How strictly do you adhere to the character generation at first level?

How strictly do you adhere to the character generation at first level?

How strictly do you adhere to the character generation at first level?

Hey everyone. As i get more experienced with Dungeon World i start creating characters not really following the classes description. 

Making other “racial” moves for that of course is easy and fun but i am talking about more here. Right now i would maybe keep 1-2 bond descriptions i like and write the others myself depending on what i want to see in the game. I see no problem with starting with different gear (of basically equal value) or tweaking other descriptive things (like the kind of god your cleric has or what their petition is). 

Would you be okay with that at your table or do you follow this stuff completly at level 1? 

The caveat here of course is that i wouldn’t do that with first time players. They should follow the sheets to get a view of the “intended” DW experience. The looks and choices portray something specific about that classes archetype and are important there. 

But once you have experience with that, go crazy there i think. The options are not really meant as a restriction but as a starting point.

So how much drift is there in your game? Especially when dealing with the 9 classes from the book? 

23 thoughts on “How strictly do you adhere to the character generation at first level?”

  1. For example today i was thinking of playing that guy here: 

    (its imagery from Magic:The Gathering) 

    And it is either an IW Lantern or a Cleric in Dungeon World 

    (actually not a cleric because leonin don’t like the gods in that world but whatever) 

    So to play that guy i would need to write up a Leonin Racial Move, change the starting equipment to include a spear (replacing the original weapon choice) 

    Loose the armor in favour of cool looking robes. 

    Get a bola near no damage stun (replacing either the armor or the extra items you can choose from) 

    And heavily reflavour the spells as being sun related. 

    Oh and of course the Deity would be one of

    “The cleansing Sun”

    And the petition would be to “cleanse something of corruption” 

    Would that fly in your game or not? 

  2. I have a couple sheets with dozens of Warfare, Faith, Magic, and Subterfuge style bonds, players are free to pick and choose, limited by the initial number of bonds of their class.

    Likewise, with racial moves and alignment moves — I made players can swap them around — but whatever they do pick is sort of a statement about their race or alignment.

  3. on a more serious note; this is not about this character specifically. That was just an example. 

    I am just interested in how much drift from the sheets there is at your table. 

  4. Not a lot, in my case, but we do drift. Mostly small variations. Descriptions (eyes, hair) need not stick to the character sheet, bonds are written if the players wish, that sort of thing.

  5. Tim Franzke

     Yep, a fair bit. Don’t get me wrong, there are other games where if you were to try to “hack” character gen to accomplish something different I would firmly insist you operated inside the provided framework — either due to mechanical complexity or my unfamiliarity with the system.

    But in our first DW game the GM (not me) allowed the Druid to transform into a mule-sized dragon as a ‘standard shape’ — in almost any other game things would have been totally out of whack.

    It didn’t change a damn thing about the game.

  6. When a game’s rules state that you must pick your character’s name from a pre-specified list it’s almost daring you to start to think about bending rules, breaking rules, inventing new rules to be bent and broken. The whole spirit of DW seems to be one of “ask questions, see what happens, make it more awesome”. I’d be surprised if there are loads of people that are firmly against exploring new classes, races, etc.

    (Although that said, in the past I’ve sometimes (probably unreasonably) balked when every character in a party turns out to be some totally new multi-race/multi-class/hybrid whatnot.)

  7. Chris McGee That got me laughing really hard.

    For me personally, I like seeing how far I can push the interpretation of a playbook without changing stuff.  I want to generate a really memorably instance of that playbook – that’s part of the challenge for me.  For a lot of people, they just have to do something outside the bounds, that’s cool too.  Because I’d want the new things to be a focus of play, I think I’d be inclined to limit how many and what kind of new things there were in the game and let people negotiate about how they wanted to distinguish themselves so that they didn’t steal each other’s thunder.

  8. I like Marshall Miller’s re pushing the class without changing it. Beyond that, changing names, bonds and equipment are the norm in most of my games. I’m skeptical of other big revisions, unless they fit our agreed upon setting.

  9. I haven’t been in a group that drifted all that much yet, but I also have only played DW in one-shots and single-arc campaigns, not campaigns where we expected to be with these characters for a while. In a longer-term campaign, I would welcome the kinds of changes you suggest– different race moves, different bonds, drives instead of alignment (aligment as a subset of drive?), and even replacing the XP questions to suit the adventure/campaign tone.

  10. Stephanie Bryant I’m in line with your suggestions here. I would have no problems drifting for a longer campaign, but for a one shot, the simplicity of the sheets is a great bonus.

  11. Marshall Miller – Glad I could be of service and also glad to hear you stay on the lawful side of that thin line Tim is treading. We’ve been tailing him for weeks.

  12. We drift pretty hard, but several of the characters are ported over from the wonky 4e D&D campaign we started in. Those characters broke the game by third level but thankfully Dungeon World is a flexible enough playground that they can come alive here.

  13. Alatha Admin Doug Pirko I have only GM’d two sessions of DW, but DW seems to do a better job at handling situations or characters that would break your more tactical game. I think there are three elements that contribute to DW’s resiliency: primacy of the fiction, your basic GM agenda and the potential cost of failure for using moves that are epic. Tim Franzke I allow a lot of drift in my former games, I imagine I will do so in DW as I become more comfortable running it. 

  14. Hey Tim, I pretty much drift it like Doug, but I also ascribe to Marshall’s purist take. I think the most important thing is that as they come, the base playbooks are brilliantly playtested and work a treat. So unless a player wants to tweak, we leave well enough alone, or tweak the fiction rather than the mechanics.

    One thing I love to encourage though is bonds with NPCs and monsters. Classes are limited by the number of bonds they have (which is why the Bard is so freaking awesome), but when the paladin has the bond: The Goblin King has stood by me in battle and can be trusted completely… Shit just got real son.

  15. I run completely rampant with this. Most of the time it’s just new bonds, re-naming the moves and their flavour to fit (e.g. I re-wrote the Alchemist’s move names to play a goblin Mushroom Muncher). Sometimes I get totally carried away and before I know it I’ve made a bunch of similarly themed classes and monsters and locations and oh dear.

    On the plus side, having several notebooks filled to the brim with Dungeon World scribbles made a wonderful backdrop to start dipping into for Pirate World!

  16. We just converted from pathfinder so drifted considerably. For example my ranger dropped the called shot and got a move from the dwarf playbook which equated to favoured enemy, grudge if I recall correctly. As an advanced move we gave him weapon style, which was jus renamed viper strike for a two handed weapon.

    The cleric took the paladins lay on hands instead of turn undead.

    So far they seem to work OK…

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