Author Topic: New dungeon world GM question  (Read 7716 times)

fusionmonkey

  • User
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
New dungeon world GM question
« on: September 03, 2013, 02:24:29 PM »
Hi everyone I just ran my first dungeon world one off yesterday and came up with a glaring problem. Any tips on how to curb player sillyness when fleshing out the setting and the lore. Two of the players I was playing with just seemed to want to create the silliest setting they could come up with and as a GM it's a little disheartening. Should I ask less open questions at the start or should there be a house rule to help curb stupid things like a bard singing 80's rock anthems to calm a banshee. Yes that was one of them. Or the many tentacled naked woman which was another. It was a terrible experience and the other two players weren't enjoying it because it was like the first two were just trolling the game. I tried to get it back on track by using loaded questions but the damage was done.

I am going to run another one off next week however but I'd like tips on how to stop this. I guess it's my failing as a GM so some tips would be great, especially for starting off a one shot and getting it on the right track or at least sticking to a less ridiculous theme.

 Another problem I'm having is just with starting gold. I noticed only a few classes get starting gold and it's a choice. Should I give them a small amount each or should I just stick with what the classes state?
« Last Edit: September 03, 2013, 02:38:40 PM by fusionmonkey »

J. Trudel

  • User
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2013, 03:06:12 PM »
Many starting GM are having issues like this when new at this stuff, don't worry too much about it. If I can give you only one tip, reward your more serious players with interesting stories coming from their background. This way, it may interest your ''trolls'' to actually care a bit more about the story you are creating with them, and they might stop beign trolls.

If they don't,  kick them out of the game. Having fun is what this game is about. If some players ruin the experience, there is no point at all in keeping them playing. Also don't be afraid to refuse something to the players, as a GM it's your job to display an interesting  world to the players. You have all rights to discuss with the players on how their background make sense. If it doesn't simply say : no, you can't be this or that way, this doesn't make sense with the world.

fusionmonkey

  • User
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2013, 03:15:48 PM »
It's nice to see I'm not the only one having this problem. I guess I should learn to say No more and to steer the game away from the ridiculous. What would you say are good opening questions to set the setting up after the bonds are put in place. I think I gave them too much freedom with "What is attacking you right now?" Thing is it worked in a demo game I played and It made a really interesting moment with our party being confronted by demonically possessed villagers.

Another thing I'd like to go over is maps and preparation for a one shot or first session. I understand one of the principles is create maps and leave blanks but should I fill in some rooms? I'm used to do much more structured go here, do this kind of campaigns but I got tired of being held in place and turned to Dungeon World. I guess I need to learn where the proper balance is for DW.

noclue

  • User
  • Posts: 609
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2013, 03:30:49 PM »
Lets see, if you don't want 80s rock anthems just tell the players the tone your going for and ask them if they're cool with that to answer the question again. If there is disagreement on tone, then the game can't really proceed.

I'd just stick with what the class playbooks say about starting gold.

Leave as many blanks as you're comfortable with and fill in with as much detail as you think the players will find interesting.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

RedCliff

  • User
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2013, 04:59:52 PM »
I've had problems like this twice in my recent game. While I handled it a little differently each time, at the core was simply saying "no."

The first case was just that. "No." Someone was coming into a game we'd already started, and wanted to play a cleric. I told him the people of the world we'd created were ancestor worshippers, but otherwise it would work exactly like the playbook. It's just that his cleric would be appealing to a venerated ancient rather than an all powerful god. So I asked him who this paragon of his people's history was. He answered he was the patron saint of healing, named Meow.

I shook my head and said no, I wasn't introducing that level of silliness into what had been up to that time a pretty serious game. Choose another name.

The other player had introduced a character based on the lead singer of a heavy metal band he'd been listening to on the drive over. Everything was based on if it was "truly metal." With him, I said that he could use this as a source of inspiration, but I needed him to work with me to make this more than a punchline. He still needed to fit in the world and the party, and he nodded immediately and said he both understood and was willing to work with me. In the end, he was without a doubt pushing the boundary of silly with each game, but he did keep it just on the edge instead of blasting past it.

I love the player contribution to world building present in DW, but I don't think it gives players a free pass to do whatever they want. There should be some general agreement of tone everyone works within.

Casey Finley

  • User
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2013, 06:33:47 PM »
I had a lengthy commentary that I was going to post, but I decided to spare everyone, as it occurred to me that I must first ask a question...

Fusionmonkey, do you enjoy creating campaign worlds?  Is there an existing world that you would like to use?  Obviously there's a "feel" that you're going for, but how much do you like the creation side of the traditionally GM'd game?

Scrape

  • User
  • Posts: 378
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2013, 06:42:48 PM »
Almost any problem can be solved by just discussing the issue. Whether it's mechanical, setting-based, an incident during play. Straight up say to your players: "I want everyone to have fun, including me. I have trouble caring about the game when it's too silly, can we trunk it back a notch? If you want crazy monsters and ridiculous magic, I can work with that. Let's discuss how goofy this world is..."

Then talk it out. Maybe you'll never get a gritty tragedy out of these guys, but you'll find a compromise for sure. In my experience, the goofier players have one of two motives:
1. They genuinely want a Piers Anthony-style football world. But even those books had moments of drama and conflict!
2. They are afraid that people will laugh at their serious ideas. It's easier to use humorous as a shield.

And maybe it's a bit of both. Talk it out and see!

fusionmonkey

  • User
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2013, 07:28:48 PM »
I had a lengthy commentary that I was going to post, but I decided to spare everyone, as it occurred to me that I must first ask a question...

Fusionmonkey, do you enjoy creating campaign worlds?  Is there an existing world that you would like to use?  Obviously there's a "feel" that you're going for, but how much do you like the creation side of the traditionally GM'd game?

I love creating campaign worlds. As for existing word well I wanted to get away from that since I've been running Dragon Age and The One ring for the past few months and felt a little held in place by events and the lore. I was typically going for a Robert E Howard style swords and sorcery setting when I started off and the two more serious players really liked that idea. All the player classes had their place in the world and it was all fine until we had a bard with a mask over his face doing a constant dark knight rises Bane voice and a Paladin that worshiped Thor and basically wanted to be Thor from the comic books.

Scrape

  • User
  • Posts: 378
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2013, 08:13:06 PM »
It sounds like you guys just have different visions for the game. Sure, they're being goofy as shit, and that can be super annoying, but maybe that's what they think is fun. Maybe right now they're posting in another forum, with a thread titled "How can we make our GM have more goofy fun and not take things seriously?"

There's really no magic bullet for putting everyone on the same page, except for just talking it out. It works!

J. Trudel

  • User
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2013, 08:38:54 PM »
Yep, talking it out is usually a working solution. Describe your setting to the players and ask them to contribute. One of the most improtant job of the GM is to describe a setting that will have the players wanting to be a part of it. I guess that your players didn't really get what your setting was about, and this is why talking with them is so important. If the setting is too ''open'' you have good chances to end up having for character funny teen girls running around with pink hairs and chainsaws. ;)

While it might be welcome in some settings, the case isn't true for many others.

fusionmonkey

  • User
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2013, 08:49:29 PM »
Yep, talking it out is usually a working solution. Describe your setting to the players and ask them to contribute. One of the most improtant job of the GM is to describe a setting that will have the players wanting to be a part of it. I guess that your players didn't really get what your setting was about, and this is why talking with them is so important. If the setting is too ''open'' you have good chances to end up having for character funny teen girls running around with pink hairs and chainsaws. ;)

While it might be welcome in some settings, the case isn't true for many others.

Okay I think I know what the problem was now. I misunderstood the freedom of Dungeon World which is my failing. I gave them too much free reign. Next time I won't ask such broad questions at the start. For the next session I'm running it for people who are actually interested in a campaign. This one was just kind of a test of me to work out the system and such. Mainly combat which was chaotic but a lot of fun. The next session is for five people from my local game store's facebook page. I posted up I was running Dungeon World and these people jumped at the chance. I think it's a testament to the game that within seconds of posting the ad I had five people going. "Do you still have places? I'd love to join!"

Next session for the start of the campaign I'm going to be introducing a cult called the "Jade Mask." I have some basic ideas about them written down but I've left blanks in the narrative. The game is going to start with the adventurers investigating the sounds of moaning and screaming coming from a cavern in the forest. What would you say would be a good way to open this? What kind of questions should I ask?

I think that's one of my problems is I ask far too broad questions leaving it open to crazyness and basically turning it into medieval saints row.

Casey Finley

  • User
  • Posts: 8
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2013, 08:55:19 PM »
FusionM, that's perfect!  It's not hard to have the misunderstanding that you had!!  When I first read DW (& BW & FATE), I had this reaction of "I prefer GMing, so WTF do I get to do?!".

I missed the point.  You can still have some solid ideas of what kind of game world you want to run in.  You can detail some threats, some gods, or whatever you want!  Just leave room for the players that WANT to play to have some of their own input and improvisational freedom.  It should be fun for them, but it should be fun for you too.  :)

Good luck!

J. Trudel

  • User
  • Posts: 19
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2013, 09:20:07 PM »
Yep, talking it out is usually a working solution. Describe your setting to the players and ask them to contribute. One of the most improtant job of the GM is to describe a setting that will have the players wanting to be a part of it. I guess that your players didn't really get what your setting was about, and this is why talking with them is so important. If the setting is too ''open'' you have good chances to end up having for character funny teen girls running around with pink hairs and chainsaws. ;)

While it might be welcome in some settings, the case isn't true for many others.

Okay I think I know what the problem was now. I misunderstood the freedom of Dungeon World which is my failing. I gave them too much free reign. Next time I won't ask such broad questions at the start. For the next session I'm running it for people who are actually interested in a campaign. This one was just kind of a test of me to work out the system and such. Mainly combat which was chaotic but a lot of fun. The next session is for five people from my local game store's facebook page. I posted up I was running Dungeon World and these people jumped at the chance. I think it's a testament to the game that within seconds of posting the ad I had five people going. "Do you still have places? I'd love to join!"

Next session for the start of the campaign I'm going to be introducing a cult called the "Jade Mask." I have some basic ideas about them written down but I've left blanks in the narrative. The game is going to start with the adventurers investigating the sounds of moaning and screaming coming from a cavern in the forest. What would you say would be a good way to open this? What kind of questions should I ask?

I think that's one of my problems is I ask far too broad questions leaving it open to crazyness and basically turning it into medieval saints row.

Before asking questions, I suggest you introduce your setting. Then even broad question will have the players answer with revelant information about your setting. I would begin somewhat like that :

The land of ........ (your setting), is a dark place where habitants struggle to live. Hard days of work are hardly enough to put bread and dirty water on the table. Peasants revolts seldom occurs, but the lords of the land are quick to put anyone who oppose them to the sword, or worse. This is why many try their luck to escape a hard life by becoming adventurers, you are amongst them, on your way to investigate some strange ... (introduce the mission).

How have you become involved in all this ?




fusionmonkey

  • User
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2013, 09:25:45 PM »
Awesome! Thanks everyone for the help! I now understand where I messed up :)

Scrape

  • User
  • Posts: 378
    • View Profile
Re: New dungeon world GM question
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2013, 09:45:12 PM »
Please note that while you can shift the campaign tone by asking pointed questions or limiting the answers, you can and should also discuss it with the players. There is just no substitute for having a straight conversation and saying "this world is dark and gritty. I want you to have a lot of input, but please keep it thematically appropriate."

Like, even if you carefully craft your questions you will still get more player input during play, and still run into players who have their own character ideas that may be wacky. It's much, much easier to simply have a conversation about expectations first.