Dungeon World – The Second Game: Fronts and Fun!

Well, after my first review I had quite a few words handed back to me in the comments.  I had some really good examples of serious games, intrigue games and long term games.  So apparently I am missing something.  Something that perhaps could be revealed in the second game as I looked through the manual on what to do past the first game.

The big bonus and hindrance to me developing my fronts was the arrival of my Dungeon World (DW) book!  I had purchased it (on New Years Day I think) and I completely forgot that I had purchased it and yet it still made its way to my door.  I was pretty excited to hold that little book in my hands.  Kind of like an early birthday present really.  So why did this hinder me in making my fronts?  Well, much like the Fate Core book it coerced me into reading it again.  I find a hard copy of a game much easier to read than a PDF on my iPad.  Especially seeing the PDF version of Dungeon World is rather awful on the iPad.

My book!  I love it 🙂

So I have been reading with the thought in the back of my head that I needed to build my campaign front and also a couple of immediate fronts.  Not to mention the start of the campaign map.  I went and got my note book that I use in my games and started to look over all the notes I made at character generation.  For some reason building my first front was shaping up to be a daunting task.  I have no idea why, but it really made me nervous.  I went to the guide and looked at their sample campaign front.  I am in awe of that campaign front and I loved the look of the campaign I wanted mine to be just as good but I looked to my notes and just wondered how it all was going to turn out.

Some of you are now wondering what a front is so I thought I might divert for a moment and give you an idea.  Fronts are a novel idea for campaign development.  As DW is a game with certain principles for the GM to play by (and one is play to find out) it follows that the campaign game is not 100% developed at any time.  It is designed to dramatically reduce the amount of preparation time and increase the surprise and wonder in the way the GM gets to play as well.  it is the GM’s role to pay close attention to the character creation stage and ask a lot of questions in the first game.  From these questions the GM should build up an idea on the style of campaign that the players would like to join in on.  In my game I found my players wanted to explore dungeons that were organised as challenges in an ancient kingdom.

Once all of the detail is together the GM writes up a campaign front which includes a set of dangers, that interact to build an interesting story.  The GM builds some grim portents that occur in the game to tell the players that something is up as well as the final danger.  Past that the GM adds some questions that they want to see answered.  Along with the campaign fronts the GM makes a couple of fronts that are in the immediate future of the game.  As the game progresses if the GM struggles for something to move the story forward they look to the fronts they have as this is a basic structure of what the players want to play and move it forward in line with the front.

My character notes

So as you can see these fronts are loose designs of a grand campaign.  Nothing is really set in stone and it is in this way that the GM really gets a lot of the preparation taken off them.  In reality, along with a map and a little bit of steading design (villages, towns, keeps and cities) the game flows so easily.  Unfortunately for me I really struggled with my fronts.  I had stated on Google+ The Dungeon World Tavern that I would put my fronts up for comment but I was so embarrassed of how monumentally bad they were that I “accidentally” forgot to put them up!  It took me two hours to do (in reality with experience they should take 10 minutes or so to do) and I really think they stink so I will be revisiting them again this week and trying to find some more examples.  My main problem is I struggle to see the differences between the initial campaign front and the active fronts.

Some campaign notes…

But as bad as my fronts were, in my game last night they gave me some great guidance!  As the players turned to look at me I looked to my fronts to find the next prompt for them and it pushed us into some great play.  The party headed into the well of fears and found some great treasures as they continue to uncover the secrets of the old King’s tomb.  Although I had not prepared for it I also found myself making up a couple of custom moves last night “on the fly” too and I can see how this game can expand past the bare bones that are swupplied and flesh into a longer more intricate campaign.

I need to talk to the group about the direction we are taking as we are playing around 4 games at the moment and I need to talk to them about which they are enjoying the most and focus on it.  I hope to be running DW next week after I have gone back and completely reworked my fronts and also get my daughter to have a go at the system so we can make a decision as a group to what we want to do from here.

I would dearly love to hear from you if you have any resources you use when building fronts that focusses on the difference between the campaign and normal fronts.  The guide is good in showing me a campaign front but I do not really get the interaction between the campaign and the normal, not to mention what level of detail should be used between each!  I like how it works in game but my normal fronts are awful and my campaign front probably has too much interaction between its own dangers!  So please help if you can!  And comment as normal if something on here tickles your comment bug!  Until next time, keep rolling…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.