Sunday, December 2, 2012

My Own Private Dungeon World

My project to develop Middle Earth character classes for Dungeon World has taken a backseat this week (and for the foreseeable future) to getting jazzed up to actually run an adventure with the potential to turn into a full campaign. It's been a good long time now since I've seriously GM'ed a game session. Moving two hours away will have that affect on your ability to run a game. I've been so busy for the past ten months planning the move, doing the move, and starting a new job. Plus there's a house in our immediate future, but that's its own kind of terrifying thing.

So, my own campaign! Dungeon World has inspired us to do some serious world creation. This is actually a new endeavor for us. We usually get inspired by a setting, find a game to run a story in the setting, and plan from there. We haven't been really pushed to create a setting for a ruleset as a group before, but DW's got me going to want to do so.

So what do we have so far?

I've sent an email out to the group to ask them which classes they'd like to play as classes in DW are unique (see my last post about niche protection on why this is awesome). The guys picked a Bard, Druid, Ranger, and Wizard. In a game of D&D 4e, either group, me as the GM, or both of us would be screwed with this. The best case scenario would be the Druid tanking with the Ranger's companion animal as off-tank. The group is squishy, no doubt, but in DW, like a lot of more modern games, this isn't a problem.

I'm taking the whole "players-tell-you-what-they-want-to-play-by-their-character-choices" thing seriously here. One of my players, the Wizard, has been really into King Arthur, Merlin, and Camelot lately. Sounds good to me! We worked to cobble together a bit of backstory, and away we go.

We're looking at a version of a Camelot that takes place right after the equivalent of the Battle of Camlann. The king (who we still have to name, but that'll come later) is recently dead, and his illegitimate son/Mordred stand-in survived what was essentially an apocalyptic war. The land is in extreme turmoil, but the king did not leave the kingdom heirless. His daughter, his only true-born offspring, is now the queen and is desperately trying to bring peace and order back to the land. She fights against a wounded and bitter half-brother with powers given to him from the World Dragon.

The setting's got a bit more magic than the legends of Arthur and Camelot. It conforms to DW standards of magic, but still, Wizards and true Clerics - the magic users of civilization - are quite rare. My Wizard player had the idea of having a laboratory in the equivalent of Camelot castle. I thought this sounded awesome and made him the heir of a Merlin equivalent - he's the court Mage and knowledge keeper. The Bard is another fantastic class to represent civilization, so I'm hoping the Bard player will be open to being the court Minstrel. 

That leaves me with finding a place in the world for the Druid and Ranger. How do they fit in? Clearly we have a nature/civilization dynamic going here, and that's where the Fae Fiefdoms come into play. Nature is a strong force in our world, and the Druid and Ranger, while not carrying an official badge of office, should fit well into being wardens of the wild. Listening to my player's choices of characters, there's going to be a big emphasis on discovering the threats and secrets of the deep forest. The Fae courts will also play a part. The Fae know, afterall, that the evil would-be usurper is in league with the World Dragon, and the young, untested queen would almost certainly be the preferable alternative to anything associated with the World Dragon.

That's what we've got so far! It's pretty light, but I also think that's pretty a big deal in planning a game of DW. I just want to get the big players set up, tune up the world, and let my players loose to seek their own agendas. That's the goal at least!


  1. Very cool to read. Each post like this pushes me a little further towards picking up DW. Glad to hear you're getting settled in after the move.

  2. Thanks! The relocation wasn't too bad, but the big move is coming in a couple of weeks when we finish up the deal on our first house. Kind of terrifying, but mostly exciting.

    I'd say DW is a great read if nothing else. The blurbs and class powers are great distillations on the classic D&D classes. The system as a whole is still very much like D&D, but it takes a ton of stress and pressure off the GM to entertain the players. It's a great compromise between gm-centric and gm-less.

  3. Its, nice kocioł co i like that action and passion.


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