[Dungeon World] Indigo Galleon designer's notes

edited August 2012 in Directed Promotion
(pulled out of the recent "Stuff To Watch" thread. The Indigo Galleon is a Dungeon World module available at http://www.johnzo.com/indigo-galleon.pdf.)
I don't know if I could cram it into a four hour session.
Joe, the way I run it, there's two acts to the adventure. The first act is when the adventurers go after their first target -- freeing / saving / capturing Hobart or stealing the treasure or capturing the other marauders. The second act is when the consequences of that action come home to roost in Codcliffe. No matter what the party does in Act 1, Codcliffe will be in someone's crosshairs in Act 2.

When I've played the game in a four-hour slot, I watch to see when the first act looks like it will conclude. If the first act takes up the majority of the four hours, then I summarize the second act with a die roll or two. If the first act ends quickly, as it sometimes does, then I play out the second act in fullness, pulling in NPCs created in the pre-game.

Also, in a four-hour slot, if the players dilly-dally I will start checking off the Grim Portents to get their attention.
Could you comment on how the contradictory fronts are intended to work? Like, octopus people taking over the town VS marauders taking over the town can't both happen, so do you just sort of choose the appropriate front to advance based on player actions, or did you have something more complex in mind?
Felan, I do have a bunch of ideas about how those fronts could interact:

1) Hobart is saved from the ritual and restored to the marauders. If the players make the right rolls, they can rally the marauders to the defense of Codcliffe and help save it from the rampaging octopus folk. Then the party has to figure out whether to help the Imperials capture Hobart.

2) Hobart is not saved, the Grand Migration happens, meanwhile the party loots the Relentless' treasure. The party either runs away and leaves Codcliffe to burn or they stick around and help Codcliffe deal with the angry Imperials and the vengeful marauders -- who, conveniently, hate each other...

3) Hobart is saved and brought to the Imperials. The Imperials are impressed! They ask the PCs to escort them away from Codcliffe while it is sacked by the octopus folk and/or the marauders.


These speculations are left out of the adventure because it's all about playing to find out what happens. I don't want to impose my conclusions to this adventure on the players and GM!


  • Cool, thanks! That's very helpful.
  • Ace work.
  • Such a cool module. Thanks for the extra commentary!
  • edited August 2012
    I've played this scenario once and run it three times. It's been cool to see how different each session has been.

    Having the players populate the village with three or four villagers and then immediately having those new acquaintances in the crossfire is fun every time.

    I'm a sucker for any nautical themes in a scenario, but dealing with the tide time pressure relative to the galleon treasure and the sacrificial ritual has been especially fun. In my experience, at some point a Discern Realities or some kind of PC oracular power has (should?) telegraphed the choice between these two things. (maybe the PCs can get both but it will be hard!)

    Whatever the game, I usually put time pressures in my scenarios, (and hopefully hard and/or interesting choices but often not I fear) so I was naturally drawn to this module and to Dungeon World's portents and Apocalypse World's countdowns.

    For the record:

    * Hobart saved and we ran out of time to see just how impressed the Imperials were and/or deal with angry Octofolk.

    * PCs got half of the galleon treasure, took out the Decaturge and were likely on their way to impressing the Imperials and then having to deal with angry Octofolk.

    * Hobart consciously allowed to drown after the PCs gauged the opposition, Octofolk climb Stairway To Heaven, Hobart's body recovered, Imperials somewhat placated by that plus some fancy diplomacy but still expecting the PCs to go after Pretty Pete and the rest for His Majesty's execution feast.

    * PCs are convinced by the "romantic interest villager" to go after the Imperials. Two of them die in the ensuing conflict. One of them makes their Last Breath move and the other takes over as the NPC village sage (who turns out to be The Cleric) for the rest of the session. The PCs get all of the treasure from the galleon, ignore the Hobart situation and go after the marauders in the old dwarven mine to keep the Codcliffe safe from them. They kill Pretty Pete and it looks like the rest of the marauders are going to be scattered (time constraints again). The evil PC Thief died right at the end and in exchange for life promises Death to take over the persona of Hobart and bring death to ten innocents within a fortnight. I'm pretty sure The Paladin was having none of that had it gone on.
  • edited August 2012
    PCs are convinced by the "romantic interest villager" to go after the Imperials. Two of them die in the ensuing conflict.
    Yeah, this is the optimal path through the adventure, I think. Kill the Imperials right away, fight the ghouls and steal the treasure from Relentless, let the octopus folk migrate, and then rally against Pretty Pete (or take off and leave the village to its fate.) I tried to make the Imperials bad enough so that there would be a cost to choosing this optimal path tho.
    The evil PC Thief died right at the end and in exchange for life promises Death to take over the persona of Hobart and bring death to ten innocents within a fortnight.
    I've totally done that replace-the-cool-dead-NPC-with-a-PC-who-is-cheating-death thing!
  • This is some keen fun. I love the playbook as a module, great stuff.
  • I love the playbook as a module, great stuff.
    I'm thinking that my next module will be a little 5x8.5 booklet like The Purple Worm Graveyard.

    I like the playbook format and how it forced me to edit mercilessly, but I think it turned out a little cramped and I would have liked a bit more room for art. Also I want to start doing dual-stat Dungeon World / Dungeon Crawl Classics adventures and that will need extra space.

  • I just meant I like when things fit on a page or so. It is a nice reference tool while gaming and pre-game day-dreaming.
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