Starting a New Game: What do I Need to Bring?

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Starting a New Game: What do I Need to Bring?
« on: January 22, 2013, 05:10:02 PM »
I have a new game starting Saturday. I've run AW several times, but am new to DW. I'll have a copy of the rules, dice, player sheets and extra paper.

But what else should I have with me? What would you make sure to have and why? I intend to have them start in media res in a dungeon. Do I need to have it mapped out with notes on monsters and traps?

Thanks!

Re: Starting a New Game: What do I Need to Bring?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2013, 07:36:05 PM »
check out some dungeon starters!
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

Re: Starting a New Game: What do I Need to Bring?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2013, 11:00:04 PM »
Do I need to have it mapped out with notes on monsters and traps?
I'm not a DW expert mind, but I've run the game several times with mixed results and have learned from my mistakes. I would say "yes" to notes on monsters and traps, but "no" to a mapped out dungeon.

For monsters, your notes can just be a collection of critters (intelligent or otherwise) you think would be cool to have the PCs interact with. Think a little bit about what kind of dungeon you're going to start the PCs in (Wizard's Tower, Goblin Mine, Cultists' Lair, City Sewer, etc.) and just brainstorm some creatures that could be found there. Then grab 'em from the DW book (or make up your own) and put their stats and moves on an index card for easy reference during play.

Traps are similar. Think of some cool or classic traps you'd like to see in this dungeon. Write them down on an index card, along with what they do when activated and any telltale signs of their presence. That should all be fiction, though you can note how much damage they do, or write a custom move for the effect. I find it best to not write down how to get past the trap, as that can blind me to creative solutions the players come up with.

Which is why I say don't map out the dungeon beforehand. In the games I ran with a fully mapped out dungeon, I found it only stifled my creativity. It was difficult to make hard moves because I knew where everything was and what everything was doing. Sometimes I found myself thinking "Well, there really isn't anything else in this room, but the player just triggered a Discern Realities move. What should I do?" or "Someone just failed a roll, but none of the monsters could possibly get to them. They're all the way over there, behind all these locked doors. Hmm..."

So, in my experience having a "finished" dungeon hurts more than it helps. If you have a cool idea for a certain location (a narrow stone bridge spanning a bottomless chasm, a pillar-lined room with an altar to an evil deity, the stony shore of an underground sea, etc.) write yourself notes cards about that. Maybe include a quick sketch of the area, and notes about who or what might be found there. Then just use those locations when the PCs wander into an appropriate area. It's almost like playing "connect the dots"; you have a couple of set locations you want to showcase, but just make up the places in between them as the players explore.
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noofy

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Re: Starting a New Game: What do I Need to Bring?
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2013, 03:45:26 AM »
I like to have Index cards or post-its to record people, places and items on, and add to them as they get elaborated on through play.

I usually have a ream of Dyson's un-coded dungeon maps as 'artefacts' for the players to discover (and me to use as inspiration). As noted, MArshall's dungeon starters are invaluable, and I find the new 4e essentials monster manual absolutely spot on for giving new monsters life (basing their moves and instincts from the descriptions), plus the pretty pictures are always good for the players.

Lately, the Skyrim companion art book has been lovely for inspirational imagery, as we have a new game set in Marshall's starter: 'The Frozen South'.

I also have DCC rpg on had for cool spell effects to use on 7-9 and failures, plus it has enouth random tables to keep any GM happy :)

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Scrape

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Re: Starting a New Game: What do I Need to Bring?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2013, 02:23:24 PM »
Hyvemynd has great suggestions. I'm the type of GM that usually over-prepares, but that's definitely a hindrance in DW so it's good to unlearn it. I usually note down rough stats for like three monsters: easy, medium, and tough, just as guidelines. Then I come up with a kick-ass opening scene and use the players' answers to build from there. Like, "what if they're already in the dungeon, picking up the Great Jewel as the undead guardians awaken?" And prep no further than that. I'll ask the players stuff like "what curse is said to lie on the Jewel and why haven't you told the rest of the party?" Or "what's your real reason for being here?" I might jot down a few encounter ideas, but it's all very loose so they can be changed ir necessary.

I've found that a good list of questions is better than a great map. So much easier to improvise and use player input.