[Dungeon World Beta] Confused by Fronts and Dangers

edited February 2012 in Story Games
I'm going to be GMing a session of Dungeon World tonight (I don't think the rest of my group reads this forum regularly, but if they do they should skip this thread to avoid spoilers). Our group just played through the Bloodstone Idol adventure over the past few weeks with a different GM, so I'm trying to follow the new DW Beta rules for how to play and create new adventures. I'm personally uncomfortable with a complete "just wing it" style (a blog post with my thoughts on that general topic) but DW says you're allowed to prep a bit if you want to. Basically, what I want to do is create a small dungeon that I'll be able to use tonight after character creation with the intention of building a more character-question-based campaign after that.

So when I get to the Fronts section of the book I get somewhat confused. Each Front is supposed to have "a few" Dangers (on twitter Sage said 3 is good, 2 is sometimes acceptable). Each Danger needs to have an associated Impending Doom, which implies that each Danger has an agenda (either intentional or just by its nature). I wanted to create a simple kidnap scenario, where a villager is carried off by a small cult to an ancient ruin to perform a ritual. The ruin is currently the nesting place a big territorial lizard in the main entrance chamber and home to a small group of goblins who have found a back entrance into another chamber. The cult is obviously a Danger: they've got an agenda to summon a demon who they think will rebuild an ancient empire (I have a little trouble with this because I don't want to fill in every step along the way to Tyranny with Grim Portents because I doubt it will progress that far, but I think I'm getting the gist of it right). The lizard, however, just wants to live in its nest and control its territory. If it doesn't have adventurers or cultists trying to poke at it, it's perfectly happy with the status quo in the ruin. The goblins maybe have an impending doom of wanting to expand their tribe indefinitely but that seems like a stretch, too. I thought I'd just create a "Current Residents" Danger and stick moves like "Lizard goes out hunting" or "Goblin sets a trap" in there, but since that Danger doesn't have the Impending Doom or Grim Portents stuff associated with it (also confusing: it's slightly ambiguous whether some of these are per-Danger or per-Front) it doesn't seem like a valid Danger. So now I don't have enough Dangers to be a valid Front. But I don't think I want a more involved situation with multiple active agents right now, because I'm just trying to fill a single session. I'd be happy to change any of the stuff I talked about above to make things work, but I'm having a hard time navigating how I'm supposed to be using these rules. Maybe I'm not even supposed to be using these rules for what I'm trying to do.

Comments

  • Are the cult and the demon separate dangers? I always think it's cool when the demon summoning cult is acting in their own interests without fully understanding the desires of the demon. That would get you two related dangers so things aren't quite so much of a confused tangle.

    Alternately, just try with only 1 danger. I suspect it will work fine, it's just that 2-3 is more interesting/exciting. I you think you only need one for what you want, just do one. You can always add a second later.
  • You know, I told Adam just a week ago that we probably needed to give that chapter a good cleanup (it's at least half a year old) but we thought it was good enough for the Guild. Stuff like this just helps us make it better, so thanks!

    It sounds like we need a better way of talking about how to split an idea into Fronts and Dangers. What the Front concept is trying to do is make you think about this adventure as a multi-faceted thing, not just one challenge to face. There are a few ways I can see splitting this up:
    • If the cult is a bigger entity than just this group of cultists maybe your front is "The Cult of Xar-en-tul" with dangers like "Accidental Summonings" (planar beasties that have crossed over as a side effect) "Circles of Corruption" (the places the cultists worship in) and "Misguided Humans" (the cultists themselves).
    • You can also think of the place as a whole as a front. The ruined temple is a danger, as is the cult. The goblins and lizard play into why the ruined temple is a danger: it provides a convenient spot for these kinds of beasts. The impending doom would have to do with the danger drawing in bigger creatures until something the village can't ignore comes along.
    • I love the demon/cult divide for making two dangers too. If that reflects how you see the cult that's a great pairing.
    • You can also treat the cult itself as two dangers: one danger is the summoning, one is the sacrifice. This implies the two are at least somewhat distinct: they can summon without the sacrifice (but maybe not as well) and they might sacrifice even if they didn't have to to summon.
    All of those are totally fine ways of making a front from this cult. Which one is right for you depends on which way you imagine these people, which is why we talk about multiple dangers. A front with one danger is flat and the players can pretty much ignore anything that's not part of the obvious danger. With multiple dangers the place comes to life. Making these multiple dangers is a way of making the GM think about what they really want to do.
  • Posted By: sageIt sounds like we need a better way of talking about how to split an idea into Fronts and Dangers.
    Yes. I found it hard to understand what I was supposed to do. Like, when I'm creating Dangers, am I supposed to be thinking in terms of the fiction and then mechanizing them or should I be picking from the list and building the fiction around them, some combo of both, etc. It seemed like the section was more describing what things are rather than instructing me what to do, and it wasn't obvious from the descriptions how they were all supposed to fit together.
    Posted By: sageYou can also think of the place as a whole as a front. The ruined temple is a danger, as is the cult.
    I think I'll go with this one (I don't want to make the cult more involved insidious presence unless the players seem engaged by that idea). I think this idea didn't occur to me because I'm creating a "Dungeon Front", which I put in my notes as the name of the dungeon, so I was mentally trying to find things that were "within" that dungeon front to be dangers. Like, since I already used the ruin as my category it never occurred to me to consider that the same ruin would be an appropriate danger. I might not have had that problem if it was called something else, like an Adventure Front or a Module Front or something.
    Posted By: sageMaking these multiple dangers is a way of making the GM think about what they really want to do.
    What I really want to do is follow the rules (I'm a bit compulsive about wanting to do things correctly), so I felt a bit trapped between the rules about using the players answers in the first session to construct a campaign and the rules for creating fronts which seem like they're likely to create multi-session dungeons. I'd be fine creating a more involved dungeon, but the rules (as I read them) tell me I'm not supposed to do that yet.
  • I think that most of what Sage said is bang-on, especially about the Cult and the Demon being separate Dangers. You don't have to, mind you, separate them. If you aren't interested in the Demon or the Cult are a bunch of Scooby-Doo style bumbling idiot villains, then the Demon won't matter or need to be a Danger in and of itself.

    The easiest way to think of the Front is to say "This is the adventure." and to list the important elements of the adventure (power groups, individual dangers, places of power etc) as Dangers within that Front. Each Danger has an Impending Doom. If you've ever played Dogs in the Vineyard, there's some advice about town building there that I took to heart when I wrote the Fronts chapter, especially this part. Think about what would happen in a world where the PCs didn't exist. The Impending Doom is the end of that bleak path - where the world would end up if the PCs never got in the way. Think about snowballing each Grim Portent into the next so that the path to the Doom is a natural and progressive one. They're there to help you incentivize action by the players; if they just sit around on their lazy butts, the Portents come true! Why wouldn't they? That's what heroes are for. Stopping the slow crawl of Dungeon World into disaster.

    So, that's my maxim for all this, I guess; "what would happen if nobody stepped in" = "Grim Portents" and "What would happen if all the Portents came to pass" = Impending Doom.

    It's worth thinking about how Fronts contain Dangers but not all Monsters have to be Dangers. Sometimes a giant lizard is just an inhabitant of a place. Sometimes it won't do much else but hang around and eat people. Such is life. That's fine and don't fret too much about it. Put some stats on that beast, throw him in your notes and move on. If, for some crazy reason, he DOES become more significant, you can write up a new Danger for him - either in the Adventure Front or in the larger Campaign Front.
  • We need to clarify our first session v. later sessions rules for sure.

    As for Fronts being fictional things that you just clarify or the trigger for making fictional things: both. Sometimes I'll make a front because we've run into these bumbling cultists a few times so, sure, they probably have some larger agenda. Let's make a front! Sometimes I'll also look at the list of danger types and be like "oooh, planar stuff, angels passing judgement, that sounds cool. What kind of front fits into my game that can include that?"
  • Sometimes they're player-triggered, too. I'll regularly add notes about stuff the PCs will mention to a Dungeon or Campaign Front as I go. In a game at GPNW, I asked a player "How do you know what the snake-cultists use to mark themselves?" and he gave me a cool story about being in the cult himself and magic venom and junk so I put together "The Mother Serpent From Whence Comes the Sacred Venom" and put her on the Campaign Front in case I wanted to use her and his backstory later.

    The Fronts often end up containing a lot of stuff that you'd normally just write down in your notebook as you play but in a more structured way so that while you're still thinking all the time about things that are happening and could happen, now you're doing it inside a specific framework to help you drive play.
  • Posted By: skinnyghostThe Impending Doom is the end of that bleak path - where the world would end up if the PCs never got in the way.
    I got this part of it. The only problem I had with the relationships between Grim Portents and Impending Dooms is that the Impending Doom section reads like you're supposed to pick from the list. Since the cultist want to summon the demon because they want it to be the emperor of a new empire it seemed like Tyranny was the right answer for Impending Doom. But there are a ton of steps between "demon is summoned" and "Tyranny". For me, the obvious endpoint of the cult's involvement in this adventure "demon is/isn't summoned" (and if the demon is summoned I'd factor that into the next adventure's prep) but "demon is summoned" didn't seem like a valid Impending Doom, so my reading of the rules is that I ought to write out all the intermediate steps to get all the way to Tyranny, but I'm not going to do that because it seems silly to get so detailed about the future of an evil scheme that's likely to be foiled.
    Posted By: skinnyghostIt's worth thinking about how Fronts contain Dangers but not all Monsters have to be Dangers. Sometimes a giant lizard is just an inhabitant of a place. Sometimes it won't do much else but hang around and eat people. Such is life. That's fine and don't fret too much about it. Put some stats on that beast, throw him in your notes and move on. If, for some crazy reason, he DOES become more significant, you can write up a new Danger for him - either in the Adventure Front or in the larger Campaign Front.
    This was what I was going to do at first, but then I didn't have enough Dangers in my Front, so I became uncertain about whether this was the way to go. It also seemed like doing this would take away a place for some potentially interesting adventure-level moves like "Lizard goes out hunting" and "Lizard returns to nest".
    Posted By: sageAs for Fronts being fictional things that you just clarify or the trigger for making fictional things: both.
    This is what I suspected, but the way it's written is like "choose some Dangers" and then there's a list, which carries the implication that maybe you're supposed to be picking from this list, so it seemed ambiguous to me.
  • Posted By: Dan MaruschakThis is what I suspected, but the way it's written is like "choose some Dangers" and then there's a list, which carries the implication that maybe you're supposed to be picking from this list, so it seemed ambiguous to me.
    Sometimes a thing will come up in play and you're all "maybe this is a danger?" and between games, you can find a danger that sort-of matches and run with it.
  • edited February 2012
    Remember to start in the middle of the action - maybe they've just arrived at the ruins and stumbled across a [baby] lizard the size of an alligator. Remember to ask them questions so that they are doing some of the heavy lifting - Who asked you to come here? Are lizards this size common? You can even add some details of your own by loading the questions - who is so important that you'd come all the way to the ruins of Endria to confront the kidnappers? You've got some good ideas, the lizard, the goblins, the demon - go ahead and stat those out so that you're ready to throw them in as needed. Consider spicing things up with one or two magic items (e.g.goblin shaman's medicine bag) or some custom moves for situations you think could be interesting (e.g. when you try to interrupt the summoning) and you might want to work toward. Maybe make map of the lizard's den or the goblins' open-air temple so that you can pull them out later but don't worry about trying to map out the whole area, that would restrict your options later and it'll be fun to make maps as you go. Remember that player's actions and the way they answer questions will always render some of your prep moot because nothing is real until it comes up in the fiction - trying to write out a whole front before the first session might result in additional wasted effort. Keep the monsters/moves/items/locations in your prep notes and then see where they take it. You're going to do great!
  • Posted By: Dan MaruschakThe only problem I had with the relationships between Grim Portents and Impending Dooms is that the Impending Doom section reads like you're supposed to pick from the list. Since the cultist want to summon the demon because they want it to be the emperor of a new empire it seemed like Tyranny was the right answer for Impending Doom. But there are a ton of steps between "demon is summoned" and "Tyranny".
    It sounds like the demon is a Campaign Front. Demonic Tyranny is totally something that could bleed from adventure to adventure. If you think that the Demon will be confronted directly in this adventure, maybe choose a less scary Impending Doom that represents a failure to stop him entering the world. Then you can, if he gets away, move him to the Campaign Front and set him up for some Tyranny.
  • Posted By: sageWe need to clarify our first session v. later sessions rules for sure.
    A big problem here is that "first session" sounds a lot like the "what is a role playing game" or "advice for new GMs" sections that veteran gamers often skip over. Fronts, on the other hand, have a sheet to fill in and sound like adventures -I know what an adventure is, I need a front before I start playing so I know what the characters will face, right? First session, advice, fronts, procedure. The rules might benefit from framing the first session materials as an itemized procedure and/or have a first session sheet that has the principles/agendas/always says/dungeon moves/GM moves and also blanks to take notes in (and maybe a handful of blanks specifically for GMs to write questions in ahead of time so they don't draw a blank).
  • Rampant Chaos (laws of reality are dissolved) sounds like the right Impending Doom for "they summon a demon into the world". I mean obviously they aren't dissolving ALL the laws of reality, but they are certainly dissolving the ones that kept that demon out!
  • Posted By: mease19Remember that player's actions and the way they answer questions will always render some of your prep moot because nothing is real until it comes up in the fiction
    Depending on what you mean by rendering things moot, I think I disagree with this statement. If everything is loosey-goosey then it completely changes my relationship to the fiction. As I said in my blog post about the psychology of GM prep, what is or isn't prepped has a big impact on what it feels like to GM a game. For my game, I can't have a Schroedinger's Lizard that might or might not be in the ruin because then I would feel like I'm thinking "do I want to throw a giant lizard at them?". If I know that there's a lizard there whether the PCs go there or not then I can do what the fiction demands, but if the fiction is arbitrary then I can't. Obviously I'm not talking about defining every last detail, but I'm trying to prep the right amount to actually have an enjoyable game. I don't want to be "free" to make everything up on the fly, I want to be free to run the game as a neutral interpreter of the fiction as it develops.
    Posted By: skinnyghostIt sounds like the demon is a Campaign Front.
    I've already decided that I'm creating a Dungeon Front (that's the first decision you ask me to make in the process). I don't want to make any Campaign Fronts before the first session.
    Posted By: skinnyghostIf you think that the Demon will be confronted directly in this adventure
    I don't (and I don't think this particular demon is an active agent in the world before it's summoned). I think the cult will be confronted. I'm hoping that the heroes will stop the cult before they summon the demon, but that's one of the things we're playing to find out.
    Posted By: skinnyghostmaybe choose a less scary Impending Doom that represents a failure to stop him entering the world.
    As I read the rules, the Impending Dooms were supposed to be in the Tyranny, Pestilence, etc., scope. Personally I think that's the right way to go since it lets you use your Impending Doom to guide you toward what Grim Portents to pick -- I'd be more inclined to break the link between the final Grim Portent happening meaning that the Impending Doom immediately happening. If you can pick smaller things end points for Impending Dooms I don't see why they're distinguished from Grim Portents.
    Posted By: skinnyghostThen you can, if he gets away, move him to the Campaign Front
    This was my plan. But the rules as I read them right now imply that I should have that all figured out when I don't think I should figure out stuff that feels like it's outside the scope of a Dungeon Front unless and until the cult becomes a Campaign Front.
  • I haven't read the text, but can you interpret something large-scale (like Tyranny) as an overall motive for a smaller act (like summoning a demon, the first step in some tyrannical plan)?

    In that case, the underlying motive is still Tyranny, but the Impending Doom being threatened is not World Domination but just the first step of a cult's movement towards an eventual attempt to Tyrannize the local kingdom or whatever.
  • Posted By: Paul T.I haven't read the text, but can you interpret something large-scale (like Tyranny) as an overall motive for a smaller act (like summoning a demon, the first step in some tyrannical plan)?

    In that case, the underlying motive is still Tyranny, but the Impending Doom being threatened is not World Domination but just the first step of a cult's movement towards an eventual attempt to Tyrannize the local kingdom or whatever.
    Yes, in that case Tyranny is the Impending Doom of the Demon and "Be Summoned" is a Grim Portent.
  • Posted By: skinnyghostYes, in that case Tyranny is the Impending Doom of the Demon and "Be Summoned" is a Grim Portent.
    Yes, this is how I'm doing it: demon is summoned is the last Grim Portent of my cult danger. The thing that gnaws at me is this rule: "When all of the Grim Portents of a danger come to pass, the Impending Doom sets in." Maybe I'm reading too much into "sets in", but to me that seems like the Tyranny ought to start after the last Grim Portent is checked off, which implies to me that I don't have a good final Grim Portent (or that the rule that links the final Grim Portent to the Impending Doom, or maybe just my reading of it, is too strong).
  • I made this both to clear it up and because I like making diagrams. This is how I envision a front system working, in my head.

    image
  • Posted By: Dan MaruschakMaybe I'm reading too much into "sets in", but to me that seems like the Tyranny ought to start after the last Grim Portent is checked off, which implies to me that I don't have a good final Grim Portent (or that the rule that links the final Grim Portent to the Impending Doom, or maybe just my reading of it, is too strong).
    "When all of the Grim Portents of a danger come to pass, the Impending Doom sets in."

    That sounds like you've got it right. So, in the case of "Demon Attempting To Control Reality" once that last Grim Portent (the Demon kills the last Paladin, or whatever) is true, the Tyranny comes to pass. "That day was the first day of the Age of Hell On Earth."
  • edited February 2012
    (never mind)
  • So I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I've never understood what any of this is for. It all seems like it's just formalizing the planning and thinking about scenarios I (and I think most people) would do anyway. In particular, Grim Portents seems really arbitrary to me. It'd be one thing of the players had that list too -- not that it'd make a lot of sense -- but if I'm the only one with access to it, is it really doing anything more than just organizing my thoughts? I feel like it's adding a lot of structure to something that doesn't really need it.

    On the other hand, I also feel like it all must be terribly useful, because otherwise it wouldn't get so much space in the book, but in a way that totally escapes me. This very discussion, in fact, really highlights my disconnect. Dan seems really concerned with properly defining his Fronts and so forth, but when I read these posts, I don't understand why that's important, or what any of this is accomplishing. But it must accomplish something important, or this thread wouldn't exist in the first place!

    I'm positive that I'm just missing something here. Help?
  • Posted By: Mike_OlsonSo I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I've never understood what any of this isfor.
    You're actually not alone. A lot of people, when Apocalypse World was first released, said "What the fuck is this? Why did you dedicate a whole series of chapters to the shit I do, as a GM, all the time, anyway, for every game I play?" and yeah, they weren't wrong about that. It's a specific sort of way to prepare for a game that supports the other mechanics in as much a thought-pattern way as it does a mechanical one. Some people, though, don't think quite like that and the formalization of prep is as important for those folks, to get them in line, paradigm-wise, with the game, as mechanics for actual play.

    The other thing that, and this is more a personal anecdote, Fronts (and the Moves and Grim Portents and stuff) can help with is responding to the constant barrage of "OHSHITWHATNOW" that a GM can face when you play Dungeon World. Every failed roll is going to lead to the players looking at you with their big wet eyes a-terror and say "shit, man, what happens?" and you have to respond. So you look at your GM moves, right? Maybe those are too vague, so you look at the moves each Danger has. Those are more helpful - because they're more specific. On top of that, you're constantly under the guidance of your Fronts, both Dungeon (right now, here in the ruins, during this session and next and maybe one more after that) and Campaign (next month, or in March, or near-the-end) and their Grim Portents and Impending Dooms. So if you can advance a Portent towards resolution on a failed move - if it makes sense, you do it. Checking them off feels so good. If there's a Portent that says "The Goblins capture the Lady Alissandra" and those poor dumb fucker PCs just failed a roll to defend said Lady - you steal her. You jack her out from under them and you did it because the goblins have a move called "Learn from past encounters and prepare for the next one" and they know, now, how important it is. Or because they're Goblins and they're part of a Horde and Hordes have the move; "Display a show of dominance" and damned if taking away their pretty lady friend isn't dominance over them. All that drives towards their Portent being resolved, which is a little part of their Impending Doom coming to pass which they, as an element of a Front, so desperately want to do.

    And maybe all that stuff I just said takes place in your brain, not on paper or in any formal way and if so, cool. This stuff is going to seem like second nature. If it doesn't, though, and you're the kind of GM that likes a little guidance for those moments where everyone at the table is looking to you to make a move, Fronts are here to organize that stuff and help out.

    These Fronts are designed to help you organize your thoughts on PC opposition. They’re here to contain your notes, ideas, and plans for these opposing forces. When you’re in a bind your Fronts are where you’re going to turn and say “oh, so that’s what I should do”. Consider them an organizational tool, as inspiration for present and future mayhem.
  • edited February 2012
    Just while it's being discussed, I think clear suggestions on when to advance Grim Portents would be helpful. In particular for Campaign Fronts - it's not like a single missed roll is going to advance one of the Campaign Dangers, right? Maybe a failed Dungeon?

    EDIT: Previous post began to answer my question, but I'd still like to know more. :)
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: FelanJust while it's being discussed, I think clear suggestions on when to advance Grim Portents would be helpful. In particular for Campaign Fronts - it's not like a single missed roll is going to advance one of the Campaign Dangers, right? Maybe a failed Dungeon?
    Often a "failed Dungeon" - which is to say the PCs were forced to retreat or abandon a Danger or whole Front due to injury or another Front butting in and taking away their attention (or maybe just sloth, those lazy characters) will result in the Front being busted up. Some things will move to a Campaign Front, others will fade away. Say the Goblin Tribes have "The Ironspear Tribe Asserts Dominance Over the Marsh" as an Impending Doom which would mean those poor Ogres that live nearby don't get to be a Danger anymore. They're all dead and gone. That, though, would be the resolution of a Dungeon Front and a Danger being allowed to live out their Impending Doom.

    Grim Portents advance as the fiction dictates (I know, I know, it sounds like Story Game Cop-Out Time but hear me out). As the GM, so long as you're fulfilling your agenda / principle obligations, you just check off those Portents as they make sense. The move "Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask" is especially important. Be vigilant about their behaviour. Say things like "If you leave Battlemoor now, on the eve of Grundloch's promise to return, it will fall without you. You know this in your heart." and when they say "Fuck it." then you get to, offscreen, check off "Battlemoor Falls" on your Grim Portent list on your Campaign Front.

    So, check it off when the PCs fail to stop it or don't try, or if they're bested in some way that might lead to it. Let the narrative guide you. Think about the situation, review the Portents and when it seems like the right time to check one off, do it. The world moves forward of its own accord and will seem a much more exciting place, living and breathing, when that happens.
  • It's also worth noting that while MC moves and front moves and countdown clocks all rock on toast, the system AW has for developing and managing fronts is... just not that hot. Most of the folks I know running 10+ sessions of AW don't use them anymore. So it may be worth taking DW in a different direction, rather trying to draw too much from AW in terms of front generation and tracking.
  • edited February 2012
    Posted By: J. WaltonIt's also worth noting that while MC moves and front moves and countdown clocks all rock on toast, the system AW has for developing and managing fronts is... just not that hot. Most of the folks I know running 10+ sessions of AW don't use them anymore. So it may be worth taking DW in a different direction, rather trying to draw too much from AW in terms of front generation and tracking.
    I won't lie, I do the same things, sometimes. Forget my AW Fronts. That said, I've found that when I go back to them, I realize why they're there in the first place. I'm MCing a game of AW right now and that exact thing just happened - the Fronts really helped me focus what I was doing. What was going on. They're not universally helpful, but for certain types of GM, I think they can be pretty invaluable.

    There are some fundamental differences in the way that Fronts work for DW - I'm finding them, anecdotally, to be a lot more front-of-mind for me when we play. They're really a more collected, forward-facing (as in, thinking about the future sessions more than the now) form of the usual dungeon notes one might have. There's definitely some adaption being attempted here. Some of which involves tying them more directly to the fiction; a fun side-note about Grim Portents is that there are ways (spells, items, etc) that the players can access information about them in-fiction and so the GM is going to be prepared to answer those "what does the future hold" kinds of questions.
  • Posted By: skinnyghostThere are some fundamental differences in the way that Fronts work for DW - I'm finding them, anecdotally, to be a lot more front-of-mind for me when we play. They're really a more collected, forward-facing (as in, thinking about the future sessions more than the now) form of the usual dungeon notes one might have.
    If that's the case, that might explain my confusion. I've never run (and probably never will run) Dungeon World as anything other than a one-shot. If the PCs fail to solve whatever problem is going on, yeah, long term Townville's going to fall into ruin or whatever, but it won't mean much to the players because a) they're probably dead and b) our time is up and we're never coming back to this again.

    Not the ideal way to play, admittedly, but I'm mostly a convention kinda guy these days.
  • Posted By: Mike_OlsonI've never run (and probably neverwillrun) Dungeon World as anything other than a one-shot.
    I think you could still potentially leverage a single Dungeon Front as a place to keep the "what do I do when I need to make a move" situation under control but yeah, the Fronts chapter is written primarily for a game meant to last more than a few sessions.

    That said, I could probably stand to include a "playing at a con? one shot game?" element to the chapter - we do a lot of one-off games, too.
  • Posted By: FelanI think clear suggestions on when to advance Grim Portents would be helpful.
    When I run DW, I look to advance a Grim Portent whenever the characters start to dawdle.

    I've only ever run DW as a one-shot convention game with a tight time budget, so I dig how the GPs help me pace things.
  • I hear ya, Mike. I don't use the Fronts system when I run DW. My default GMing style is so similar, if I just do "what's natural" I end up doing stuff that works basically like Grim Portents and Impending Doom, etc. You probably have a similar style. But, like Adam said, not everyone GMs that way and they can get into the groove by following the procedures.

    Also, I run lots of different kinds of games, so I have to switch gears a lot. It's nice to be able to refer to the book to remind me what kind of GMing the game wants from me, so I don't accidentally stay in "OSR GM" mode from the Stars Without Number game or "Story Guide" mode from the TSOY game. Even though I don't use the DW Fronts procedures per se, flipping through that section gets my mind right for the game. Plus, Adam's writing is really evocative and usually gives me a few good ideas.
  • edited February 2012
    So, check it off when the PCs fail to stop it or don't try, or if they're bested in some way that might lead to it. Let the narrative guide you. Think about the situation, review the Portents and when it seems like the right time to check one off, do it. The world moves forward of its own accord and will seem a much more exciting place, living and breathing, when that happens.

    Cool, this helps. Something along these lines might be good to have in the text itself too. :)

    RE: One shots, I love using grim portents in my one-shots, it makes the dungeon come alive even in a brief adventure.
  • Posted By: FelanSomething along these lines might be good to have in the text itself too.
    Hah, yep. That is a very good point. There's a lot in this thread I'm going to consider for addition to the text.
  • Adam, I definitely agree that you should have something that works kinda like fronts, I'm just saying that it's a place in the AW vocabulary where's there's definitely substantial room for innovation and improvement, not that you should ditch it and leave a giant hole in the game. It would be nice to be able to look down at my Front notes in the middle of a game (or even between sessions), the way I look down at the MC or Front moves, and easily be like: "Oh yeah, that's obviously what happens." I think the DW guidelines make a good step in the right direction there, but if you've got, say, a handful of Dungeon Fronts and then your Campaign Fronts all spread out in front of you (along with all the moves and maps), it may be hard to glance down and see the bit of inspiration or pre-planning that'll spark you. I guess I just feel like there should be some way to organize this planning info for the GM -- maybe we're just talking about a better Front sheet than AW -- so that's it's more accessible and useful at the table.
  • Posted By: J. Walton I guess I just feel like there should be some way to organize this planning info for the GM -- maybe we're just talking about a better Front sheet than AW -- so that's it's more accessible and useful at the table.
    This.

    I think that the big success factor, for me, is going to be whether we can design a UX for this protocol that makes sense. We're on it. I'll definitely post something once we've got it together.
  • Thanks to everyone who posted, especially the people who have had problems parsing the text or using Fronts. Your feedback and pain now will lead to a clearer more powerful text in the future.
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