I went back through the Dungeon World subreddit posts to come up with the top 10 things that people should know when making the switch from 5e—
- Internalize the GM advice. Read Dungeon World while still running your 5e campaign and start to integrate some of its best practices. You’ll actually run a better 5e campaign, while mastering principles that will help you when you do change systems.
- There are hundreds of third-party playbooks (classes) to choose from besides the core classes: check out these analogues to 5e classes.
- Players’ world-building is not limited to their backstory; they are encouraged to co-create their corners of the world.
- Encourage players to roleplay rather than read their playbook (character sheet).
- Players need to describe what they are doing in the fictional world before rolling. If they name a move (e.g., Hack & Slash), the GM or other players should ask them, “What does that look like?”
- There are no passive checks: encourage players to use Discern Realities and as GM know when to just “describe stuff”.
- There is no initiative or turn order in combat; the GM should move the spotlight between PCs in ways that make sense.
- The amount of damage dealt doesn’t vary by weapon but by character class (playbook). Armor is subtracted from damage dealt rather than affecting likelihood of hitting.
- Don’t roll for monster attacks; use monster moves “when players miss their rolls, when the rules call for it, and whenever the players look to you to see what happens.“
- There’s no equivalent to CR (Challenge Rating): “Don’t worry about your monsters being ‘fair fights’ or ‘balanced encounters’ or something that the PCs can even defeat. Worry about your monsters making sense.”
And you may find these other discussions from Reddit helpful:
- Moving from 5e to Dungeon World; how to get players on board (and more)
- Advice for transitioning from 5e to DW
- Any tips for translating a 5e party for a one-shot?
- 5e DM needs help adopting the DW GM mindset outside of combat
- Has anyone tried converting 5e modules
- I can’t run 5e anymore (not starting a system war)
Finally, here’s my own story of why I switched from 5e to Dungeon World.