Alternatives to Dungeon World!

Alternatives to Dungeon World!

Alternatives to Dungeon World!

Dungeon World is the best and I love it BUT some people close to me whom I trust greatly have suggested I try out Fellowship, claiming it to be a better version of Dungeon World’s core idea.

After 2 sessions I really really enjoy Fellowship but it seems to scratch a different itch for me, tho I’m having trouble putting it into words, its sort of like I want Conan but Fellowship is LoTR. Thoughts? are there any other PBtA games you think are Dungeon World-ish that manage to do the epic fantasy hero genre really well?

15 thoughts on “Alternatives to Dungeon World!”

  1. No. Dungeon World is the best PbtA for S&S or classic fantasy. Non-PtbA that helped inspire it could include Dungeon Crawl Classics or Savage Worlds. Monster of the Week is a good urban fantasy PtbA Monster Hunting game I like and you could do a “modern fantasy hero” with that. I’ve heard positive reviews of Torchbearer but haven’t played it. There is a Conan hack PtbA you might like: – HyborianSaga-Playbooks.pdf – Google Drive

  2. Oh, PS, it’s not exactly PbtA. It’s based on John Harper’s Lasers & Feelings, but the flow of play is very much the same and the mechanic renders similar gradations of success/failure.

  3. Hmm. If you were to ask me, DW feels very much like Conan in that you’re playing fantasy-archetype action heroes. It may be hard to put into words what you’re looking for, but you should try otherwise we’ll all be putting our own interpretations of what you mean and might not get you what you’re looking for.

  4. You can try The Indie Hack. I’d say it does DW better than DW does. But it’s not very in-your-face about it: the rules are minimalist, so you have to grok them a bit before you realize TIH is to DW what DW was to DnD.

    That said, it does DnD fantasy, not S&S (though the same is true of DW). Ray Otus is completely on target there.

  5. I’m also a lot more into S&S than Classic Fantasy. I hate the whole dwarves n’ elves stuff and don’t even get me started on halflings. But I guess you can just flavour DW with that colour without the need for substantial changes.

  6. I love the discussion here and I’m looking into all the stuff people have posted, but just to clarify I’m not really looking for any alternative games to play, I just wanted to spark some conversation about how DW fits into the rest of the pbta fantasy scene and to hear about other similar systems.

    I agree that one of the best parts of DW is it’s versatile nature, it’s so easy to play any given subgenre of fantasy within it’s confines

  7. There’s two pbta games you may want to check out. One is on Kickstarter, and it’s called The Crown, The Sword, and the Unspeakable Power. It’s S&Sish and made more for big politics, Game of Thrones style. The other is a game Vincent Baker is working on, Apocalypse World: Dark Ages. So far, we don’t know when it will come out, but there’s some material out there. Otherwise, there’s nothing. Maybe The Indie Hack, which is a hack of DW, but that’s it. So, there’s really nothing to compare to DW in the pbta scene right now.

  8. Well, I think the mechanics of both D&D and DW are flexible enough to create the pulp aesthetics of sword and sorcery, I think it just requires compromise from both PCs and GMs. Here’s a quick list of things that I would do to get started on my own campaign of this style with either system:

    – no fantasy species like elves, dwarves, etc.

    – create a political world focused on the pursuit of power over the pursuit of justice

    – limit/prohibit magic-users as playable classes. magic is strange, exotic, powerful, and best left in the ruins of the past civilization that the party adventures in

    – give the party opportunities to function as self-interested mercenaries instead of heroes

    – fill the world with ancient metropolises and even older dead places

    – think of sessions in terms of installments in a serial instead of pieces of an epic

    – encourage the players to have material goals instead of lofty ones: how will they eat today? how will they pay for the inn? how will they outfit their expeditions? how will they spend their riches?

    of course, these would just be the starting themes. if the campaign continues and the party finds itself seeking more than riches, allow it to grow in that direction. maybe they want to create strongholds or pirating fleets. let that happen if the desire is there.

  9. Erandi Huipe Well said, you have a great grasp of S&S; but i think people can get get overwhelmed with a “purity” in a subgenre that is after a point counter-productive. The S&S of Howard is not the S&S of Leiber or Moorcock and the “epic fantasy” of Middle Earth is not the same as that of Earthsea or Martin’s Game of Thrones. Jack Vance, as an example, is usually off somewhere in his own Dying Earth science fantasy.The key is what works for your game, what inspires you and your players.

    The key is fun! All these writers are great to read for that reason….Have your players fight giant evil space rabbits if you want and some postdoc somewhere can label a new subgenre. Genre terminology is meant to be liberating not constricting. Magic tends to evil in S&S but not always. Heroes don’t save the world except sometimes they do, or at least their adopted city. Genres and subgenres should lead you to new authors and inspiration not put people in imaginary gaming strait jackets.

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