You are THE Wizard/Paladin/Ranger…

You are THE Wizard/Paladin/Ranger…

You are THE Wizard/Paladin/Ranger…

Ok, so I recently tried out a D&D game were you were supposed to write a background for you character. Now this is fun, but what was also fun was to write my half-elf ranger into an order that protected the elven forests of Aglarrond and think of their tactics, who they fought and of the internal politics…

Then I got to think of my Dungeon World games and how I’d love to tell about the rangers and the character when prodded in a DW Game. Quite often have the Wizard belonged to a college of wizards, the ranger belonged to a pack of protectors or the paladin of an order of similar individuals. I’ve even introduced Questing Knights to the setting as a GM.

How about you games? Is it ok if the players do it? Is it bad if GMs do it? What is the reasoning behind the strict instructions of the DW Book? (We have the same in Apocalyspe World, but there is no problem in introducing general gunluggers, or mindfuckers whom refer to themselves as brainers and hocuses. Hardholders are everywhere there’s a community.

9 thoughts on “You are THE Wizard/Paladin/Ranger…”

  1. This has to be the most misunderstood passage in the book; Really all it means is “You are the only PC Ranger/Wizard/Whatever, and NPCs are different. Don’t expect NPC Wizards/Rangers/Whatever in the world to operate by the same rules you do.”

    Feel free to come from a Ranger Squadron, or a Wizards’ College, or a Thieves’ Guild. There’s no problem there. The GM will probably ask you questions about it.

  2. While the book doesn’t technically say that, when you fill up your playbook sheet, you’d do that while writting Bonds. The book does say you have to write a character name (in the pre-written Bonds statements), (if you are fossy about following rules as written, it’s legit to write your own character’s name when you fill a Bond). Since you have some empty lines to create your own custom Bonds, that’s where I’d put that.

    Something like : “I’m one of the Deepforest Rangers; I’ll defend Blackwood of the Undead Plague”

    Be careful though to not overthink background details. That’s what’s cool about Bonds, you have to keep it short, contained and action driven. “Draw maps. Leave blanks” and “Play to find out” are DW Principles. If it’s too detailed, you shut down opportunities to discover about it in game. Moreoever, doing detailed background usually leads to unused material. Anything that doesn’t get to be explored in-game is wasted and serves no purpose. Action driven means that it’s not just a passive statement like “I’m a member of the Deepwoods Ranger”. You actually have to do something about it, which is lot more interesting.

  3. Michael Esperum I tend not too because I like the idea that if someone plays THE Ranger, there’s not really any other rangers.

    There’s certainly other kinds of characters that are similar, like a guild of scouts, bands of hunters, an organisation of foresters or beast-tamers. Just not Rangers.

    Same when, say, you have The Wizard in your group and it is implied in the fiction that there are schools of magic. They may all share certain principles (they study complicated runes, do wierd gestures and say tongue-warping words to summon magic, have familiars and spellbooks, etc), but only The Wizard uses the moves from the playbook.

    That said, I don’t think it’s against the “rules”. Like mentioned, it is just that no one character (PC or NPC) uses The Ranger playbook and rules.

  4. Addramyr Palinor but that only until characters start dying. It’s not forbidden to play a second wizard in the party or anything really once your first character stops adventuring for whatever reason.

  5. I’ve only introduced other Question Knights |= Paladin, but still taking the story room for a Lawful (Evil) Paladin, when they showed him who he wanted to be (he was involved with the Cleric’s Evil Priests church.

    Otherwise it’s the players themselves who’ve introduced “more like me”-concepts, and the stories go well.

    I think I will try to avoid giving the Paladin an order, the Ranger an organization and the wizard a school, etc… until the Players do themselves.

    Thanks all!

  6. I have always thought this is related to keeping “ the characters awesome and special” and to ensure that the player characters have the spot light in the world. You are THE RANGER implodes GM don’t upstage me with a bad ass elven ranger NPC that rivals Legolas. Another way is to make sure the player character gets top billing in the story not your GM npcs.

    I think a lot of DW is to fix social contract stuff that historically has been a problem in DND where everyone is not on the same page. It is is light and fun and fast paced. You can have gritty deep stories, but I always think DW is more like a summer read at the beach fantasy story than something deep and involved. I also like my DW to be more PG or PG-13 than R. I don’t play these games to get deep into choices and morality, you can play it that way I just don’t think that is the intention as rules as written.

  7. steven stewart That’s a perspective I hadn’t thought about. The character being “THE Wizard” rather than “The [only] Wizard” is a good way of reading it.

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