Note: This deviates heavily from standard DW.

Note: This deviates heavily from standard DW.

Note: This deviates heavily from standard DW. I don’t mind, my players are requesting it. Please don’t flame me for doing something different. I’m well aware of the heresy I’m committing. I still love you DW!

My wife is a fan of MMO’s. She has requested that treasure and currency be similar to MMO design (think WoW, LOTRO, or even a non-MMO like Baldur’s Gate or Torchlight). This means added a little bit of min/maxing and munchkinism.

Primarily the goal is to start with super mundane equipment and to horde cash in an attempt to buy ever increasing (in power/capability) equipment. I’m trying to figure out how to handle this in DW.

I think DW portrays an epic tier of play. Tags are what separate the mundane from the spectacular, but there isn’t enough room in the tag space for ever escalating item capability. Obviously adding modifiers isn’t a possibility for emulating this. So how about tag reliability as a solution?

The idea is that mundane weapons have no tags. A slightly better version has a tag, but it has a X in Y chance of activating/applying when the weapon hits or armor negates damage. Better gear provides modified damage and/or the tag is reliable 100% of the time.

Example: Sword of Knocking

Ver 0: Class dam / no tag [Grey] (technically just a sword)

Ver 1: Class dam / Knockback 1 in 4-12 chance [White]

Ver 2: Class dam / Knockback 1 in 1 (always) [Green]

Ver 3: Class +1 dam/ Knockback 1 in 4-12 chance [Blue]

Ver 4: Class +1 dam / Knockback 1 in 1 (always) [Purple]

Ver 5: Class +2 dam / Knockback (always) [Orange]

Example: Armor of Negation

Ver0: Armor is decorative only [Grey]

Ver1: 1 in 4-12 chance of Armor 1 {White]

Ver2: 1 in 1 (always) of Armor 1 [Green]

Ver 3: Armor 1, 1 in 20 chance to avoid any dmg [Blue]

Ver 4: Armor 1, 1 in 15 chance to avoid any dmg [Purple]

Ver 5: Armor 1, 1 in 10 chance to avoid any dmg [Orange]

I will use MMO item color codes. She gets that awesome feeling when finding awesome loot, plus is able to quickly surmise what was valuable/junk. In the case of items, # of uses separate poor from heirloom. Selling to a merchant would be fast; “I sell these 8 items, here is my loot list.” I have a table for converting loot to currency based on item type, rarity, and category of tag.

Grey = Poor (crap you throw away)

White = Common (useful but unreliable)

Green = Uncommon (standard DW item)

Blue = Rare (very hard to come by)

Purple = Epic (complete big adventure for)

Orange = Heirloom (once in a campaign)

I’ll switch to slot based encumbrance using containers to limit her ability to horde everything she finds. Part of MMO’s is crafting and improving items through tradesman. I’m working on a CC style professions  (she gains levels in CC on top of normal DW leveling). NPC services too; blacksmith costs lots but that 1 in 8 chance for knockback just became 1 in 6.

Currency primarily exists to better gear or to affect the fiction, e.g.: carousing in hopes of gaining information or making friends OR purchasing NPC aid, quest specific items, maps/information, real estate property, a seat on a caravan, etc…

The biggest issue I face is trying to balance the money she makes, finds, and earns with prices of commodities in the setting. What do you think of this approach? Any other ideas for emulating MMO style play?

8 thoughts on “Note: This deviates heavily from standard DW.”

  1. Haha, my players would cut off my own hands and ask me what tier it was if I did this. Abstraction is the key to enjoyment for me. But I always love to hear about interesting game systems.

    I don’t play many MMO,s but my favorite implementation of this system is the one used in Borderlands. Each gun is made of 50-60 randomly selected parts, assigned a tier, and then rolled from the levels in that tier.

    so, Oranges might have d6+3 damage, while white has d6-2 damage. 

    so you CAN find an orange that sucks, or a white that is amazing, but it’s very rare. 

    Maybe have weapons created in parts, tags, or from a table. 

  2. David Guyll I hadn’t thought of it like that. I like this a lot. Generally MMO’s have lots of magic items. To keep a balance I planned on implementing lots of one-use magic items. Maybe I should roll random stats for these items borderlands style, assigning tags and purpose based on a table roll? I’ve been thinking there could be two groups, unidentified and identified.

    Unidentified: Unsure of its purpose/design the result of use is unreliable. Existing moves for the unpredictability of magic results would probably suffice here. Not sure if I should use a list approach or assign standardized degrees of success (6- = this result, 7-9 = this result, etc…).

    Identified: You’ve held onto it and taken it to a specialist. Because you now understand what its purpose is you can’t fail. Now you have degrees of how well the magic works. Your scale for success could be applied to this with great affect (6- releases fireball the size of a candle flame, 12+ releases a one second fire column-style burst at target).

    I like your idea for charges. For my Armor example, I could add charges in place of the 1 in 20 chance to avoid any dmg (spend a charge, avoid any damage). The size of the pool depends on tier and I could get creative with how charges are recouped, from simple to WTF?!

    I don’t know if I want to, but item durability could utilize this approach too (expend all charges and item is broken with no chance to repair). Only problem with repairing items is it introduces a style of play that may hamper fun. Though it could present some interesting choices for managing equipment in the middle of an adventure… maybe. Does this seem super anti-fun?

    David Schirduan I am very familiar with Borderlands. I like the idea of random item generation as well. I could tie item generation to the loot move. Sure I can make sure an awesome item is available at the end of an epic quest, but on average loot found in dungeons and throughout the world could be utterly random. My only worry is this may make rarity seem less cool. I remember having lots of instances as you described with lower rarity items being superior to higher rarity ones.

    This would require rolling on the spot to generate it, but I imagine that would add to the fun for a min/maxer experiencing the thrill of loot. I’m not sure how hard it would be to make a table capable of handling all of this in a single roll, even if it was a color coded bucket o dice style roll. I’ll have to ask my wife what she thinks. A more standardized approach as my examples show or the thrill of random item generation ala borderlands. Very cool idea ^_^

  3. Awesome. I hadn’t considered the PC trying to identify the item themselves by studying it. I definitely need to figure out a move for that. Perhaps a DR style approach, specific to one-use magic items, which you could only use once per item. I don’t know if I would add conditions, as you’ve outlined, to every single tier of item but conditions for the more powerful stuff is definitely awesome.

    I think a table is inevitable for random generation. That is a different post all its own =P. These are fantastic ideas. Thank you very much David Guyll!

  4. Don’t forget you can have tiers with purely narrative elements.

    Say your player is hunting for wolf pelts, some of those pelts will be worth more than others. You can tier them, but you don’t need tags or stats for that.

  5. I am playing in a DnD 4E Borderlands game, and this is what my GM does. He has it all automated through spreadsheets, but one way this could work is to have multiple tables.

    Table 1 rarity: 1-100, have white be 50 spaces, Green at 20, Blue at 15, Purple at 10, and Orange at 5. And make sure to mix em up, like spread the 5 oranges throughout the range (like at 12, 54, 60, 82, 99) but really randomize all the colors.

    And have another table with some concrete bonuses ranked a similar way. Elements are perfect for this, Fire, Acid, etc. Make up a ton too. This is all in fiction, but will complement the scheme nicely without worrying about too many +1s.

    Then you have a table of tags to roll, all the tags.

    Then arrange the actual mechanic bonuses, like additional damage, piercing, etc. Make it so these only get rolled on a Blue or Higher.

    So have a basic item have no tags, and then add tags at each level until 3 or 4 tags, then add mechanic bonus + 3 or 4 tags from there.

    So a weapon could look like this in a couple rolls:

    (Rarity)Weapon (type) (element) (tags)(mechanic bonus)

    Green Sword of Fire (reach)

    Purple Sword of Fire (Reach, Messy, Area) (Piercing 2, +1 forward)

    The idea with DW is not to level ‘up’ but to level ‘out’ your starting moves and weapons should stay relatively the same at lvl 10, but the amount of things you do should be waaaay expanded (think of weapons the same way)

  6. Jay Vee! This is beautiful. I need to go over this with a fine tooth comb to see if I have any questions. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of this up. This is exactly the kind of thing I needed help with. You sir are AWESOME. Thank You!!

  7. No problem. It’s a bunch of work up front to build your tables, but I don’t see it taking more than a minute or two to roll and build in practice.

    I strongly recommend the spreadsheet that’s floating around as a master list of tags.

    Also, with random rolling of everything, you’re likely to get some really crazy stuff.

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