AWD&D Hack

edited July 2011 in Out-Of-Game
Dungeon World isn't really working for me, so I'm going to whiteboard out a different AW+D&D hack. This will be fairly informal, all in this thread, and I'll probably never actually finish it. That last is why I'm doing it here, rather than taking it to Barf Forth ... this is less a hack, more just a thought experiment. I expect it to help me figure out what I want in a D&D hack, but not so much to turn into anything playable.

It's worth nothing that what I want in a D&D hack won't necessarily be all that close to D&D. Some of the problems I have with Dungeon World really come back to the game reproducing some of the things that I don't like about D&D. So we'll see how that turns out.

If something playable does come out of this, I might tack together a Google document and post it somewhere, but I don't really have that as an ambition. But still, please do comment and contribute! I'm not looking for a large audience, but if I wanted this to be my private little thing, I'd just do it at home.

In advance: I tend to be overly wordy, and I don't think I'll be going back and editing that down when I'm posting. So be prepared!


  • edited July 2011
    I'll assume no changes to the basic roll structure of roll 2d6, add stat, 10+ is good, 7-9 is mixed, 6- is bad. I won't bother to explain that assumption, really, except that I like it and I'm also not sure it's an AW hack if I change that.

    So moving on, stats and basic moves:

    - Cool -

    Cool is a good stat, and Act Under Fire is a good move. When I'm introducing someone to AW, I usually tell them that the Cool playbooks are all about competence porn. The other stats are good for certain things, but Cool is what you use for everything else, from sneaking around to disarming a bomb to fixing a truck to ... whatever.

    And that has a place in a D&D-ish game: it's the thief. Or the rogue, if you like. Whether it's the old school thief, rolling off an oddball level-based table of special thief skills, or the modern rogue with a skill list as long as your arm, the thief is all about being good with all the crap that the rest of the party sucks at.

    Terminology kind of sucks here, though. "Cool" isn't quite right, and "Act Under Fire" sounds pretty odd in D&D.

    I'll make Cool -> Canny. I like that word, "Canny".

    Act Under Fire is more difficult. I don't really care for "Defy Danger", since that implies a more narrow set of actions. (Though maybe that's intentional ... several things that would be acting under fire in AW show up as class moves in DW.)

    For now, I'll go with "Try Something Clever", though I'm not sure if that really sings. It could imply risk a little more overtly.
  • edited July 2011
    - Hard -

    Then Hard. Well, people are known to kill one another in D&D, and Hard is all about violence, so there's a place for this.

    It's worth considering breaking up the stat, though, going more for the Strength/Dexterity split. As I'm typing that, though, I'm pretty much immediately discarding the idea. I can differentiate that kind of thing with class moves, and I'm not sure that I really care for the classic split anyhow. Why does being strong make it more likely for you to hit someone? (I suppose that's tied up in the way that armor in D&D usually prevents damage, rather than mitigating it.)

    I prefer sticking with Hard as capacity for violence. Broad, conceptual stats are better for AW. Also, this lets me take, say, a fighter and make him good at fighting in general, ranged and melee. Versions of D&D have made that happen with extra attacks, or a higher BAB, or whatever, but AW doesn't support that well. There just aren't enough factors going into your rolls for that to work. I've been noticing that in DW, though my fighter there gets around it a little, basically by being an elf.

    Now, Seize by Force and Go Aggro. I'm not sure about these. They're good moves for AW, but maybe they aren't quite right for a dungeons game. I think DW's treatment, going to two simple damage-dealing moves, wasn't a good direction. That's actually very D&D-ish, so I see why it happened, but in the end I find AW fights much more interesting than DW fights. So.

    But this is part of a larger question about handling combat, so I'm going to set this matter aside and revisit it later. Probably. At any rate, it's perfectly playable with Seize by Force and Go Aggro, so go with that for now.

    "Hard" isn't a perfect word for this genre, I think, but I don't have a better option, so Hard it is. Might change it later. I don't know if we'll have Seize by Force and Go Aggro by the end of this, but if we do, Go Aggro is going to want renaming too. But later.
  • - Hot -

    Hot is pretty straightforward. I want it, I'll keep it. And it's an obvious parallel to good ol' Charisma. Seduce/Manipulate is also good as is, so keep that too.

    By the way, there's an unstated choice I made here, to not use Strength/Dexterity/Constitution/Intelligence/Wisdom/Charisma. Those are really fairly boring stats, and they're too narrow and technical for AW. I don't think that breakdown really works in DW, since it ... well, there's a thread in which Brendan C discusses (among other things) about how he feels about DW move options, and how your stats really constrain you in what you can accomplish. So, what he said.

    "Hot" doesn't sound right in this genre, though. "Charismatic" is too stilted though (despite a long D&D history of stilted stat names), and "Comely" just sounds silly. Flipping to p14 in AW, I see "Subtle" and "Gracious", which sound decent ("Gracious" might be a little much), but neither one is really broad enough. On the other hand, "Hot" never really described the full range of the stat, either ... it's appropriate mainly because of AW's expectations for the PCs.

    Well, go with Hot for now. If I'm looking for a Hot class, it'd be the bard, and the bard seems more Hot than necessarily Subtle or Gracious.

    I could drop the "Seduce" from "Seduce or Manipulate", since it's really kind of superfluous. Seduction is just Manipulating with a specific sort of leverage. Whether I keep that depends on how much sex I want in the game, which I think is an issue to focus on later, while looking at sex moves. So don't worry about it for now.
  • Is violent a bad replacement for hard? Is persuasive a bad replacement for hot? Does weird become something like arcane?
  • - Sharp -

    We need something like this. I'll keep it, but call it Wise.

    There's a bit of a pattern here: I'm seeing if I can map a stat to each of the basic D&D classes (thief, fighter, cleric, wizard), since I see those as representing the basic sorts of things one does in D&D. Cleric would be Wise, I think. And we're putting bard on Hot, since the old core class archetypes aren't really social in nature. Too dungeon-focused.

    Anyhow. Wise. Here we have the Read a Situation and Read a Person moves. I'm immediately comparing them to Spout Lore and Discern Realities in DW, and I find DW lacking. With those moves, I frequently feel like there's no question I can ask that fits what I want to know. With the AW moves, that very rarely happens. Actually, I'm hedging when I say 'very rarely' ... I can't recall it ever happening. At worst, there've been a couple of questions that address what I want to know without perfectly answering, but that's ok in my books. Our characters don't have perfect knowledge.

    Also, a niggly detail, but the +1's you get from these moves don't always feel right in DW. That's ... hard to explain. Does anyone know what I mean? I can try explaining that if I need to, but it'd be great if someone jumped in and did it for me, all concise and shit.

    Regardless, that's a warning: Be careful messing with these moves. I think I want to keep these mostly as is, though I do like the idea of Spout Lore. I know that in my 3.5 and 4e games, there's usually at least one person who tries to be the guy who knows stuff. Was that so much a thing in earlier editions? It doesn't look like there's much mechanical support for that kind of thing.

    But, in the interests of being careful with these moves, I'm going to leave this and revisit later.
  • edited July 2011
    Is violent a bad replacement for hard?
    Doesn't sound right. To me, anyway. I mean, sure, we all know that the fighter is violent, but I don't think that's what I want to call it. Like Hard: "hard" sounds like something you might want somebody to call you, if you're a totally awesome dude in the post-apocalypse.

    It's a different game if the five stats are, say, Cunning, Violent, Manipulative, and ... well I don't know how to twist Sharp, and Weird is unique in that its kind of a stat for outsiders anyway. But you know what I mean?

    I want something here that means, you know, basically violent, but which sounds like a heroic attribute.

    (Bold? Brave? Mm. Not really accurate to the purpose.)
    Is persuasive a bad replacement for hot?
    Hm. No, it's not bad. It's not really jumping out at me, though, since it's kind of a sterile word. Really, I should probably just consult a thesaurus instead of trying to come up with things off the top of my head, but eh. Maybe later. There's a thing in forums where, when you're searching for a word, someone's likely to come in and pipe up with just the thing, if you wait long enough.
    Does weird become something like arcane?
    I think, well ... just a moment.

    - Weird -

    There we go. So this guy is funny. You could argue we don't need him at all. Maybe wizards do magic with Wise, say. The presence of Weird in AW is significant because it means that everyone has some modicum of psychic ability, because even that hardholder with Weird-2 can still give Open Your Brain a shot.

    Do we want that in a D&D hack?

    Or maybe the better question is, if we do want it, what is the common characteristic that all men share (to some extent) in this world? In AW, they're all weird, all psychic. I noticed in ... hey, where'd it go? There was a Deadwood hack on barf forth, but it just disappeared?

    Well, whatever. There, Weird becomes Will, which is kind of an odd name, since Will seems to be all bound up in being a sinner steeped in vice: in Deadwood, everyone has a vice. The implementation was a little bit shaky across the playbooks, but the hocus/preacher (whose faith is like a faceless' mask) playbook and the Indulge Your Vices move really spoke to that.

    And this is one of the things that turned me off of the Algol hack, since it just didn't feel like that world needed a psychic maelstrom. Though again, I don't know the source material, so maybe it was totally appropriate.

    So I'm talking here, but I think that I do want a Weird analogue. However, it likely doesn't work like it does in AW.

    So, uh, how does it work, Michael?

    Right, that. Well, I don't really know. I have vague ideas. I will write them, but yeah. Vague.

    First, let's call it Strange for now, which I guess is actually very similar to Weird. But I'm thinking of it as the wizard stat, and that's what I jump to when I think of mages. That's not entirely a D&D thing, more a Moorcock and REH thing. I like my pulps. Still, that name might not match up perfectly with what I want to do with the stat.

    Another possibility might be "Marked", or something of that nature.

    "Arcane", or something similar, doesn't sound global enough. Mages are this, but so is everyone else (perhaps to a lesser extent).

    I think Strange might have something to do with alignment. Now, I don't care for D&D alignment. It's well ... stupid and disconnected from reality. It came out of Moorcock's cosmic forces of Law and Chaos, but applying those to basic human behavior wasn't very inappropriate.

    But! What about those cosmic forces of Law and Chaos? I'm thinking of a Strange stat that suggests that everyone is part of a larger cosmic struggle, of which particularly Strange people are more aware. Maybe there's a commune basic move that allows one to tap into those cosmic forces for insight. Say, a basic move that initially works something like Open Your Brain, but which can take on elements of Insight if you 'declare' for an alignment.

    Maybe it's just Law and Chaos, or maybe we bring in Good and Evil (I twitch away from that), or maybe it's broader, and you can align with Nature, Magic, or some other high concept. I think Storming the Wizard's Tower does something like that, even requiring someone to declare for an alignment before the party can advance to the as-yet-mythical Level 2 of that game.

    If you wanted to get fiddly, you could have different moves for different alignments. Say that the game has a Law move and a Chaos move, and the MC cooks up new moves for any other alignments he wants in play. Some of those moves might be nothing at all like Open Your Brain. That might be too fiddly, though. An Open Your Brain/Insight style of move would probably differentiate itself enough as the different alignments show different things and offer different guidance.

    It'd be like having a small selection of psychic maelstroms, each acting with agency, just as the maelstrom should in an AW game. Hm. And that might be a good argument for keeping it to two alignments, so it doesn't get too complicated.

    Well, I don't know. For now, I'm going to stamp that with another: revisit later.
  • edited July 2011
    Oh, and then there's this one:

    - Hx -

    Well, I think I'll rename that to just History, because I'm tired of explaining that to people.

    Beyond that, I think I'm probably shooting for something pretty familiar. I could see coming up with something where History is less tied to playbook/class, and more tied to cooking up a hometown (or some other type of setting creation). But that's more of an issue for classes. The actual function of History to aid and hinder would probably be untouched.

    I'll mention the possibility of linking the Help/Interfere move to one of the other stats, like Canny or Wise ... but nah. I like it this way. Evens the field a bit, since it's a lot easier to increase History than the other stats, and I like the irregularity, where it matters how well you know a specific person, not just how sharp you are personally.

    Speaking of, how about those harm moves? When you hurt someone, they get History with you, and when you heal someone you get History with them? I don't know. Revisit later.
  • edited July 2011
    And I think that's it for now. Next up is probably classes, starting by looking at their bits and pieces (you know, looks, history, sex moves, all that). But I'll be getting the next session of my game started, first.

    What have I said that is stupid or wrong?

    What assumptions have I made, without noticing?

    Anyone want to take a stab at my revisit laters? Or flip through a thesaurus for me? (c:
  • If this were my hack, I'd consider only three playbooks: the fighter, the wizard and the thief, however you wanted to name them. And I'd give each one more moves than the AW playbooks have so that there would be substantial differentiation.
  • edited July 2011
    Why is that?

    I mean, first, I think that the AW playbooks work so well in part because they really are so focused. You have choices to make, but they're limited in scope and they all focus around a certain archetype. So you pick up, say, the battlebabe, and it's easy to step right in because your lists are only just broad enough to let you own it. Broadening the playbooks as you're describing might dilute that accessibility.

    But still, I was thinking of having 4 or maybe 5 playbooks, rather than AW's 11+, and providing more options in the course of play through playbooks or playbook expansions (like the catalyst, wurm, etc). So that's not so different.

    But why those three? The absence of the cleric/priest is conspicuous, in particular. Do you figure that's something to be folded into fighter or wizard? Like, expert, warrior, and spellcaster?
  • I didn't have a particular reason to exclude the cleric. It was oversight. On the other hand, I don't think it's a very interesting role. It would be better if healing were else-wise distributed. But I'm not married to that or anything.

    Now the real point is to justify why I think having fewer core books with more variations is interesting. I'm not sure. It was a spur of the moment comment that sat well with me and it still does. The idea of three of us playing the fighter, but me having built a ranger and you having built a templar and someone else a gladiator seems neat. I'm not sure I grok your "easy to step right in" thing or why this would be harder. I don't think there should be a list of sixty moves for each book, but maybe like a dozen instead of five. That doesn't seem like it would make it hard to get into.
  • Interesting thoughts. It's funny, because I started work on my "version" of how I'd do AW D&D. It's still in its infancy of course, working on stats and basic moves.
  • edited July 2011
    What do you guys think about Hit Points, Damage, Levels, and other things "ported" over from D&D?
  • Still here. But I'm busy, so I probably won't revisit this for another week or so.
  • edited August 2011
    Posted By: Michael PfaffWhat do you guys think about Hit Points, Damage, Levels, and other things "ported" over from D&D?
    I'm happy to see levels go, what matters is the new toys I get at each level. I really like the idea of having separate wounds from Burning Wheel, its been a while since I read it but I'd probably go with a damage track like the clock in AW, with multiple zones (24hr clock). When you get hit, you take a random amount of damage and mark the time. When you get hit on that time again, you erase that wound and double it. That way you can take a cut to the arm and a cut to the leg and be OK but man, that second cut to the arm really hampers me (two hampers and I'm in a load of dirty laundry!). Instead of gaining HP, you can move the boundaries of the zones around or gain the ability to add +1 or -1 to a wound to keep it from doubling (separate abilities but you can earn the multiple times). This way, you can take and keep more wounds in the category where they don't hamper your ability to act.
  • I don't know if the clock fits, but I do like the idea of static HP or wound levels like AW instead of hit points. I don't have another symbol off the top of my head to replace the clock though.

    I'm just not feeling Damage and HP the way they do it in DW. The basics are fine, but I've got a feeling as levels increase, as it stands, monster damage goes up, everyone's HP goes up, but does PC damage go up? I don't think it does. Which seems... problematic.
  • edited August 2011
    I should have more free time for a while, so let's see.
    I don't think there should be a list of sixty moves for each book, but maybe like a dozen instead of five. That doesn't seem like it would make it hard to get into.
    I think the number that (most) playbooks have is kind of a magic number. Except chopper, hardholder, and faceless, all of which are a bit unusual as moves go, you get something balanced toward about 3 starting moves (though that might not actually be 3 moves, of course). Then you can pick 2 more moves through advancement, and there's 1 move left that you'll probably never get.

    So when you sit down, it's really easy to go: I want that one and that one now, and I'll probably skip that one, later. It's very simple, very focused, because you decided pretty much what you'd be doing just by picking a playbook. Operator and savvyhead stand out as exceptions to that, and hocus, to a lesser extent, since those can be bent into really wildly different configurations.

    Supporting multiple archetypes in a single playbook dilutes that immediate simplicity, which I think is the main strength of the playbook format. And I'm not sure that it really even works. Do the ranger, the templar, and the gladiator all have the same sex moves? The same looks and names? The same History items?

    You can abandon the playbook format entirely, of course, and I might, but I don't think making more generic playbooks is a good answer. You're losing some of the value of using playbooks, and then I think the format would start to chafe. Dungeon World does this, a little. I remember both Rich and I briefly grumbled about Looks in our classes, and the Bonds aren't nearly as evocative as Hx items. Except in the case of the wizard, but those Bonds had different complaints.


    So I should be clear that I don't feel any obligation to D&D. I'll use what I like, but I'm not trying to make a game that's like D&D in any particular way. After all, when I want to play D&D, I'll play D&D. I'm interested in hacking AW for that kind of fantasy that D&D also tries to imitate. Maybe. This is muddy water, since D&D itself has influenced the genre so much.

    Hit points and levels. Levels, I'm not a fan of. It mostly boils down to treadmill work ... you get bigger numbers, so do all your enemies. Heck, I'm not even that much a fan of levels in D&D - I think the E6 hack of 3rd edition is a great idea.

    Still, AW advancement probably doesn't work right.

    Some kind of tier thing, vaguely like how they were talking about with Knife and Candle, might be interesting to think about.

    On one hand, the harm track is really just a small number of hit points. But D&D-style hit points isn't really something I want to do. I think you could maybe go places starting with just: harm is like AW, with the harm move and everything, but it heals up at the end of the encounter. And rework debilities to count as lasting injuries, which do heal. That might end up being too soft, though - I think the make-or-break is in how you rework debilities. Or maybe this is nonsense ... I'm just spitballing, at the moment.
  • Posted By: Michael LoyYou're losing some of the value of using playbooks
    Yeah, I buy that. I tend to think of neato gimmicks and not think them through to completion.
  • Alright. I need to look at characters, character creation, what pieces a character has. How granular our character types are. Am I going to use playbooks? Or some of the specific conventions of playbooks, like choosing a set of stats and having a sex move? And so on.

    That's a big topic, and I'm not sure where to start, so I guess I'll just noodle for a bit.
  • edited August 2011
    I guess there's a couple of ways to do this. One is to kind of start with AW: treat this mainly as a re-skin and bash together some playbooks, then see what might need adjustment overall (basic moves, harm, xp, playbook structure, whatever). The other is to hold the basic structure of AW in my head, but start more from scratch, laying out basic moves and rules and character structure on a clean board.

    The later might be better, but I'm lazy. I'm going to look at a few core playbooks.

    A few general thoughts:

    • AW harm actually mostly works for me. I might look into altering healing, but I guess I'm really less interested in a D&D feel, or maybe I'm interested in a low-level D&D feel. AW makes PCs pretty tough, in a narrative immunity kind of way, but death remains cheap. That feels, to me, a little more true to my source material, where if someone stabs you with a sword that's pretty bad news. In particular, I've been re-reading A Song of Ice and Fire lately, and I've been noticing how close a match the feel is, sometimes, for Apocalypse World.

    Though this thought: "harm is like AW, with the harm move and everything, but it heals up at the end of the encounter. And rework debilities to count as lasting injuries" ... does still have some attraction. More of a D&D kind of toughness, I think, but with some real blood involved, and it doesn't really call for having a clerical healbot around.

    • A rough idea: You pick a playbook, play through a "level" or "tier", which is a lot like playing through until you get your 6th advance in AW. Once you have your sixth advance, you advance to the next tier and gain access to new improvement options, including the ability to expand your playbook with new moves/options/improvement items. Possibly you start as a fighter, with a pretty tight range of move options, and you expand into a ranger.

    Alternately, "fighter" is more of a playbook stub, with some options when you begin play, but possibly not a full, meaty range of expansion, and you can expand into ranger fairly early on, in your first advances. Then, when you advance to the next tier, you may expand again, into something else. It's like changing playbook, except that you don't stop being a fighter: you're just become a fighter flavored with ranger. Or flavored with whatever.

    I think there might be 3 tiers of play, with a playbook expansion at each tier. I think there might be explicit rules tied to tier, both in improvement options (when you reach the 2nd tier, you may take the Reputation move, and when you reach the 3rd tier you may build a castle or found a thieves' guild, AD&D-style) and in mechanical effect (when you act against an obstacle from a lower tier, 12+ options open on all your basic moves).

    The tiers should be distinct in flavor. Storming the Wizard's Tower has three levels: fighting monsters, slaying dragons, and storming the wizard's tower (if I recall correctly). D&D 4e has three tiers too: your actions affect men, your actions affect nations, and your actions affect worlds. Something like that. I'm running a 4e game right now, and this is cool ... my players have recently gone from heroic to paragon tier, and the cue to make the stakes and horizons grow is pretty interesting.

    I think the 'expansions' lack prerequisites. So you can expand into ranger, but both the fighter and the thief might be interested in that - it's not fighter-only. Maybe the wizard, too: unusual, but possible.

    Hm. That's it for now. I think I'll work up about four core playbooks, mostly following AW patterns and probably using mostly AW moves. It'll help establish a look and feel, at least.
  • Your talk of hit points and AW damage made me think of this: you have two countdown-clocks, one for your injury state and one for how battered and tired you are. As you take damage, it accumulates on the first one. When you reach 12:00 (or maybe when you pass 12...something like that) you're knocked out OR you can wipe all that and take an injury (like a debility) by marking a notch on your injury clock. Each of those requires you reduce a stat by 1 or something -- maybe just your choice with a justification. The battery clock just erases after the fight but the injuries have to be healed. And they're serious. Like a year of bedrest or serious clerical investment or magical boon or something.

    I like your tiers and unfolding playbooks, particularly without prerequisites. Thief -> ranger -> necromancer is super-cool. But it also seems to me like you could write any number of playbooks and have the three tiers for each one and allow more mix'n'match but also specialization. At least, I don't see off-hand why you'd steer clear of that.
  • A third track could handle social/emotional damage.
  • Oh, yeah, sure. You could make a point of writing every playbook so that it can also be used as an expansion, no problem. I imagine that you'd default to the initially available playbooks being, say, thief, fighter, etc, but that you could assemble a different set to modify the feel of the game. Like, swap in berserker and bard for fighter and wizard. I think that might be part of game setup: before creating characters, you create the hometown, and part of that is determining which playbooks are available here. Then the hometown setup also affects things like History.

    The two-clocks solution is kind of what I was thinking, except that I was thinking you just take your debilities without it being tied to a clock. Though, with a practical limit on the number of debilities you can have, of course, so working pretty much like the clock.

    Or, I was thinking passing midnight would actually kill you, but you can deflect that with debilities ... which is pretty much the same thing. The main difference is that you're wiping the clock there, and I'm thinking you keep the clock, so more hurt is likely to be painful.

    Ah, you know? This is what FATE does. You have a stress track, which is basically a small number of hit points, and overflowing that track requires that you take a consequence to avoid being taken out. And then you can only take so many consequences.

    A track for emotional damage? In D&D? You're a funny man! Well, no, maybe. And indeed, that's also sounding like FATE.
  • So:

    - The Fighting Man -

    The fighter feels like the definitive class, you know? Unfortunately, it's also damn uninspiring, mechanically speaking. Historically, you, what? Hit people more reliably? Attack more often? Have more hit points? Have access to the best weapons and armor? All useful things, sure, but eh.

    Still, I think the fighter can be: the hero, the trained warrior, the tank, the defender, the guy with a practical understanding of small-squad skirmish tactics.


    • Battle-hardened: take -2 when rolling the harm move (assuming there is a harm move).

    • Master of arms: when you inflict harm with a weapon, inflict +1harm.

    • Disciplined engagement: per quarantine.

    • Hero: when another player's character rolls to help you, they mark xp.

    • Towering presence: per touchstone.

    Maybe a stat-swap move, like roll+hard when Acting Under Fire/Trying Something Clever. I'm not sure that I want to see a lot of those in this hack, though. The ability to expand through multiple playbooks should be used to encourage broad stats.

    Maybe something that messes with harm? You can take more of it, or you can shrug off your first debility more easily?

    Towering Presence strikes me as a good challenge move, the way that 4e defenders have ways of drawing aggro. You can Tower at someone, demand that they fight you, and with luck that will deflect them from attacking your squishy archer/mage/whatever friend. I'd been thinking about a custom move, but hey: this works, and it's also useful outside of combat. Good enough, for the moment.

    Gear might be, oh:
    You get:
    • 2 professional weapons
    • 1 backup weapon
    • coin and oddments worth 1-barter
    • armor suitable to your look, up to 2-armor (you detail) – 2-armor is (worn heavy)

    Professional weapons (choose 2):
    • broadsword (3-harm hand)
    • crossbow (2-harm close/far reload)
    • halberd or spear (3-harm hand/close)
    • longbow (3-harm far reload)
    • heavy shield (s-harm intimate worn)

    Backup weapons (choose 1):
    • brace of javelins (2-harm close/far)
    • heavy spade (3-harm hand messy)
    • short sword (2-harm hand)
    Good, practical equipment. Leave the greatswords and battleaxes to the barbarians and berserkers.

    Armor might need some looking at. It tends to be more granular and detailed in this kind of game than it is in AW. And a 'reach' range between hand and close might be appropriate, like in DW. Though, as a guy who was playing a fighter with a reach weapon in DW, there'd need to be some much clearer explanations of how that kind of range increment works. Maybe throw in a "2-hand" tag.

    There might be a concept of proficiency, where you know how to use the weapons you have (or maybe the weapons your playbook offers), and you're clumsy with other weapons until you've spent some time with them.

    I don't see having a sex move. On one hand, I do think that modern fantasy gaming is often pretty sterile stuff, no blood or sex or anything interesting, and D&D is a poster child for that. Ron Edwards wrote a book about that, pretty much, and I gather that that's a lot of the inspiration behind putting sex moves and seduction and etc in Apocalypse World. But still, feels odd. Though maybe it feels odd because I'm coming at it from a D&D direction. Hm.

    But no sex move, for the moment.

    With the idea of progressing through an unfolding series of 3 or 4 playbooks, providing a fixed list of stat sets might be shortsighted. It makes sense to simply say: distribute your own stats, max+2 (or max+3) and total+3. Or, as a fighting man, you have Hard+2, and your remaining stats must total +1. Or, max+2 and total+3, and then take +1hard. I think I like that last one.

    History might be community-based, not playbook based. That's my feeling at the moment, at least: the first tier is all narrow horizons, set in your home town and environs, and town setup is part of game setup. Something like setting up a hardholder's hold, except that it spawns things like playbook options and History relationships. And racial options. Note to self: address races.

    Looks, names, that kind of thing: they require more finesse than I have at the moment. Hm. And they might also tie to community ... maybe partly from community, partly from playbook.

    Improvement, well. Perhaps improvement is like this: your first playbook only gives you a few options, and one of those is to expand your playbook. That's where at least half of your improvement options comes from, and then you can expand again once you reach 2nd tier and 3rd tier. Each tier offers both improvement options from the playbook expansion, and also improvement options from the tier itself.

    This might need its own topic, since it looks like it might be getting logistically complicated. Still, as a thumbnail: have about half as many improvement options as an AW playbook, and probably cut back on stat improvements, since advancement will be stretched over about half again as many improvements.
  • What's the role of henchmen/hirelings/gangs?
  • I reckon that when you start, it's just you. Maybe you can get a hireling, sure, but it's just like you pay or manipulate someone into doing something for you for a bit.

    If I got all inspired, maybe there's room for some kind of specific hireling mechanics, but I'm not sure that they're necessary. The GM can run them like any NPC, following principles and moves.

    More substantial things, I think, would come into play as you move into higher tiers. Like, maybe a standard advance available at 2nd tier is a move like pack alpha/leadership that lets you manage any hirelings you happen have at hand. Then you hit 3rd tier and take lands + build a fortress or castle, gaining broad authority over a group of people (and something like the Wealth move). Or build a church/monastery/guild/whatever, with parallel effect.

    Roughly, I think the tiers are:

    • 1st, hometown, narrow horizons, of no great account

    • 2nd, abroad, adventuring, traveling the realm, of some repute

    • 3rd, either settled or wide-ranging, great reputation, followers and holdings

    Though there's also the tempting:

    • 1st, hometown and abroad, adventuring, of no particular reputation

    • 2nd, wide-ranging, firm reputation, followers and holdings

    • 3rd, epic, extraplanar, legendary reputation

    I think these rules will favor the first range, though. More grounded.
  • Wanted to run something past you guys, since I'm loving this thread and I was working on my own sort of "D&Dish" hack, but more Sword & Sorcery than the light-hearted goodness that seems default in Dungeon World.

    My idea was to take a cue from World of Algol and seed a bit more content with the gear. Instead of "broadsword" or whatever, I add some flair to the list of stuff you begin with.

    For example, my "Fighter" gets something like this:
    It’s assumed you have some simple clothing and any basic accessories. Write those down. In addition, you get one or two items of note.
    Choose one, two or none:
    • tall, fine leather boots
    • a wolfskin cloak
    • etched vambraces
    • a horned great helm
    • a colorful, fur-lined cape
    • a gold-buckled girdle

    Choose one primary weapon:
    • a brutal-looking, double-sided battleaxe
    • a heavy, iron broadsword
    • a massive maul, with or without a spike
    • a fine longbow with a quiver of steel-tipped sheaf arrows
    • a long spear with a pointed and/or hooked end
    • a great flail with a spiked ball dangling from the chain

    Then, choose one secondary weapon:
    • a long, serrated knife
    • a simple, sturdy hatchet
    • a leather gauntlet set with jagged razors or bone claws
    • two heavy javelins

    You get a shield if you want; round, kite or buckler.
    In addition, choose one:
    • a great mass of furs and hide
    • a tunic-covered mail shirt
    • a full suit of dull scale armor
    • a

    You probably have a wineskin, a pack, some rope, a grappling hook or other climbing gear, a few torches, and maybe some trail rations.
    Choose one, two or three:
    • a
    Or, for the Rogue:
    It’s assumed you have some simple clothing and any basic accessories. Write those down. In addition, you get one or two items of note.
    Choose one or two:
    • a dark, hooded cloak

    Choose one or two:
    • a bandolier of sharp throwing daggers
    • a short crossbow with poison-tipped quarrels
    • twin, double-edged shortswords
    • a collapsible shortbow with utility arrows
    • a slim dueling blade paired with a poniard

    Choose one or two:
    • a brigandine vest covered in velvet
    • a sleek leather cuirass

    As you can see, it's not complete yet. And, this is sort of a first draft.

    But, would you rather have the "broadsword, axe, bow" list of weapons, or a little more flavor attached.

    Also, my plan was to not have "Advanced Classes" but what I would call "Alignment Moves" or something. Basically, each character gets an Alignment, and then there are moves that only that alignment can take. So, a chaotic fightery move might be the rush into battle without planning and get bonus armor or hit points, barbarian berserker style. Of course, a Lawful Knight type character wouldn't have access to that move. Instead, he could choose from a different list that reflected more Lawful acts.
  • I like the idea of intersecting layers the way you're describing class working with alignment. But I despise the notion of alignment with the hatred of a thousand dying suns. Or at least, it's so painfully artificial that it wouldn't have a place in any game I was making. But having e.g. race and class or nationality and religion and class interact that way is fun.
  • edited August 2011
    The detailed equipment is engaging. There's a point where I'd ask if it's worth it, like if the amount of space on the page for gear is really paying off enough for the word count. Like, depending on how your playbooks are built, you might be putting more text on gear than on moves. That depends on how your playbooks are built, though. If they're more like DW, with big, heavy move lists and such, then you can probably afford to expand gear as well. Equipment is more of a fetish in this genre than in AW, after all.

    Hm. Though: a brief, AW-style list offers somewhat flavorful choices that define the class. Like, my off-the-cuff fighting man list is sort of like the chopper's, fairly simple and to the point. My list for a witch playbook might be more like the brainer's, a little more weird and specific. There's not a lot of detail there, but more detail might not really carry into the game.

    Like, "a heavy, iron broadsword" is an interesting choice in character creation, but I'm not sure that it would really be anything more than a "broadsword" in moment-to-moment play. So it might be a shallow choice. It does help define your guy in character creation, but we're likely to forget all the descriptors as soon as we have that first mental image.

    Of course, the more of those details you can give mechanical backing, the better. And if you are doing big DW-style playbooks, then it probably doesn't hurt to spend some word count on better color.

    I'm also not sold on alignment, but I could cope with it, particularly if you made it an interesting choice. Though, if you're doing moves like you describe, I'd kind of want them to not be unlocked by an alignment choice. Rather, I'd like to pick any alignment moves I want, but they're crafted so that I'm rewarded by playing to their alignment. So I could have Chaotic moves and Lawful moves in the same character, if I like, but the more I stick to an alignment extreme, the more effective those associated moves are.

    So instead of writing down an alignment on my character sheet, I just pick moves, and then I must behave in a Chaotic or Lawful fashion in order to trigger those moves. That way alignment isn't some hard expression of my nature, but just a observation you might make about how I usually behave. Perhaps my knight is scrupulously Lawful when all is going well, but he panics and turns wild when he's been badly bloodied, making use of that "bonus armor and hit points" move you sketched out. Or maybe he's really only got Lawful moves, so he's rewarded by sticking with that right to the end.
  • Some interesting thoughts. Good feedback guys. I'm liking this thread. Keep it up. I want to see your treatment of the Magic-User.
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