End of Session Move in Dungeon World
It feels like every time I sit down to play Dungeon World I find some new mechanic that is more elegant than I imagined. A game should be fun, foremost, but I also appreciate elegance. I’m always excited to find a rule which covers a massive variety of situations in a couple of sentences.
Most recently I took a closer look at the Dungeon World’s End of Session move at, not coincidentally, the end of my last session running the game.
End of Session
When you reach the end of a session, choose one of your bonds that you feel is resolved (completely explored, no longer relevant, or otherwise). Ask the player of the character you have the bond with if they agree. If they do, mark XP and write a new bond with whomever you wish.
Once bonds have been updated look at your alignment. If you fulfilled that alignment at least once this session, mark XP. Then answer these three questions as a group:
- Did we learn something new and important about the world?
- Did we overcome a notable monster or enemy?
- Did we loot a memorable treasure?
For each “yes” answer everyone marks XP.
I’ve yet to play Dungeon World too deeply and it was rare that my players learned anything all that important, overcame anything all that notable or looted anything all that memorable during their early adventures. It always felt like a bit of a letdown.
The problem, or rather, my mistake, was a matter of comparison. How memorable a treasure do they have to loot? King Tut’s tomb, certainly. $200 of mature bonds tucked away in the basement you forgot about? $20 in the pocket of jacket on the first cold day of Autumn? Hmmm, well….
Setting the bar for this XP reward starts to seem rather arbitrary. Dungeon World is not an arbitrary game. It’s a game which takes your group’s fiction, spins it with a mechanic and then steps aside so you can return to the fiction. There are far more stories of campaign events than rules applications for a reason.
This was my realization; an epiphany from the lords Koebel and Latorra if you will, that to trigger an XP reward the treasure need merely be memorable to the characters, based on their experience. Not only does this give more XP early it also scales the XP reward automatically based on your campaign. The more experienced the party the bigger the treasure they’ll need to get their XP.
So there you have it, a simple rule with a nuance and varied application. When playing Dungeon World it is important to pay attention to the details and question their meaning. That, in my opinion, is one of the reasons to play the game.
The End of Session move is a rule from Dungeon World, a roleplaying game by Adam Koebel and Sage Latorra. ©MMXII Sage Latorra and Adam Koebel. It was released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. You can find more about the game on Dungeon World’s Official Website.