Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Witches of the (Dungeon) World Unite!

A while back I downloaded  +David Guyll and +Melissa Fisher's playbook The Witch.  I loved the cover and since it had the same name as my own book I was curious.  I knew very, very little of Dungeon World save what David Guyll had posted on his blog, Points of Light.

So last week I finally decided to sit down and go through the Dungeon World game so I could better understand The Witch playbooks.

Dungeon World

Dungeon World is a "D&D-like" game based on the Apocalypse World game engine.  Like a favorite of mine, Monsterhearts, the base system has had some changes to reflect the nature of the game being played.  So DW features stats named "Strength", "Constitution", "Dexterity", "Intelligence", "Wisdom" and "Charisma".  This makes playing DW a little more familiar to those of us that cut our baby teeth on D&D.
DW is a large book, 400+ pages and it basically details the sorts of things one can do in a D&D-like game.  I keep saying D&D-like because that is really what this is.  This is not D&D, nor is it a clone. It is a different system to achieve the same sort of stated goals. Though there are other things you can do as well.
There are a lot of reviews for DW out there. It is a well reviewed game with good reviews.  I have not played DW myself, so I can't speak for the game play, but the rules read easy enough.
In DW there is a very basic mechanic (The Move) and it is up to the player to describe what that is.  After that it is a simple Attribute+die roll vs. Target Number roll. In this case the Target Number is 10, but things happen if you roll a 7-9 or below a 6.  This is similar to many modern games.  The attribute modifiers for DW are the same as most Old-School D&D/Clones, ie 18 = +3 (not +4).  This makes using your current character a bit easier in some respects.
Chapter 3 covers the Character Creation.  Chapter 4 covers Basic and Special moves.  Each chapter after that is dedicated to each of the character classes and their class-specific moves.  Each class gets about 8 pages, and then some more for spells.  All the classics are here. The Barbarian is even added as a seperate file as a value add.
Chapter 13 covers how to Game Master, Chapter 14 covers the first session and Chapter 15 covers areas or Fronts where the action will happen. Not bad chapters actually.
Chapter 17 covers the monster creation and use guidelines.  After the monsters are divided up by locales or by theme.
Chapter 18 cover equipment including magic items.

What does DW offer the D&D Player?  
Given the more narrative focus (and less crunch) of DW, D&D players can get some more tips on role-playing, setting up adventures and more immerseve play in general.  It seems to me that DW was created as a retort to 4th ed D&D and it's focus on battle-mat play.  It is rather compatible though with 5e.  Many of same ideas in terms of playing a character or running a game are in both games.
For $10.00 for a PDF and at 400+ pages it would be a nice resource for a group wanting to continue in the same world or the same characters, just looking for some more depth and faster play.

The Witch - A Dungeon World Playbook - by Melissa Fisher & David Guyll

This is a "playbook" for the witch character class for Dungeon World.  Class might not be the right word since this is more of a "role". The book is 27 pages, released via Creative Commons and has art by David Guyll.  I have to admit, it was the art that first drew me into this book.
The book covers the same basic material found in all the classes in the main DW book.  Where we get to the new stuff is under Starting Moves.  Here we can see immediately that we are not dealing with a distaff wizard.  Some of the moves could be used by other character classes, but there is a distinct "witchyness" about them all that I really love.
The Bonds for the Witch are really nice and one of the things I wish I had thought of.  Well, at lease something similar. Bonds work differently in terms of the DW game, but the idea behind them, and how they can be roleplayed, are easily adapted to other games.  Other games would call these "hooks".  There are also a fair number of Advanced Moves that are great for a witch. These are the powers of the witch and her magic. Unlike the cleric and wizard, the witch has no spells, just these powers. I can see why they went this route and it gives the witch a very different feel than either the cleric or wizard. A must with a game light on crunch.
There are plenty of new magic items, mundane items and items unique to the witch.
All in all I like it a lot. With a price under $2.50 it is a steal. It includes the playbook, a character sheet and a printer friendly version.
This Playbook is also part of the Awful Good Games Playbook Bundle.
These authors also have written another Playbook on the Psion.  I am going to need to pick that one up as well.

The Witch - A Dungeon World Playbook - by Jacob Randolph

This Witch for Dungeon World is a 3 page playbook with descriptions on the moves of a witch character.   In general this book covers how to play a "Weather Witch", a "Wicked Witch" or a "Winter Witch".  I approve Jacob Randolph's penchant for alliteration. Everything you would expect to see in a DW character is here.  There are Bonds, Starting Moves, Gear and Advanced Moves.
In this version the details are printed right on the sheet.  This is rather convenient and saves some space.  If it were reformatted to look like the layout in Dungeon World I'd imagine it would be more like 6 to 8 pages.  So you get a lot of text, but not a lot of pages.
This playbook is under $2.50.  I would have liked a little more I think, but it is still really nice.  I have to admit I really like this cover too.

So what good is all of this to me?  Obviously if I am going to play DW, I am going to opt for a witch character.  So it is nice to know I have choices.
I am more likely to want to take DW and convert some of the concepts back over to D&D.  I like the Bonds for example and might end up using something like that.

I am going to talk more about these witch books later on in the week.

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