A quick one-on-one Dungeon World session
On Sunday night, I headed over to The Game Room Adventure Cafe in the evening to see what was happening. Adriana, one of the employees, was there, and the scene was pretty dead. We got to chatting about D&D, which she has played for about 6 months now, and was sort of enjoying. I say sort of, because we talked about all the fun, but also some of the things that could be drags in some games.
I offered to run her a quick Dungeon World session, and she took the bait. Before long, we had Quorra the Elf Bard, raised by humans with an unknown lineage. We jumped into it, and I used the questions from my Scrimshaw Pass questions (which I posted about previously). It's always fun playing a game with the same set of starter questions, but coming out with a different outcome based on the player's outlooks and interests! There was a tower with the last signs of her unknown mother, a mute packmule of a man who ends up being a wizard of sorts, and two suspicious hirelings who try to murder her for her money. We ended on a cliffhanger, and it was good.
The session was about an hour long, and in our discussion afterwards, it sounded like this hit many of the marks for what she wants out of an RPG. She's still relatively new to the RPG scene, but I like to dream that these are the seeds that'll make another GM out here, one day. (Especially given that Dungeon World is just so much easier to manage, not just as a new player, but as a GM.)
This was also one of my first times running a one-on-one session, and I gotta say: I love it! I might need to make more such things happen in the future.
D&D Adventure League night
So, the Game Room Adventure Cafe has Tuesday and Thursday Dungeons and Dragons Adventure League nights on their calendar. Thursday is especially busy, and Tuesday a little less so. I headed on the Tuesday for the 6pm start time.
There were two tables of gamers. One was running a homebrew setting that sounded pretty interesting: High elves had taken over the world in a Nazi-esque fashion, and have been dumping other races down a "bottomless" pit to get rid of them. However, those races have been unknowingly creating a hodge-podge culture down there, and are now working to free themselves.
The other table was 4 high school kids, mostly having never played D&D before, who were there to check out the scene. Normally, one of the cafe owners would run a D&D game for them. However, I was happy to step up and volunteer to run a thing!
Dungeon World and the Scrimshaw Pass
I warned the kids that this wasn't D&D proper, but they were cool with whatever. So, they did pay the cafe the normal $5 fee to play in D&D Adventure League, but I sort of hijacked them into Dungeon World.
We did some character creation, and had:
- Kim J.U. (played by Tyler?): A halfing Druid from the frozen north, out to cleanse the land of evil spirits
- Maiev (played by Ojhan): A halfling thief who grew up on the city streets in the south, and who is the estranged brother of Kim
- Anduin (played by Eddie): A human Cleric who grew up on the streets and was adopted by the goddess of charity and the downtrodden
- Hamoud (played by Joey): A human Ranger from the forests with his eagle companion, Habibi.
Before we started, I took a look at Time Franzke's wonderful Things to Do In the First Session document (also linked at this reddit page). It highlights those elements to bring up in session so that the players get to use the moves associated with their character. As we were establishing bonds between the characters, I took some notes in preparation for the session:
This gave me a few milestones to try and hit during the adventure, and I was able to make most of them happen. (Even a few of the ones that look unchecked, above, we actually got to later, such as the Druid talking to some animals, the thief disabling a trap, the cleric communing with his god.)
It made me realize that I want to have a cheat sheet version of these I can just whip out into play during the game. I remember reading Tim's original document and thinking, "there is no way I'm going to remember all of this!" But in fact there isn't too much you need to remember, if you condense it into little bullets. So... this is a background project that I'll link to when I'm done! [It is done! Check here for standard size and here for 3x5 index card size cheat sheets for Dungeon World!]
As far as the adventure, I went with the Scrimshaw Pass again... I mean, why not? It's totally open ended, and again, it worked really well. Why did you hire Lyurk's gang to get you through the pass? The spirits that haunt the lands there. How did you find out they are going to murder you in their sleep? We see that one of them has tagit oil and is trying to poison us / My god has told me not to trust them / etc.
All in all, we had a great little 3-4 hour session, which included some good bonds and tensions, suspicious hirelings, another hireling which turned friend, bone golems in a disturbed graveyard, a friend turned ogre, and a fire wizard's tower.
We discussed how they dug it. They enjoyed aspects such as the pace, the system, how easy it was to pickup, their freedom of movement. We did have to wrap up the final fight fairly quickly, but it included an unexpected betrayal, where one of the PCs sided with the fire wizard in the tower.
I don't know that I've prepared them for playing D&D so much, but they do have a feel for RPGs and what they can provide, so with them good luck in their journeys!