So I think we’re doing magic items all wrong in Dungeon World.

So I think we’re doing magic items all wrong in Dungeon World.

So I think we’re doing magic items all wrong in Dungeon World. Here’s what I’m going to do next time my players find a magic item:

1) Suppose I’m thinking of weapon with, let’s say, three minor powers. I have the player who finds it roll up six powers.

2) From those six abilities, that player has to choose the three powers he wants.

3) Then I start asking the leading questions to get the players to justify the mix of abilities they have chosen.

*Was this made the Dwarves of the Black Hills? Or a night hag during the Twilight War?

*Why did they include Orc Bane and Frost Resistance on this bow?

*How did it fall into the hands of these ogres?

*Why is the black dragon Ancaligon trying to locate it?

*How did it get the name by which it is commonly known?

What do you guys think? Maybe everybody is already doing this. But isn’t this a more “Dungeon World” way of developing a magic item than coming up with powers and backstory myself as the DM? And won’t it lead to more player buy in?

7 thoughts on “So I think we’re doing magic items all wrong in Dungeon World.”

  1. First thought is that it’s a clunky process. But if that little extra clunk makes for greater player engagement then that might be worthwhile.

    Would you have this occur mid-session as soon as the item is found or once it’s appraised/identified (presumably off-screen)?

  2. The process you’ve described above looks fine, and asking leading questions is always a good idea. But you, the DM, can absolutely decide what the item is/does. You can also ask the player(s) what the item is/does. You could also come up with the item as a group. There’s no official way to do it, and, as with nearly everything in DW, the way that works best for your group is the “right” way.

    That being said, magic items in DW are usually special. They’re not just +1 swords or shields that grant a bit of magical protection.

  3. I think the leading questions make this work. Perhaps you could define the mechanical effects, but use the leading questions to give the item shape and unique character.

  4. Alright how about this:

    1) The GM assembles a pool of tags, some with no mechanical interpretation (so they can be discovered in play).



    *frost curse


    *stone rending

    2) Create a custom move:

    When you discover the Sword of Selimdar, roll + nothing. On a 10+, pick three tags for the sword. On a 7-9, pick one. Then tell the GM how the sword got its powers.

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