The resistant spouse
I just played an hour of Dungeon World with my wife today, sadly disrupted by a hungry baby sounding the alarm.
Before I tell you anything about how it went, I want to tell you a little about my wife’s background in gaming.
Me and my wife are enthusiastic board game players. I’ve looked for ways to introduce her properly to RPGs for a long time, and ironically she didn’t like D&D, the most board game like RPG I’ve ever played.
She understands the rules, being an avid board gamer helps that, but she never liked the complexity nor the optimizing, which I actually tried to discourage, since one-player-one-GM games really doesn’t make min-maxing meaningful anyway. “Just pick what you think is fun!”
She still hated it though. Ever since then I’ve tried to find new ways to introduce her to gaming and after a long time of encouragement (read “begging”) she finally accepted my request.
As you know, we ended up playing Dungeon World. The thing that won her over was the “conversation based play” and the simplicity of “just say what you do”. And of course the simple character generation, which we actually did in a car ride on our way home a few days ago.
The experience was… *drum-roll way longer than necessary*… nothing less than marvelous! We had a blast, and we were both a little disappointed that the game was interrupted so fast.
She played the human thief Jackie, who turned out to be quite the criminal. Wearing dark clothes and a black cape, strapped with her trusty rapier and a handy set of throwing knives, she set out to conquer the world! Or more correctly, the some tithe from a local cloister. I’ll get back to that one…
I told her not to think her character too much through, and let her reveal herself through play. She seemed to be happy not having to make an elaborate character.
The most amazing thing though was how it took off. The only thing I’d planned out for the session was the following question: “You’re picking a locked chest. What does it look like?” That single question spurned an entire story arch that I can hardly take any credit for.
I told her just to describe how she saw it in her head; what does your mental picture of a chest look like? She told me it was big and old, the lock build into it and entirely made of wood. From that followed an avalanche of pretty reasonable questions, in my own humble opinion, that immediately set the stage for her small adventure.
Do you know what’s in the chest? No? Okay, where are you? In a cloister?! I never saw that last answer coming. For all my years as a GM, none of my players ever decided that they wanted to rob a cloister as a way of starting out a campaign.
Me (M): Do you know what’s in the chest?
Her (H): No?
M: Where are you?
H: In a cloister?
M: In a cloister?! *Insert expression of pure confusion* Why are you breaking into a cloister?
H: The priest harassed me, pushing me aside because he felt I got in his way.
H: On the street. I followed him here.
M: So this is his room?
H: Yes, I think so.
M: So this is some kind of vengeance thing going on?
M: Where in the cloister is this?
H: Beside the mass hall?
M: Like, with an alter?
H: Yeah, I guess so.
M: Are you alone?
H: I don’t know? Am I?
M: I don’t know either, that’s why I ask. If you want somebody with you, this is your chance!
H: Oh, okay! Yeah someone is with me!
This kept on for some time. I’ll just skip to the actual narrative, in which Jackie the Thief and her friend Pox, the warrior hireling, “relieve” a cloister dedicated to the god of art and entertainment of some tithe, just to get back on an arrogant priest.
Jackie gets the lock open, but all there is in it is some old clothes. Voices are heard from outside, so she and Pox hide in the room, Jackie under the bed, and Pox behind a curtain.
The priest enters the room, along with a templar. The priest, the one who harassed Jackie, was furious. Apparently someone had been knocking of on the cloister, stealing some of their coin. The priest told the templar that he had hidden the rest of the tithe in a secret compartment in the altar.
After they left, Jackie and Pox looked out the door. There were too many people, apparently a mass was starting. They left by the window, into a back alley. They waited until the mass was over, after which they entered the cloister again, pretending to pray at the altar.
Of course, Jackie searched for the secret compartment, found it and took out a little lock box. She hid it under her cape, and they both managed to sneak out without getting caught.
They decided to go to a tavern, The Bald Rat, where they sat down in a dark corner, opening the lock box by breaking it open with some “tools that she was strapping”. Thank the gods for Adventuring Gear…
In the lock box they found 32 coins, which they split over equally. And this is where our little session ended. However, we managed through conversation to establish the following about the setting:
- There’s four gods worshiped in the realm.
- None were named, but one was the god of art and entertainment.
- Jackie owes money to some shady characters.
- There’s a cloister in the city.
- There’s also templars! Yay!
- We have a hangout; The Bald Rat!
- Pox is a former mercenary and is “between jobs” at the moment.
- Someone has been plundering the cloister!
It might not be much, but it has sparked my imagination, and I’ve got ideas for three fronts! And guess what; someone saw Jackie and Pox climb out the window…
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