Hello everyone!

Hello everyone!

Hello everyone! I’ve been working on some custom playbooks for dungeon world for some time now, and I was wondering if I could get any feedback! Some of these have been lightly playtested, but most of them need much, much more – I’d be honored if anyone took them for a spin!


35 thoughts on “Hello everyone!”

  1. Two quick notes – First, I’m not totally comfortable with the Monk. My intention is to lean into the martial artist tropes we all know and love and that have become a big part of dungeons and dragons classic, but as far as I’m concerned there’s no denying that the monk is appropriative of a culture that’s not mine! I wound up keeping it for this draft, but I want to state that I’m definitely looking for feedback on whether or not it’s appropriate to be here at all. For an interesting take on similar tropes, I’ve been working on an update of The Battlemind that Sage LaTorra posted here (http://apocalypse-world.com/forums/index.php?topic=2987.0), but I didn’t want to include it in this draft since it’s not my playbook!

    Second, there are a few pieces of inspiration for these that are probably blatant, but I’d like to make them all explicit: The Alchemist draws inspiration from the Pathfinder Alchemist class. The Paragon is inspired by the Warlord of Dungeons and Dragons 4e and the Paragon from Guild Wars . The Runepriest is inspired by the Runepriest and Invoker classes from DnD 4e. The Seeker is inspired by the class of the same name from DnD 4e as well as the phenomenal game The Quiet Year by Avery Alder. The Spellblade’s Sword Magic move owes its existence to the Neutralize move of Fraser Simon’s extremely cool game The Veil. The Verdant references the Sylvari from Guild Wars as a stand-in for plant-based humanoid lifeforms. The Warlock is inspired by the DnD class from 4th and 5th edition. Many move names are taken wholesale from things such as Hamilton, Magic: the Gathering, or Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles. The spell names for both the Runepriest and Warlock come predominantly from DnD 5e. I think that’s everything, but it’s sure possible that I’ve forgotten something!

    apocalypse-world.com – New Class: The Battlemind

  2. I really like the alchemist, as it is a more ‘cultured’ take on them without going for the bomb slinging alchemist per se (although you can still make one based on these skills if you want).

  3. These look, on first glance, wonderful. I’m mid game at the moment but if it gets reset (or if new characters are needed) i’ll add these to the mix / put them as the selection.

    also – i cant help but want to play the Verdant as someone with a Lifestream a la FFVII connection. someone tapping not just into the Green but also into the Anima of all creatures (the Red as well, for DC comics fans)

  4. Erik Buchanan I wanted it all to be open to the GM, but both the Craft Elixirs move and Formula Book moves suggest that you need materials. When I’ve been running it, I mark one reagent for all the elixirs and then one reagent for each individual alchemical item. The inspiration (Pathfinder) doesn’t require any material component for creating elixirs if I remember correctly.

  5. It seems like a lot of these playbooks – the Psion, the Verdant, the Seeker, and the Necromancer – suffer a bit from the Immolator problem of requiring multiple stats from the get-go (up to four or five, in some cases). It makes them feel a little bit unfocused to me. Was this intentional?

  6. Muggins AU thanks for the comment Muggins! I tried to be intentional about which stats to require so that each playbook can make interesting decisions, but I confess that I don’t have a problem with the Immolator! I consider classes unfocused when they do things at odds with the central premise or against good storytelling. Thinking specifically of the Verdant, I gravitated towards three stats for the basic moves because healing at distance on command seemed powerful enough that I don’t think you need to be able to do all three things (heal, command plants, and attack) consistently to be able to “perform”. It’s also intentional that the advanced moves branch out to use other stats – I think the Psion should have lots of cool mind powers, but if they all use INT then I get worried that it just becomes the “I hit 18 INT fast so now one part of storytelling is only about me”. Has it been your experience that playing the Immolator is unfun/do you think any moves should have their stats consolidated? AND all of this comes with the caveat that many of these are still in early playtesting – I’m not speaking from a place of “these can’t change because I’m comfortable with their power level”, but that there is an intention behind their current design.

  7. Ben Rosenbloom When designing a class I tend to think of ability scores – not because they should determine what the class is good at, but because each ability score has a role and function. Everyone wants constitution, because it means they won’t die. Most folks will also want either a decent strength or dexterity, since Hack & Slash and Volley are such pivotal, important moves. in combat. Some won’t – the Wizard can get away without either Strength or Dexterity, as their spells can fill that gap – but it’s a consideration that should be made for most classes.

    In the instance of the Immolator, this is a mild problem. From the get-go, they need both Wisdom (for Zuko Style) and Constitution (for Burning Brand and for their pitiful HP). Since their function is to make attacks with this weapon, they also need a good Strength modifier or Intelligence modifier. If they then want to make use of about a third of their advanced moves, they’re also going to want a decent Charisma modifier – but that’s optional. You can build around this or throw certain abilities into the garbage, but it leaves your average Immolator incredibly constrained as to how they allocate their starting ability scores; there’s no room for one Immolator to be mechanically distinct from the next.

    This issue presents itself in a few of your classes. The Psion, like everyone else, is going to want a good Constitution – and to start with, they’re going to need a good Wisdom and Intelligence, because that’s what their basic moves demand of them. But then with the advanced moves, you also have three moves which reference Charisma, even though they’re kinda niche (conjuring mind blades even though you can already physically harm people, entering the dreams of sleeping characters – enthralling a weak-minded creature is definitely widely applicable, though) and could be easily reframed using one of the stats they already use (Thrall becomes Dominate, using INT; Sandman uses WIS, because you’re being insightful; Soul Knife keys off CON, perhaps, since they likely already have a decent score?).

    It’s not a big deal, and advanced moves definitely have the freedom to demand new stats. But the setup of Dungeon World does preclude 1- or 2-stat classes, and I do think that balance can be achieved without forcing homogeneity of stats for all characters of a certain playbook.

  8. You posted this at the right time for me as I’ve been searching for more playbooks as of recent. So far I’ve really on read deeply into the alchemist so here are some of my thoughts. 1. Make a clear definition for what a regeant is such as 1 regeant allows you to craft all your maximum elixirs or 1 formula. 2. Maybe a move that handles collecting regeants and rare items such as using int for discern realities when looking for raw materials. 3. The distinction between regeants/rare materials/ect.

    I think I got the main drift of the above but I could see newer players getting hung up on these terms. Outside of that it looks like a fun playbooks offering some great roleplay moments. I’m looking at you clone!

    Now onto the monk…

  9. Erik Buchanan thanks for the notes, Erik!! I will definitely update the alchemist to make the material component costs more clear (and see if I can fit in a Gather Reagents move! I’m hesitant to make it depend on a roll, though – would your recommendation be to do so? I just think it’s mostly a feel-bad when you roll a 6- to find more mundane stuff).

  10. Ben Rosenbloom I think if everyone is on the same page about what materials do what, MC and players can just roleplay it out. I agree you wouldn’t want an alchemist out of elixirs due to a bad roll.

    I’m going to be putting my thoughts about the monk down later. I’ll try to give as much helpful advice as possible because I want to add all these playbooks to my players choices!

  11. The Monk: their basic move Martial Arts seems to close to hack and slash. It does give the feeling of a defensive fighter but lacks the iconic razzle dazzle of say casting spells or shape changing. The mid range results offer a little extra than regular hack and slash but nothing to off the beaten path.

    Deflect: like martial arts it’s not all that much improved from defy danger. I’d mix it with return fire and even let them throw back arrows and flick bullets. Since other moves assume this monk has attained superhuman levels of training modifying deflect in this fashion would fit right in.

    Buddha’s Palm: Now you’ve gone to the other extreme but I like it! Just how powerful is it? The description says it can destroy buildings and cause shockwaves. This tells me it does more than the monks d8 damage. Think this may need to be fleshed out a little more or I could see some confusion to just how powerful this attack is. Does it insta-kill a dragon and the Dragon’s lair. Would it disintegrate a single target?

    Nature’s Pupil: again just a little more info. What does combining an animals essence with martial arts mean? Does this mean years of studying mantis style or is it just concentrating on an animal as you go into a stance.

    I realize that you can leave alot up to the tables imagination to make a move their own so if that your preferred style ignore some of these remarks. I think the biggest improvement to make is to punch up the martial arts move. I do like the roll playing possibilities journey to the west and padawan offer.

  12. quickly: I based the Buddha’s Palm move off of the Immolator’s Watch The World Burn move, but I forgot to put in a “everything takes damage as appropriate” clause! So, edited! And I agree that Nature’s Pupil could use some cleaning – what do you think about the language “when you combine your martial art with the lessons of an animal spirit you studied” to more directly tie the move to the Druid-esque spirit tongue? Still too vague?

    As far as the Martial Art/Deflection move; I tried to deliberately stay away from “you hack/slash/volley but a little differently.” I wanted to distinguish the monk as a playbook – “otherwise, what’s the difference between a fighter who chooses fists with forceful?” was my line of thought, anyway. So I made them more about damage mitigation/narrative positioning. I wouldn’t underestimate the power of getting to choose your consequence from Defy Danger, but it’s entirely possible I’m overestimating it too. I’ll definitely look into some ways to make those moves feel more impactful.

  13. Ben Rosenbloom I’m going to call it a night but will try to give you more monk feedback tommorow. The most important question I have for you is how do you see Nature’s Pupil working? This will dictate the description of the move.

  14. Erik Buchanan​ thanks for all your thoughts – the hope is that it will allow you to make animal moves like the druid’s shapeshifter while capturing the feeling of “mantis style” – when you study an animal’s essence, like the druid, you can then use martial art to trample, or pounce, or clamp, etc.

  15. Ben Rosenbloom I can see Nature’s Pupil being learned in different ways. On one extreme is studying the animals essence through countless training. The other extreme being thinking of an animal and instantly using one of its moves. Another thing to keep in mind some animal moves might include things like flying, breathing under water,ect. I see this move as being a discussion between the MC and their players as to how it works.

    Any thoughts on combining deflect with return fire? This will make that move more online with a super martial artist and allow you to come up with another cool move to replace return fire.

    Some ideas that pop to mind include flurry of blows or some type of aura.

  16. Erik Buchanan I think I understand – I’ll look into other ways to execute the move. The hope was that tying it to performing the martial art limits the absurd (breathe underwater) but enables the cool and amazing (flying up high with an enemy). I considered Flurry of Blows, but it didn’t seem appropriately Dungeon World – making multiple attacks is more of a DnD move than a DW one, imo. The other thing pushing me away from such a move is that, when doing research for the monk, I found the Battlemind (linked in my first comment). I’ve whipped up a pdf version with some potential advanced moves (here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_FaOJC6NnR-UE1zZ0pHdUxwNXc) and I wanted to make the Monk distinct from just big flashy punches (which I think the battlemind does well, and with a Ki-point style system that’s elegant and cool). The two are definitely closely linked in flavor (for a while, Nature’s pupil was a battlemind move I was considering, buddha’s palm vice versa), so I’m not sure that my futile efforts to keep the two meaningfully distinct are worth it.

    Lastly, the Monk is one that I have playtested – so far, it hasn’t felt lacking in terms of power or options, but I’ve probably exposed myself as not caring too much about combat. If you try it out and it really does feel like it struggles to do anything meaningful, I think some tune-ups could definitely be arranged.

    drive.google.com – drive.google.com/open?id=0B_FaOJC6NnR-UE1zZ0pHdUxwNXc

  17. One last idea for the monk if you want abilities outside of combat. Going back to aura you could have a move like Calm Mind: when you parlay in a calm manner you get +1 forward. You can use your philosophy as leverage. Just spit balling here.

    I’ll read over Necromancer next. Just curious, is the monk the only play book you playtested?

  18. Erik Buchanan​ the alchemist, monk, and verdant I’ve/seen played and felt comfortable with, although I definitely want others opinions on their power level! The necromancer got some playtesting and was super inadequate, so it’s been bumped to this new version which is a little less messy (if you can believe it) and hopefully reasonably powerful.

    I’ll be taking a look again today at some monks throughout rpg systems/media to see if I can get any inspiration for auras and special moves! I’ll put some ideas in the comments.

  19. Ben Rosenbloom glad to help and you have been the opposite of combative. I realize these are your babies so I don’t want to come off as being brash.

    Started reading over the necromancer. First question is a revenant an undead creature? I think this playbook is going to be tough to judge without playtesting. The whole cohort move is a like a mini game within itself and many of the necromancers moves reinforce that. I’m going to read it next to the rangers animal companion so that’s the mindset I’ll be coming from. The move is more complicated than the rangers at my first glance. What do you think as far as it’s complexity and being the main aspect of the character?

  20. Erik Buchanan Yeah, of all of them Necromancer is definitely the most wonky! I’m hoping to playtest them again soon. As far as Cohort and Command; you’re spot on that the necromancer is a response in a way to the ranger’s animal companion. My first idea was just a total hack, but my co-conspirator (whose ideas should be coming up shortly!) had the important insight that it doesn’t feel so much like a command if there’s only one. If you have only one companion, it feels more like a partnership. So I’m currently committed to making the move work for commanding multiple undead. But, you’re not much of a necromancer if you can’t also raise other dead bodies, adding that additional layer of complexity. The current thought that led me here was that the necromancer should have a baseline usefulness (akin to a figher having their weapon) as well as an emergent usefulness (as you discover or need more dead bodies), and I sacrificed simplicity to have those two modes. I don’t mind so much that it plays totally differently from anything else, except that I do worry that you might be performing all this extra brainwork that’s a) unnecessary and/or b) not useful, interesting, or powerful.

  21. Andrew Alwood – that’s awesome!! I’ll take a look! Thank you!

    Erik Buchanan I’d say the Necromancer is probably the most volatile at the moment (in terms of likely to change), but I don’t have anything in the works for it just yet. I’m hoping to playtest the Necromancer again soon and report back with my findings, but if you’ve got thoughts I’d love to hear them. I’ve made some minor changes, but the current wording of Cohort hasn’t seen the light of day.

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