Not that Thundarr the Barbarian is that far from basic Dungeon World…

Not that Thundarr the Barbarian is that far from basic Dungeon World…

Not that Thundarr the Barbarian is that far from basic Dungeon World…

How would you re-skin basic DW character classes for a Thundarr-esque campaign, of adventurers working their way across a patchwork quilt of petty fiefdoms ruled by wizards and sorcerers in a land of super science and magic gone mad?

Would you use the alternate (no prepared spells) version of the Wizard?

23 thoughts on “Not that Thundarr the Barbarian is that far from basic Dungeon World…”

  1. I’d play as it comes, no need for re-skinning. Your setting particulars emerge through questioning and become of your group’s Dungeon World.

     If someone chooses the Wizard, ask them what their spellbook looks like (if they have a physical version). How do they learn their spells? Who from? One of those Mad Sorcerers? What usually happens when one of your spells goes wrong?

    Treat the super science as tags that you can drop into the fiction. Maybe the Artificer might make a good class option?

  2. Fabulous sun-sword = Fighter’s signature weapon (I know he’s “the barbarian” but I dunno that that prescribes a linguistically matching class)

    Ariel = Doesn’t cast tons of spells all the damn time in every episode, her spellcraft seems more measured, so maybe the spells are limited/prepared after all; might change the downsides for when the casting roll doesn’t go exactly as planned, but that’s an easy hack.

    Ookla the Mok = Now that may well be your Barbarian, hm. Ridiculous feats of strength, tho, so he might be more of the bend bars lift gates type.

  3. The Wizard I’m OK with – I do kind of like the alt-wizard class on Drive-Thru RPG which uses a magical focus and descriptors to build spells rather than a prepared list.  On the other hand, that’s more work for the players, most of whom are coming from Pathfinder.

    Cleric implies that there’s more of a social structure in the world than what you see in Thundarr.  Same for Paladin.

    I’m still waiting for people to pick character classes and set up bonds; I’m planning on having the characters be wanderers as they work their way towards the coast and the Big Plot McGuffin.

    I’d like to have some ideas for suggestions for reflavoring and reskinning.

  4. Huh. Nothing about the Cleric or the Paladin as written imply a larger social structure to me. I don’t think anything in their playbooks explicitly say anything about society. The Paladin’s move I am the Law assumes that people recognize your divine authority, but that could easily be reflavored to non-magical force of presence or some weird science artifact.

  5. My basic pitch – and I agree with Fred Hicks take on the canonical three characters – is that I have players who are mostly Pathfinder vets…and I promised them something that’s a bit less continuity-driven, in a lighter weight rule system.

    We brainstormed or threw ideas into a hat for a setting, and three people were jonesing for an ’80s cartoon vibe.  So I pulled up link below:

    Thundarr The Barbarian Intro *Best Quality*

    and said “Frank-Frazetta-by-way-of-Jack-Kirby, in a world of Savagery, Super Science and Sorcery!”

    And lots of people who’d been hesitant on tackling a “new game” went “OK, sure!  Sounds fun!”

    So I’m more interested in making sure that the feel is right, which is sort of Conan-with-Mad-Max.

  6. I’d mix in some Dungeon Planet and Inverse World. DP has all your weird super science in it, including your robot and mad scientist playbooks. IW has several playbooks that would be appropriate; especially The Lantern as your Paladin replacement, and you can’t go wrong with a Skydancer.

  7. If I had players who weren’t eyeing “new system” like a plate of wriggling worms, I’d be tempted to throw more playbooks at them.  

    The “advantage” of DW’s core classes is that all the Pathfinder vets can look at the class name and go “OK, I got it.” 

  8. Getting it to “feel right” is just as much the players’ responsibility as it is yours, Ken Burnside. If everyone bought into the Thundarr the Barbarian game, then everyone should help out by narrating things appropriately.

    That being said, if everyone is cool with how things are going, then it’s perfectly OK to stray from the source material. It is your game, after all. 😉 

  9. I’d go with pretty much straight Dungeon World + Dungeon Planet myself; the only time I played Dugeon Planet, it ended up being a very Thundarr the Barbarian esque post-apocalyptic earth with just the right amount of gonzo flair.

  10. You can totally use stuff from Dungeon Planet. But you don’t have to. Using stuff from Apocalypse World would mean rewriting stuff (making this more of a hack) because it has different stats, different moves, and handles harm differently.

  11. to be frank I really don’t think there’s anything to be gained from converting anything from AW, the settings are completely unrelated despite the apocalyptica barfed forth in both (and even then, the character of the apocalyptica is different, Thundarr is high camp and AW is gritty and mean)

  12. I’ve noticed that the Barbarian has no racial moves – is this a balancing issue or an oversight?

    If it’s an oversight, anyone got some suggested racial moves for a centaur?

  13. I don’t think it’s an oversight. The idea is, regardless of what “race” your character is, they are a Barbarian and so from a different culture. Regardless of whether they’re Orc, Human, or Elf, they’re not from the usual cultural group. So, my suggested racial move for a Centaur Barbarian is exactly what’s on the playbook. 😉

  14. You could get one of the race starting moves from the dwarf or elf playbook if it makes sense & your barbarian is of those races. Just depends on the fiction/world/GM for things like that.

  15. By the way – the limitations of early ’80s Saturday Morning Cartoons make a great visual intro for combat in Dungeon World – you can practically call the die rolls and the GM passing moves around.

    “And here, Ookla charges the giant ape robot trying to duck one of its hammer-like fists!

    He rolls a 7 on defy danger, and since he’s tough, he takes damage, rather than imperiling his friends!

    “Thundarr leaps to use his sun-sword on the flying robots, attacking all three of them to minimize what they can do!  

    “He rolls a 9!  He smashes them to bits…while Ariel gets a net dropped on her by the ape-men, binding her hands!

    Ariel, what do you do?”

  16. So, in setting What Is Wrong With The World for my party…

    Told to Aphelion, Priest of the Lords of Light:

    There are five moons in the sky that you take your horispices from.  

    The Moon of the Horse Gods, which takes sixteen days to go through its phases.

    The two moons called the Houses of Light which your Lords dwell in.  They are very bright and at their farthest north during the winter Solstice, when they are also at their brightest. Some times, the rainbow sky serpents march around them, and this is a sign of great deeds to come.

    The two smaller moons called the Rooks, which are the ravens that take the souls of the dead to the Black Gate.  They are dark and hard to see, and move quickly across the sky.

    At midwinter, both of the Houses of Light were in the wrong part of the sky. At the vernal equinox, both of the Houses of Light were too far south to fit the gap in the standing stones, and their light was dimmer than normal.  The snow did not melt for forty days after the equinox.

    The Rooks travel the sky from north to south, or south to north.  There are two of them.  When both cross before the sun, the tribe owes the gods of Death a life. Many who are terminally ill or injured in the hunts will cling bitterly to their lives so that they can die on a sun-crossing, to spare the life of another in the tribe.

    In the times of legend, there were three Houses of Light, one was destroyed by the Sky Demons, and the gates of Winter were left ever ajar.

    Said by an NPC who will become a PC (and whose name hasn’t been nailed down yet):

    “Rooks are pieces that can checkmate, in the game the Ancients called Go.”

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