I’m building new compendium classes that deal with specific problems my players and I are having with Dungeon World.
• Sometimes running a one-player, one-GM session
• A D&D veteran displeased with the low selection of spells
• The level 10 cap
• The lack of a mechanical “critical hit” on a 12+
I’m trying to stay as close to the source material as possible. The Wanderer is an expansion of the official Bearer compendium class. Official Cleric spells are based directly on D&D, and the Acolyte compendium class expands upon that using the same source.
For the one-player situation, there are a number of issues: bonds, death, variety of moves and healing. I tried out the Legacy Weapon Playbook, and while its concepts are good, its mechanics really bog down the game in practice. What surprises me is that the Bearer Compendium Class that comes with the official kit already does a good job of covering these issues. It allows the player to bond with a companion, it helps to avoid death and it also provides healing. What’s missing is access to a more varied list of moves, so I’m building a Wanderer Compendium Class to fill in that missing piece. However, I’m doing something a little different, as the starting move of this class leads directly into the Bearer class.
When you enter a dungeon alone, the next time you level up you may choose this move:
Your lack of company in the silent depths has made you susceptible to faint whispers of an intelligent weapon. The GM will lead you to it.
It might seem a little cheap, but I want it to be clear that taking the Bearer class really improves one-on-one play. The rest of the moves for Wanderer will cover other problems that come up in one-on-one play, such as lack of move variety. What other problems do you think come up in one-on-one play?
I’m also working on an expansion of Cleric spells for one of my players. As most Cleric spells are directly derived from Dungeons & Dragons anyway, I’m going through the D&D SRD and picking interesting spells to create a second spell book.
DEFIANT OLD-TIMER (level 10)
When a character refuses to retire from adventure, they can become this class. This one is really difficult, since there are many mechanical problems leveling beyond 10: too many moves, too high stats, players getting bored of their set of moves. My current idea is a compendium class that allows the players to break level cap, but with a steep cost: they start gaining permanent debilities, forgetting moves, etc. Basically, it is what happens when warriors continue fighting past their prime. I’m not sure if this is the right approach or not, and I’m also thinking about going the other direction and giving god-like powers to the players.
TRANSCENDANT (level 10)
The conceptual opposite of the Defiant Old-timer. When a character absorbs the essence of a fallen god, they become a nigh-unstoppable being themselves. Drawing upon DC’s Dr. Manhattan, high-concept novels like CUSP, and movies like Her and Lucy, the drawback to counterbalance this class will be a progressively worsening disconnection between godly pursuits and the adventurer’s quest. Although extremely powerful, Transcendant will become increasingly aloof and unhelpful to other characters until, at one point, they will ascend into the divine realm and take their place as one of the deities. To the Transcendant, there are far more important matters in the multiverse across infinite time and space than wasting time with a ragtag group of heroes.
Another budding concept that allows the characters to make and name their own special attack. When they Hack and Slash on a 12+, they can choose to learn their special attack or use one they already learned. Basically, this class allows characters to come up with “super moves” (made using a combination of properties like Signature Weapon) that occasionally activates.
What do you guys think? These will be pretty massive undertakings, even though they are just compendium classes. Should I go through with them?