The Random Gang of Thugs
I was browsing around my Google+ feed when I came across this post. It’s an interesting read and the author, Delos, makes some fair points. Don’t get hung up on Delos instant leveling in Dungeon World, that’s the way s/he plays. The only thing I object to is the assertion:
Like in AW there are a few classes that can gain a gang of thugs. If the PC is in the middle of the desert, fighting mutant dogs, and no one in town knows where he is at, you’re going to have a hard time justifying how a gang of loyal thugs just happens to show up.
I think this is a missed opportunity. I think you could have a great time justifying how a gang of loyal thugs just happens to show up. I think the most fun would not to have them be loyal at the start. Perhaps this gang is out scavenging in the wilderness and they come across the players battling mutant dogs. Perhaps they hate mutant dogs, perhaps they feel a kinship to others facing the same dangers they do, perhaps they are just bloodthirsty. If this gang is going to become loyal their personalies should mesh enough with the player to justify their attachment.
This is the first of Delos’ articles that I’ve read but I am going to imagine that this scenario would likely appeal.
The mutant dogs surround your small group, hemming you in. The biggest, meanest and weirdest-looking steps forward, growling. Soon, he will attack and at his signal the entire pack will tear you to shreds.
Suddenly, however, the beast stops and lifts it’s snout, sniffing the air. One of the pack whines and then with a sharp bark from the leader the pack is gone. Strange, this pack was large, dangerous and mean.
Even more strangely a gang of thugs come leaping over a berm beside you and one of them tangles with a member of your party. You can see panic in his eyes as he screams, “For the love of god, run!”
Now you have a group with the same goal as the players: surviving whatever is coming. Give the player who earned the gang of thugs upgrade plenty of chances to be the hero and earn their respect and loyalty.
I hope if you read this, Delos, you don’t feel that I am being critical of your GMing. You gave an example in your post and it inspired me. Thank you.
What do you think about instant leveling? I’ve seen both sides, from immediate power-ups to any skill upgrades requiring a mentor and even a roleplayed subquest. Leave a comment and let me know. Also don’t forget to find me on Google+ or Twitter. For more articles on roleplaying games you may want to subscribe. If you aren’t using RSS you’re doing it wrong.