I am toying with the idea of introducing a madness concept into my Dungeon World game.

I am toying with the idea of introducing a madness concept into my Dungeon World game.

I am toying with the idea of introducing a madness concept into my Dungeon World game.  

I’ve played in some systems where madness is simply a score, and doesn’t support or incentivize a player to engage their character’s increasing insanity.  I’d like Madness to be a bit more meaningful, but not to take away player agency (unless it consumes them…)

My draft is here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1EdTQRXCJ0v-AT8QIySFO4SGrKAVZc0Hvl6vhTdJ9E_M/edit?usp=sharing

I would appreciate any feedback you have, or if you could point me toward any other interesting efforts to introduce madness into DW.

23 thoughts on “I am toying with the idea of introducing a madness concept into my Dungeon World game.”

  1. ooh nice.  i was thinking about compendium class moves.  that may be good for +MAD.  

    Or perhaps location-specific moves where the spooky forces affect mad characters differently….

  2. i struggled with the idea of forcing the NPC conversion.  I feel like maybe it’s a remnant of my love for ravenloft.  

    I wonder if it may be worth letting a player continue to watch their character to descend into madness for as long as it is interesting.

    Depending on how the obsessions are phrased, i could see one or two becoming unwieldy or, on the other end, going well past four and simply getting more and more colorful with each….

    But i do like the idea of pushing for big effects, regardless of the NPC issue. Thinking of the phrase “just because i’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me….”

    When you tell someone The Truth about your obsession, roll +MAD.  On a 10+ they believe you, or at least they give you the benefit of the doubt for now; on a 7-9 choose 2:

    + they do not perceive you as threatening.

    + they understand your claim.

    + they do not require evidence.

    + you are not overheard.

    On a 6-, tell the GM how, while you’re exposing The Truth, you come to realize that your audience is Part Of It….

  3. The move preaented for the +MAD move is pretty interesting. But I think Tim Franzke​ is looking for is not just interesting, but something weird, awesome or crazy! I won’t present a move cuz a good one doesn’t occur to me. But I will offer some examples:

    In lovecraftian stories, people stumble upon truth that drives them mad. The truth is often some kind of terrible magic that requires a ritual, special place, or unique components. I imagine that Tim is asking for a move that let’s the players do some kind of outlandish and terrible spell that, while fixing a current problem, may make more trouble in the future. You could make this a +MAD move.

    Just a speculation on my part.

  4. Colin Matter excellent idea.  I wasn’t thinking in those terms, but i should have been!

    I’ll start turning those gears and see what comes of it.  Thanks!

  5. Tim Franzke as per your instructions, i have carved the seven names of the seven dreamers seven times into my chest, with an old spoon.  It stings quite a lot, and… well… how much detail about seepage do you really need?

    any way… i’ve finished the written assignment.  Now what was i supposed to do with all this napalm?

  6. I think we had a similar thread on this not too long ago. Dealing with horrors that affect the psyche is always tricky, since you risk taking away player agency.

    This is the move I came up with, based on another AW hack I read somewhere.

    Your Steel stat is equal to the highest of your CON, CHA, or WIS.

    When you steel yourself against extreme pain, stress or horror, roll+Steel. *On a 10+, you hold it together. *On a 7-9, choose a reaction from the list. *On a 6-, the GM chooses from the list. 

    – Run screaming in terror until the threat is out of your sight.

    – Freeze in shock until something snaps you out of it, and drop whatever it is you’re holding.

    – Fly into an uncontrolled rage until the threat is gone. Expect collateral damage. 

    – Indulge in a self-destructive vice at the next opportunity.

    You may always choose to ignore whatever reaction you get. If you do, you take -1 ongoing until you give in, and you don’t mark XP from a missed result.

  7. I actually was discussing this in another post on here, but because of context we were calling it “Terror” instead of “Madness”. You can find part of the discussion on the main DW-Tavern community. Just look for the last subject I posted and peruse some of the comments.

  8. Make it player choice ? Like say you’ve just witnessed one of your party become…”bisected”, right ? The other pc’s could either react like a normal person would (run like hell) and have to make their rolls, orrrr they can say “No, I choose to shove it to the back of my mind, and power through this !” at which point a good GM could get VERY insidious with post-trauma.

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