go one or two higher, but fantasy adventure tends to have complicated scenes with lots of characters (that is, fight scenes), and I think going to five or six players would over-complicate that.

    So I'm going to default to first-come-first-served, though of course if anyone has reservations or would otherwise choose to bow out we can just pass it down the line. So far, that order is:

    – Rich
    - nitrosyncretic
    - Jeff
    - Jonatan
    - Chamomile
    - E_FD

    Rich, you did mention a willingness to bow out. I'd say, if you want to play, play, but if you're just going to be a super nice guy and pass your slot down, please confirm.
  • I'm being nice and bowing out, so great to see the new blood. If any of thee suckers flake, ping me.
  • edited October 2012
    Noted, Rich.

    So, let's talk. There's certainly more than enough people now, so no need to leave it until Tuesday.

    Now, I'm inclined to discourage evil. Not necessarily the evil alignment per se, but there's a difference between "trigger-happy wizard" and "blood for the blood god". There's always that reality check of, okay, why is the rest of the party dealing with this person?

    And I don't know how low-magic this is going to be. The characters aren't going to be magic item Christmas trees in the style of D&D 3rd and 4th editions, since Dungeon World just doesn't really work that way. On the other hand, you'd have real difficulty putting together a party without at least one seriously magical PC. It'll likely end up being somewhere in the middle ground, but I'll take cues from PC choices and we'll see how things start to shake out.

    I think I'm interested in a fairly grounded tone, though. So even if there's a decent bit of magic, we might not be looking at, say, planes-hopping and fighting the Apocalypse Dragon. Is that fair?

    Also, without hacking, Dungeon World only goes so far towards the grim and dark end of the spectrum, but there's still a good amount of play in that dial. I can go whatever way.

    Just firing this off: I'm somewhat feeling a generally Celtic flavor, druids and standing stones sort of thing. I'm not married to it, but I recently saw Brave, I've liked Vincent's Dragon Killer content (Dragon Killer content), and I've been recently meaning to go back and re-read the Prydain books (more Welsh, but eh), so it's a thing in my head. We might go another direction, but that's where I'd gravitate, in a vacuum.

    Let's talk and start setting up characters in parallel, since they'll inform each other.
  • edited October 2012
    Posted By: Michael LoyI think I'm interested in a fairly grounded tone, though. So even if there's a decent bit of magic, we might not be looking at, say, planes-hopping and fighting the Apocalypse Dragon. Is that fair?
    I'm totally on board for this. Didn't expect we'd be doing the Christmas Tree thing but I just wanted to be clear on my tastes, y'know?

    re: Celtic flavor. I don't know much about Celtic flavor besides a Mount and Blade mod I once played, but sure. I can dig it.
  • edited October 2012
    Hi, I'm Alan.

    I'm in GMT-7 (US Pacific) until daylight saving time starts.

    My first choice for class would be fighter. Wizard is a close second.

    Celtic flavor is great. I'm okay with moderate magic and some grit.

    If we go Celtic, are we talking bronze, iron, or steel age?
  • edited October 2012
    I mean more-or-less iron age, but obviously this is more than a little ahistorical. So, you know, if the fighter wants to go looking for plate armor at some point, I'm not going to nitpick unless we've definitely arrived at a consensus that that sort of thing just isn't available 'round here.

    But character creation choices will imply different things about what's going on in the region, as well. Or other regions, if they're foreigners.
  • First off, I feel like I should thank Rich for bowing out, since it looks like I'd have been bumped out of the game otherwise. Despite my reservations about whether or not this game will work, I really, really want it to.

    Second off, it's clear some people are averse to the Cultist, and if that's not the way people want to go, that's fine (there's a reason I made a couple of different characters). Nonetheless, I'd at least like to argue for the Cultist's life, just because I'm aware there's a lot of ways that evil characters usually go wrong and I've intentionally designed the Cultist (such that s/he is designed at all) to avoid those. For example, Michael mentioned "why is the party dealing with this person" and even if the Cultist is blood-for-the-blood-god evil, the answer to that can still be "because he is a stable, competent, and trustworthy ally." The Cultist isn't stupid and isn't going to do anything that might burst the envelope with regards to his party members. Even if he thinks he has a golden opportunity to ritually sacrifice the princess they're supposed to be saving, it's really just not worth the risk even if is reasonably certain he'll get away with it. The party is the reason why he got anywhere, rocking the boat with them is a bad idea and he won't do it. At the same time, is the party really going to kill or imprison the guy who's helping them fight off marauding Goblins because he has a nasty habit of executing prisoners in particularly creepy ways? The idea that you should turn against people on your team because of the bad things they do to people from the other team (the team that's trying to kill you) is really very modern and not widely embraced even today; any shade darker than iron age super heroes should have room for a clearly evil character who happens to be batting for the same team as the heroes.

    The Cultist is also not really someone I see as being evil for evil's sake. I haven't fully fleshed out the character's personality (mostly because I know the group might not be comfortable with having an evil party member, which I'm okay with), but the reason he'd be so evil is because 1) he doesn't see most people as people, although he would still most likely see the party members as "real people" and be appalled at the concept of the things he does being done to them, it's in the same way that making a real human being live in a stall until maturity so they can be butchered for meat seems horrible but most people are fine with just that happening to cows, and 2) something at some point damaged him enough that giving himself over to the God of Being Antisocial actually seemed like his best move and now he's entrenched in that belief. I don't exactly see this guy going on a quest for redemption just because coming to grips with how much wrong he's done is probably too steep a price for him ever to pay, but if his life had gone differently, he would've turned out better. That doesn't justify what he does, but it does humanize him.

    Thirdly, concerning the Celtic flavor, what if there was a more advanced empire at the border? It wouldn't even have to be a major campaign plot point or anything, just a bunch of psuedo-Romans camping out behind Hadrian's Wall who have plate armor and zweihanders.
  • edited October 2012
    At the same time, is the party really going to kill or imprison the guy who's helping them fight off marauding Goblins because he has a nasty habit of executing prisoners in particularly creepy ways? The idea that you should turn against people on your team because of the bad things they do to people from the other team (the team that's trying to kill you) is really very modern and not widely embraced even today; any shade darker than iron age super heroes should have room for a clearly evil character who happens to be batting for the same team as the heroes.
    Well, what I would say is that a useful sociopath, is still a sociopath. And as a rule, I wouldn't want to hang out with a sociopath. No, maybe I don't kill or imprison him, automatically. But that doesn't mean that I choose to spend my time with him, and I don't think it's terribly modern to avoid a "clearly evil" person.
  • Even if the Cultist were a sociopath (he isn't; he dehumanizes his enemies, something which nearly all people do by default, and is a member of a creepy cult, something which non-sociopaths do just as often as sociopaths), the party isn't hanging out with each other. They have a job to do, and I seriously doubt you'd quit your job because someone who worked there had beliefs you found offensive, that you'd fire someone who did good work and had no qualms with anyone who actually worked with him because he hated some other group (particularly if killing certain members of that group is part of the job anyway), and there's certainly no military on earth that turns recruits away because they hate your country's enemies too much. Hell, the only thing different about the Cultist's behavior compared to that of several real, actual soldiers who were psychologically healthy before going into a warzone is that he does it in the name of a weird and nasty god; there are innumerable examples of pre-modern cultures where raping the women of captured communities or killing prisoners of war either as ritual or just because were the norm. Honestly, you plan on doing a Celtic influenced campaign. Do you also plan on having the local druids sacrifice virgins at the construction of every bridge to appease nature spirits, burn a king's slaves alive at his funeral, stuff human beings into wicker statues and then light them on fire, impale captured prisoners and dance around them as they expire, and alternately hang, drown, immolate, or decapitate their victims depending on which god they're sacrificing to? Because those are all things the Celts actually did. Not because they were sociopaths; the whole community joined in. This is what pre-modern people did to their enemies, because they do not see their enemies as people. If that's uncomfortable and you don't want it in your game, that's fine, but please do not pretend you have to be born wrong to be capable of doing horrible things to strangers, because real people get hurt when misinformation like that gets spread around.
  • I'm with Chamomile in that this is not weird for the setting, but I can't decide if it's a setting I want if that's the implications it comes with. I'm okay with gruesome sacrifices and such as part of the background, but I don't want play to focus around it, and I won't be playing it up with my character if it does. I don't plan on making it a statement that everyone else is okay with the druids sacrificing virgins except me who's going to overthrow the system, but I don't want to focus there in play.

    Seeing as Chamomile has apparently thought this through I'm okay with his cultist plan, but if someone feels it's not right it should be left out.

    I dig the Celtic stuff too, and love the idea of the Empire looming far away, maybe even across the seas (but they might come here!). They should totally call forth minotaurs and pegasi and other greek-myth-y monsters to fight with their armies.

    I'm currently most into the Ranger, the Thief and maybe the Bard, but I'll take anything that's left.
  • edited October 2012
    Let's go back to this, just to check in:
    I'm somewhat feeling a generally Celtic flavor, druids and standing stones sort of thing. I'm not married to it, but I recently saw Brave, I've liked Vincent's Dragon Killer content (Dragon Killer content), and I've been recently meaning to go back and re-read the Prydain books (more Welsh, but eh), so it's a thing in my head. We might go another direction, but that's where I'd gravitate, in a vacuum.
    I didn't say that I wanted to replicate historical Britain. This was a general aesthetic statement, which I followed up with references. I don't know if you're familiar with those, but you can look at the links, if not. It seems really weird to go from looking at those, to assuming a blood-soaked world in which it is the cultural norm to ritually murder people in a variety of creative ways.

    I'm seeing a lot of assumption that this is going to be particularly dark and edgy (darker than iron age supers is pretty damn dark and cynical). That's really strange, and I'm not sure where you'd get that from what anyone else has said here, or from the Dungeon World text. For that matter, that should be unusual in a typical Dungeons and Dragons game, as well.

    Consider the discussion on alignment in the book (p32).
  • edited October 2012
    In any case, no, I'm not particularly interested in that. If a religious group is going and ritually murdering people, that's a flag, not business as usual. They're a Danger in a Front, that activity is a Grim Portent, and if they are allowed to continue unchecked they will no doubt bring about their Front's associated Impending Doom.

    That doesn't mean the world is all sweetness and light. Going back to those references, Dragon Killer is pretty grim, with the known world being slowly conquered by the King of Death and his Born Dead armies. Come to think of it, Prydain has a fairly similar world threat, with Arawn using his Black Cauldron to add the dead of his enemies to his own undead armies, which is pretty black for a series of children's novels. But in both of those contexts, the setting is grim because there's a great evil looming over everything, with little hope of ever driving it back.

    Even that's just one end of the dial, and the game could be considerably lighter in tone than that.
  • Hi all!

    I have not read the sources Michael brought up and I think we each have different referents for Celtic culture. How about we lay out elements we'd like to see in more detail.

    Here are elements of the Celtic idea that appeal to me:

    1. Using Celtic names for characters and places.

    2. Sarsens, Stone Tables, Stone Circles, Barrow Mounds, Hill Forts, Great Halls.

    3. Iron Age social arrangement, with the land dotted with small domaines (kingdoms and chiefdoms), each with villages and hill forts and halls, each not much more than a day's walk across. There's a fair amount of equality among members of a domaine--chiefs are often elected or at least accountable to a general assembly. There might also be a central council of Chiefs, always squabbling and politicking for prestige. Lots of room for monsters in between.

    4. Prestige is gained largely through deeds--monster slaying, hero duels, craftsmanship, wisdom, daring gambling, story telling and singing, counting coup on other domaines.

    5. Relatively uniform human culture with regional variation. This is drawn from Irish myth--the culture is mostly concerned with internal politics, rather than an external threat. This may be due to dominance of a large area, as in Gaul, or isolation, as in Eire. (I agree with Michael and would like to invent a world rather than play in a historical place, however.)

    6. Iron Age technology. Steel is known but difficult to make and usually has poor quality. Bronze or iron plate armor would be reserved for chiefs and great heroes.


    Other elements that I see as optional:

    1. Some monsters are earthly. Others are other worldly. There may be gates to the Other World in misty hallows, swamps, and caves.

    2. Gods are associated with natural places and things: Water and Life, Wastelands and Death, Horses, Fire and Sun, etc.

    3. The soul is believed to reside in the head and you may want to take a head and magically seal the soul inside to ensure a defeated enemy doesn't become a revenant or some other undead bent on revenge.

    4. Writing is a secret belonging to a special class. (I would use a word other than "druid" as the celtic druid is more like the Bard Class than the Druid Class.)

    5. Oral tradition is crucial to everyday life and politics.

    What do you all think? We can mix or match elements. And I'm excited to see what other ideas you all have.

    - Alan
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