After a Few Dungeon World One-Shots

We have had trouble of late getting sessions in for regular campaigns – The Butcher, Baker, and Candlestick Maker; and Bloodstone.  During lulls a few of us have often gotten together to play other games.  Our present go to game is Dungeon World.

I’ve been part of the Dungeon World Adventurer’s Guild for half-a-year or so.  Which means I’ve had access to the Beta Rules for the upcoming Dungeon World “Advanced Set”.  I’ve also submitted a few patches to the open sourced Dungeon World content over at Github.

I’ve ran both the Basic and “Advanced” version and I like where things are going.  First, there has been a tremendous amount of feedback that Sage and Adam are working to incorporate.  They have take the feedback and made rules modifications, expanded sections, and added commentary. All in all, Dungeon World is shaping up to be a fantastic game.

And rumor has it that they are soon going to be Kickstarting the publication of the advanced version. I’m excited about the chance to spend my money on a product that I’ve enjoyed and used for several one-shots.

I will maintain that Lady Blackbird is perhaps a better one-shot game, whereas Dungeon World is a fantastic one-shot system.  Lady Blackbird starts out en media res with a simple set of rules and a phenomenal cast of characters ripe with interplay potential.

Dungeon World, on the other hand, has a larger rules system and builds from the collective memory of fantasy role-playing.  The rules, however, are very straightforward for a player.  Tell the game master what you are doing, it may be a move, roll the dice, and resolve the narrative action.  The mechanics are consistent in that rolling less than a 6 is bad, 7 to 9 is a compromised success, and 10 or more is a success.

I find that the minimal amount of rules keeps me free to push the fantastic and challenge the characters.  Monsters aren’t convoluted stat blocks, but are instead concise and loaded with moves that are highly descriptive. I am kept on my toes with the partial successes and am always looking at how create an enticing hard bargain.

I am very much interested in seeing Dungeon World play out in a longer campaign.  The one-shots we’ve played have been fast and furious sessions where numerous battles are fought and ominous portents are slowly exposed. When I am done with these sessions, I am always left with the sensation that I had when I first started playing RPGs…a sense of excitement and wonder and shared creativity.

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