So, lets talk about gestalt characters.

So, lets talk about gestalt characters.

So, lets talk about gestalt characters. In D&D 3.x gestalt multiclassing was meant to enhance characters for smallish parties of one or two heroes, to compensate them for their lack of versatility. Small parties tend to do that.

I feel that the moves in DW are meant to give the players a way to take control over the story, in ways fitting to their class concepts. Usually this is done by letting the players roll a “better” stat for the roll, or by giving them more say over the outcome.

When you play with a low number of players, like one or two, it is sometimes hard for players to achieve the same amount of leverage, since it’s far more likely that they default to Defy Danger in lack of “better” moves, which actually makes GM’ing harder (more radical improvisation needed).

This made me think of the gestalt rules from D&D 3.x. My idea would be something along the following lines:

– Everyone picks two different classes, no duplicates.

– Each character get the best HP modifier and Damage die from either class.

– Each character gets all starting moves from both classes.

– On level up, each character gets an advanced move from both classes.

I haven’t tried it out, just toying with the idea. Thoughts?

15 thoughts on “So, lets talk about gestalt characters.”

  1. That was my main concern as well. Besides, some combos really look terrifying. Thinking about a Fighter/Ranger, having a possible damage of d10 + 2d4 + 4 and piercing 2 at level 2, through weapon configuration, smart advances and specific companion statline.

    While stats aren’t everything in DW, such a massive damage at lvl 2 is a bit too much…

  2. If you have a fighter and a thief, then your story is going to be about fighting and thieving.  In war and heist stories, people getting hurt and having to go try and find a doctor are a running theme.  Not having a cleric isn’t a problem because whatever clerics do moves from the character domain to the fiction domain. This also continue to replay value as the choice of characters produces different types of games.

  3. DW doesn’t need gestalt classes, because DW doesn’t have mechanical assumptions like D&D has. You don’t need magic items to make the maths scale, nor do you need fixed party roles.

    I don’t think gestalt classes are a good idea for the reasons you’ve pointed out, and it’s entirely possible to play DW with two players. Worse comes to worst, I’d just let them play multiple characters each.

  4. Especially because there are classes that are mechanicly stronger (Fighter, Ranger) and classes that are fictionaly stronger (Mage, Paladin) and you can just combine the two for extra oompph.

  5. I play with my three children (what a fortunate father I am). The elder boys have respectively a warrior and a mage, a cleric and a ranger. My girl has chosen a druid. Bonds add an interesting dimension even for two characters played by the same child.

    We have a lot of fun !

  6. I’m a larger fan of the above suggestions, but I thought I’d just share this — I’m currently playing a fighter w/ wizard spellcasting in a rotating GM game.  I’m missing the ritual move, but I have a pretty vast number of options.

    If you wanted to do this sort of thing without too much hassle, you could simply encourage people to take classes that have multiclassing opportunities, and start them off at level 2 so they could use them right away.  With this method, you wouldn’t need to introduce any house rules besides starting at level 2.  (The primary advantage of this is you wouldn’t really need to tinker much to get it to feel right.)

    You could additionally simply start people at level 1 and give them one or more multi-class moves immediately.

    I dunno.  I also remember the gestalt rules pretty poorly in practice — they made sense in theory, but in truth they ended up not being very fun in actual play.  I’m not sure that would be true in dungeon world, but I think it might be more prone to make the characters very overwhelming (and not in a fun way.)  But, I’m a big fan of DW w/ one/two players plus a GM as is, so, YMMV!

  7. Also James Myers, I think DW works great with one player, far better than any other system I’ve tried. However, the player control is still diminished, unless the vast majority of obstacles the hero faces will be something that can be resolved with his class moves. I comparison to a DW game with more than one player.

    Just saying.

  8. Kasper Brohus That’s definitely true that one player has less direct player control through moves.  The times I’ve played with one player and one GM, it has usually been a very specific experience — e.g. my paladin worked out a mystery to heal a town’s strange illness.  

    Personally I’ve found one on one play to be more well-suited to one shots, but I’m uncertain if that’s related — we might just enjoy making characters and situations as much as the game itself.  

    However, this could be a symptom of what you’re talking about — maybe there’s only so much a specific character can handle in a solo arc?  But I dunno.

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