Dungeon World

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Dungeon World
Dungeonworld cover.jpg
RPG published by
Sage Kobold Productions
Rule System Powered by the Apocalpyse
Authors Sage LaTorra, Adam Koebel
First Publication 2012

Dungeon World is a Powered by the Apocalypse RPG for D&D style dungeon romps. The DM never rolls dice, player actions are a wide choice of simple attribute checks with many "three outcomes, choose two" results. Neckbeards like it because it has the feel of old school AD&D in that indie-RPG style.

Play[edit]

Your standard D&D classes are here (Fighter, Cleric, Wizard, Thief, Druid, Barbarian,...), and characters have Str/Dex/Con/Int/Wis/Cha stats. However, you don't get to roll for them in the default rules, and you use the given array to start. Attribute bonuses are the -1 to +3 from most D&D editions. The stuff players can do in any situation are called "moves" and each has an attribute associated with it.

For a "move" the player rolls 2d6+bonus to determine success;

  • 10+ is total success
  • 7-9 is success with consequences (player chooses), and
  • 6- is possible failure but a certainty the DM will use one of their "move"s to mess with you. You also get a point of XP.

An example of the 7-9 "success with consequences": The Fighter wants to punt a goblin into a pit. This counts as an application of the 'hack and slash' move, as the PC is trying to physically interfere with or hurt something, even if it's not actually hacking nor slashing. The Player rolls a 7, and the 'hack and slash' move says the player succeeds but the goblin gets a successful counterattack. If the player rolled 10+ the attack is successful with no counterattack, and the player has the option to do +1d6 damage by allowing the goblin to get a successful counterattack. Decisions, decisions.

The DM has their own list of "moves," but never rolls dice. It's always up to the players to roll dice to resist, avoid or rejigger stuff that would hurt them. Monsters never roll to attack, they only hit the player characters if the players fail on their rolls. The DM's 'moves' are never mentioned by name, it's more to organize what the DM can do to the players. The players' actions and declarations drive what happens in the adventure, with the GM's promptings providing interesting choices which influence but need to direct the players.

Levelling up is with the XP you get from a rolling a 6-, and from some player moves, and from achieving one your alignment's goals. You level up every 5 XP, getting a new "move" from your class. Levelling up is less of a deal as it is in D&D, but it happens more often, especially if your dice are being terrible.

The upsides are:

  • Marking XP on a miss is sorta cool.
  • Players get to choose the consequences of partial successes.
  • Alignment is an encouragement not something the DM uses to say "no you don't do that."
  • Quick to start, fights are fast.
  • DM never needs to roll the dice.

The downsides are:

  • All monsters have the same TN to hit. Yep, whether it's a will-o-wisp, or a fat-ass gelatinous cube, or the fuckin' Tarrasque, it's still 7+ on 2d6.
  • Despite the above attempt at making things simpler, you still have to do accounting for running tallies of hitpoints and money.
  • No character building. You pick your playbook, you pick "moves" from the buffet that's there. Mitigated by every book having one or two "pick an option from another playbook".
  • Still has many of the pitfalls of D&D, like explicitly tagging characters as "evil" or "good" with alignment, and race-class restrictions.
  • DM almost never rolls dice, only other players get the thrill of playing with chance.

Some people don't see these as downsides. Good for you.

Example Moves[edit]

Carouse
When you return triumphant and throw a big party, spend 100 coin and roll + extra 100s of coin spent. On a 10+ choose 3. On a 7–9 choose 1. On a miss, you still choose one, but things get really out of hand.
  • You befriend a useful NPC
  • You hear rumours of an opportunity
  • You gain useful information
  • You are not entangled, enchanted, or tricked
Cast (Wizard)
When you release a spell you’ve prepared, roll+Int. On a 10+, the spell is successfully cast and you do not forget the spell; you may cast it again later. On a 7-9, the spell is cast, but choose one:
  • You draw unwelcome attention or put yourself in a spot. The GM will tell you how.
  • The spell disturbs the fabric of reality as it is cast; take -1 ongoing to cast a spell until the next time you Prepare Spells.
  • After it is cast, the spell is forgotten. You cannot cast the spell again until you prepare spells.

Customizations[edit]

Most of the customizations will be new playbooks, for new classes to play in your game.

Links[edit]

Powered By The Apocalypse games
Apocalypse World - Dungeon World - Masks: A New Generation - Monsterhearts - Urban Shadows