This is my first attempt at hacking DW—a compendium class for a child character.

This is my first attempt at hacking DW—a compendium class for a child character.

This is my first attempt at hacking DW—a compendium class for a child character. Feeling out some ideas for a campaign I’m thinking of starting. I’d love to hear feedback and critique, especially on the “Copycat” move. I think “Whiny Brat” probably needs another option and maybe there should be one more move overall.

Some of the moves are based on the Apocalypse World playbooks “The Feral Kid” by Mike Sands,  “The Kid” by Unknown.


7 thoughts on “This is my first attempt at hacking DW—a compendium class for a child character.”

  1. Initial thoughts:

    1. It’s not a bad idea to set up documents you want feedback on to allow comments from others, rather than being view-only. It’s easier to keep thoughts and discussions on specific issues organized, IME.

    2. I’d make it a heritage class, rather than a compendium class. I.e., Little Runt (probably just combined into a single move for cleanliness) replaces your race/background move, and you can take the move it replaces as a level up option. Compendium class doesn’t make much sense, since you don’t really ‘spec into’ being a kid.

    3. I like that you just get 2 armor instead of getting +2 armor. So your size can help, but not if you’re trundling around in platemail or whatever because that stuff slows you down. It’s a fair trade-off for what you give up and makes sense to me.

    3. Mouse doesn’t make much sense in many situations, I don’t think. It works for something like a long tunnel, where there’s a larger space that you have to pass through, but if you’re going through a crack in a wall or something the move breaks down. Say I’m breaking out of a cage by squeezing through the bars, and I roll a 7. I don’t pick “you get in,” because that doesn’t make sense, so I get out and don’t get caught; where’s the consequence? And if I have to pick that I get in, otherwise I can’t choose to get out, then why’s that an option instead of being rolled into the move? I guess you could say that on a 7-9, players picks that they either get partway through and get stuck or they make it all the way through and attract attention, as a thought.

    4. Whiny Brat is just a reskinned Parley, only you don’t actually need leverage to use it. And in general, I wouldn’t want to play with or run for a character who has a move based around throwing temper tantrums, though I’m sure some wouldn’t mind it. So, I don’t like it–and if you keep it, I think it needs mechanical reworking. I’d suggest that it can also be used as a distraction method, since you’re pondering other options for it; e.g., the castle guard isn’t just going to hand over his shield because some kid is asking for it, but he might get distracted by the whining long enough for the kid’s friends to slip by into the treasury.

    5. I like Not the Boss of Me. It encourages you being a rebellious youth without encouraging you to be an annoying one.

    6. I don’t like Copycat, at all. These “steal your fellow players’ schticks” moves just don’t sit right by me, never have. Keep to your own class and I’ll keep to mine, friend!

    7. I’m not sure how to feel about Harmless. It basically gives you permission to do Defy Danger (CHA) with puppy-dog eyes, which isn’t bad as a move concept–but you should already be able to do that if it makes sense within the fiction. And mechanically, it’s not really any more desirable than a straight Defy Danger; the 7-9 options don’t give you any more control over the outcome since the GM still gets to pick what happens, and the listed options don’t feel very… cohesive, I guess? I’m not sure. Like the concept, needs a second pass for mechanics.

    8. Plays Well With Others is cool. It’s basically a settlement move and we don’t see enough of those, and it creates some cool street-urchin information network fiction. I dig it!

    9. Grow Up doesn’t make any sense, and I don’t know why anyone would take it as-written. You can only take it when you just leveled up, and the reward is that you get to level up again? So that’s one less level that you can take, and you have to give up all these Kid moves that you took without getting anything back for them. My suggested rewrite would be that you lose all of your Kid Moves, including the Little Runt race move, and replace each with a move from your base class. You might also get some kind of benefit from this formative moment you just went through, illustrating what you’ve learned as you become an adult. Rewrite your alignment, maybe? Pick the person you most looked up to growing up and gain a permanent additional bond with them? I dunno, just tossing ideas out.

    Hope that helps!

  2. I really like it 🙂 think one of my players will love it too, as she previously played a child bard for a 1 shot and was angling for some sort of child “bonus”

    for whiney brat possible suggestions

    first id change it from “to get what you want”

    to “to get SOMETHING you want” (or even to get an item you want)

    so its more item based etc.. rather than “i want you to kill that man… duuuh ok” etc….

    * someone has to front the bill for you, use somebody’s resources 

    * you have to agree to forfeit an agreed future reward (your share of X, your birthday present etc..)

    and maybe on copy cat a little change 

    instead of you can do the move, instead change it to you can get the same result as the move, say how

    so instead of you casting magic missile and doing damage

    you still do damage, but instead you throw rocks shouting “magic missile!”

    makes it less, “have all the powers” class

  3. Thanks James Etheridge and Andrew Murphy for the feedback. Going to use the same number points for responses.

    1. My oversight, now fixed.

    2. I made a compendium class because I didn’t know heritage classes were a thing. I knew about heritage moves, but I think this follows a compendium class close enough. Not sure if there’s really that much difference besides the lack of racial move though. Would it help if it had something like “When your character background is that you are a child, during character creation you may choose these moves”

    3(1). Little is a straight mashup of Fast Little Bugger from the Feral Kid playbook and Unencumbered, Unharmed from the Barbarian playblook. I kept it separate from Runt because it has a condition, but Runt doesn’t.

    3(2). I hadn’t worked through all the permutations of Mouse, I’ll rethink it. The theme of the move is supposed to be you’re small so you’re less noticeable and have an advantage doing things in small spaces. It’s also got a bit of the Thief’s Escape Route mixed in. Maybe trying to do too much with one move.

    4. Whiny Brat is definitely supposed to be a compel. This was actually the move that inspired me to create this class, after listening to my kid whine. I think it’s opens some strong fictional opportunities but understand it could be annoying, that’s why when you fail, you anger everyone. I was actually thinking this could be used by the GM to help curb some out of character whining by the aforementioned child. “Sounds like you’re trying to whine to get something, why don’t you roll for it…”. Agree though that it needs some rewording and probably needs a “when used against a PC” clause. Also like the idea of distraction or using someone else’s resources.

    5. Can’t take credit for Not the Boss of Me, it’s straight from The Kid playbook for Apocalypse World.

    6. Copycat isn’t supposed to be about stealing moves or casting magic missile as a non-magic user. The theme of the move is supposed to be that you’re a quick study so it allows you to do unexpected things. I’m just not sure of the best way to go about making that. At the very least I think it should be a start of session move. The inspiration playbooks have some moves about making Aid work better but those don’t quite get across what I want. It’s not supposed to let you do anything you don’t have the equipment for or cast magic when you’re not a magic user. I hoped the mechanics would mostly prevent you from casting magic missile (if you couldn’t already) because 1. you didn’t first prepare it, 2. you don’t have a spellbook or a diety.

    7. I think a second pass on Harmless makes sense but also not sure what I’d make different.

    8. I can actually take full credit for Plays Well With Others!

    9. Interesting this is the one I was actually worried about being overpowered, because it lets you level twice for the price of one level’s XP. Rethinking though, I guess that means you’re only really getting one extra stat increase which isn’t much of an offset for the lost moves. Will think about the best way to word this.

  4. 6. I can only advise that thinking that it’s okay to mimic another party member’s tricks so long as they’re not magical tricks is by my estimation a troublesome line of thought. I feel that the Ranger’s ability to pull off impossible trick shots or the Barbarian’s ability to break any kind of bonds are just as special and deserving of niche protection as magic missile or shapeshifting. All classes are cool, and I’m into thematic exclusivity–and I’ll stop trying to talk you out of copying other playbooks’ moves now. 🙂

    9. Ah, okay, I understand the intent behind your wording a little better now. Still though, yeah, that’s not much bang for your buck. I do like the idea of growing out of the compendium class, though, so keep at that angle.

  5. I’ve done a second pass on all the abilities except Mouse. Still can’t figure that one out. Here’s my best attempt:

    When you are trying not to be noticed roll+DEX. On a 10+ nobody notices and choose 1. On a 7-9 your choice: choose 1 and get noticed; or don’t choose and remain unnoticed. On a miss it’s obvious what you were trying to do.

    • get into something

    • get out of something

    • get away from here

    • take something from someone

    Still think I might be trying to do to much with one move.

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