GenCon’s Apocalypse World KristaCon Event

I had the privilege of attending GenCon this year. I was a volunteer for Games on Demand and a regular player at Games on Demand.

One of the events that I was eager to join was the Apocalypse World KristaCon-style game, run by Mark Diaz Truman and Travis Scott. Earlier at Origins, my son had the privilege to play in a Dungeon World KristaCon-style event run by Travis and Mark. He had such a fantastic time in their game.

For the uninitiated a KristaCon-style event eschews the convention-style one-shot session in favor of something more involved. In the case of Origins and GenCon’s KristaCon-style events, this meant two GMs coordinating three sessions with many of the same players playing in each session.

The result was a mini-campaign where player characters were moving between tables, building the game over the course of 3 sessions.

Barf Forth Apocalyptica

At the table was Mark, Derrick, and sadly 3 other players whose names slip my memory. I had previously played a very memorable game of Dungeon World with Derrick, Travis, and Mark. Derrick and I had played Apocalypse World before, though no more than a handful of times. The other 3 were new to the game system, but quickly proved up for the task.

Mark kicked things off by having us sketch up a bit of our world. We spent about an hour defining our little piece of civilization at the end of the road. Thank you Derrick for kicking things off with your vivid descriptions; It sets the tone for everything. Everyone remained quite engaged, leaning into the game, ready to give but also eager to hear how other things were going.

I ended up playing Found Spider (Hocus). I was a bit confused early on thinking I was grabbing the Brainer, but it turned out a better fit. I based Found Spider loosely on Pennsetucky from Orange is the New Black. Found Spider was a religious nut job with a following.

Found Spider’s followers were her family, congregating near her. They were hungry, desperate, and diseased. But also dedicated and were a powerful psychic antenna.

Three Sessions in Brief

Over the course of three sessions, I watched the fortunes of Found Spider ebb and flow. In the first session Found Spider was quickly on her heels as one of her followers committed a senseless act of destruction – that desperation tag flared up.

In the second session, Found Spider had only 15 minutes of screen time, but it was so very creepy and defining of Found Spider’s character. In those moments I really grew to understand Found Spider and the lengths she would go to.

Most people may howl at having only 15 minutes in a 3.5 hour game, but I was captivated by what was transpiring amongst the other players and was quite content to hear the story unfold.

The phrase that so very much summed up Found Spider was “A spider web requires something sturdy and permanent as its anchor.” This realization that Found Spider was in fact a team player helped to position Found Spider in session three.

In the third session, Found Spider became the euphoric zealot, driven by love. Mark and Travis had some interesting custom moves for the game, one was related to “doing things out of love”. Found Spider stood beside Chairman Proper, fighting for the coffee shop at the end of the road.


The KristaCon-style event provided a framework for seeing Apocalypse World in its best light…a continuing series of sessions, in which characters develop in interesting and unexpected ways.

I went into the game knowing that Found Spider was bat shit crazy, but I didn’t realize how bat shit and desperate Found Spider would actually be; Nor did I know at the outset what Found Spider’s actual driving force was.

One of the challenges was making sure that our table focused on the story and not on digging through playbooks to find our next advancement; We addressed that for session ethree, and things really sang at that point.

After our massive confrontation, Mark closed things out by asking for an epilogue for each of our characters. Found Spider ended up marrying Chairman Proper, changing from a religious nut-job to one driven to create a better place – mechanically speaking Found Spider likely shifted to a Touchstone.

Helping Other Gamers With Consideration for the Visually Impaired

As one of the regular hosts at Games on Demand at GenCon, it was my duty to match games, facilitators (i.e. GMs), and players. Three exchanges of players looking for games stuck out.

One exchange was someone saying “I’m glad I have money so I don’t have to volunteer to get my badge for GenCon.” This left a bitter taste in my mouth, but underneath that derision was a valid point: He wanted to play games. And I happily paired him with a game run by a passionate GM – I think he ended up playing Monsterhearts, which I know was out of his comfort zone; I think he enjoyed it.

Another exchange was with a couple and I assume their teenage child. They were waiting for games and got to the front of the line only to find that they weren’t interested in any of the available games. And they really didn’t want to leave the front of the line. They wouldn’t accept my promise that of all the remaining games, each of the GMs were passionate about running their game. Eventually they left disgruntled without taking a risk.

The third exchange was with a middle aged woman whom had obvious low vision issues – the white cain was my visual clue. I had seen her walking around the entry way, and at one point another host guided her to a place where she could sit and not worry about getting jostled around. And there she sat patiently.

During this particular slot, I was fortunate to have a second person helping with hosting. And as things were brought under control, I approached the woman who was so patiently waiting.

As I sat down with her, I asked about her vision issues, so I could understand how I could pair her up with someone. It turned out that she had something similar to Macular Degeneration – her central vision was gone. I explained that my mom had Retinitis Pigmentosis – my mom has no peripheral vision and only a pinprick of central vision – and was herself nearly blind.

In helping this woman, I thought of my mom, and how she struggles to play games with even the most simple of components.

Clearly any game with a heavy reliance on maps and tactical movement was out of the question. So she was in the right place as most of the offerings were Indie games, in which maps are eschewed; Or more appropriately used as a visual augmentation.

While she was waiting, she had been carefully listening to the tables discussing their games. And she quickly began asking questions.

“Can you tell me about that game over there? It sounds interesting, but I’m afraid I’m not into petty conflict and teenage angst.”  – I explained Monsterhearts, and she said “No thank you.”

“And that one sounds like there is just too many dice for me to manage,” she said in reference to what I assume was Mythender.

We went through a few more, and for one reason or another they weren’t good fits.

I asked her if she had heard of Fiasco, and she said no. Here was a game that required very little in the way of visual information. I then went on to quickly explain it, but it became evident that she wasn’t looking to play a bad person, nor did she want the other characters to be bad.

That greatly narrowed the field; There is something about tragedy tourism that Indie games aspire to. We worked our way through the offerings, and it was clear that she knew what she didn’t want to play.

I had an “A ha!” moment, and went to talk with Marissa of Magpie Games. She was prepping to run a game of Our Last Best Hope. And I asked her for the quick run down of the game and paired that with the woman’s request.

Sure enough, this would work out. The woman was very much interested in playing a character trying to save the earth from a catastrophe – bad things could happen to her character so long as they weren’t inflicted by other non-GM players.

Afterwards, I talked with Marissa and it sounded as if the woman enjoyed the game. And while there are some visual aspects to the game there were others helping, and the game went off rather well.

This exchange left me wondering what other games would work for people with visual impairments.

Other Games For The Visually Impaired

Our Last Best Hope – there are some writing elements, but really this can be handled by other people helping out.

Fiasco – while the setup may be a bit challenging, once the game is rolling, it should be relatively easy for someone to play.

Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple – yes you are asked to record your story in one sentence, which may be challenging to write, but why not have another person be the scribe.

InSpectres – While the character sheets are very busy, they can be distilled into something quite compact.

Cthulhu Dark – Each character has two concerns; What is my insanity score and what is my profession. Simple characters. Simple rules.

School Daze – Characters are a simple collection of information; Should be easy to mentally juggle. Not a lot of text to wrestle with.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it may prove helpful for those of you looking for a game to play with someone you know who has vision impairments.

Dungeon World – GenCon 2012 Edition

I was slated to be a Games on Demand GM for 12 hours at GenCon and a host for 4 hours. After some quick reconsideration, I ended up hosting far more than GMing. I did, however, manage to facilitate several games of Fiasco – and sometimes two games at once – as well as run one game of Dungeon World.

But this isn’t about the game of Dungeon World I ran; Though I will take a moment to thank Jason Morningstar for providing a fantastic 2 hour adventure to run. And I’ll give a shout out to Clark Valentine‘s pit slave “nameless”, for escaping and carrying on the religion of those who had fallen. And to Nick Garcia, David Morford and the two gentlemen who had to duck out early (glad to hear you weren’t sick just coping with the overheating room).

Instead, this blog post is about an impromptu after hours Games on Demand adventure run by Jim Crocker. After hosting 5 transitions at Games on Demand, I was exhausted, but didn’t want to slink back to my hotel room. Joining me at the table as players was Lizzie Stark, Travis Scott, Morgan Ellis, Mark Diaz Truman, Marissa Kelly, Derrick Kapchinsky, and myself.

Before I go on, how did it happen that I was so privileged to play with this fantastic group of players, many of whom were GMs at Games on Demand?

  • I stuck around Games on Demand well past closing time.
  • Blearily I went and got dinner with the GMs from the food trucks
  • I laughed over some absurd gaming nerdgasms – a vinaigrette-based conflict resolution and other things that may result in my eternal damnation.
  • I built on existing conversations, not seeking verbal one-upsmanship
  • I then shambled along as everyone sought to keep the good times rolling.
  • When several vocal players voiced that they wanted to play Dungeon World, I sought out the playbooks

It’s a really simple recipe – engage and facilitate. But that is somewhat beside the point.

Funniest Session of My Life

Prior to GenCon, I maintained that my favorite gaming sessions were Diaspora character creation sessions, the “Irv the Mole” one-shot, and the first session where I gamed with Jaron – not because Jaron rocks, which he does, but because the session was a well laid plan that unraveled and was still doggedly adhered to – a Fiasco if ever there was one.

I can now add “That Dungeon World game I played until 4am at GenCon on Sunday morning.”

Why did it rock? Because the players all went gonzo and the GM let it happen while keeping things moving – Bless you Jim Crocker for your patience as it was your patience that allowed the absurd to shine through. Not only was Jim patient as we unwound and flexed our inner absurd, but he kept asking questions and folding those answers back into the game.

For example:

Why was the human settlement nestled into an old abandoned dwarf mine? Because the climate was terrible in the region.

Why was the climate terrible? Because Marissa’s character introduction involved her bursting into the tavern with snow whipping around her.

Why did Marissa narrate such a grand entrance? Because the first character introduction by Morgan was “bard turned up to 11” and things continued throughout all introductions – though mine was weak sauce as I was a skulking thief.

During this session, there were three players (Morgan, Travis, and Derrick) who were consistently pushing the comedic envelope. But Jim masterfully took their shenanigans in stride and rolled the narrative into the game.

We created our world together building upon each other’s assertions, there was an internal consistency.

  • Dwarven stone graffiti was much like an editor’s red pen, but instead of pen a chisel were used, attempting to correct perceived imperfections.
  • Dwarven healing magic was a painful experience.
  • Elven ale served at human establishments is the PBR of elven beer craft.
  • The bard’s “Arcane Music” was instead theatrical stage directions…as per Kenneth Branagh directing and starring in a Shakespearean play.
  • Dwarf culture is “Every single minor imperfection bitched about endlessly.”

Certainly there were other assertions, but it was late, and I was doing everything in my power to remain engaged in the game as the clock slipped towards 4am.

This was an eye-opening experience for me as players were cleaving quite close to Graham Walmsley’s “Play Unsafe” advice – always say “Yes and…” to build on another player’s assertion. Jim expertly kept things rolling by issuing a constant barrage of questions, as if he demanded a ritualized sacrifice of answers to proceed.

And it sounds as though my GenCon experience with Dungeon World wasn’t a unique experience – JJ Lanza and his boys (whom I had the privilege of gaming with at GenCon) also experienced the magic of Dungeon World and its barrage of questions.

And for those curious, I did play Dungeon World at GenCon 2011 and also had a great time. This time, however, things went to 11. Thank you to all who played as I will certainly cherish this game, and crib procedures and ideas from this game for years to come.

Next years goal? To play Dungeon World with Nykki and Matt Boersma.

May Not Haved Played A Lot of Games at GenCon…

But I had a blast. Instead of playing a published game, I opted to play a whole lot of the the Games on Demand LARP. The rules were somewhat simple – though I think the current Host move When you facilitate a transition may need some tweaking .  If I’m not mistaken the rules for the LARP are in early Alpha stage…I know they were changing during GenCon.

The Rules

  • The Games on Demand LARP ran continuous for 12 hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdary; and 4 hours on Sunday.
  • There are three classes of characters in the Games on Demand LARP – Host, GM, and Player. A handful of subclasses emerged throughout the LARP, more on that later.
  • New GMs and Hosts arrive every 2 hours, on the evens, and many played for 4 or more hours straight. Many of the GMs and Hosts were previously scheduled.
  • New Players arrived every 2 hours, on the evens, though some spent an hour or more in the Player generation line.
  • The GM provides an ideally short list of games that they are passionate, excited and well prepared to run.
  • The GM demands that the Host find Players to play in one of the GM‘s games.
  • The Host negotiates and sells the games to the Players.
  • There were some slots that were already locked in via the scheduling system…you know kind of like when your bot takes damage in RoboRally.
  • Some Players arrived with generic tickets for any time. Yet there were a subclass of Players that had tickets for a specific time slot, though not for a specific game as per the locked via the scheduling system.
  • The Host role was a bit different. A Host was responsible for matching Players and GMs while recording what the GMs were excited to run, what table they were running at, and what the elevator pitches were for the GMs games of choice.
  • Some Players ended up offering to subclass into GM as they grabbed the When you facilitate Fiasco move.
  • Some people showed up, not on schedule, and offered to be GM for a slot or two

Session Reports

I spent most of my time involved with the Games on Demand LARP, though I was very mindful of my hunger and hydration levels. I drank lots of water and ate lots of snacks.s

For Thursday, my frist slot was as Player in a Fiasco game (Dragon Slayers playset). I then was GM for a game of Dungeon World (using one of Jason Morningstar‘s adventures). And my final slot, I took was a GM with the Facilitate Two Games of Fiasco subclass. This was crazy interesting, but I believe things went off well.

For Friday, my first and second slot was as a GM for Fiasco. As my second slot wrapped up early, I grabbed a Host playbook and began LARPing. It was kind of a jolting transition, but I think I pulled it off.  For the last slot, I ended up as a Player in a Cthulhu Dark game.

Saturday, having tasted the power of the Host class, I went all in – I actually think this class may be broken as the Host has such power over the GM and Player classes. I ended up playing Host for 5 of the six slots. During one of those slots, an interesting subclass emerged Host as I selected the When you facilitate Fiasco move from the GM playbook.

Sunday, I was spent and skipped out on the Games on Demand LARP. I would’ve been up for more had I not stayed up way too late continuing the LARP back at the hotel – more on that in a later post.


Having played lots of Host role, I can say that most of the Players that remained in the line ended up getting paired up with a GM. Lots of the Players ended up playing games that were pitched to them by the GM on the spot – Mongolian Goat Rodeo, School Daze, Spark, GxB, and a whole bunch of other games as well.

One crazy GM facilitated a 6 vs. 6 game of the Marvel Heroic RPG using the Civil War characters. I didn’t hear the detailed results of that game, but I can assure you that the 12 Players had a unique experience for that slot.

The Players may not have known what the game was before hand, but the Players that I encountered afterwards had a great time.

Several of the games that were played at Games on Demand were run by the GMs that created the game. That is someone passionate and prepared for their role as GM!

As Host I recall only one disgruntled Player, with a scheduled generic ticket, walking away from Games on Demand, upset that there were no openings for games she wanted to play. While I had empathy for her plight, I didn’t have sympathy, because there were still  2 GMs looking for a Player – and one of them was Fiasco.

To be fair to her, she did have a time-scheduled ticket that should’ve meant she got to go to the head of the Player generation line and therefore get to pick her GM earlier. At the time, however, I was unaware of the time-scheduled tickets, so I wasn’t separating the Player generation line. This was quickly corrected.

The Alpha version of the rules creaked and groaned under the explosive growth of the number of people involved.  Last year, there were 7 tables in a remote corner of a GenCon hotel with what I believe to have been ample overflow room.  This year, there were 12 tables one floor directly above the exhibit hall, with erratic overflow options.

For a small volunteer army of GMs and Hosts, I believe we managed to facilitate a lot of people having fun playing games that may have been new to them. I know the room was always charged with excitement.

Adventures in Adventure Conversion

This year, I’ve signed up to facilitate and/or run at least seven 2-hour time slots for Games on Demand at GenCon.  I’m planning on bringing Hollowpoint, Fiasco, Lady BlackbirdDungeon World, and possibly Durance.

In preparation for Dungeon World, I’m going to bring at least one adventure for a 2 hour time slot.  So this weekend, I began my preparation.

I decided to take this opportunity to review several of my old D&D 1E adventures. For the most part, these are adventures that I have not played in and have only recently acquired – traded for within the last 3 years. I’m likely going to convert one of these adventures.

I thought about going easy, and grabbing MJ Harnish’s conversion of U1 – Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, but decided I do a little work for the community and convert another module.

A1 – Slave Pits of the Undercity

The first adventure I pulled off the shelf was A1 – Slave Pits of the Undercity. It was originally designed for GenCon XIII (1980) tournament play.  I figured that would be a great start for reading.

The first section of the adventure is a very linear dungeon crawl, and felt very inappropriate for Dungeon World.  It was specifically designed for tournament play using D&D; Many of the set pieces were tightly dependent on the D&D rules.

One thing that turned me immediately off was the extremely linear map.  Dungeon World is about playing to find out what happens – exploration.  And plodding through a linear map is the anti-thesis of exploration.

Kingdom of Ghouls – Dungeon Magazine #70

For a brief moment, I flirted with converting this adventure. But quickly realized the scope of the adventure is too grand in scope to properly convey in a 2 hour time slot. That said, I may still consider a micro-conversion.

The challenge for this adventure is that the players are going up against an army of ghouls and need to muster troops to assault the growing plague. With the “War” Kickstarter stretch goal for Dungeon World, I may yet convert this.

T1-T4 Temple of Elemental Evil

I picked this up a month ago, and had yet to read it. I have heard numerous tales of the Moathouse, so I figured I’d give it a read through.

I love it.

It has a narrow-broad-narrow dungeon design, that is to see the front door is easy to find then things open up, but ultimately steer you towards the “exit.” There is room for exploration without loosing site of the final goal.

The random encounters feel very much like the soft moves described in Dungeon World – some are noises in the distances, others are monsters revealed.

There is more than one thing going on within the Moathouse, not quite factions, but certainly a handful of overlapping themes.  Each of the rooms provides

B2 – Keep on the Borderlands

With Wizards of the Coast releasing the Caves of Chaos for the D&D Next playtest, I thought “Well maybe I should spin this through the Dungeon World centrifuge.” For a 2 hour time slot, this looks like there are too many rooms to account for.


In reading these old modules, it becomes clear that exploration and clever play is at the fore front of earlier incarnations of D&D. The adventures are extremely compact, with little space devoted to each room. D&D 3.5 and 4E adventures change their focus and instead worry about creating “memorable” set pieces – placing monsters and hazards within a room.

Yes those conflicts are memorable, but as a whole can feel disjoint. Contrast this with an older adventure, where the dungeon is the set piece. Implied motion permeates the adventures – random encounters and alerting other areas – and as such the concept of a single room having a combat map is somewhat absurd.

In reading the adventures, it is clear that the adventures reward smart play. If you tip off the monsters that there is a strong force attacking, they flee, taking their treasure with them.  Or if you may choose to carefully explore a tangential place in hopes of grand treasure.  And remember, in older versions of D&D, XP primarily comes from treasure not slain monsters.

Old D&D rewards the “leave no stone unturned, so long as your turn it over carefully” kind of play.  Very different from the slash your way to victory that I have seen in so many later incarnations.

Even the texts of the adventures encourage exploration by the DM. There are subtle environmental cues – a greased door, a barrel of vinegar – that tell a larger story, but only if the DM explores those relations. These old modules have a minimalist approach with subtle flavors and textures.


I believe I will be using the “On Set Design” blog post from Hack & Slash’s blog as a template for the conversion.

GenCon Games on Demand – Bulldogs!

Having played Dungeon WorldLady BlackbirdHollowpoint, and the Tower of Gygax, I was a happy convention goer.  On Sunday, we went again through the exhibitors’ hall, hoping to score some good deals.  We did pick up a few boardgames for dirt cheap.

The highlight however, was Jenny saying “We should go to Games on Demand and see about playing another game.”  Almost reluctantly, I followed.  In my head, I think I was wrapping up this year’s GenCon.

We purchased two more generic tickets for the 12pm to 2pm slot.  As it turns out, the creator of Bulldogs!, Brennan Taylor, was going to run an adventure.  Immediately, my spirits perked up.  There would be one last hurrah!

Brennan ran his Jaws of the Barracado scenario.  The scenario was kicked off by with the captain accepting a package that needed to be delivered to a pirate planet…no questions asked.

I’ll skip the scenario details, as I’d rather people play the game than listen to my recounting of the plot.  Instead, I’ll focus on our tables interaction.

Excluding Brennan, we had 6 players at the table.  Two of us had read Bulldogs!, 2 of us had played a Fate game, one of us was a regular role-player, and one of us was a new role-player.  Brennan did an amazing job of providing help and insight for the newer players. He was patient, and I believe did a great job explaining the rules as they came up.

Brennan explained that each of the characters had signed three years of their life away to embark on dangerous cargo deliveries.  Clearly we were a flying hive of scum and villainy.

The table ended up choosing their characters, and I grabbed Gloop, a Tetsuashan systems expert.  The Tetsuashan are a small, slug-like race with the following racial aspects:

Begin Open Game Content


  • Short of Statur, Strong of Will
  • Slug-Like Form
  • Space is Home
  • Omnipresent
  • Fearless
  • Inscrutable


  • Slime Trail – Can walk on walls
  • Squish – Can squeeze body to extremely small size
  • Resilient – recover consequences faster; once per scene may clear away one minor consequence
  • Regenerative Power – can regrow lost limbs
  • Poisoned by Salt – salt inflicts extra stress
  • Reduced Speed – Movement costs more
End Open Game Content

Having practiced lots of Dr. Zoidberg impersonations, I opted to use a modified Zoidberg voice for Gloop.  I also decided he was somewhat petty and a real schemer.

Being the systems expert, Gloop kept the ship warm and humid, much to the chagrin of Prbrawl, a Ryjyllian pilot; The Ryjyllians come from an ice planet.

Gloop reprogrammed the medical robot to be a better meat shield than a doctor and systems expert; After all, having regenerative powers, Gloop didn’t really need a doctor.  And if Gloop wasn’t head and shoulders the best at systems, they might replace him.

The interaction with the other players was fantastic.  Prbrawl, the pilot, was played as a brown nosing second in command to the drunken captain.  This created a wonderful moments, as each of the crew worked to undermine Prbrawl’s self-appointed authority.

By far, this game was my favorite one that I played at Games on Demand. Brennan gently prodded the adventure along.  More importantly, he wisely yielded narrative control to the players our group, as we were clearly enjoying establishing our characters and the relations to other characters, and playing a day in the life of our disfunctional ship.

GenCon Games on Demand – Dungeon World

After our Lady Blackbird session, Jenny left to prepare for a client interview for her freelance writing. I stayed on to join a Dungeon World game run by Jason Morningstar, creator Fiasco.

Having just played Snargle and Gobbo, I elected to play a dwarf fighter.  As I was making my character (a 3 minute ordeal), I paused to think about his alignment.

The options were:

  • Good – When you defend those weaker than you mark XP.
  • Neutral – When you defeat a worthy opponent mark XP.
  • Evil – When you kill a defenseless or surrendered enemy mark XP.

Dungeon World rewards my character’s development if he adheres to his alignment.  Awesome!  I elected to make my dwarf fighter good, figuring that I’d be defending the halfling rogue and elf wizard.

We finished up the character creation by selecting my character’s bonds.  Below are the character’s bonds that I filled out.

  •  _______________ owes me their life, whether they admit it or not.
  • I have sworn to protect _______________.
  • I worry about the ability of _______________ to survive in the dungeon.
  • _______________ is soft, but I will make them hard like me.

With the bonds set, and the other player’s highlighted my character’s Strength and Dexterity.  This turned out to work rather well.  First, my fighter was going to make lots of Strength based moves.

Second, every time I would Dey Danger to charge in and get in the fray, I would mark XP.  And finally, if I chose the Defend move to save another character’s skin, I also gained XP.

In combat, my character quickly marked XP, and as per Jason Morningstar’s house rule, after 5 XP, I gained a level.  This is contrary to the rules as written of after 10 XP times your level (i.e. 10 at 1st, 20 at 2nd, 30 at 3rd) gain a level.  Jason said that in short games, he prefers to bee-line advancement.


Dungeon World, and it’s fore-bearer Apocalypse World, were immediately awesome.  I could see the value of the moves and keeping the dice out of the hand of the game master.  However, the finer points of running a conflict were just outside of my initial comprehension.  But once Jason began our first battle, things really started to click.

We eschewed detailed maps, instead focusing on hastily drawn rooms and approximate location.  Instead of showing the goblins that were flanking the wizard, the game master informed the player that his wizard was flanked because the wizard’s previous failed move.

Another excellent component of the game is that there is no need to worry about rolling for initiative.  If the players are dawdling, it is the GMs job to make a move from their list.  Otherwise, the first person to “do it”, “does it.”  Which means if I say “I’m charging the goblin” then my character is in fact charging in, before anyone else might even respond.

This works because Dungeon World instructs the Game Master to only make moves when the players aren’t acting OR when the players fail one of their moves.

In the example of charging the goblin, the Game Master must wait for the results of my Hack and Slash move.  If it was successful, I do my damage, and the goblin does nothing else.  If I fail my move, the goblin does damage.  Given the probabilities, I am likely to have a partial success in which I do my damage and the goblin does it’s damage.

I would highly recommend picking up a copy of Dungeon World.  Dungeon World is most definitely on the short list of games that I will run for one-shot dungeon crawls.  I think it will also be a wonderful game for longer term play.  We’ll see.