Editor's Note: As part of our "New Deal" focus on gaming on a budget, we are excited to bring you the first installment of Dungeon World, a free source for RPG maps and dungeons, part of our rotating High Adventure column series. Who says there's no such thing as free rations?
When I was asked to contribute to this column, I basically knew right away that I would use the opportunity to provide items of use to tabletop fantasy role-players - especially game masters (which I'll simply refer to hereafter as "DM's") - things like: dungeons (here meaning adventure locations), spells, monsters, artifacts and the like. After all, from the dawn of fantasy role-playing games, this has been an implicit aspect of the genre: The players are expected to dote on their characters, and the DM is expected to dote on everything else.
It was this creative aspect of fantasy RPG's that first drew me in. Even more than the thought of creating and playing a character, the thought of creating and populating dungeons and their environs thrilled me. As fellow "old school" blogger Jeff Rients puts it:
"To me, one of the best parts of DMing is that you get a chance to build all sorts of fun static pieces like monsters, dungeons, wilderness environs and then you let players loose on them to see what happens. Usually it involves watching your toys getting broken, but hopefully the players do an interesting job of wrecking your precious creations."
For some reason, though, the idea of just randomly sharing these creations didn't seem like it was enough. Throwing disparate individual resources at the wall and seeing what stuck felt a little... lacking.
Then I realized what was missing: A setting to connect all of these elements. Something cohesive but flexible enough to accommodate Tolkien-esque high fantasy alongside pulp fantasy, and even allowing room for the occasional "gonzo" element that so often cropped up in the early days of fantasy role playing.
Thus was born Dungeon World.