Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?

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Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« on: August 11, 2011, 11:37:59 AM »
There are no stupid questions... I hope

I need some advice here.
Do you think it could work?
Playing Dungeon World with a single player in a play by post game?

Please don't throw rocks at me :D

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sage

  • 549
Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2011, 12:08:56 PM »
It might work, technically, but I think you'd be missing out on a fair bit. I know several people have done some pretty great play-by-post games, so that's not an issue. One player is just... iffy, to say the least.

The biggest problem is the lack of intra-party relationships. DW is really built on the Bonds, and those won't be in play much. You can fill that out with NPCs somewhat, but the person-to-person interaction of a Bond is just as important as the character-to-character.

So, it may work, but it probably won't be great.

That said, try it! I'd love to hear how it works. We certainly won't take away your books/PDFs or throw rocks.

Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2011, 01:02:52 PM »
That's what I feared :/

You see, I know some (French) groups which used Dungeon World with good old Dnd first edition Adventures.
I'm more familiar with Apocalypse World itself and , when I read their actual play report, I though that:

1) The 'feel' of their party seemed less mistrustful (That it could be in Apocalypse World)

2) Playing a dungeon crawl adventure written for a basic game could alter that 'sandbox' feel proper to apocalypse world.
(As I already said, I'm more familiar with AW. After all DW mix AW with old school dungeon crawl.
So, obviously , everything won't totally result from players answers and bad rolls)

So I (wrongly) concluded that bonds/Hx were less crucial on dungeon world and that I also could use some good old fighting fantasy gamebooks as an inspiration for an adventure.

Now, I fear that would restrict Dungeon World to a rule-lite engine.

Thanks for your mercy :D

Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2011, 01:08:13 PM »
I've run it one person for my son and changed the bond to things in the Dungeon.  Made them more like the BIT-like stuff in Mouse Guard.  Worked pretty well but I'd need to revisit it before I tried it again. 

Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2011, 01:38:28 PM »
Could you enlighten me? :)
I never played Mouse Guard.

Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2011, 02:41:18 PM »
I ran a one-on-one game and it went fine.  I suppose it didn't have much in the way of "depth", but there was a dungeon and some monsters and some treasure and some choices and some dice rolls and a little RP with a rescued NPC.  Pretty much like a one-on-one game of D&D.

Contrasting that, I played a multiplayer game of Dungeon World and the bonds went essentially untouched as well.

Maybe there's some higher-level ideal that we didn't achieve, and don't realize that we are missing, but it was certainly fun, regardless.

But the "things-in-the-dungeon" bond idea sounds like a winner, too.

Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2011, 07:16:41 PM »
The biggest problem is the lack of intra-party relationships. DW is really built on the Bonds

At the risk of dredging up something that may have already been settled, I don't see this at all.

I get that bonds are supposed to be big, but when I look at the PDF for the rules, Bonds seems really underpowered. All they're used for is helping or interfering--important, yes, but there are a ton of other moves that don't rely on this at all. It looks like a remnant from Apocalypse World, and while I think AW does the relationships well, DW doesn't seem focused on it as much at all.

Am I reading something wrong? Is my interpretation incorrect? I'd love to be proven wrong, but the text doesn't seem to focus on bonds much at all. Maybe it need to be re-emphasized?

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sage

  • 549
Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2011, 07:24:37 PM »
They're just as much as part of the game as AW Hx, used for just as many moves. I don't think they've been de-emphasized. At the very least they make every game start with a solid background of who knows whom. At best, they provide a really strong basis for the game. Both are supported methods.

What you're missing out on is that clear background between the characters, since there are no other characters. In many versions of D&D what you miss flying solo is mechanical strength, in DW you lack that some but you also miss out on a chance to really define your character in relation to others.

Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2011, 01:41:00 AM »
They're just as much as part of the game as AW Hx, used for just as many moves. I don't think they've been de-emphasized. At the very least they make every game start with a solid background of who knows whom. At best, they provide a really strong basis for the game. Both are supported methods.

What you're missing out on is that clear background between the characters, since there are no other characters. In many versions of D&D what you miss flying solo is mechanical strength, in DW you lack that some but you also miss out on a chance to really define your character in relation to others.

I can see what you mean, but perhaps part of the difference in the feel is that the bonds seem optional. In AW, everyone goes around the table and creates bonds with everyone, and oftentimes, these start at some sort of bonus or penalty. Further, the players get a chance to change the assigned bonuses or penalties as well by adding in an extra detail on top of what the other players assign him or her. Further, these changes that could be made, this give and take between players, really helped to flesh out the background of the characters, since it often created tensions in the background stories they were crating that they had to resolve. In DW, I'm only required to create one bond. Sure, I'm encouraged to make more, but there's nothing requiring me to.

I think, if I had to summarize this, it would be that it seems like the players are developing the Hx of AW characters, whereas DW feels like you're assigning +1 bonuses to certain interactions, and without that give and take, the variance that can occur between characters, the Bonds system falls flat for me. I hope that makes some sense.

Maybe it will make more sense in play, but I somehow doubt it will. We'll see what happens Saturday.

Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2011, 09:49:53 AM »
I kind of feel like you make the bond, it gives you a mechanical bonus, but it doesn't come up again.  Also, if you get end the session and take +1 with someone with whom you don't have a bond then there's no language attached to that relationship.  Bonds should be, I think, more dynamic - somewhere between Hx and beliefs and keys.

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sage

  • 549
Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2011, 02:07:56 PM »
Just like AW, it's up to you to make Bonds matter in play. I've run games where the present action overtook the Bonds in importance, and it worked. I've played games where there really wasn't anything but the Bonds. The Bonds make the game better, but it works without them.

The game gives you the fact that (for example) the wizard has foreseen an important roll for the fighter in things to come, and is therefore trying to teach her of mystical things, while the cleric sees this as an affront to their god and is instead trying to win over the fighter to their religion. If you decide to ignore that in your game that's fine, but I feel like that's a lot to work with.

I should point out that Bonds also tie the characters to the situation. Always mention the basic setup to the players before they set their Bonds.

EX:
"So, you guys are going to track down an evil wizard who's holed up outside of town, preparing to destroy the city."
"Oh, then this bond about having foreseen that Thelian is important? I think that's related to this. I think he's the savior of the city."
"Awesome! Is your vision pretty explicit, or is this your interpretation?"
"Totally my interpretation, I think."
"And does anyone else know about it, or are you the only one?"
"It was actually the wizard I studied under who first discovered it."
"You studied under a wizard in Battlemoore? Of crouse you did, Xeno the Great has had many apprentices. So you probably have at least heard of Grundloch, the mad wizard now threatening to destroy the city..."

Bonds are totally about wrapping up everybody in the situation, both relative to each other and to the world around them. I would suggest that if your Bonds just feel like a mechanical bonus you're not asking enough questions.

DW is missing the reciprocity of Hx, where I modify what you say to me. But we also avoid the pain of setting Hx which is, even if you're used to it, a bit of an annoyance.

Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2011, 02:37:14 PM »
DW is missing the reciprocity of Hx, where I modify what you say to me. But we also avoid the pain of setting Hx which is, even if you're used to it, a bit of an annoyance.

Ah, here's where we differ. I like the process of setting Hx, and to me, that interaction is what makes it awesome. I don't agree with you, but at least I better understand why you did it. =)

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sage

  • 549
Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #12 on: August 12, 2011, 02:59:48 PM »
Saying something back is the smallest little difference. You're going to say something back to matter what! If I say "I have forseen that you will play an important role in events to come" that's an invitation to talk. The GM's questions should include both parties: "So how do you feel about this expectation that you're important?

The bigger difference is that in DW you set how well you know others, in AW you set how well others know you. It's a slight inversion, but it's there for the focus on YOUR character. D&D has a strong tradition of the character being your domain, so instead of saying things about others you say things about yourself that actually say things about others.

The other big difference is that we explicitly don't allow starting bonds of -1. That's not a huge thing, but it's important. In a D&D party, everyone knows everyone.

That's really the three reasons for Bonds as Bonds: to have the reasons for your Bonds on your character sheet, not someone else's; to make positive bonds common; and to make it a little simpler.

Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2011, 03:25:30 PM »
I agree that they are good when you first start playing, I am just not sure what happens to them in later sessions, later adventures.  If you only take one bond, do you only have one for the rest of the campaign?  What if the fiction changes?  You can use the +1 to sabotage the bond that gave it to you.  I'm not saying they're bad, I just want to know what happens to them during longer term play.

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sage

  • 549
Re: Dungeon World with a GM and a single player?
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2011, 03:34:56 PM »
The Bond statements set starting Bond scores. After each session your Bond score may be adjusted. If it ever reaches +4 or -4 it resets to +1 or -1 and you mark XP.

The starting Bonds are just that: starting. They describe the starting state of play. They will change, it doesn't effect current scores. Only the end of session adjustment changes current scores.

Bonds are fictionally things in the past. I know you better because I've been watching your back. I stop watching your back? Doesn't change that I still know you pretty well from all those other times.