Converting Vancian OSR spells to Dungeon World

Converting Vancian OSR spells to Dungeon World

Converting Vancian OSR spells to Dungeon World

Has anyone developed guidelines for converting spells from old-school D&D and its simulacra for use with Dungeon World? There are a bunch of interesting spell lists out there that could make interesting treasure or even distinctive Compendium Classes.

The major difference is that most D&D-like spells are defined with strict measurements of range, area, or duration, where DW uses a less buttoned-down descriptive approach. That’s easy enough to deal with: Just leave off the mechanics that aren’t necessary in DW.

But DW has its own mechanical distinctions that aren’t completely a matter of narrative description—like spell level, “-1 to cast a spell”, or “cannot cast a spell”, and similar elements. It would be interesting to hear about the rubric Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel developed to translate the most iconic spells into Dungeon World, or any other wisdom the community has hashed out. Are there any links to previous discussions or other resources?

#spells   #osr   #dnd   #vancian  

6 thoughts on “Converting Vancian OSR spells to Dungeon World”

  1. Actually, I don’t think anyone’s asked before, so cool!

    The rubric I used most often was:

    Start with the effect. Write it in the plainest English possible. That includes converting system- or unit-specific measurements into something the wizard character might be able to grasp. (i.e. instead of “X HD” or “large size” maybe “no larger than you.”)

    Measure the effect against other spells. Compare it to other spells until you find a level where it’s neither a must-have or a never-take.

    Figure out if anything in the world of the game breaks if this can be cast (with some danger) often. If no, you’re done. If yes, find some limit on it. For example, summoning something seems like it could get out of hand if there’s not some limit on it. In this case, we went with the -1 limit.

    What limit you choose is largely a matter of taste. We could have easily gone with “you can only hold one monster to this plane at a time.”

    And that’s pretty much it!

  2. For me, most of the spells had a handful of “real life” uses that came from old games of D&D I’d played. I wanted DW to “feel” like those games, so I tried to aim for that marker. Does this spell feel like it did when I saw it used in AD&D?

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