I've recently finished reading Dungeon World and will be running a session 0 as a first time GM for my friends, who are also almost completely new to the tabletop RPGs, and I'd like to ask you for some advice:

My idea for the campaign start (after we are done with character introductions, world creating and bonds descriptions), is that the PCs will be sitting in outdoors near a village having their lunch, with the food they were given by the village inn as a consolation for it being too full to take them in. Then, the first thing they see is a tinker coming their way and begging for some food. I imagine him as the sort of caravaneer nomad who gives travellers good or bad luck. Also, where they are standing, there is a big rock which seems like an ominous sign. The rock will make them hungry, sleepy, and then cause a fissure in the ground causing them to fall in a dungeon of undead creatures who are looking to sacrifice them and turn them into undead too.

How should I show the approaching the danger of that stone in the fiction? I was thinking about telling them that they suddenly feel very sleepy, giving them the opportunity of Defying Danger by either mental fortitude or shaking themselves awake. But I haven't thought of how to show the approaching danger of the fissure in the ground that causes them to fall. Also, I'm unsure of how to continue after they've fallen. I'm thinking of having some draugrs attack them and maybe a spike trap or two coming out the ground, since I will most likely also have a thief PC.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This is not primarily opinion based, as there's a pretty clear DW answer to this (which I'm typing out now) \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Mar 13 '17 at 9:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Please edit your last paragraph. Some of the sentences don't make sense, in particular the third sentence. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 13 '17 at 10:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik FWIW, my VtC had to do with "unclear" due to how it was written (confusing prose style, possibly not native speaker). I tried to assist with an edit but there was only so much I could do. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Mar 13 '17 at 12:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ I've left it in because it's material to the question, but just note that the poor magical tinkerer/gypsy/caravaner idea is a fairly harmful stereotype that in other contexts is used to justify racial violence and discrimination against modern Romani, and it's valuable to think about how to avoid reinforcing and repeating the stereotype. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Mar 13 '17 at 15:07

You seem to be pre-planning the start of the adventure here. That's not what Dungeon World is about. Quoting from "First Session", "Getting started":

Once everyone has their characters created you can take a deep breath. Look back over the questions you’ve asked and answered so far. You should have some notes that will point you towards what the game might look like. Look at what the players have brought to the table. Look to the ideas that’ve been stewing away in your head. It’s time for the adventure to begin!

You are supposed to come up with an adventure based on what you have been building. If your adventure ideas are already generated now, they are unlikely to contain much of the specific details the table came up with. Worse; they might even contradict some of the established world details and you'd have to discard it entirely. Maybe there's no Undead in this world. Maybe there's no villages. Maybe you've actually been brainstorming an intrigue game. Maybe your players are actually Undead.

Who knows. You certainly don't, right now, so don't spend too much time pre-planning a complete adventure. Follow the DW advice and prep the first adventure during and directly after the character generation / worldbuilding step.

  • \$\begingroup\$ "Use what they give you The best part of the first session is you don’t have to come with anything concrete. You might have a dungeon sketched out but the players provide the real meat—use it. They’ll emerge from the darkness of that first dungeon and when they do and their eyes adjust to the light, you’ll have built up an exciting world to explore with their help. Look at their bonds, their moves, how they answer your questions and use what you find to fill in the world around the characters." I believe my little dungeon would fit into this description. \$\endgroup\$ – HadnuR Mar 13 '17 at 10:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HadnuR I think your dungeon contains a lot more concrete details than required or ideal for a DW 1st session, and you certainly don't need to know "how to from there", because by then the fiction should be rolling along by itself. The idea of that dungeon is also that the players start INSIDE it, not that you plot out where the dungeon is, or how they end up in it. Just say that the players are in a dungeon and that some Undead monster wants their soul, and find out how they got there later. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Mar 13 '17 at 10:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thank you. So I shouldn't have monsters planned and just start introducing them as I play? \$\endgroup\$ – HadnuR Mar 13 '17 at 10:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @HadnuR you can think of monsters that you think might be cool to include, but you should also be on the lookout for opportunities to replace them with something better if your players give you ideas. You might think it's cool to include a mummy, but if one of your players creates a vampire hunter, it might be a good idea to replace the mummy with a vampire instead. The goal is to make sure the story revolves around the characters, instead of throwing the characters into a pre-made story. So try to keep your pre-session ideas loose and replaceable. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Mar 13 '17 at 10:32

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