OK. I’m a furry at heart.  I love RPGs like Ironclaw and World Tree, but unfortunately there are far too few anthromoph RPGs out there.  There are some that feel half done and others that are a good start but there are no plans to go further.  So, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to think of ways to hack Dungeon World into an anthro RPG.  

Not really going that well.  So, first off, forgive me if I seem to ramble while I ask for opinions.  I tend to brainstorm a lot, but then I can’t seem to sort things out.  Second, I’m open to any help, opinions or ideas you might throw my way.  I’ve had a little experience with working with the basic game system, but have never attempted to convert anything before.

One of the draws of many anthro games is the fact that they are not restrictive with race/class combos.  The biggest downfall of trying to convert this into an anthro game is the sheer number of races in the game.  I thought about a number of ways to get around this.

1.  When presenting the classes, leave the racial aspect open.  Have a separate list of species and what they contribute as a species move.  The player can write in whatever species they wish, rather than be restricted to a list of three or four only.

2. Instead of using specific species, use families instead (Ursine instead of black, brown, and panda bears, Canine instead of Wolf and dog, etc).  It would reduce the number of possible combinations a good bit, with the specific species being player choice only.

3. Instead of using classes with species or family choices, Create Family sheets with species and class choices.  Maybe three species and three possible classes to choose from.  Not really the best way to go, as you could end up with multiple wizards… 

Any suggestions from those who have done modifications like this?

16 thoughts on “OK.”

  1. Maybe have species like a Compendium Class you automatically gain at chargen. Each species gets a starting move and a list of appropriate moves you could choose from as you leveled? 

  2. Thanks for the answers and ideas so far everyone. 

    I want the species to be more than an aesthetic thing.  I want it to be meaningful to the character.  

    After I posted about making a family or species playbook, I thought about character classes and the possibility of duplicated class types and the restriction on races.  Not really what I was going for.  As for making a racial type playbook and forgetting the class, I really want the class to be the playbook restriction rather than the species.

    The Compendium class idea seems closest to what I had in mind, but hadn’t thought about that aspect.  I will have to look a little deeper there. 

    Thank you all so far for the ideas and comments.  

  3. 1. Why not simply replace Race with Species. A compendium class is an easy and tailored way to introduce thematic species specific moves while still presenting moves associated with a class/profession. I think in any Anthro game one of the big points of playing anthro is that you can be whatever animal you think is cool. Limiting this aspect of the genre seems unnecessary, at least from the perspective that DW simply cannot handle such diversity.

    2. Have you considered coming up with a set of unique Species Tags?  If it is difficult to list all possible species, maybe a set of tags could act as fictional building blocks. These could be just description based (“furry” or “scales”) or perhaps they add in-game effects (“sharp teeth” is similar to Precise which rewards careful strikes, “large sharp teeth” acts like Piercing which goes right through armor, “massive sharp teeth” could be like Messy).

    Note that I am not suggesting you rename all DW weapon tags, but for the sake of an example I used them since you’re already familiar with them. Custom species damage tags could be things like Crush, Frenzy, Pack, Trample, Regurgitate, Projectile, etc…

    3. This approach sounds limiting. Shoehorning species or families into a box only capable of training for a few classes seems like you are hating on those animals. It feels constraining rather than evoking the freedom of the Anthro genre.

    I think the key to capturing the awesomesauce of Anthro gameplay is finding a way to portray the aspects of the genre and its gameplay that make you happy. The aspects that give you an experience, opportunities, and feelings that you just don’t find in non-anthro gameplay. If you can figure out what these are then you will have a compass to follow. This will make it much easier to move forward.

  4. There is nothing more I can say than “buy Planarch Codex, read up on Heritage Moves”.

    Except perhaps “buy Pirate World when it comes out, read up on backgrounds”.

  5. Matteo Suppo summoned me.

    I’m actually working on a PbtA game named Whispering Willows, which is based on multiple furry sources (i.e. the  _Redwall_ series). Basically, it’s a fairy tale world gone terribly wrong.

    It’s still in a playtest phase, but it passed the earlier test phases, so it should work. It’s free for all (and it will be even once completed), and you can find the handbook here: http://whisperingwillowsgame.wordpress.com/

  6. Thanks again for all the comments and ideas everyone.  I’m sort of rolling towards the idea of compendium classes to allow people to take whatever species they want with regards to playing the classes.  As mentioned, restricting species to certain classes or vice verse is not where I wanted to go in the first place, but couldn’t get my mind wrapped around how to get around that restriction.

    I have the Planar Codex (one of the first items I bought along with Dungeon World), but have not delved deeply in the Heritage section yet.  Will have to look at that more, as it might be very beneficial in an anthro game.

    I’ve downloaded Whispering Willows and will read through it this weekend.  Thanks for the link and the information. ^_^

  7. Hi. I’m also very interested in this kind of game. In fact, I spent the last year designing a game called “Rabbits & Rangers”. Got tons of work done on that project, though currently I’m leaving it on hold. I did, however, mess around with doing a Basic Fantasy RPG “Basic Fighting Animals” supplement: http://www.jwarts.com/fightinganimalstest.pdf

    That idea dovetailed into the idea of doing a mimic of B/X (Moldvay/Cook D&D) as two 64-page saddle stitched books to form a complete anthro RPG based on the SRD v3.5. Something that you might have found at a flea market in 1981. That idea is still kicking around in my head though I haven’t even started working on it and don’t know if I will.

    I am not familiar with Dungeon World, I just love the idea you present here and thought I’d share a bit. Keep working on it!

  8. Similar things happen in Grim World – each playable race adds something and there isn’t the restriction of race by class. (Really there isn’t a restriction in DW if you’re willing to write a new race move for your class. Likewise for classes, if you’re both willing to be equally The Druid. Digression.)

    Example from Grim World:

    Drakarn Broodmate –

    You have met all other drakarn. When you come across another of your species, the GM will tell you useful information about them or ask you to come up with some.


    When you belch, two things catch fire. Choose one. The GM chooses the other.

Comments are closed.