Recently I have started up an online tabletop group as the Game Master (GM). We are using a system new to me called Dungeon World.
I read about this system in an article online and was so impressed with the flavor of game play that I ordered the book on Amazon. I’ve since read it cover to cover, and kept being more and more impressed by their ideals.
The biggest draw for me about Dungeon World is that everything is couched in terms of the shared fiction being woven by both the GM and the players. There is less emphasis put on number crunching and static skills and abilities and more emphasis put into the story.
“Play to find out what happens” is a big motto in Dungeon World, and I love it. I love the idea of exploring the story together and giving the players control over the outcome.
Dungeon World is not a system where you play out a set story line with the players as characters within it. It is a world in motion and the players choose where, when, and how they change the story. For me, this is key. There have been many, many times in my long experience of Game Mastering (in many different systems) when I was frustrated because the players didn’t do what I wanted them to do, or they were frustrated because they couldn’t figure out how to find the plot.
This system takes all that frustration away. The truth is, you have no idea how the story is going to resolve! If, as the GM, you don’t know how to answer a player’s question, turn the question around and let them make up an answer!
Another part of Dungeon World that I absolutely love is the player bond system. There are a few sentences on each character sheet with blanks left for names. They describe an aspect about the class, and gently leads players into thinking about how they interact with their party members.
For example, the Fighter has a bond called “I have sworn to protect _____.” Not only does this sentence make the fighter think about how s/he could use their skills within the party, but it also makes them think about how they relate to other characters and sets up a precedence for backstory. Did this oath happen after a particularly bad battle? How did the other character respond?
The best part is that if the Fighter and the named character agree that this bond has been resolved during a game session (e.g. the fighter rushes to the other character’s aid during battle, or even sticks up for them in a social situation!), they get to mark XP! They are literally rewarded for playing their character!
I could write pages and pages explaining the system and praising the things I like, but instead I will urge you to check it out for yourself here!
Because Dungeon World is a system where the GM takes on the part of curious observer, asking questions and using the answers in order to create the world and the story with the players, I thought that I would use this space in order to share the adventures of my players with all of you!
After each session I’ll write up a recap of what happened and post it here on my blog! You can follow along by searching for the keywords “Dungeon World”, or you can follow the links below: