Posted by : David Guyll June 21, 2014

Short update: as part of Free RPG Day I am making Something Stirs in the Blackscale Brakes free for the day Pay What You Want forever, as well as marking everything else down by 50%.

DOUBLE EDIT: Apparently I assumed I had it set to Pay What You Want, but if you set PWYW on a product with a print version it just ignores it and keeps it at a set price. So, I removed the pdf from the original product and created a new page for the pdf-only, PWYW version.

EDIT: I finally figured out how to set it to "Pay What You Want".

This was my first real product and I figure that now, about a year later, I should just leave it at that as a way for others to get a sample of my content, to try before you buy. If you like what I do, then you can always throw a couple bucks my way, or purchase something else.

{ 6 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Thanks for doing this! I did indeed download "Blackscale" for free, but I also bought the three undead playbooks. Your ideas are creative and your presentation is so much better than other PDFs with their public domain art.

    I ran a DW session for Free RPG Day. It's only the third time I've run the game, and I'm still struggling with how to create an interesting dungeon environment on the fly. I had a list of rooms and a few planned encounters, but at times it all felt to me very much like a railroad. I'm trying to honor the basic tenets of DW and not plan everything out, but I admit that I feel better with more structure in place.

    I like the way that you've detailed your own dungeons in the "Blackscale" book, and I may follow a similar format. The "dungeon starters" suggested by others don't seem very helpful to me; too much left up to improvisation. I'm not horrible at improv, but I'm certainly not Second City material.

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  2. Thanks, both for the kind words and support!

    Do you normally run games without much planning? I feel that making a list of content to plug in as needed can make things easier, but something else I like to do is kind of "outsource" the content to the players: ask them what horrible monster, awesome treasure, horrible curse, etc is said to be found in whatever place they are in.

    I have heard of the dungeon starters, but I did not find them particularly interesting myself...what about them could be improved? What about my dungeons could be improved? I am working on another adventure, so knowing the bare minimums that people want would be helpful. :-)

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  3. My games tend to be more planned than not. When I was running 4E, I had everything mapped and all of the major encounters detailed. I spent a fair amount of time devising interesting combat locations. That's not to say that I never came up with anything on the fly; as you know, the beauty of 4E was that it was easy to invent a properly-scaled threat with a moment's notice.

    FWIW, I actually did approach DW much as you describe, with some pre-planned content and a series of questions to establish certain parts of the fiction. But without a real map or fully-fleshed out locales, I was having trouble establishing the environment. There was one instance in which I thought the goblin orkaster was lobbing acid orbs from a door midway down a long corridor, but everyone else thought he was at the far end of the hall. And, in general, the experience felt (to me) more like a linear sequence of rooms than a labyrinth.

    I don't feel that I'm experienced enough at DW to offer much criticism. It's possible that I'm not the right GM for the game. Yet there is much that appeals to me about the system. The rules have enough "crunch" to interest me, yet it's still very light. I like that everything you need to know about a character is on a single sheet of paper. And I love that (for example) there’s nothing in the rulebook to explain how a medusa turns people to stone…a medusa turns people to stone because that’s what a medusa does.

    But I don't think I can pull off the completely free-form, improvisational experience described in the book. And the impression that I got from some of the DW faithful on the forums was that wanting more control over the story was "doing it wrong," and that maybe I should seek out another game. It's just that with D&D going in what for me is the wrong direction, and no one interested in 4E (we're a strictly Pathfinder town here), DW seems the best alternative.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, making even incredibly complex encounters in 4th Edition is stupid-easy: you can do everything from a goblin ambush to a wizard with a portal that needs to be sealed, summoning demons while the floor collapsing on the fly, and still make it precisely as difficult is as you want/need it to be.

      I have had issues describing the environment in a way where everyone gets on board, but you are "permitted" to draw a map (you are just "supposed" to leave some blanks).

      If you dig the mechanics, then keep them and just run the game how you want. I am also a fan of how cruncy-yet-light it is (and am aiming for something similar with my own game): if you want to prep more and set more stuff in stone, go for it! I don't think you will "break" the game, and if people tell you that you are doing it wrong...who cares? It is only a game, and you're having fun.

      Dungeon World "by the book" is not meant to be entirely played prep-free and/or pure free-form, and anyone that tells you otherwise is "doing it wrong". You are supposed to do some prep work (exploit your prep is in fact on page 160).

      Again, you are supposed to leave some blank spots on any maps you draw, and you can create a cast of NPCs and even an overarching villain. What you are not "supposed" to do, is define ahead of time the timeline and events of the story. Like, you should not define your overarching villain, have him show up, and then survive an encounter because it is what you "need to have happen".

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    2. Thanks much for the guidance. I haven't had much time for RPGs lately, but am getting jazzed about doing some more Dungeon World!

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    3. If you do any play reports, I'd be interested in reading them!

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