The following is part adventure recap, part DM strategy session, and part after action report. I’m approaching this edition of D&D with game design/writing credits and a love for story and indy-game approaches. Ultimately, I want The Great Dungeon series to be informative to the reader, but also provide a method to refine the approach to my own DMing.
I tried to ask questions about what the group collectively wanted. After listening a bit, and trying to steer the conversation towards what game experience people desired, I scrawled out a grid of game traits and players. Then, I began marking off what people wanted (and didn’t want).
Find the ruined temple where the cult of Nam-Shub sits on one of the world’s last stockpile of pure Thaumium rods… and TAKE IT!
In short: I strongly encourage you to check this game out, and throw money at it until it arrives at your house and does a flying elbow through your door.
This summer was extra-special. Although I have been exercising my RPG muscles, both personally and professionally, in different directions, there is no ignoring the launch of the new edition. And for someone so steeped in Organized Play, the launch of a new D&D campaign at the start of a new edition of the game is a critical hit.
I was one of the fortunate few to get my grubby mitts on an advance copy of the Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons. We’ll have a full review of the book in the next few weeks. In the meantime, I wanted to explore some of the aspects that jumped out at me as we flipped through.
I had to adapt my approach to prepping. I needed a way to do a little amount of prep whenever I had a short break: during lunch breaks, long meetings or at home. I got the original idea, of all places, in a task management book called From Zen to Done.
The risk inherent in mentioning optimization, rules complexity, and story vs. rules in a discussion is great. People may fall back into entrenched positions on all sides. So I want to quickly clarify some points that will also frame my discussion going forward.
The game has to be about the story if the hobby as a whole is going to flourish. This means that the ultra-optimizing, breaking the game with its own rules because they are there, intentionally ignoring the spirit of the rules to mangle the game into something it isn’t, has to stop.
It is no secret that Dungeon World was created as an homage to the earliest versions of D&D. From the six standard ability scores that range from 3-18, to the races and classes of the grand old game, Dungeon World makes no pretense at being anything but a hack of D&D.