Dungeon World Hypothetical

Dungeon World Hypothetical

Dungeon World Hypothetical 

What can you offer a character, short of death, whose players accepts the total and permanent annihilation of their character’s body? 


Picture the ancient halls of a long entombed temple, deep within Death Mountain. Imagine the Druid whispering-muttering-speaking-SCREAMING the stone awake. And then assume a dozen or so elemental stone demons and monstrous heathen idols of murder and death emerge from their engravings in the walls. The Stone Demons of Death Mountain easily fulfil their menial task (clear a few rocks from a tunnel) and then demand a favour in return, which the adventurers decide not to fulfil. Unfortunately for the adventurers in this scenario, assume the Stone Demons of Death Mountain are blocking the exit of some adventurers and blocking all of the copious loot they piled up. Also assume the Stone Demons of Death Mountain are very patient and very willing to wait the adventurers out. Assume the adventures wait a day or so and then hatch the following plan. 


Assume fighting is Plan B but the adventurers commit to Plan A. Plan A is making a deal with the Fae Lord of Shadow and using a strange unknown artefact to perform a ritual to summon a being of shadow into the body of the Bard. Assume the adventurers believe this will give the Bard the ability to Smash and Destroy All Stone Demons Of Death Mountain that Stand in His Way. Now assume the adventurers fulfil the ritual’s conditions. They have:

– prepared a place of power on a narrow precipice on a sheer face of Death Mountain

– sacrificed someone and collected the requisite quantity of blood

– waited till night fall, and

– accepted the total and permanent annihilation of the Bard’s physical body on completion of the ritual.


Assume the summoning works and destroys the Stone Demons of Death Mountain. Assume the Bard is not annihilated with his body (I know this is a test of your resolve). Now how do you follow the fiction yet give the Bard’s player the opportunity to continue playing the Bard, in some form or other? What compendium classes, moves or other outcomes would you create? 

12 thoughts on “Dungeon World Hypothetical”

  1. Find a way to put his mind somewhere else, like in the head of another PC or an object or animal. Then the problem becomes finding a host body and compatibility which could be fun.

    My monthly fantasy RPG has introduced parallel worlds and the alternate version of one PC has turned up with similar (not identical) powers and echoes of the dead PC’s memories thanks to a botched brainwashing. He’s roving the countryside wearing the face of the group’s friend but not quite him, oh the drama.

  2. In our current campaign, we have a Haunt, a form of undead that can possess the living or other items. It has lead to a lot a funny role-playing situations. 

  3. I like the Star Trek method: sentience is stored in a vessel (magical rather than technological) until a host can be found (someone willing to lose their own sentience or a very fresh cadaver) to transfer to. I’d go the fresh cadaver route, preferably with a bizarre and dark ritual, given the story so far.

  4. Maybe have him reappear after a session or two, but something’s off about him. This level of resurrection is beyond the normal means and something came back from the afterlife wearing a simulation of his body. It does mean possibly making an evil character but those can be funny, too. Maybe he’s on an infernal mission or simply trying to enjoy his new life outside of death’s grasp.

  5. The group is caught in a scheme of the Fae Lord. He has granted a shadow demon the body of an adventurer (the bard) newly empowered with half a decade of immunity to magic- and commanded that it wreak havoc upon the mortal world in the name of the bodies former owner.

    The Bards consciousness is trapped in the “dangerous and unknown artifact” and has the choice of animating and controlling a dead body (with the downside that the body is clearly dead and will thus have consequences to the fiction when involved with social dealings) or dominating the mind of a currently occupied body (plus side- you have a fully functioning live body- but you’ve stolen it from someone which is clearly not a good aligned act- the body snatching will  of course have have consequences in the fiction- both from an alignment perspective and a new identity perspective)

  6. David Guyll, the reason I set the cost of the ritual to include destroying the Bard’s body is because the artefact is designed to summon a very specific shadow being: the shadow dragon. And its shadow body is solid like flesh, not ephemeral like other shadows. So my initial thought when the ritual  works and summons the shadow dragon into the Bard’s body is the Bard’s body would simply be unable to contain it and burst or that it would be transformed into shadow dragon meat.

    This reasoning is not set in stone so that’s why I didn’t mention it in the OP. I’ve just committed to the body-destruction. Many of the suggestions above will explain why the Bard lives on beyond the destruction/transformation/loss of his body.

  7. I am fond of the idea of linking the Bard’s survival to the machination of the Fae Lord of Shadow. He’s already clearly a trickster. The Bard asked the Lord how to summon a shadow through the artefact. Unfortunately the Fae Lord failed to mention the shadow summoned would be so dangerous it makes the Stone Demons of Death Mountain look like puppies.

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