Is there a hack of playing Dungeon World with extremely high powered characters?

Is there a hack of playing Dungeon World with extremely high powered characters?

Is there a hack of playing Dungeon World with extremely high powered characters? I’m thinking of starting a campaign with oneshot where in essence the characters defeat the Ultimate Evil in cataclysmic battle. The actual campaign would deal with the world long after that. Like the defeating of Morgoth and then going against Smaug in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth.

23 thoughts on “Is there a hack of playing Dungeon World with extremely high powered characters?”

  1. I think you may be missing the point about Dungeon World: the game is about low powered, low~mid fantasy characters battling against all odds, the feeling of accomplishment is much greater when your “almost normal” characters beat a huge challenge (a group of farmers beating a dragon through sheer cunning and good strategy for example).

    If you just want to increase the power level you should decrease the rules abstraction and play something like high level D&D or Pathfinder; there’s no point in increasing the power of the PCs if they’re just playing with DW’s simple, abstract rules.

    Better yet, if you want to keep playing DW you should put the normal PCs in not so normal situations, just take a look at the Souls games, especially on low levels: the players are already battling huge monsters as their first bosses, but their characters aren’t much more than simple warriors or begginer wizards.

    That’s just my opinion, feel free to do whatever suits you best : )

  2. Thank you for your input but neither actually answered to my question.

    I have no problem narrating epic events taking place and I do know what Dungeon World is about. In fact this idea came to me as I though how I could underline the very essence of Dungeon World.

    It’s my game and all that but I’m more interested now if someone actually HAS made this kind of a god-mode hack. 😀

  3. Chris Stone-Bush​​ Maybe I’m a bit biased, I always hated how high leveled D&D/Pathfinder characters felt more like the Avengers than the traditional party of adventurers IMO, but I get your point.

  4. I don’t know any hack that focuses on high power characters. My personal opinin is that you don’t need one, but that’s a (not requested) opinion, so do what you please with that. You could, if you are so inclined, use the Heritage Moves system from Dark Heart of the Dreamer, that let the PCs choose among potentially very powerful monster moves and use them just like the druid does. There are some extreme choices there that can lead to ridicously powerful characters, and I’m speaking from personal experience there.

  5. This is an interesting question. I think after you advance characters to level 8 or so, and add all the relevant cool moves, you have a pretty powerful character. Give them some great, narratively-charged magic items of a legendary scale and you really have powerful feeling characters. Where the game might fall down is in providing “high level monsters” of a suitable cinematic magnitude. Personally, I might concentrate on building a supplemental sheet of epic moves. Stuff like:

    When you attempt to perceive the only weakness of an immortal foe, (for fighting creatures beyond any mere mortal’s ability to harm)

    When you try to escape swift and certain death, (a high level Defy Danger for getting away from instant-death GM hard moves)

    When you lead an army into a battle of super powers,

    When you try to destroy a relic of ultimate evil,

    When you draw the attention of the gods,

    Even better would be creating such moves specific to a location, object, or monster.

    When you attempt to destroy the one ring,

    When you first test your weapon against the iron-hard scales of Kragalon the Black,

    When you step foot in the cursed treasury of Lukar Goldtouch,

  6. Ray Otus I can’t say I have any experience with the matter. This level of play is not something I’ve ever done. That said, it seems like the rules would work as-is. If you have a fictional justification for, say, being able to hurt a god, then just roll your damage. That god probably has 12-24 hit points like everyone else.

  7. Right. I definitely believe the rules will work as is. I think the question is how do you make the experience “feel” epic. And that’s primarily a narrative problem. Just saying “narrate it epic” isn’t good advice though. I’m trying to think how you do that. The combo I would use is:

    • High level DW characters (obv.)

    • Named, legendary magic items with history/baggage (causes and curses)

    • Monsters/villains that you have to maneuver (fictionally) to get at/harm

    • The highest of stakes

    • Sprawling scenes (towers that scrape the clouds, huge fields full of thousands of combatants, etc.)

    • Custom moves tuned to the experience (maybe)

  8. Can you define high powered? My last DW campaign the characters were high powered enough to stop a demonic incursion into our reality and fought against an immortal, unkillable, regenerating god. They were levels 5-6

  9. Aaron Griffin That’s pretty much it for DW. High powered is what you make the game, not what you make the characters. The characters either do have what it takes to beat BBEG, or they have to adventure more. When there is no more adventuring, because they have what they need, it’s time. it’s High Powered. Even though the actual stats aren’t under any obligation to make the numbers high powered, the fiction is under obligation to escalate the feel.

  10. Thank you all for your input! Some interesting thoughts here, but I gather there isn’t a premade fan supplement for something like this. I’m perfectly ok using the DW rules as is and just tune everything to godmode, I was just interested if somebody had thought of something like this before.

  11. High powered fantasy games really aren’t “fantasy” games, they are “superhero” games. You might be better served starting with a supers PbtA game and drifting it than souping up DW.

  12. As people have been saying in this thread. The base rules accommodate this perfectly fine. You just have to up the scale of everything else around them.

    If Roc has the strength to shatter mountains with his hammer, he doesn’t roll hack and slash when a simple knight raises his shield in defiance. You just roll damage (Or insta kill), because hack and slash only triggers if your opponent is capable of returning an attack/defending themselves. Naturally the knight would be made into paste by the blow so you don’t roll. He just dies/takes damage.

    So if you want to up the scale to an astronomical level, you’ll just need to up the power of the things you want to stand in their way. Dragons only have 16 health in DW because it’s up to the players to find the magical mcguffin that’ll let them hurt it in the first place.

  13. High-level play in DW is more about player skill than mechanics. Look at the 16 HP dragon article, maybe mechanical advantages in levels 11-20 would make a difference. More likely, the mechanics help but the players still have to apply them.

    That said, I still really do want to see a supplement for levels 11-20. Epic stuff, realm management, that kinda stuff. – A 16 HP Dragon

  14. 1: Like a bunch of other people said, narrating things in a more epic fashion should suffice. 2: I don’t know of any Dungeon World hack that fits your request. 3: Check out Godbound. It’s a fairly new game where you play as powerful demigods.

  15. Narration, echo echo echo.

    That fighter is actually the demigod Theos and his buckler is indestructible. His right hand has crushed the sacred Mt. Rush simply by punching it (rolled an 11 H&S with only +3 modifier).

    His ledgend spreads far and wide. People flock to him and wish to learn from him. Doing what ever he says.

    His axe “Xavior” has slain 7 high Priests and 12 demonic lords. Each with a single swing (Rolled high damage and was blessed by his clerics god who just so happens to be the fighters father).

    Yadah, yadah, yadah

    And he is only level 6 playing RAW DW

  16. Here’s how i’d hack it:

    Compendium Class: World-Savior

    When you save the World, you can take this compendium class. With gratitude for your services, benevolent powers grant you an incredible immunity to mundane dangers; wounds, disease, poisons, the ravages of time… you stand above mere mortals.

    But you have one vulnerability…. What is it?

    Start each PC at level two. If that PC was involved in the events described above, they can take World-Savior as their level 2 advanced move.

    Play as normal.

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