My Experience With Dungeon World

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My Experience With Dungeon World

Postby Nightmare » Sat Jan 18, 2014 10:55 pm

So I just finished playing my very first session of this game Dungeon World over a Skype group with a few friends. The GM was the only one of our group who had played the game before, and all of us gave this game a shot out of his recommendation, saying we would probably enjoy it. He couldn't have been more right, honestly.

A cool thing about Dungeon World is you get experience in two ways. You make Bonds with your teammates at the start of the session which you can get an XP point for if you feel like you completed the bond. The other way is by screwing up royally: if you roll a 6 or lower on anything at all, it's a catastrophic failure from a narrative standpoint and something goes wrong, but you also get an XP point. So the more we screwed up, the funnier the game got and the more we learned about how things worked and got stronger.

The first thing I noticed about this game was the sheer malleability of the system. There are only about two or three pages of instruction on different basic actions (which you don't even have to use, really) and everything else is either totally up to the GM, narrative discussion from the players, and the character sheets. You can pick from existing character classes or you can mix and match from two or three or you can make your own character entirely. It's really zany seeing how cool a party can end up.

I traveled in a party with two other friends, whose characters were a Thief (little black cat with an expertise in throwing daggers covered in sleeping poison) and a cyborg Artificer (master inventor who can roll with his intelligence to build anything provided it's powered by his affinity element, electricity in this case). My personal character was a mix of the usually non-combat class the Noble (who would normally get by using pure charisma, connections, money, and the ability to hire guards and fighters to follow him) and the custom class the Dashing Hero (almost a parody of the generic Disney-style heroes who are good looking and can do incredible feats with their skill and guile). Basically I ended up being a classy rapier dueler with a fighting style much like Marth's. A lot of our fights were structured around all of us chipping away at bad guys with low damage while I spouted puns, our Artificer Antonio build crazy inventions to help us out of bad situations, and our Thief Whisk robbed everything blind.

Also, two other party members who tagged along. Antonio had a robotic assistant named CoSeinfeld and he mic spammed the Seinfeld theme whenever the robot got activated. I had a noble steed named Speedwagon. I sacrificed starting out with any kind of advanced moves for my class in order to give my HORSE an advanced move. "In the Nick of Time" allowed me to magically call for it whenever I needed it most, usually drawing the attention of every bad guy in the area if not outright body slamming a target when I need it to. Speedwagon saved my party members from explosions at least twice during our fist session. Real Bro.

Our adventure started really serious as we met outside of a hotel at midnight, all hoping to get a goodnight's rest and never having met one another before. Out of pure coincidence we end up working together to stop a riot led by bandits. Did I mention our GM let us each give ourselves a custom skill at the beginning? Mine was PUNishment: whenever I make a pun, I can roll for charisma with the chance of giving my enemy a throbbing migrain if the pun is lame enough. The very first rolls of the game were me dodging and tripping the lead bandit into a wall behind me and going "That's the fastest anyone's ever fallen for my good looks!" with a perfect natural roll on the pun. At this point I knew it would only get better from here. Sure enough, Whisk threw three daggers at once and basically 360 no-scoped all the remaining bandits while Antonio had a BRAIN BLAST! (his equivalent to my puns, his special skill only he can use) and repaired the entire hotel that we smashed up.

We ended up traveling to an ancient temple and here's where things started taking a turn for the hilarious. We ended up chucking Whisk across a pit and almost killing her to evade a trap, and when we got to the first treasure chest the Game Master asked us what we found inside it. I immediately screamed "A CHEST FULL OF STALE SUBMARINOS", the knockoff Hispanic Twinkie snacks.

Next we found ourselves going to a pocket dimension created by an evil wizard who could bend time and space. We fought through his army of chinese zombies and stone golems (it would have only been fighting one of each, but I completely botched a pun about how golems rock and the ensuing failure drew the attention of four more enemies) and eventually made it to his throne room which was surrounded by a lake of deceased souls which are GM described as "basically the same as the lake at the end of Disney's Hercules). We had a pretty great battle while my team mates whittled him down with ranged attacks while I attempted to duel him and almost got killed by magic quicksand. Luckily CoSein saved my life at the last moment while Antonio blasted at the wizard with his pulse cannon and Whisk attempted to steal the wizard's staff.

The wizard got amused and started dicking with our reality and he turned my hands and feet to stone and increased Whisk's thief dagger to the point where her small cat character couldn't hold it up anymore. I used my wrist-mounted hookshot I found earlier in the dungeon to try and get the wizard's staff from him, but I failed the roll and ended up soaring towards him Ocarina of Time hookshot style. I decided to cross my arms in an X in front of me so I basically peformed a flying cross-chop the wizard with giant boulder arms. He tried to hit me in retaliation but I parry his blow, ALMOST knocking him back off of his throne and into the lack below. Antonio tried to take initiative and ran towards the wizard to tackle him into the pit, and sure enough, my horse Speedwagon showed up in the Nick of Time, carrying our Thief's giant dagger in it's mouth. Antonio hopped on, grabbed the giant blade with his cyborg strength, started spinning it like a drill, and used his shock gloves and the metal of the blade to conduct electricity.

To clarify, our cyborg rode in on a talking horse and jousted an evil wizard with a giant, electric, spinning drill sword while the game master mic spammed the Gurren Lagann theme song.

And then while he's drowning in the lake of dead souls I let him know "I had a sinking feeling this fight would end this way," rolling a perfect PUNishment so pain inducing it causes him to explode.

What gets better is the wizard fused with the souls of the dead after he exploded, and became a giant floating Vishnu-type figure made of glowing green energy and sprouting arms of dead souls from every direction. He was so powerful he lost control of his reality powers and we began to obtain some of the same abilities... naturally, our first idea of what to do is form a giant reality bending super robot. We all roll our highest stat: mine is charisma, so I form the head. Our Thief and Artificer are the two arms, CoSein is the body, and Speedwagon is the bottom making us some kind of centaur or something, so I would have been mic spamming the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme at the time if my phone was getting any good reception. After a short fight, we just all agreed on punching the s*** out of the wizard at the speed of light Fist of the North Star style, and the GM let us roll as many D20s as we could in like five seconds to represent us doing an infeasibly large amount of damage to him. The wizard exploded spectacularly and we all got back into town and to the hotel to go to bed since all of us had been up all night.




So, yeah, this Dungeon World game is hella fun. It's like laid-back and less technical Dungeons and Dragons if you want to play seriously, it's completely balls to the walls insanely awesome or funny if you want it to be, and basically the whole plot and party can switch to whatever everyone wants at the tip of a hat. If any of you would ever be interested in playing this sort of game, I could get you the starting character sheets and rules and we could discuss maybe setting up games in the future. If not, that's fine too, I just really wanted to share this story because of how ridiculous it was.
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