I have been playing & GMing for some time, mostly in various versions of D&D, and other 80s-90s systems. And most of my GMing has been with published adventure modules.

I want to try Dungeon World, so have been looking for a free adventure that would work as an introduction to the system (for both the players and myself). But most of what I can find are "Dungeon Starters":

Dungeon Starters are a form of GM prep for running the first session of a Dungeon World game. Dungeon Starters don’t dictate plot, they’re not Fronts (you write those after the first session), and they don’t replace the GM playbook. They are for those times when you want to just sit down and start a game right then. Dungeon Starters provide a unified flavor to your prep but, when you get down to it, they are really just an unordered cloud of blanks and hooks with some appropriate moving parts to make sure the players don’t catch you with nothing interesting to say. Dungeon Starters are made up of questions, impressions, custom moves, items and services, spells, and monsters (among other things).

Are there any free adventures with a level of detail closer to a D&D module?

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    \$\begingroup\$ @gatherer818 You should write this as an answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – okeefe
    Jun 19 '15 at 3:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Well, the Slave Pits of Drazhu are prepared in quite some detail, at least from a DW GMs point of view. \$\endgroup\$
    – iraserd
    Jun 19 '15 at 4:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just to be sure: have you read (not skimmed!) the GM section of DW? If you haven't (lots of D&D DMs skim or skip it by assuming its "just advice"), you're missing some super-important things, like 90% of the rules, including those that govern how adventures work. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19 '15 at 5:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ And as always, the DW Guide can help you grok it. \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Jun 19 '15 at 6:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Google for "Indigo Galleon" - it a one/twoshot story that is just great to get started - and it´s free. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zsolt
    Sep 24 '15 at 20:22

The point of Dungeon World published adventures is, like all published adventures, to take some of the burden of prep off of the GM. But in Dungeon World, prep is limited to detailing fronts and drawing maps with blanks (both literally and metaphorically). So published adventures in general just do some or all of that for you.

A good DW published product will give you some fronts, dangers, custom moves, and background context sketched in with enough detail for you and your players to riff of of, but with enough blanks - undefined spaces in the characters, the physical place, the wider world, etc. - for you to fill in with the ideas that are sparked at your table.

Without any prep, you are unable to use the Exploit your prep GM move. Whether the prep is your original work or published prep doesn't really make much difference.

For a free example of such published prep, I like I'm on a Boat!. It's got the bones described above - but leaves plenty for you and your table to flesh out.

Dungeon World is not just D&D with 2d6. It is not in the simulationist vein of many 80's and 90's systems. It takes a significant shift in your understanding to play properly - it is meant to be played as written. I suggest that you read the rulebook (especially the GM chapter) and the Dungeon World Guide again. Then come back here and read some of the DW questions and answers to see if you're building the correct impression of how to play.

I ran my first few Apocalypse-powered games wrong because I thought I knew what I was doing. The understanding will come.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Since you mention the Guide: any experience with the adventure/setup it contains? \$\endgroup\$ Jun 19 '15 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - Nope, none. \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Jun 19 '15 at 15:22

The only one I am aware of was produced for one of the 'Free RPG Day' a couple of years ago as a demonstration game. It was called The Slave-Pit of Drazhu, and is intended to run for approximately 2 hours.

Having played through it with a DM who didn't really know what they were doing, it was extremely clear how having a good grip on the principle of the rules really was. I've since run it once with some success, although the fact that it is pre-planned to a large extent kind of misses the main point of the way Dungeon World is supposed to work. The reason for this is because stories within the system are intended to be emergent, with players having as much control about what happens next as the DM. Planning everything in advance completely shortcuts this, which is a shame, but I can see how it might help provide a way in for GMs who have no previous experience with this type of system.


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