Every now and then I think it would be fun to run a DW game that didn’t have XP or levels, and all advancement was done descriptively. Like, you want to raise your intelligence score? Cool, how does your character go about becoming smarter? You want the “Smite” move? Cool, how does your paladin go about gaining the ability to deal more grevious blows when on a quest?
And of course, as a GM, litter the world with opportunities to gain new abilities, maybe asking the players what they’re interested in and working on the basis of that. (Maybe even replacing XP with some sort of ‘luck’ points that translates into finding opportunities for self-improvement along specific lines.)
How often has people seen or used descriptive-based advancement in their games? Like, the DM giving a player a move or a stat increase because it made sense in the fiction? How well did it work out?
7 thoughts on “Every now and then I think it would be fun to run a DW game that didn’t have XP or levels, and all advancement was…”
I’ve had this happen in AW (gaining moves and stuff through the fiction) and for custom PC moves in DW, but haven’t tried leveling that way yet (or getting rid of PC levels). That’s a cool thought, though. Hmm…
Closest I’ve ever come to something like this is a Vampire: the Requiem game where the Storyteller encouraged us to earn Merits through play rather than buying them with XP. If you wanted a new Contact or Ally for example, you earned it through roleplay. Once things got to the point where the Storyteller felt you had earned the Merit, you just got it.
That was only for social things though. I’ve never experienced that with the more physical aspects of characters (like attributes and skills).
I think its workable and sounds very fun. If I think a player has done something that earns them a new advanced move, I’ll give it to them, but I haven’t replaced the XP system, since that still encourages players to take risks and make moves.
I am a sneaky DW player who always angles for “free” moves from other classes. Narrative power gaming.
I had players that would complain that this isn’t “fair” and brakes the “balance of level ups”.
As a GM I’m always looking for ways to justify giving my players cool, thematic moves justified by the fiction, even as a one off occasion because of a certain situation.
– so long as the moves come from unused play books and suit the fiction of the situation. I recall a ritual that required the help of the Druid and bard to cast the spell while the barbarian held off a horde of goblins.
This is pretty much explicitly how I’ve tooled Backgrounds (Pirate World). They don’t have a mechanical way to pick them up, only a fictional trigger 🙂
Comments are closed.