Dungeon World Actual Play

By Keith Senkowski
On April 6, 2013

So yesterday we began our Dungeon World campaign and I think despite my rustiness at running a game, it came off rather well. We played through about half of the adventure in around 4 hours, which makes me question the back of the book (2-4 hours to play a session?). I also have some other observations, but will bring those up in another post.

The Party Forms

  • Audric, Cleric of the Raven God – Neil
  • Sharum Foekiller, Barbarian – Oscar
  • Brahms, Fighter – Phil
  • Lucius, Wizard – Jon

After sorting out the bonds, I started by setting the stage, reading a brief bit I sent them via email beforehand about the pillars we are going to build the game on.

  • The city of Riddleport is where we will base out of. It is a fantasy Tortuga run by the mafia.
  • There is a war going on between the servants of Orcus and the servants of the Raven God.
  • The Rock, a former prison island out in the bay, is the site of the last time the servants of Orcus bridged the gap between the two worlds.

I then asked Oscar to tell me why Sharum was in Riddleport (you have to ask the barbarian class something about their homeland each session). He told me the Cult of Orcus stole the Axe of Arkesh and disappeared into the Shadowfell. Whomever retrieves it becomes the new Khan of Khans.

With that in mind, I set the stage that they are in a bar and overhear two thieves talking behind them about strange lights and noises coming from The Rock.

Sharum grabbed one of the thieves, throwing him over his head and down on the table demanding to know what he knows. I introduced some bouncers and a bartender with a crossbow. Lucuis tries to charm the bartender (fails to get the spell off). Things escalated from there with Brahams trying to smash the crossbow with his monstrous maul (failing and taking a ricochet from the triggering crossbow). This is of course after he smashed the hand of the thief in custody. Luckily before things get out of hand, the cleric casts a spell to terrify basically everyone, causing the bar to empty out.

Once the bar was empty they get from the thief that he heard what he knows from Dreg, who it turns out is at the docks. Dreg is the leader of some barbarians (the Tribe of the Blue Hand) who are in town doing trade and recruiting individuals interested in helping them find a new homeland. The go marching off to the docks to confront Dreg.

Sharum, leading the charge gets into a parley with Dreg. Because they are both barbarians I rule that they use Strength to parley as they headbut each other and what not. Sharum gets Dreg to agree to take them to the Rock in exchange for surveying an island for Dreg’s people (adventure #2!).

Everyone gets on the longboat with the barbarians and heads out into the bay. Rough waters and a large bay means a few hours so Lucius memorizes some spells and Audric casts a speak with dead spell to learn a secret about Dreg’s people. His spell causes the dried blood on the deck of the ship to coalesce into the face of a dead crew member who tells Audric that Dreg and the crew (all men) are all that is left of his people (interesting tidbit for later).

Eventually the island is reached and they party is rowed out to the quay (pronounced key, so I was wrong). Lucius casts a detect magic and Brahms taps his six sense (discern realities) and both nail it. Brahms learns that the island doesn’t want the incursion by Orcus, some ghouls are stalking them, and that there is something on the island that will be valuable against the forces of Orcus. Lucius goes all predator vision and seas something magic at the hip of the ghouls that burst out of nowhere to attack.

The ghouls are dealt with pretty handily and the magic item is discovered… It is the enchanted head of Ned, which ultimately Sharum ends up in possession of.

After a night of laying up they march on the prison, surprise some cultist guards (executing them in their sleep), then tussle with the Torturer in another room, bringing him down, but not without the Fighter having to take a near fatal deathblow against the cleric. There we stopped for the evening.

All in all it was a good time, but I do have some observations and a few things I would change.