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).
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.
While I read the newest Monster Manual, I could feel the monsters coming together in and around dungeons and world events. There is easily digested lore for every monster in the main part of the book, and each of the 2-3 pieces of lore has something a GM can sink their teeth into and turn into a piece of an adventure.
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.
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.
It’s quite possible that, when we look at the small things that form together to build a happy life, D&D can be high on the list. This might surprise us. Yet if we think about it, the fact that we get so much joy playing D&D might not be all that surprising at all.
Last month, I wrote about how you might design and run deathtrap dungeons using the Dungeon World roleplaying game. To aid GMs further, I’ve created several custom moves based on some of the most iconic and infamous traps lurking in the Tomb of Horrors. Use them as they appear in your own adventures, or modify them to create custom moves for traps of your own devising.
In this final part of the series, I’ll talk about how to handle death in your Dungeon World delve and how to manage “defy danger or die” effects. I’ll also discuss some strategies for rewarding players and characters that overcome the challenges your deathtrap dungeon presents.