Discussion time!

Discussion time!

Discussion time!

What are things you can do to steer your Dungeon World campaign into the realms of (really) Dark Fantasy. Things like Dark Souls, Kingdom Death, and the great inspiration; Berserk.

What are the themes you look for, how do you make the world feel more hopeless and frightening, how do you establish the tone?

Are there things you’d change move wise? Other mechanics?

Tell me your ideas!

16 thoughts on “Discussion time!”

  1. Van der Nantes Yeah I can’t read that 🙁

    Darkest Dungeon is really great, I have a prototype system lying around for using their style of insanity/corruption mechanics in DW. 

  2. I would just treat sanity as a secondary pool of HP based on WIS. Things like making camp heal sanity. Write moves that are triggered by low sanity. Conversations between players are a way to try to heal sanity with CHA. If you’re don’t like sanity as a resource, look at some of the special monster moves for mind-control and compulsion creatures like vampires.

  3. Mark Tygart what I made works like an inverted XP/level system (gain enough madness points “advance” one level towards complete insanity, gain derangements/afflictions instead of new moves. Some derangements COME with a “give in to it” move that, while beneficial, accrues more corruption and madness)

    For clarity, I’m not just looking for “solutions” to things like sanity systems or anything in particular, it’s more of a broader questions about what other people think makes Dark Fantasy work 🙂

  4. Make a little front, like say:

    The Necromancers.

    Then just have them be past the half way mark of whatever they’re up to by the time the heroes arrive.

    Dark fantasy, when you get down to it, just means the villains are in full swing.

    It’s not, “the orcs are coming!”, it’s “get as many people out as we can, the orcs are here!”

  5. > For clarity, I’m not just looking for “solutions” to things like sanity systems or anything in particular, it’s more of a broader questions about what other people think makes Dark Fantasy work

    Whoops, sorry.

    Dark Fantasy works through scarcity and fear. DW is very combat oriented and slanted real heavily towards the “you basically can’t die” side of HP. If you want combat to be more dire, stepping back to a flat harm system would work better.

    Scarcity should also matter. Give them an inability to find lodgings or food at each town – perhaps make them sleep in stables or scrounge up their own food. Make them go hungry sometimes. Force them to spend whatever coin they have just to get buy.

    And give them NPCs to care about. Put them in the middle of their issues and make them follow the PCs. And right when they get used to having Jack in camp, put an arrow through his eye.

    Edit: and give them permanent scars and injuries. “Reaching into that flame to get the idol is going to burn you. You might not heal well at all. You’ll have to Defy Danger with Con to see if the burns will cause lasting damage. You still wanna do it?”

  6. Shameless plug for my unfinished #darkestdungeonworld  hack (still would love feedback – it’s probably in a roughly playtestable state). Docs are linked in the hashtagged posts.

  7. While I’m not running DW right now, I usually run gritty, dark fantasy. The system definitely helps to set the mood and some hacks for DW would be great as a starting off point for sure. The guys above have listed plenty.

    That said, the GM needs to constantly reinforce the feelings of hopelessness everyday villagers are experiencing. Drive home the crookedness of the local Lord, but make the idea of removing him from power even more disturbing.

    Monsters aren’t just wandering beasts or treasure guardians. You need to give them motivation and conviction. The local church is haunted, because the priest abused people, eventually killing a young girl. The PCs need to lay her vengeful spirit to rest to stop her from murdering the village’s older male population.

    In my latest game, the PCs came across a mining village that seemed to be unaffected more-or-less by the recent infestation of kobolds in other mines. It turns out these miners are hunting the kobolds for sport and cooking them to feed the village, because other food sources are lacking.

  8. I did it. Also, I’d love to have more time to work on a project of mine inspired primarily by dark souls. Of course, DW can be a great engine, but you absolutely need to work on the races/drives moves and on the initial bonds. Simple phrases can totally set the tone of the campaign. “mark experience everytime you lose a close friend”. “you are searching for an ancient, evil power”. “you saved __‘s life once from an alien creature. Now you know it’s on your tracks, again”. Etc. 

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