It would appear that running a lengthy session of Dungeon World for a table of five was great for a few reasons:
First, the dwarven judiciary is only slightly less terrifying than the dwarven actuarial system. Together, their justice is both exacting and miserly. And with 10% interest on debts accumulated each month, adventure is mandated!
Second, roaming bands of halflings are dangerous. They lay “surprise siege” to a city/village by first entering, eating all of the food, then leaving the city and setting up a blockade for all arriving caravans. All of this in search of a coin on one of the player character’s person.
Third, playing with a new player that doesn’t know all of the old tropes of D&D is revelatory…realizing a curse is an opportunity for even more adventuring.
Most important playing with a great table is hands down one of the best parts of role-playing. It took a lot of questions to get a sense for why a Templar, Cleric, Halfling, Druid, and Mechanic would all stop around together, but we eventually built some cohesion and a good adventure was had by all.
So yesterday and today, I’ve been sharpening my RPG tools, gathering up raw resources, and beginning some work on a potential campaign. I spent about an hour on Friday morning cataloging what system I would want to run and use.
The contenders were:
- Dungeon World
- Burning Wheel Gold
- Dungeons and Dragons 5E
- Labyrinth Lord
- Swords and Wizardry
- Lamentations of the Flame Princess
- Ars Magica
- Stars without Number
My heart initially said Burning Wheel Gold. So I started with reading the Adventure Burner, an excellent resource on getting campaigns going.
And I got to thinking, Burning Wheel Gold is great; The system speaks to me. But it feels very tightly coupled. There are lots of intertwined elements, crafted to work in concert. I have no doubt the game would be amazing.
But it pushes hard against several of the play styles of the gamers I have available. In some cases, I think the accounting would be overwhelming. In others, the odds are too much to overcome. This also knocks Ars Magica out of the running (as not everyone wants to play a wizard).
So I set aside Burning Wheel and its sibling Torchbearer. I gave Dungeon World a brief consideration, but it is my goto game for one shots, it is not what I want for longer games.
As an aside, I’m considering lifting Discern Realities from Dungeon World and bringing it as an option for any game; I’ll need to normalize the probabilities, but it is a good “We are stuck, what comes next” release valve.
While Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Sword & Wizardry, and Labyrinth Lord appeal to me for their bare-bones systems, I am looking for some additional “tech” to provide for the gaming group.
This leaves D&D 5E, Stars without Number, and Pendragon up for grabs, though I’m leaning heavily towards D&D.
I spent some more time poking around in the DMG 5E. There are an awful lot of house rules to push things in a direction that I believe will work best for the table and for the type of game I want to run.
Next steps are to figure out who all can play, a schedule for a character creation session and mini-adventure, and a plan for what to do when someone can’t make it.