Epic Level Dungeon World:

Epic Level Dungeon World:

Epic Level Dungeon World:

I’m sketching out ideas for a one-shot adventure with some old high school buddies, using Dungeon World.

I’m wanting to re-skin the basic game to give it some serious Epic Teir flair. For example fighting Pit Fiends, Dracolichs, and a God Aspiring Demi-lich. Plane hopping from Hell to the Ethereal Plane and beyond. Fighting arcane monstrosities from beyond… you get the idea.

I’m wanting to layer all of this over a DW game at roughly level 7. I am going to make some Adventure Moves, and other custom moves to really mechanically back up the fact that the PCs are the best of the best and the most kick ass party in the cosmos. I might be borrowing ideas from FATE Core to easily integrate the epic feel.

What types of moves might you put on the table to really sell a game like this? How would you handle Epic level magic items and spell effects? How can I re-skin your average Level 7 DW adventure to feel Ultra high level epic?

15 thoughts on “Epic Level Dungeon World:”

  1. Some of my own ideas:

    Custom Move:

    When you bring forth the power of your Artifact, describe it. Describe how you came to have it and what reality altering effect it has on the world. Describe the advantage it creates for you or your allies.

    When you take an action of Epic Magnitude describe it. Describe how you are able to do what no one else can. Roll+ Attribute. 10+ You do it and create an advantage for you and your party. Take +1 forward so long as the advantage is relevant. 9-7 You do the thing! <6: The GM makes an equally epic hard move against you.

    What are your ideas?

  2. Or! If you really want Epic, expand the basic moves a la Apocalypse World.

    •Epic Hack and Slash: on a 12+, awe, dismay, or terrify your enemy.

    •Epic Volley: on a 12+, your shot was a trick or a stunt and accomplishes something else in addition to harm.

    •Epic Defy Danger: On a 12+, you touch perfection, transcendent beauty, or the like and will be remembered and spoken of.

    •Epic Defend: On a 12+, you cannot die while hold remains for this move.

    •Epic Spout Lore: On a 12+, you realize the truth of Dungeon World and see what awaits you beyond.

    •Epic Discern Realities: On a 12+, ask any question you want not limited by the list.

    •Epic Parley: On a 12+, you achieve an understanding with the NPC and they become an ally.

    That sort of thing. D&D games get epic when the scope of your actions and adventures expand. For dungeon world that makes plenty of sense: moves themselves are all about scope of your actions. Expand them. Let the PCs do crazy stuff if they’re Epic.

  3. Christopher Stone-Bush This. You don’t even need unlocks or custom moves or anything, just let their basic and class moves trigger on a wider scale or scope.

    Let the Bard Parley to talk down an entire army. Let the Druid shapeshift into legendary, titanic monsters. Let the Paladin use Recruit to call down a legion of divine servants. Let the Cleric petition their deity for the gates to Hell itself. Let the Ranger track their quarry across the outer planes, following those impossible paths that nobody else can even see. Let the Thief brew a poison whose sole purpose is to kill gods.

    Let the Fighter Bend Bars / Lift Gates to cut a mountain in half: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUQcS4xhhqo

    All those things are completely “legal by RAW.” Scope is largely a table conversation, so let the rules go as far out as you’re comfortable with.

  4. Yeah. Level 1 characters (maybe not the spellcasters as they feel more like level 1) with a fiction that makes them epic. You don’t need to do anything mechanically.

  5. These are great Suggestions! I’ll be changing up the Agenda and advancing the basic moves as suggested.

    2nd question: What to do about all the epic magical gear a character of this scope might be carrying? How to represent a careers worth of loots in a pick up one shot? Ideas there?

  6. when the party spends two hours of game time arguing in the first room of the epic dungeon and the gm cant take it any more roll + CON. on a 10+ teleport the end boss into the room the PC’s have wasted all their time in and try to kill them. on a 7-9 attempt for the third time to mediate a resolution and progress the story by placing loot near the exit to the room.  on a 6- suffer silently until the game peters to a sad whimpering uneventful halt… at which point feel free to cry

  7. I did something similar (high level heroes, who had forgotten their moves and were quickly relearning), and trusted my players. I was able to give out items that said “describe what you found”, and trust they’d come up with something amazing. 

  8. Exactly what Alfred Rudzki said. DW treats all magic items as a big deal so again, you don’t have to do anything mechanically. Just like James Etheridge’s examples of how to turn the regular moves into epic exploits, do the same thing with magic items.

  9. I think you take your definition of “epic level” from other games but my definition of epic is this: large scale events, players can influence those events and have access to whatever they need to accomplish their goals. Hey guess what? You can do that from level 1. The ritual move allows the wizard to do literally anything as long as the conditions are filled. In a regular game a wizard level 1 would ask me to kill the king with his ritual and I’d probably end up saying “you can’t kill him because the magic necessary to do that is unknown to you but you can curse him and make him ill which could end up killing him, and you need a fresh sample of his hair”. In an epic game? Sure you can but you need to bargain with death and to do that you must catch him in the act of taking away someone with him.

    How many enemy are killed in a single hack and slash move is totally up to you so you can have a fighter swing his warhammer and pulverize entire groups of enemy if you want.

  10. Patrick Joannisse is right. Levels in DW don’t mean anything…they’re just rewards for the players. If you want an epic-feeling game, just use epic story and descriptions. 

    Borrowing Patrick’s example, if the Fighter is being swarmed by a dozen Black Orcs of Sauron, a 7-9 roll might mean he only takes out half of them and the remaining orcs pummel him. 

    Some of my sessions feel very epic, even early in the game, because the stakes are high (at one point, the lives of all the people in a mining town were on the line) and the description (from me AND the players) was intense. 

    If anything, DW makes easier than any other fantasy game I’ve played to create a feel of Total Epic-ness!

    So, do whatever  you feel will enhance the experience, but don’t worry too much. You’ve already chosen the right game. 😉

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