Hello, I need some direction.

Hello, I need some direction.

Hello, I need some direction. I am trying to use this system to create a campaign and a set of new classes. However I am hitting road blocks due to not understanding the class makeup apparently and moves. I keep trying to make moves specific for each class that apparently aren’t “good” to DW vets. I compare my moves to the moves the original classes have and they seem to be very bland and not very unique. IMO the spellcasters are the only ones that really seem to stand out different with their spells…otherwise everyone’s regular “Advanced Moves” seem pretty similar and almost unnecessary. Here are some examples of my attempts at making Class Moves for a spartan/warden type:

□       Defend the Keep

When Defending ally, +1 to resulting Hold

□       Phalanx

When you use a hold to Halve the attack damage, -1 to damage

□       Achilles Heel

When you lunge with an attack despite their incoming blow, Defy Danger roll+DEX: On 10+ you maim a limb of your choice. On 7-9 you maim a limb but you lose your balance and fall flat.

My goal was to make them fun to play by making certain classes stand out on certain actions.

I guess the problem with say the last one is, any class can attempt this same move with Defy Danger. So what could I do to make it a neat move for this specific agile class? Or did I step on the shoes of the imagination and narrative?

Any advice is appreciated.

19 thoughts on “Hello, I need some direction.”

  1. It sounds like you have the same problem I had when trying to make a playbook, getting bogged down with numbers. Having a player get a +1 here or a -1 to an opponent there isn’t that fun. Instead, focus on the cool factor. So the phalanx move should do something awesome defensively, instead of just giving the player a plus one.

    Your achellies heel move is going in the right direction, try it out, have someone else play it and use it and I bet it will turn into something good.

  2. This might not be what you want to hear Rivenor Black, but I find Dungeon World the most difficult of the AW-hacks to write playbooks for. To the point where I haven’t even attempted to do so yet. Part of that has to do with the nature of what a “class” is (as each DW playbook is one).

    Each class is a distinct package of skills/abilities/equipment/etc. that makes it special and distinct from the other classes. To me, there is a very distinct line that seperates the Wizard from the Fighter from the Paladin. Too much overlap between the classes and you start to lose what makes each one unique.

    I’m saying this because if you want to design a new class, you have to find both fictional and design space that isn’t already covered by existing classes. Which is pretty difficult in my opinion.

  3. Christopher Stone-Bush  Thanks for the pointer. Maybe I should consider going with SW. I was simply looking for a faster combat system with more RP possibilities.  But the classes in DW are not what I want as my campaign is set way in the future. XD

  4. I certainly didn’t say that to discourage you from trying to make your own classes, Rivenor. For better or worse, that clear separation between character types is an element of classs-based systems.

    In my opinion, one of Dungeon World‘s strengths is it’s lack of setting. If you want to do a futuristic setting for DW, why not simply modify and reflavor the existing classes rather than making new ones from scratch? After you’ve developed some ideas of what these “future classes” are (and I mean fictionally rather than mechanically at this point), go through the existing DW base classes and see if anything is close. Like if you have a psionic class, that’s kind of like magic, so you could start with the Wizard and change any elements that don’t fit your vision.

    It’s much easier to modify something that already exists than to make something up completely from scratch. There’s also nothing wrong with doing so.

  5. Playbooks are the hardest custom content to write for Dungeon World, they have a lot of components and moving parts, and I find it takes me anywhere from a week to a month to get one to a basic state, and then a lot of playtesting to get it to a polished, fun state.

    Though I do know there are others that can work a lot faster. Jacob Randolph pumps out a class in a phenomenally short amount of time.

    Compendium classes or background classes can be a better way to customize your game since you can concentrate on a smaller group of moves that talk to the fiction of the Archetype you’re trying to express.

    When coming up with class ideas, I like to think of the Archetype I’m trying to represent. I think of characters that fit into that archetype, and the types of things they do in the fiction they reside in – both during dangerous action or combat and other scenes. I usually write a bunch of evocative words, phrases, characters, and themes that I feel fit the class.

    From there, I’ll usually write a bunch of triggers – actions the character would take, and the intentions they may have for doing so. From there, I’ll think of some likely consequences, and then see which mechanic I have at my disposal makes the most sense. Then I’ll expose it to peer review and get it playtested.

  6. The straight-up truth that many don’t like to hear is that playbooks are hard to make right; getting them wrong is very easy. Honestly, I’m of the opinion that playbook tampering is one of those things that ought to be held off until the game has been played, understood, and several simpler custom moves have been implemented successfully in play. They’re all steps that help contextualize how playbooks work with all the parts of the game.

  7. Rivenor Black: if you’re at the point where you’re trying to write an entirely new set of eight classes for sci-fi Dungeon World (instead of just reskinning the existing ones and writing a couple of CCs or variants to cover any gaping holes in the playable archetypes), something has gone wrong.

    Namely: a DW playbook has 30 moves. Practically every other PbtA game has playbooks that have 5-8 moves. DW is without a doubt the hardest PbtA game to write new playbooks for, and a large part of that is down to how much content you need to write for a single playbook.

    Is there any reason you’re trying to use Dungeon World, instead of using another PbtA game? Do your playbooks need (really, actually need) 30 different moves per class? 

    You basically have several options: find an existing PbtA hack that does what you want; keep the core DW system but write playbooks for it that only have AW-style advances; or work from an AW base but mash bits of the DW mechanics into there.

    e; vvv yeah; or reskin/write variants of existing playbooks to use with DW, of course.

  8. There’s one more option than that, Alex Norris : There’s loads of DW playbooks already out there, such as those in Adventures on Dungeon Planet or Inverse World. You can look around at more than just the core classes and see if you can’t grab a hodgepodge of playbooks that fit what you want, maybe with some refluffing, and work with those. Making your own is a lot of work!

  9. Is there a hack whether DW or PbtA that is somewhat close to a Mass Effect setting? That is the closest thing I can compare my theme to. A little post apocalyptic with a mixture of psionics, engineers, cyborgs and expert melee and marksman classes.

  10. Christopher Stone-Bush basically what I was trying to achieve is make a class that stands out for certain actions because of their expertise. Idk if DW or PbtA are meant to be this way though.

Comments are closed.