I ran my first session of Dungeon World last night and my party of three third-level characters1 absolutely annihilated a troupe of six Hill Giants.2
I know (now) many things I could have done to increase the difficulty of the monsters. But I think a large part of the lopsidedness came from the characters simply acting more than the monsters.
I was mindful of the advice (rule?) on when to make a move:
- When everybody looks at you to find out what happens
- When the players give you a golden opportunity
- When they roll a 6-
Thing is, there wasn't a single roll of 6- (thank you, modifiers3) and I took advantage of the one golden opportunity I saw, and the players were just very creative and always had things they wanted to do, so there wasn't much of everybody looking at me.
Should these monsters have acted more? Do I go ahead and interject monster moves into combat? Or if the characters are steamrolling (narratively) do I just let them and trust that enough 6- will come along4 to provide openings for the monsters and danger for the characters?
1 - A Ranger, Fighter, and Thief, if you care. They're at third level despite it being our first session because we've "ported" these characters over from an ongoing game in another system.
2 - The fighter took damage once.
3 - the modifiers may have been high-by-one in a few cases, but I'm pretty sure it's no more than that. We were just giving DW a test-run so we quick-and-dirty pulled over 5e characters, ability scores and all. The fighter had an 18 Strength, for instance--but a DW fighter could have an 18 Strength at L3 easily, right? The ranger's animal companion had the "trained for combat" feature, giving him a +1 when attacking with the animal's help, which I now believe was a nonstandard feature. (Turns out I didn't have the right set of starting play materials.) For more info on the modifiers please see this chat conversation--if you think specific info from there is relevant please let me know (in-comment or in-answer) and I'll pull it into this question.
4- And I recognize that if the combat's made more difficult, the players will have to make many more rolls along the way, and thus we're going to see more 6- results.