First playtest with Dungeon World

The problem with playtesting a mystery module is that you have to keep getting new people to play it, which meant that sooner or later I was going to have to GM this thing for total strangers. So I decided to bite the bullet and start there.  I put out a Looking for Players listing on Roll20, got replies from five people, sent invitations to four of them. Three of them -- Zinny, Nick, and Matthew -- actually showed up.

None of them had played Dungeon World before. Matthew had played D&D 5E, and Nick had played Monster of the Week. Zinny had never played a tabletop RPG at all, though I would never have known from the way they immediately caught on. And by the end of Session 2, you could not tell who had what experience. I think that's a testament to both their willingness to learn and Dungeon World's ease of play.

This group really got into roleplaying. At one point I got up to answer the door, and when I came back they were loudly bickering in character. My biggest challenge with them was to work in a few serious moments, because, well, Zinny's character was a barbarian named Haepha Thighmaster who was very into wrestling alligators, and Nick's was a runaway cultist with a talking grimoire that insulted him in Danny Devito's voice. They wrung every bit of humor and silliness they could out of the module, and when they couldn't find enough, they brought their own.

But I managed, and they all had fun. And I surprised myself by running the adventure in exactly the time allotted. I had four Tuesdays free, and on the last one, right at the 3-hour mark, the PCs had solved the mystery, won the fight, and were just going back to the inn. So much better than the 7 sessions it took the first time!

I didn't record any of this playtest (the combination of OBS + Discord + Roll20 makes my laptop freeze), but I did talk about it, along with my love for Dream Askew, on an episode of the Gauntlet podcast

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