I’m rather new to Dungeon World, but I’ve always been a tinkerer.

I’m rather new to Dungeon World, but I’ve always been a tinkerer.

I’m rather new to Dungeon World, but I’ve always been a tinkerer. If nothing else, it helps me get the mechanics of a new system down while I’m learning it. So I whipped up a class based on an old character of mine (all luck, no skill). I’d love any thoughts or suggestions (or a link, if somebody’s already done something similar).

32 thoughts on “I’m rather new to Dungeon World, but I’ve always been a tinkerer.”

  1. You’d need to playtest it to find out, but it seems to me like the luck pool would be very fiddly at the table.

    Also, so much of the move base is mechanical and not tied to the narrative so much. The character needs to be taking a concrete action to make a move, not just “when a roll happens a certain way”. Characters don’t perceive rolls, the fiction doesn’t and generally, moves don’t trigger off them. Remember, Fiction -> Moves -> Fiction!

  2. Fiddly how? If you mean keeping track of the points in it, it’s really the only extra bit of tracking for the class. I didn’t really see any other way to represent the fact that one’s luck fluctuates a lot, which is meant to be the main focus of the class.

    As for the Moves, the idea was that they don’t really have many special skills of their own, it’s just that the normal things they do tend to be either more lucky or unlucky. Most of the “Fiction -> Moves -> Fiction” would come from using the standard Moves, and then the class’s other stuff would makes the results of those Moves more interesting.

    It seems to me like there are already plenty of Moves that are mostly mechanical and not based on the fiction, like the various moves that just add damage or armor or automatic successes and that sort of thing.

  3. I realize I need to work out more of the fluff descriptions for things, which is mostly in my head at the moment. But that stuff is easy, I just wanted to make sure the mechanical bits weren’t going to overshadow the other classes.

  4. I’m looking through the class now, but yeah. Tim Franzke has the right of it. You never just roll dice in DW. Your character takes a fictional action which may or may not trigger a specific move. “When you take a needlessly risky action” is a solid fictional trigger. “When you roll a 10+” is not. As Adam Koebel said, the characters are not aware of dice rolls.

  5. So, maybe I just don’t get it, but why can’t “Succeed very well at something” (which is mechanically represented by saying “10+”) or “fail really badly at something” (again, represented in the rules by 6-) be what triggers a move? That’s still the fiction triggering the move, it’s just creating a chain of “Fiction > Move > Fiction > Move > Fiction” instead of just “Fiction > Move > Fiction”.

    For example (keep in mind, I’m keeping the “fiction” here greatly simplified as an example, not as a representation of how things would really be described):

    Fiction: I shoot the dragon with my magic bow!

    Move: Hack ‘n’ Slash (rolled a 6-)

    Fiction: Your arrows bounces off the dragon’s scales and it lurches forward to eat you!

    That’s a normal “Fiction > Move > Fiction” play. My concept for the Jynx would simply add an extra “> Move > Fiction” to that.

    Move: I Meant to Do That (rolled a 10+)

    Fiction: The arrow bounces off the dragon’s scales, rebounds off the wall, and strikes a stalactite just above the dragon’s head… which falls down on it, knocking it on the head before it can bite you!

    It’s still the fiction triggering the move, it’s just chaining off of a move that was triggered by the fiction before it.

  6. Good mechanics should make the players say interesting stuff (quoting the apocalyptic god of the apocalypse)

    So how can I make a luck thing sound intersting at the table?

    Maybe something like this “When something bad happens to you, describe exactly what quirk of improbable fate causes it to only almost happen to you. Spend one luck to make it so.”

    Having said that, pure number mechanics may make huge fictional differences. Failing a HnS roll because you have luck of -3 IS hugely fictionally significant, even though the move itself may seem very uninteresting.

    So do not listen too much to the anti-numbers guys (who are sometimes right).

    Play your character and see if interesting stuff get said because of your mechanics.

  7. To your example: 

    For one, it would be Volley; not Hack&Slash. 

    Also the character is taking extra time at the table. Everytime you roll you 

    #1 need to think if you want to spend/gain luck, taking you maybe a bit away from the fiction and eating up valuable game time

    #2 you then roll/trigger the move and that takes time as well.

    So it increases complexity at the table. Be aware of that.  

  8. Yeah, the idea is to flesh out the fluff bits (mentioning that you should explain how luck saves you, examples of such, that sort of thing) after I’ve got the mechanics working. Fiction comes easy to me, and like I said I already have most of that sort of thing in mind, I just didn’t write it into the class because it’s the first draft.

    You’re definitely supposed to actually narrate all the wacky and crazy ways your random luck intervenes on your behalf… I guess I just didn’t think I needed to mention that you would have to describe how these things worked, and that I was just looking to make sure the mechanics wouldn’t break the game. I suppose I could have been more clear on that, sorry.

  9. Tim Franzke So Vincent quoted Ben and I quoted Vincent! I did not know the origin of the quote, just heard Vincent say it –  so thanks. 

  10. Sorry, I missed Tim’s comments after Wynand’s.

    Volley vs. HnS: Yeah, I started the example using a sword attack, but realized that the bouncing arrow would make for a more obvious way of describing the luck factor, and just forgot to change the Move part.

    And I’ll keep an eye on the complexity, that’s a good point. I’m used to playing with accomplished gamers who make their decisions fairly quickly, so that’s not something I usually think about. I’m also currently only playing Dungeon World via a play-by-post game, where such concerns don’t even arise with brand new players (since everybody has hours at a time to think about their turns). Thanks.

  11. I’m not sure how yet, but I think there’s a way to simplify that Luck Pool mechanic. It is pretty fiddly, especially as it goes down into negatives.

    Also, if you feel fiction writing is your strength, that’s great. You’re already writing mechanics because, as Tim Franzke noted, fiction and mechanics are the same thing in AW-based games.

  12. None of your moves give the player an option of “Put Yourself in a Spot” or “You attract unwanted attention” on a 6-… Which in IMO, is the core of a Luck-based class.

    Rather than dealing with this Luck Point mechanic, why not give the player more options on what sort of failure occurs? Look at the GM and Player failure mechanics from other moves and consider using those…

  13. Almost none of your moves interact with the fiction; you have a bunch of roll double moves, and moves keyed off of 10s and 6s and that’s not solid design. You keep saying you know how to do fiction, so that’s where you need to start. DW design starts at what fiction you’re creating.

    The best move you have is on page two, the one starts “when you attempt” and its about giving someone bad luck? Tip: cut out the attempt from your phrasing. WHEN YOU WHISPER TO THE FATES TO SPOIL SOMEONE’S LUCK that is a great trigger — triggers are fictional, and no nonsense. They make a clear statement that we don’t have to debate about at the table.

    You’re a tinkerer, that’s great — DW is hard to tinker with.

    Clear fictional triggers, then all the mechanical bits you want to do.

  14. While we are at it, 

    moves that trigger on attempt/try: 

    Don’t do that! Never! Why? Because moves trigger when you do something. Do or do not, there is no try, to quote a famous Muppet. 

    Also when you attempt to do something you don’t have to follow through on it, you just have to take the first few steps. Then you could easily say “Nah, this doesn’t work. But hey i tried right?”. Therefore the move trigger gets all wobbly. 

  15. The Fighter has 6 Moves that aren’t just bonus stats (Like +1/+2 Armor, or +1d4 damage) or modifications to other things they can do (such as using Strength instead of Charisma for some types of Parley). Does that mean the Fighter is a bad class?

    The Jynx has 12 Moves, by the way, that aren’t just bonuses, that affect the fiction directly in some way.

    Fortune’s Fool interacts with the fiction by causing you to stumble or fail when you would have succeeded, so you have to describe how your bad luck makes you fail.

    I Meant to Do That interacts with the fiction by making you describe how your good luck saved your ass when you would have failed (as I already demonstrated with my simplified play example above).

    Black Cat’s Curse has already been mentioned.

    Delayed Fate interacts with the fiction by introducing a bad-luck inspired disaster in the near future.

    Fate’s Favored interacts with the fiction by calling for a description of how your good luck makes good things happen for you.

    Make Your Own Fate interacts with the fiction because you have to describe how your good luck changes things to allow you to switch dice out.

    Not My Time interacts with the fiction because it means that you will have ten instances of bad luck occur via Fortune’s Fool, not even counting any interactions with Death.

    Twist of Fate interacts with the fiction because it calls for a description of how your random good luck helps you solve a problem.

    Displaced Fate interacts with the fiction because it needs an explanation of how your bad luck veers off and causes a major problem for somebody else.

    Right Place, Wrong time and Wrong Place, Right Time both interact with the fiction because they require a description of how people manage to suddenly and inexplicably appear or not appear where they are or are not supposed to be.

    And Take Them With You interacts with the fiction because you get to describe all the bouts of horrible luck that befall your enemies with you last breath’s curse.

    So maybe I didn’t word all of these abilities with the specific “When you ________, do ________.” pattern. But if that’s really what’s causing you guys so much trouble, then I think you’re missing the point. And if it’s really so hard to see how all these abilities deal with the fiction, I think maybe you don’t have the ground to stand on telling me about how mechanics and fiction aren’t separate.

  16. One thing: When you roll a 6- you might not fail. You might do exactly what you wanted to do but as a result of that something bad happens. 

    You might be about to do something but then there is a big explosion over there and an earthquake and you fall down. 

    In that case your luck bending wouldn’t make sense because the event that happens is not related to your roll at all, not related to your action. How do you change your luck when something is happening that has nothing to do with you? 

  17. No, Joshua Rutterbush it’s not that you didn’t do the madlib, its that your moves aren’t interacting with the fiction. They don’t generate story — that’s what the moves are about.

    And you can’t fall back on the fighter as an argument — Blood-thirsty and Merciless mean the fighter is Blood Thirsty and Merciless, so those moves don’t apply when they’re defending, for example. They say things about the game, about the character — blood thirsty fighters get bad reputations, that’s fiction being generated. Iron Hide, +1 armor? Your fighter’s skin is probably all scars and scabs and leathery. These things mean stuff is all anyone is saying.

    No one is trying to pick on you, here — but you said you’re new, showed us a first draft, and now you’re fighting people who have been playing and designing for a long time about what they’re pointing out.

  18. “You might be about to do something but then there is a big explosion over there and an earthquake and you fall down.”

    If you change that result with luck, you just have to explain how the earthquake actually turned out to help you instead of hurting you. Maybe it caused you to fall down on top of the other guy. Maybe it caused you to fall down just as the enemy’s arrow zips through where your head just was. Maybe it caused you (and the ground you were standing on) to fall down into a secret room full of treasure.

    If the consequence of your low roll doesn’t have to be related to your action, then neither does the result of using your good luck to change that consequence to a benefit.

  19. okay then let me rephrase that. When i roll a 6- and change the result. Does the change happen before i know the 6- result or after? 

    If it happens before, then my character would have no need to change his luck. I already decided as a player that nothing bad would happen to me. 

    If it happens after i know the 6- result we just talked about the 6- result only to ignore it. Also, what if the 6- result is that the ranger protecting you gets hit for 7 damage? How does that help you? Even if, do they still take the 7 damage or do you rewrite history so that this didn’t happen? 

  20. If you decide before you see what happened, then your character didn’t decide to change their luck, they just happened to have better luck than they would have otherwise. You don’t always have to decide to have good luck. This is a player decision rather than a character decision, though, and I can understand how that might be hard for some people to deal with, which is fine. You can just decide after.

    And if it does happen after, then it’s up to you to describe what the changes are. Like I just showed in my last comment, you don’t have to ignore the result, you can simply explain how what looked like a bad thing at first is actually a good thing.

    If you can explain how the ranger taking 7 damage is good for you, great. It might be tough, but I’m sure some people could do it. However, you could also explain how it only looked like the ranger took that arrow to the chest… he’s actually fine (and you don’t mark down the 7 damage that the enemy thinks he took), and can now use the fact that the enemy thinks he’s badly wounded to lure them in close so he can stab them to death.

  21. A Last Breath save is a cool move… I’d like to see that one included. It’d be like the Bible that stops a bullet from going through someone’s heart, or the magic Mithril armor that stops a troll spear from gutting a hobbit. But you don’t have a move that retcons “keep this object close to your heart… Trust me”

    I’m not a fan of the Yahtzee move or the one that lets you demote your successes to generate Luck. The first distracts from the fiction (DW is about looking away from the dice and the sheet and more at each other) . The second will always be used early and often in the session to push plot along while HP are high and generate trouble and XP (because you get XP even though you rolled a 7-9 and demoted it, right?)… only to make yourself awesome in the boss scenario (which probably was a direct result of your silly failures in the first place.)

    As a matter of fact, this sounds exactly like playing with a Kender in the party — oh, I get it. That’s probably why the Jynx is rubbing some people the wrong way.

  22. Well, you could always have Not My Time be your “Bible that stops a bullet”. The Move guarantees a 7+ result, after all.

    The “Yahtzee” stuff is mostly an easy way to represent the fact that your luck is fickle, and doesn’t always show up when you want it to (I assume you’re talking about the ones that care about you rolling doubles). You’re already looking at the dice to see if you got a 6-, 7-9 or 10+, after all, I don’t think taking note of doubles is all that much more of an effort. If there’s an easier way to make these random bursts of good luck random without paying attention to the dice, that’d be great… I just couldn’t think of one myself.

    As for Fortune’s Fool… it’s not really a session based thing. If you happen to start a session with a Luck Pool of 3, for example, then there’s no reason to “downgrade” your successes. Do you have any ideas for other ways to regenerate the Luck Pool, perhaps?

    That said, it seems I completely forgot to add the “No XP if you use this ability” clause, thanks for pointing that out. Maybe I could just allow players to increase their Luck Pool instead of the XP on a natural failure, and remove Fortune’s Fool. But… that makes for a very hard choice: XP is very important, and I don’t see a lot of people liking it if they have to stop their level progression just to gain one potential use of their class ability.

    I don’t see the similarity to the kender, though. The class doesn’t encourage you to steal from your allies, for example.

  23. Are you familiar with Fate core and Invoking and Compelling tags?


    I’m not an expert at it, but Tim Franzke and I had a conversation about tags that was inspired by a Battlemknd (edit:Battleshaper) class he created.

    I have a proposal. Rather than using a roll to modify future rolls to justify luck in fiction, use the roll to directly modify the fiction. I’m picturing an alternate Luck mechanic similar to the druid’s Shapeshift mechanic. Here’s my DW interpretation of your Luck mechanic:

    Defy Fate: When you act with sheer chutzpah and despite the odds, say what works to your advantage and roll. If you do it…

    • …by force, +Str

    • …by finesse, +Dex

    • …by standing still and doing nothing, +Con

    • …with slick wits, +Int

    • …with a flash of insight, +Wis

    • …with a quip or a taunt, +Cha

    On a 10+ Hold 3, on a 7-9 Hold 2, or on a 6- Hold 1 and the DM does something. Spend a Hold to use a Tag from the environment, equipment or a player to your advantage.

    Clumsy things fumble, small things get lost, dangerous things explode, large/reach things get stuck/tangled, messy things make a huge mess, ignores armor cuts through something unexpected, hoarders find a distracting shiny, etc…

    Defy Fate stays completely within the fiction, and it would still allow you to use some of the other powers like the 0-3 Armor (based on your hold.) Rather than generating Luck by choosing to fail or the GM forcing you to fail, you generate Luck by rolling as often as you can, careening out of control, rolling dice by the seat of your pants. While Defy Fate may seem overpowered, it is balanced by the fact that you may end up rolling badly on luck on a stat that you suck at because like Defy Danger, you have come up with a reasonable way to use your good stats within the bounds of the fiction.

  24. (or you could just crank up your Con, stand still and squeeze your eyes shut and pray … all of the time. 😉 Actually, that’s my favorite part of this alternate move, because I’m picturing someone fairly useless like Ron Weasley wincing in combat but things just work out anyway.)

  25. Hmm… that could be interesting. A major point of the class was to turn failures into successes, but I could rework that perhaps. Maybe expand upon the moves that allow you to shift the consequences of your failures to other people, or avoid them for now only to suffer even worse in the future.

  26. Tim Franzke Not in AW.

    Read a person means you step out of character to ask the other player questions, in order to simulate subtext in the fiction.

    So I would definitely say writing a move as something the player does out of chatacter is legit, if it is the best way to do it.

  27. Hey Joshua Rutterbush , I was reading through all the ideas and suddenly thought that maybe you could make a simple compendium class that adds a luck move or two to any existing class. That way you don’t have to reconcile the fiddly nature of your luck mechanic into the game. 

    For instance you could trigger the CC with something like…

    when you roll more boxcars or snake eyes more than once in a session, you may take the Luck of the Gods CC (or something).

    Then you could have mechanics that are something like:

    Gain the luck stat, it starts at how many times you rolled double ones or double sixes in the session that triggered the CC. The stat ranges from -3 – +3

    From now on you may lose a point of luck to

    Shift a move result better from one category to the next or gain a point of luck by shifting a result one category worse.

    You gain an XP every time you roll a double 6 or double 1.

    Something like that.

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