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ConTessa: My first time GMing Dungeon World

I GMed Dungeon World yesterday, online.

I’ll start with my #1 frustration, which overshadowed most of what I could have learned and enjoyed about this experience.

GMing online is hard, especially when everyone at EDC starts to come out of their drug-addled hazes and starts flooding the network with their photos and delayed tweets and Facebook posts. Because the Internet in Las Vegas went down yesterday about every 5 minutes from 4:30 PM until about 6.

My game was supposed to run from 3 to 7. You can see how that would be a problem, right?

Anyway, the flow of Dungeon World is such that having it interrupted repeatedly was rough. As in: I spent 10 minutes trying to say “Hey, I forgot to mention the other exit when you came in– there’s stairs!” TEN. MINUTES. What should have been quick and punchy tended to slog down because I had to spend 5 minutes on every little thing, repeating myself until my players could hear me. Worse, I could hear them all perfectly, so I had no idea that there was a problem until I heard them say “whelp– we lost her again.” Over and over and over.

I feel like I asked for too many rolls, and not enough questions. I didn’t keep the game story-driven, and I relied too much on the D&D standby of “take hit point damage” when someone failed or rolled a 7-9. My lack of solid familiarity with all the Dungeon World moves meant that I didn’t always know all the mechanical consequences, so particularly at first, there was a lot of winging it.

I felt that I did clues pretty well– whenever they failed at a Discern Reality roll, I favored “you learn something unpleasant” over “you learn nothing.” That kept things moving forward, I felt, and always opened up more clues and information for them to piece together.

And here’s the video. Don’t watch this if you plan to play next weekend… or if you don’t want to see me say “fuck” at inappropriate times… or, actually, don’t watch it. It sucks.

ConTessa: What a Giant Mess (3h17m)

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