Deal with it

This sounds like an odd name for a lesson learned, but it is in fact very fitting. I’m unsure as to how many people this will apply to, but it sure is something I have learned.

Even though I mostly GM, it is only recently that I’ve started playing Dungeon World. When you ask questions, then never expect the players to give you answers that you want to hear. Deal with it. Not all answers sound great when you get them, but lets face it; not everything you say as a GM is awesome either.

The really strange thing is that no matter what answer you get, it always seem like an awesome answer after the session. Falafael, the Fighter from my recently ended three-shot, had to explain where he had learned to cast spells. He answered in a mildly jesting tone that he had learned it in “elf high school”.

I knew that the game was not meant to be very seriously toned, we had discussed that prior to the game. Yet somehow this answer just seemed dumb when he gave it. After the session though, I realized I was just being elitist about the game, and I actually felt bad just for thinking it. It was a pretty fun answer, and it actually spoke volumes about his past. His character had formal education.

So when you feel that a player gives you a “dumb” answer, then deal with it. The player wouldn’t give it to you if he didn’t like it himself, and it isn’t just your game anyway; it belongs to the group.

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About Undreren

I'm a university student from Denmark, currently taking my candidate degree in Mathematical-Economics. I have played pen & paper RPG's since 2004, but my interest for the phenomenon sparked about 3 years prior to that. I'm an amateur programmer and knows Java and Haskell as well as some rudimentary HTML, CSS, PHP and Javascript.

4 responses to “Deal with it”

  1. Sorcerer_Blob says :

    I think that sometimes the “dumb” answers to questions lead to more interesting stories and tales. It helps build the character even more.

    Personally I like my games to be a mix of somewhat seriousness with a little silliness thrown in for good measure. I mean, it is a game after all. We are supposed to be having fun. In my book, if we are not all laughing so hard it hurts at least once per session, then we’re doing something wrong!

    And your friend’s response sounds similar to my groups’ response about such things. “I learned it at Fighter University. I majored in Fighting with a minor in Magic.”

    • Undreren says :

      Great point. Eric, Bastien and I have laughed a lot in our session. It would have been boring if everything was too serious.

      And the “dumb” answers actually do make interesting stories. They are just not the stories you expect, which is of course amazing in its own right. 🙂

      • Sorcerer_Blob says :

        Exactly right with “just no the stories you expect!” When I DM I love to be blown away by my players, no matter the game, whether it be D&D or Dungeon World or anything else.

        I love having my expectations and assumptions destroyed by creative players. If I’ve spent a lot of time on a combat or a trap or a dungeon and the players think of an amazing way to bypass it or destroy it or just make it trivial and it works in-game, I’m not mad or upset or even annoyed, I embrace it.

        Now, that isn’t to say that some expectations are a bad thing. I think they can really help keep the game where it needs to be instead of devolving into complete silliness and craziness, but I think that every so often they need to be broken to keep everyone on their toes, especially the DM!

      • Undreren says :

        Oh, I do love that 🙂 Even if I’ve spent a lot of time on something, only for it to be trivialized or ignored, it’s very entertaining to see how the players deal with it.

        It’s also fun to see them break a leg on something that wasn’t meant to be very dangerous, like a few goblins. If the fighter keeps rolling misses…

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