Trying out Dungeon World with the students

This afternoon I ran a session of Dungeon World for the after-school club kids and it went over really well – so well, that I have at least nine students eager to play next week which means I will need to see if I can get one of the 12th graders to GM a second group.

For today’s session, which was run simply as a demo for the group to watch, I had a human fighter, human paladin, elf wizard, and halfling thief. I ran a section of the Blood Stone Idol adventure that’s included in the Basic set PDF, starting the group at the entrance of the dungeon and letting them explore the first few areas. I was surprised at how quickly the students picked up the rules and how well they engaged with the narrative elements of the game. What was most interesting to me was how much they enjoyed exploring the typical D&D tropes and story elements in an entirely new way. The session ended with the paladin being smashed flat by a marauding ogre, followed by the halfling thief running up the ogre’s leg, burying his dagger in to its throat, and then riding the dagger down the length of its neck like a pirate sliding down a sail. The group broke in to a cheer and we wrapped up the demo.

I also found the game a lot of fun to run. My favorite part was the list of GM moves which essentially dictate how I could react to failures. I loved the fact that the story’s twists and developments grew organically out of the characters’ “failures” rather than my rolls and how my main job was simply to react and spring board based on the players’ decisions.

All in all it was a great session and the result is we’ll be playing a lot more Dungeon World over the next few months.

Back to school, back to gaming

School’s back in session and the first meeting of the after-school gaming club has come and gone. Like past years, I spent the first meeting explaining my plans for the year, seeing which of the seniors might be interested in GMing, and pitching game ideas to the veteran players. This year I was quite stunned to discover all of the RPG players – we have a small group of Warmachine players this year as well – want to play the indie RPGs I introduced last year. This includes the group that last year who were dedicated to playing 4E D&D – apparently they’re looking for a change too.

Of the various games I pitched the ones that got the most enthusiastic responses were:

  • Fiasco
  • Mouse Guard
  • Trail of Cthulhu
  • InSpectres
  • Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple
  • Big Eyes, Small Mouths
Two of this year’s seniors have offered to GM – one has Mouse Guard in hand, while I’m going to pass along InSpectres to the other. Next week, time permitting, I’ll start teaching the groups as a whole how to “play” Fiasco so that they can start running the game without my facilitation as well.
Next week we will also see how many new players show up – the official first meeting for everyone is always the second meeting of the year since it’s the one I openly advertise. This lets me get my “ducks in a row” so to speak and have some games ready to play for the next players. I’ve changed the style of posters I use to advertise the club, with the hope of attracting a few more younger players (grades 6-8) since for the past few years we’ve largely attracted only high school students which means the membership turnover every couple of years is fairly high. We’ll have to see if the new posters are effective.