A Dungeon World Wiki
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Think about more than just the exchange of damage . Monsters might be:

  • trying to capture the characters
  • protect a place or treasure or themselves from the characters
  • eat the characters as part of the natural food chain
  • serving a deity or higher power
  • mind-controlled or otherwise forced to fight with no will of their own
  • like to inflict pain and torture or feed off the terror of their victims.

Understand what the fight is about: what does each side want? How do the goals of both factions affect the tide of battle?

Also, no self-respecting monster just stands still for their beating. Combat is a dynamic thing with creatures moving in and out of range, taking cover, and retreating. Sometimes the battlefield itself shifts. Have your monsters take action that the players will react to.

  • Make sure you’re making use of moves beyond deal damage, even in a fight.
  • Make sure every player has a chance to act
  • Make sure that you know where each character is during the chaos of combat
  • Make a map of a complex battle location so that everyone knows just what’s happening and can describe their actions appropriately.
  • Make sure to ask "what do you do?" after describing your own moves.
  • Don't let monster/adventurer antagonism become GM vs. Player adversity.
  • Don't forget the principle : Be A Fan Of The Characters
  • Don't forget the principle: Think Dangerous
  • Don't forget the principle Begin and End With The Fiction.


Traps are a mainstay of dungeoneering.  They can be simple or complex.  They can imprison characters, release toxins or spells, make the environment perilous, send characters falling towards impending death and all kinds of other things. It should be accepted by the adventurers that as they are moving around a dungeon to expect to enounter some.

  • Traps may be sketched out in advance.
  • Traps can be improvised into the fiction by location moves, telling an unwelcome truth or taking a golden opportunity as a 6- result of a character's move.
  • Players have moves like Discern Realities and Tricks of the Trade which can help find traps.  If they take any action that would allow for a trap to be discovered?  Let them know by working that into the fiction.

Food & Water

A single dungeon ration can be considered all the food and water a character needs to consume during a day's travel or exploration.  They are easy but possibly tedious to track when the adventurers are trekking through civilized areas.  When a party is going afield through the wilderness, however, necessitates some planning.  The adventurers need to take into account:

  • the total number of expedition members who need to eat (PCs, hirelings, mounts, pack animals, etc.)
  • the number of days they plan to be afield
  • the possibility that some rations may be lost due to unforeseen circumstances.

Foraging may or may not be possible (GMs can include a custom move to support it). Doing so is

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time-consuming and risky of giving the GM an opportunity to make things even more complicated for the party. However, there is a real drawback to any character who Makes Camp without their one ration: they are unable to to Level Up, and does not heal any HP upon waking.

Getting Lost

Regardless of how a character or party becomes lost, once the characters become aware of their situation, there are a few different ways to it can be addressed that include:

Undertake a Perilous Journey is normally saved for when adventurers know where they are heading and have a sense of how to get there.  However, a GM might allow the party to use this move as a last ditch effort to try and get themselves.... somewhere.  

Regardless of the methodology, a good hard GM move on a 6- roll is to make them even more lost... with monsters, traps or other nefarious dangers awaiting them.