So I've posted before
about my two daughters (ages 12 and 8) and their introduction to roleplaying via Faery's Tale. I've been salivating for the chance to run John Harper's World of Dungeons since snagging it from the Dungeon World Kickstarter. Tonight, Mom was away, it's Father's Day, and the girls were willing to indulge me. I spent about 15 minutes mapping out three levels of a wizard's tower, tossed in some monster and treasure ideas, and we were off.
In brief, the game turned out to be a blast. So much so, that I eventually had to be the one to call it. Elder Moppet was ready to take a break, but Junior Moppet was ready to hit the next room, despite the initial room's creepiness. I looked at the clock, and was "whoops, we're past even your summer break bedtime, ladies."
Here's how it went down: We spent most of our time on character generation. They're not experienced at parsing rules or going through the process of mapping out the minutiae, so we made up stuff as a group. Junior Moppet wavered between Thief and Ranger before finally deciding on the former. Elder Moppet wanted to make up her own class right from the get-go, citing interest in Wizard and Ranger, so we naturally settled on Druid.
Junior Moppet ended up with Mist
, a dark, tough thief girl who wields twin curved shortswords "like Zuko from Avatar." She also carries caltrops, a rope and grappling hook, two smoke bombs, special climbing claws, and a handful of darts with sleeping venom. After adding rations and a pocket-sized candle-lantern, she was operating on a silver deficit, so she asked if she could steal some of her gear. I said yes, and she rolled a 7 for a burglary effort, meaning she succeeded in pilfering her stuff, but someone in the city is mad at her. Nice story hook for later. Mist doesn't wear armor, but has Athletics and Stealth, plus the special abilities of Reflexes and Tinker.
Elder Moppet brought Valavanora
, a mysterious, green-clad druid with her peregrine falcon familiar Dera
, and two nature spirits she knows how to summon: Mir
(domains of water and secrets) and Koriander
(fire and birds). We decided that Druidic spirits had to have an element as one domain, and couldn't embody domains that didn't have some connection with nature. Valavanora carries a bronze dagger and a short bow, wears light armor, and carries a collapsible pole, chalk, and other druidy ritual stuff (rocks, feathers, crystals). Her skills are Heal and Lore, special abilities Summon and Pet.
I should say we spent a helluva lot of time on names. The Story Games Names book got a workout. They also spent a lot of time trying to decide what their hair and clothes looked like. Junior Moppet was groaning and generally not the best sport while waiting for her sister to name her entourage.
Finally, we started play. I put them outside the wizard's tower and its formidable oaken doors. After determining there were no windows on the ground floor, Mist picked the lock. With the Tinker ability, she had no chance of failure. After she rolled a miss, I ruled Mist opened the lock fine, but the tumblers made a sharp noise that surely alerted anything on the other side. Both girls hesitated and discussed options. Finally, Mist put on her climbing claws and slipped inside, scrambled up the wall, and shimmied along a ceiling beam so she could get a look at the room. She has Athletics and rolled a full success, so no problem.
I described a cobwebbed room with two chests, a clay jar, an empty fireplace, and a skeleton sprawled over one of the chests. The far side of the room had a double door, one half hanging on one hinge. Small humanoid footprints were visible on the floor, leading in and out of the room by the broken door. Junior Moppet found all this creepy enough to want to stop playing, but after some reassurance that Mist was a badass, she soldiered on.
She reported to Valavanora, and the two decided to go in. My move was that the skeleton animated (of course) and attacked them with a rusty sword. Mist declared she wanted to block the blow and kick a leg out from under the thing. She rolled a 12, so of course, she booted the leg clean off and toppled the skeleton. Then Valavanora declared she wanted to grab the still thrashing skeleton's sword arm and pull it off. She rolled a 13, so we decided she pulled off the arm and used it to bat the skull into a corner, where it cracked apart. Scratch one skeleton.
Then onto the loot. I just made up stuff on the spot, very
generously. Gotta get them hooked, after all. I figured they stuck out the chargen process and took out their first monster, so a big shiny carrot was warranted. By the time they finished their investigation, they had a bag of silver, bronze bracers of protection (+1 armor), a scroll for the Knock ritual, a jar of healing salve, a bag of holding, and a silver coiled serpent ring that granted the wearer the skill of Resist Poison. Valavanora snagged the bracers, salve, and bag. Mist took the ring. They're clear that the silver split is 50/50 and happily marked their experience, though I cautioned them they didn't get XP for the loot until they returned it to town. I allowed Valavanora to roll Lore to suss out the powers of their bling. I did warn them they shouldn't expect every encounter to be so profitable.
Both girls are eager to play again. Elder Moppet wants to get more magic and find a perspicacious loris (we just finished Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan
series). Junior Moppet wants more silver so she can level up and get more skills and abilities.
I am a happy guy. From a system standpoint, the game runs beautifully. I asked a lot of questions, made suggestions, and discussed possible consequences before the roll. Everything seemed grounded and clear; the fictional results were concrete and flowed easily from the mechanics. I put the die roll results on a folded 3x5 card so they knew what their dice results meant. Simply put, it's smooth and easy to run, but feels surprisingly granular. I was really happy to come up with the magic ring granting a new, narrow skill, since I really like the skill system. When the girls found out the ring's power, both went wide-eyed and oohed and ahhhed.
The kids really enjoyed character generation, from the attribute rolls to the shopping. Based on the kinds of things she was asking for before play, I expect Junior Moppet will be using her silver to kit herself out like the goddamn Batman. Elder Moppet commented that she likes this more than Faery's Tale. During toothbrushing, both girls expressed the wish that they were more like their cool characters. This summer, we're going to bring together some of Elder Moppet's friends for regular "Dungeon Girls" gaming and anime nights. We've agreed World of Dungeons is the ideal system to kick things off.
Thanks, John. Best Father's Day present ever.