This question is meta, linking ingame-time to real-time: How often to make camp in Dungeon World? The desired answer is something like "plan to let them make camp every x hours of playing."

The obviously answer is: "go with the fiction", and it's a given that they won't make camp while under attack or while fighting a dragon. But when I as the GM plan an evening-long session (say 4 hours), should I plan it over 2 days in-game (i.e., one night of camping), should I plan a camp after every hard fight, or is a 4-hour session perfectly fine without camp breaks?

Despite "go with the fiction" and "it depends", I hope for GMing input of what's likely to give the players the most thrill — using up the right amount of rations, giving the wizard enough time to try his favourite spells, etc.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why are you planning this at all? Play to find out what happens. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 19:50

3 Answers 3


This is a tougher choice than it looks at first. Sure camping breaks up the action and givesa quick break. Furthermore it will refresh spells/abilities/hp prepping the part back up near top fighting condition. I have had issues where a party realizes this and camps at every chance that they can. And I do mean every chance they could. I started enacting time scales to force them to keep moving rather than taking an 8 hour break after every fight to make sure they were ready. It gets ridiculous with some groups, we rest for hours hours, wandering encounter, more rest to recovery.

Now i do have the other end sometimes when newer groups don't think to rest when obvious indicators are presented but usually figure it out with some prodding ( its getting cold tonight, shadows are lengthening, you feel very very tired.) Really I am going back with go with the fiction with a few thoughts in mind. Keep the future in mind, do you want them fresh or worn down for the fight? It changes the theme of the game based on how easily youlet them rest. It is a powerful tool not to overlook, but as people have said, don;t force players to make the choice. Let them make a few bad choices. just have some realistic penalties, too little sleep, too much sleep, more ambushes, NPC's dead due to the party sleeping while they should have been running in the dark . . .

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    \$\begingroup\$ I can't tell if you're speaking from experience with Dungeon World, or just giving general GMing advice. If the latter, GMing DW doesn't work how you might be assuming. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 19:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie unfortunately I suspect the latter \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 22:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, on a second reading this appears to suggest breaking some DW rules, and ignore or is unaware of other rules that would actually be helpful. This isn't expert advice. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 22:51

You've said it yourself: Go with the fiction

If they decide they need to camp for a night then sure, ask them to mark off rations and decide their watch order.

If they're spending the night in an inn and pay for food and lodgings (or earn them through heroic deeds), why would they consume rations or have to take watch?

If they're in a situation where you think their characters should camp then you can hint at the dangers they might encounter if they don't (soft move: show signs of an approaching threat) such as hunger, tiredness and the very real possibility of an ambush they might have seen in daylight. Ultimately, however, the decision lies with them but don't be afraid to make a hard move (e.g. separate them in the dark) if they ignore the risks and press on.

Never, ever make the decision for them or feel obliged to match an in-game timescale to real-life time. That's not Playing to find out what happens and you're probably not Filling their lives with adventure either. You're not here to challenge their resource-management skills, you're here to make sure they have an epic adventure.

If they have to make a long journey which will require multiple days of rations but is otherwise (relatively) uneventful then another move already has you covered: Undertake a Perilous Journey

  • \$\begingroup\$ Totally this. Planning for when the players may camp is not the GM's job at all. Nor is planning of any kind! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 17:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie, that's partially wrong. When the party leaves a dungeon, it's upon the GM to state "Sun is burning hot and you are blinded" or "you see stars and a red moon". In other words, the GM does define the timescale and hence suggest when to sleep and when to walk. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zsolt
    Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 21:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zsolt The GM presents the world, including time. It's the players' job to decide what to do though, never the GM's job. They can make camp in the day or march through the night, up to them. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 6, 2014 at 22:31

There is no answer for this; In fact, I'm not aware of any games where there IS an answer to "How many times in a 'session' should I expect the PCs to make camp?" It really depends on the content of the session, both in terms of 'density' (A session in which a lot of things are happening has a higher chance of the party making camp than a session in which the party spends a lot of time talking amoungst themselves), setting (If it's convenient for the party to return to town, they may not make camp at all), time pressures (if the party doesn't feel like they have time to make camp, since the evil ritual could complete at any time...) and other factors.

It is entirely possible to go through a session without camping. It is also entirely possible (though somewhat more unlikely) that the party will camp more than once.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I know of at least one game that has an answer to this (Mouse Guard, and "exactly once per session," respectively), but you're right that Dungeon World is not one of them. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 3:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ I sortof disagree; Many of my Mouse Guard sessions, the PCs never stop. There's nothing inherent in the GM's Turn/Player's Turn structure that forces a 'camp'. \$\endgroup\$
    – Airk
    Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 14:38

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