A Dungeon World Wiki

There is a basic philosophy of collaborative world-building brought up in The Perilous Wilds that can be summarized as Ask, Say, or Roll.This ties in with the principle  Ask Questions And Use The Answers.  Unlike many popular tabletop game systems, Dungeon World advocates, is even built around, the idea that creative responsibility should be partially shifted off the GM to be something everyone helps with to create games that players feel more invested in.   


The GM should ask the players questions about the their characters and their surroundings whenever they feels like it. Every answer can add to the involvement of everyone at the table. Sometimes, it is a matter of turning a player's question around on them, encouraging them to fill in details that you would otherwise be making up on the spot any way. GMs don't need to roll dice but they do need to take notes as a game progresses- and its a good idea to encourage the players to do the same. The same question is likely to come up again; consistent answers are good answers.


There are often times when the story needs something to happen to advance. Usually but not always it is the GM who picks up the narrative and narrates the next step far enough along in order to be able to ask one or all of the players "what do you do?". But players who feel an urge to do a little storytelling of their own shouldn't be punished. Rather, they should be allowed to carry the narrative forward until something triggers a move.


Randomized prompts offer all the players, including the GM, the opportunity to see the fiction move in an unexpected direction. The sense of discovery can be shared by everyone.  The following tables come from The Perilous Wilds.

Regional Almanacs

One good way of keeping notes organized is to create written record of each region’s contents, including tags, places, general impressions, obstacles, hazards, and anything else of interest. Once a region has been established as existing in the game world, the GM should begin to build its almanac, adding details as they come up in the fiction via asking, telling, or rolling. Its a living document that will grow and change over the course of the play. The first almanac should be for the region where the adventurers are set down in the first scene of the first game session. It might be pre-written by the GM or a third party, outlined during collaborative world-building or hastily put together when character creation is done. The almanac will contain lists of unique areas, steadings and sites that are either pre-established by the GM, created from the flow of the fiction (and moves like Spout Lore) or randomly generated using the system suggesed by The Perilous Wilds supplement. 

Place Tags

Just like equipment, monsters, and Classic DW steadings, places can have tags. The following borrow from Perilous Wilds and are by no means exhaustive.. Further customizations have been included in ADW.

  • Alignment
    • While most parts of the natural world are considered Neutral by default, a civilized kingdom might be Lawful, orc lands might be Chaotic, and the twisted wood surrounding a necromancer’s tower might be Evil.
  • Climate
  • Danger Level
  • Terrain Type
    • {As a suggestion, the Perilous Wilds terrain tag can be divided into both landscape and political boundary tags- LAS}
  • Other

Points of Interest

The principle Fill the characters' lives with adventure dictates doing some skipping or glossing over the more tedious parts of exploration. Briefly mentioning the exotic, beautiful or fearsome aspects of the landscape as the adventurers wander helps Make the world fantastic but its good to keep exploration from dragging, which leads to players losing focus and becoming bored, restless, or easily distracted.  Narrative leaps in time or distance with a couple of succinct details about what the party experiences along the way help prevent that as does collaborative world building.  If the adventurers are moving through territory knowin to one or more of them, ask them a leading question or invite them spin a nostalgic or bitter story for their comrades.  

Think Big & Think Small

While worldbuilding through storytelling, Take any mundane detail about the landscape or place stretching around the characters and and make it more grand and fantastical. Engage all of the character's senses and encourage them to do the same when they express what they find most intriguing or terrifying about the locale spread around them. However, little commonplace details like dew on the morning grass, birdsong, the smell of the distant sea on the breeze can serve as the perfect contrast at times.