I am looking for something.  A handout, preferably, that’s about a single page.

I am looking for something.  A handout, preferably, that’s about a single page.

I am looking for something.  A handout, preferably, that’s about a single page.

The contents of this handout are:

“If you play Pathfinder/D&D 3.5, what you know of as X is called Y in Dungeon World.”

For example, Dungeon World uses the term “Moves” for:

* Basic combat mechanics

* Negotiating with Death

* Leveling Up

* Core class abilities, like casting spells

* Advanced class abilities, which are mostly analogous to feats.

Yes, there are many many points of difference, and there are philosophical reasons why they did this.  I’m not looking for those, or those arguments.

I’m looking for ways to take the guys who play Pathfinder, have 15 years of experience with 3.5 and Pathfinder, and convince them that, yes, there are enough points of similarity that this game will be easy for them to pick up.  In spite of using new terms for things they already “know.”

The lack of a glossary near the front of the book is probably the single greatest barrier to entry I’m seeing.

The lack of a cheat sheet for the different rolls is another.  I couldn’t find out what Roll+BONDS was without asking for help.  Yes, I know the roll mechanic don’t change – just what the modifiers are.  A simple list of all the modifiers would seriously help. 🙂

31 thoughts on “I am looking for something.  A handout, preferably, that’s about a single page.”

  1. Modifiers: stat or other tracking number like bonds, and +1 for having Forward or Ongoing, +1 (or-2) from being Aided by another player… I think that about covers it.

    Don’t forget compendium classes as an equivalent to prestige classes.

    And I’ve put some good notes in my to do list for the next revision of my game, thanks !

  2. I’ve got the Beginner’s Guide, and it helps, and Jason Morningstar is right.

    I didn’t know if this handout existed or not – if it doesn’t, yes, I’ll create it.









    Are there others that should be on the cheat sheet?

  3. What’s the difference between + 1 Forward and + 1 Onward?  (I know that one is just a bonus to the next die roll, the other is a bonus to all further die rolls in the scene, but the choice of terminology doesn’t make that clear, or make it clear which is which.)

  4. +1 forward to the next roll

    +1 ongoing (is not until the end of the scene. it could be forever in theory. Normally there is a “until you do X” condition that ends it)

  5. I am also not sure if this is 100% helpful because if you think X is just like Y but with a different name; you might miss how X is in no way like Y. 

    I mean things work differently for a reason. A Hack&Slash is not an attack roll. 

  6. Tim Franzke  Not only that, if the games are the same but with different terminology, why bother to learn the new game?  I emphasized how different they are at least as much as how they are the same.

  7. Here’s my situation:

    I’ve got a cadre of about 12-16 PFS players who are getting burned out on PFS.  They’re also hesitant to go on to other games (like Dungeon World) because they don’t want to be “newbs” again.  They suffered through being “newbs” in Pathfinder; it’s the only game they’ve played, therefore it’s the only frame of reference they have.

    The character creation complexity and system mastery needed to play a Pathfinder-esque game is a very strong psychological barrier AGAINST trying something new….even when it’s clear that they’re frustrated with the game they’re playing.

    So, I’m writing them an intro flyer/pamphlet that explains what things are in Dungeon World…from the perspective of someone for whom “roleplaying game” means “Pathfinder.”

    “How can I have a Rogue if there’s no skill system?”

    “Where is my initiative modifier?”

    “Where’s the saving throws and DCs?”

    “How many hit points do I get each level?”

    That sort of thing.  Yes, the Dungeon World mechanics will be explained – but they’ll be explained in a frame of reference that the Pathfinder player should find familiar.

  8. Ken Burnside  That’s also a good opportunity to point out the differences, though.  A very big one is the lack of need for system mastery in DW.  Point out that character classes have a damage die and in many cases it either doesn’t matter at all or only a little bit which weapon they use (the Fighter’s Signature Weapon is an exception to this rule though).  If you smash someone over the head with a mug or use your mace it doesn’t really matter, you roll your class damage die, so just make the fight fun and cinematic rather than worrying about improvised weapon penalties and lower damage dice etc.

    I ran DW for my group of Pathfinder players too, and I told them “Don’t worry about the rules and such, I’ll explain whatever you need to know as we go.  In nearly all cases, you’ll just roll 2d6 and add a stat bonus.  You guys just focus on your characters and the story.”  It worked out well and they picked it up very quickly.

  9. I have no problem with the game once I get them to the table.

    It’s getting them to sit down that very very first time that this is aimed at.  They are skittish and afraid of being the “newb” and many of them struggled (and still struggle) with the heaping monstrosity that is the Pathfinder rules-base.

    Are there any other static modifiers that I’m missing beyond the seven listed above?  Roll+Stat and Roll+Bond?

  10. Ken Burnside I would suggest you to make a cheatsheet on how to handle common actions in rpgs, more than a list of mechanics. As other people pointed out, there are very few mechanical equivalences, so that kind of list would miss many important things.

  11. No existing moves or mechanics cover a situation.

    Not always does the GM create a new move here. Some most times the GM should respond with making aGM move. Like telling them the consequences and asking

  12. Can I make a forbidden philosophical point? The players don’t need to know how to play the game. The only need to describe what the characters do.

    Now, a cheat sheet to help the GM, sure. But I think it’s potentialy counterproductive to give one the players.

  13. Start with mapping the philosophical differences. PF is mostly simulation. DW is mostly narration. PF is mostly tactical. DW is mostly cinematic. PF is mostly exploration and storyline driven. DW is mostly front driven. PF is mostly GM driven. DW is mostly player driven. (The GM being one of the players).

  14. #PointMissed  

    The more differences I point out, the more opportunities I get for them to say “Naah, that’s too weird, I’ll pass.”

    Yes, there are differences.  They are less important than the similarities for this particular target audience.

    To get someone to sit down for the first time, point out the similarities, not the differences at the top, show the differences as they come up.

  15. Ken Burnside Well, the most similarities are in the setting/character classes (old school fantasy classes and monsters that they’ll know instantly, the 6 classic stats with the same 3-18 scale, etc). 

    Also emphasize how quick and easy it is to play compared to PF.  When I ran it for my group we made it through character creation, basic 1st time rules explanation, and an entire adventure (5 separate combats, 4 separate roleplay encounters, several traps, etc) all in 1 session (about 4-5 hrs).  That is orders of magnitude faster than our PF game usually moves, which is typically 1-2 combats and some RP/traps/exploration in the same amount of time.

  16. Yep. 🙂  I plan on hitting that – but first, I want to get them into “And really, you mostly know how to play…” 🙂

    I’m not neglecting the differences.  I know what they are.  I’m presenting them AFTER the similarities so I can get people to sit down and play.

    I’m looking for more similarities, and “commonly used, but buried rules” to highlight.

  17. Tell them to give you 30 minutes to convince them. You can tell somebody about sushi for hours but until they taste it they can’t like it.

    I have done two impromptu sessions with PF players at the FLGS. In both cases I handed them character sheets and basic moves, explained the core dice mechanic and started the roleplaying with character creation. Ask questions about their characters and bonds. Don’t give them time to worry about rules. Don’t take more than 15 minutes. Then I threw them in at the deep end: “You are lying in the mud under a low bush. There is a battle raging around you. Orc and human corpses and wounded lie all around you. Why are you here?”

    The immediate answer was “I don’t know. You’re the GM. You tell us!”

    My answer was “Make it up!”

    One guy at the table overcame the culture shock and said “I came here to look for an artifact.”

    That broke the ice, and they were hooked.

  18. I do the same thing, only my stock opening is the deck of a galley being torn apart by a storm, which they’re using to transport an item from Phyros to Illium during the Trojan War.

    “What’s the cargo?  Why did they ask you to send it?”

    “What have you done to offend Poseidon, God of the Seas?”

    Once I get them to SIT DOWN, I’m fine.

    It’s getting them to get over the New Game Hesitancy that I’m aiming to fix.  Remember, for a lot of them, 3.5/Pathfinder is the only RPG they’ve known, and they remember what it was like suffering through low levels and not knowing the rules. 

    To them, that’s the only New RPG Experience they know.  And it’s one of the sources of “gamer lock-in” – “I don’t want the three years I spent getting 12 credit hours in Rules Mastery (Pathfinder) to go to waste!” 

  19. Ken Burnside I can understand from where your worries come from,but seriously, focusing the explanation of DW on the rules is like talking about Divina Commedia and focusing on the number of pages and rhymes instead of the images, the political statements, the characters, etc.

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