Dungeon World: Lichfield

Originally slated for release in October, the crew over at Mythoard (which also has digital "boxes" now) has allowed us to release it four months early (ie, today)!

I've already talked about Lichfield in two other posts, but essentially it's a 30-page adventure that's heavily inspired by the Silent Hill series (hence the name, as opposed to the longer ones I've used in the past).

In a nutshell the main villain is a dead witch, who hellishly transforms both the city and most of its citizens due to her aforementioned affliction. The characters get caught up in this, and have to stop her before the city is destroyed (and, possibly more importantly, them along with it).

This adventure was originally part of the April Mythoard package. It has been modified to be full-color and wholly independent from the "Mythoard setting" (because not everyone will have purchased all of the other Mythoard exclusives). Inside you'll find:
  • Four ways to use the book and start the adventure.
  • The Jacinda formatted as a danger.
  • An overview of the city of Lichfield (using my steading-stat-block), which includes a map, some of its citizens, places of interest, location moves, and so on.
  • A similar treatment for Lichfield after the curse takes effect.
  • Random building contents and floorplans (in case the characters try to hide in or loot buildings).
  • customized treasure table specific to this adventure.
  • A new magic item (that you'll have to pry from the hands of one of the monsters).
  • Four new monsters (five if you count Jacinda), each drawn from Jacinda's experiences, fears, and hatred (no, none of them are nurses).
  • A small dungeon, which includes a Silent Hill-esque puzzle.

Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG.




$2.75

$2.99

Announcements
The Swashbuckler is out. This is our take on a melee type character that relies more on grace and wits than a big-ass sword and heavy armor. It boasts a new character sheet layout, some extra moves, and new bits of gear and magic items.

We've updated our All of the Playbooks Bundle,to include The Swashbuckler. We've also added a Rogues Gallery bundle if you just want The Bard, The Pirate, and The Swashbuckler, and an Adventuring Party bundle if you want all of our more "normal" selection of playbooks.

The Dungeon World GM Screen is currently available in pdf and landscape insert formats. No matter which you choose, you get eight sets of pdfs that let you have access to the screen in both landscape and portrait orientation, in color or black and white, and with or without art.

We're waiting on the portrait inserts. Assuming they look good, they'll be available soon. Next up, mini screen!

The Golem is nearly done. Should be up in the next day or two. We're doing The Rakshasa next since it was a very close second place, and then after that we'll hold another class vote.

In A Sundered World news, the promo adventure and comic are both nearly done. Just sent the adventure out to backers for closed feedback. Assuming they have no problems with it, I'll just need to do finish the art and a bit of text. Melissa is toiling away coloring the comic, after which that will be done.

Dungeon World GM Screen: Landscape Inserts Are Available!

Landscape inserts for our Dungeon World GM Screen are now available. This is for color inserts with background art; we're still working on portrait inserts.

If you purchased the pdf-only version before today and your account is set so that it can be contacted by publishers, check your email for a discount link. If your account doesn't allow publishers to send you email, lemme know so I can send you the link.

If you're waiting on portrait inserts, everyone that purchases the pdf (either by itself as with the landscape inserts) will get a discount link for that as well.

Finally, per someone's request we're also working on a "mini" version of the screen (which is something like 4 x 6 inches). As with the portrait layout, we'll add that to the rest of the pdfs when it's ready: you won't have to buy any set individually.


Announcements
The Swashbuckler is out! This is our take on a melee type character that relies more on grace and wits than a big-ass sword and heavy armor. It boasts a new character sheet layout, some extra moves, and new bits of gear and magic items.

We've updated our All of the Playbooks Bundle,to include The Swashbuckler. We've also added a Rogues Gallery bundle if you just want The Bard, The Pirate, and The Swashbuckler, and an Adventuring Party bundle if you want all of our more "normal" selection of playbooks.

It looks like the next class we'll be doing is The Golem. Personally I was hoping for The Rakshasa or The Fighter, but the people—over a hundred voters this time—have spoken. We're working on it with John Kramer, which means the end result will have two separate classes, as well as a bunch of other content that people have come to expect from us.

In A Sundered World news, the promo adventure and comic are both nearly done. Just sent the adventure out to backers for closed feedback. Assuming they have no problems with it, I'll just need to do finish the art and a bit of text. Melissa is toiling away coloring the comic, after which that will be done.

Finally, the crew from Mythoard have graciously allowed us to put up Lichfield for public consumption at the start of next month. So if you missed out on it, you won't have to wait until October to get it!

The Dyver's Project: Why I...Like Dungeon World

I was originally tapped to write an article on "why I love Dungeon World".

The problem is that I don't really "love" Dungeon World.

Don't get me wrong: I certainly like it well enough that it’s what I've primarily been running and playing for the past few years—plus write and publish a bunch of content for it—but it has its flaws, and it's certainly not for everyone. In fact, early on I wasn’t even sure I was going to keep playing it: it took some reading, discussion, playing, and more reading before I think I kind of “got it”.

But, this isn't my first role-playing game. It's not even my first dungeon-crawler. It hasn't been out very long, and even if it was an older game we haven't been playing it for very long, so there's no sense of nostalgia or whatever. I've generally enjoyed most sessions, but I think that has everything to do with the GM and players involved, and nothing to do with the actual rules or game's implied "style".

So this is going to be more akin to a pseudo-review: I'll tell you what it is, what I like and don't like about it, and at the end hopefully you'll have a better idea as to whether it'll be a good fit for you and/or your group.

What is Dungeon World?
The high concept of Dungeon World is an older edition of Dungeons & Dragons, say 1st or maybe 2nd Edition, but played using Apocalypse World’s mechanics (commonly referred to as Powered by the Apocalypse, or PbtA for short). This means that it's also a "story game", though I'm not sure what that means (or at least how it differs meaningfully from other role-playing games).

For better or worse most of the "traditional" elements are still there: you’ve got hit points, fighters largely revolve around hitting things, all clerics turn undead (regardless as to which god you worship), thieves exclusively check for traps, both clerics and wizards operate on something similar to pseudo-Vancian magic (though you don't always "forget" your spells), gorgons are called medusas, and so on.

What I really like about Dungeon World is its simplicity. Not just in regards to the mechanics, but also the characters and even just running the game in general.

The Mechanics
Essentially how the game works is that when you want to do something, you roll 2d6 and add a modifier, usually something in the range of -1 to +3. Instead of trying to meet-or-beat a target number based on the difficulty of a task (as is the case with more recent editions of Dungeons & Dragons), the game determines success and failure using static ranges. Taking it straight from the book:

  • 10+: You do it with little trouble
  • 7-9: You do it, but with complications or trouble
  • 6-: The GM says what happens and you mark XP

I’ll talk about the negative aspects in more depth below, but out of everything about the game it's the move results that are likely to bother you the most (perhaps followed by the writing). Partially because the game doesn’t stick to those definitions (I can’t think of any official move that imposes any trouble on a 10+, ditto for many 7-9’s), partially because the 7-9 and miss results (in particular the latter) are largely up to the GM to figure out.

For example, you don't just swing at an ogre and miss. You swing, miss, and then the GM hits you with something. Could be damage, a shattered shield, a lost sword, or any combination of the above. The results could even change from miss to miss: there doesn't have to be any consistency.

Speaking of consistency, I want to mention that I like the game's mechanical consistency: you don’t roll a d6 for one thing, a d10 for another, a d20 for a third, and a d100 (or d%) for yet something else: it’s always 2d6+mod. You also don’t want to roll high for some things and low for others: higher is always better.

Another bit of consistency is that the players always roll the dice, whether they’re trying to stab something or avoid getting a face full of axe. If they take damage then they’re also supposed to roll the damage, though there’s frankly nothing wrong with the GM doing it.

The Characters
The entirety of what every "official" character class—aside from the cleric and wizard because of their spells—starts with and can acquire usually fits on both sides of a single sheet of paper. I'm not even saying it in the sense that you can easily record everything on your sheet (you actually can't). I mean, if you have the bard’s character sheet, then as long as you don't take a multiclassing move you don’t need to look at the bard section in the book at all: everything is on the sheet.

When you make a character, you grab a character sheet, fill in your name and stats, check off some boxes, write someone's name in at least one bond, and you're good to go. When you level up? Just bump up one stat by a point and check off one of the advanced moves on the back. You the player only really needs to reference the book for basic and special moves that don't get used much, and maybe equipment.

This has the added effect of mitigating character death: just grab another sheet, check some boxes and you’re back in the game as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

The Game
By default, prepping and running the game is very minimalist. The GM is encouraged to, among other things, draw maps but leave plenty of blanks (on both world and dungeon maps), ask the players questions about the world in order to help flesh it out (both at the start and as you go along), and play to find out what happens (as opposed to planning an adventure or campaign in advance).

The first session involves a fair amount of worldbuilding, as the players make their characters, establish bonds with each other, ask the GM questions, and answer those addressed to them (which can include questions that the GM simply flips back on them). Again, you aren’t “supposed” to come to the table with an established campaign (or even a complete map). That’s what the first session is for: to set the foundation for the setting, and figure out where the campaign might go.

Ultimately this suits my GMing style just fine, which is basically “make a bunch of shit up as I go along”. What makes it even better is the book essentially tells you to outsource some of this to your players: in addition to making the GM’s job easier, I think that having the players collaborate on the world makes them feel more invested in the campaign. So, win-win.

The Bad(ish)
If you don’t wanna hear all of this, skip to the conclusion. Otherwise, buckle in.

First things first, there’s a kind of unofficial beginner’s guide for the game. I know it doesn’t speak well for the game to tell you to also read a third-party guide, but there it is. If, after reading the Dungeon World book you find it confusing, read the beginner's guide. Hell, you might just want to do it anyway: it's not very long, and it'll save you time rummaging through a bunch of other sites looking for tips and examples.

Second, the moves. As I said above, if you’re going to have problems with this game it’s probably going to have something to do with when and how you trigger various moves, and how you interpret the results (especially when it comes to 7-9 and misses).

Sometimes you'll think up a meaningful consequence that makes perfect sense right away, sometimes the game will grind to a halt while you try to figure something out, like if you cast a spell and draw unwelcome attention while out in an empty field. I've had a few players suggest "marking" failures and spending them later, but there have been some instances where we just had to shrug, come up with a largely inconsequential consequence, and move on with the actual game.

Some moves are contradicted by the book, like Hack and Slash and Backstab. The book says that if you attack someone and they aren’t expecting it, you either deal your damage or just kill them outright (GM’s call). Fast forward to the thief’s Backstab move, which tells you that when you attack a surprised or defenseless enemy, you can either deal your damage or roll to get some extras. So, which is it?

Then there are moves that anyone should be able to reasonably attempt, like the fighter’s Bend Bars, Lift Gates and the thief’s Trap Expert, but the book provides no basic or special move alternatives, or even any advice on how to handle such instances. In these cases you’ll have to come up with your own custom move to handle them. While the book offers some advice on custom moves, it's not terribly useful.

Finally, there’s the druid’s Shapechange move: you can use it to essentially hold 1-3 automatic successes (depends on your roll), allowing you to reliably do things that other classes would have to roll for. A recurring example I could find was turning into a dinosaur and instantly crushing or ripping apart your enemies, or just smashing through obstacles, both things that a fighter would have to roll for.

Somewhat related to the game is its community. I haven’t been a "part" of it for a while, so I’ll just say that every gaming community has its authoritarians, one-true-wayers, so-called experts, and their hangers-on, and Dungeon World is no exception. The difference is that it’s comparatively smaller than, say, the Dungeons & Dragons community, which means they unfortunately stand out all the more.

The Conclusion
This isn't a game I'd recommend lightly. The only reason I got into it was because I was trying out non-4th Edition D&D games while waiting to see what 5th Edition was going to turn into, and eventually I kind of just stuck with it.

If you like Dungeons & Dragons (or at least dungeon crawler games), simple-yet-flexible characters, simple and consistent rules, and don’t mind the players getting to provide input on the world and sometimes determining the consequences for their actions, having to houserule/add your own rules in order to make certain things work, reading a second, smaller book in order to get a better handle on how the game’s “supposed” to work, and not rolling dice at all if you’re the GM, there’s a decent chance you’ll like this game.

Really the biggest hurdle is learning how to manage soft and hard moves, which will probably take a few sessions, browsing some forums, and/or reading the aforementioned unofficial guide. But once you get your feet wet and your hands dirty, it’ll ideally get better. Personally I've taken to using the rules as a d20 alternative, ignoring a decent chunk of the book and just running it the way I've always ran my D&D games, and it's worked out really well to that effect.

All that said, the rules are available online for free, so you can always check it out before dropping any cash on it (though the pdf is pretty cheap).

The Announcements
The Swashbuckler is out! This is our take on a melee type character that relies more on grace and wits than a big-ass sword and heavy armor. It boasts a new character sheet layout, some extra moves, and new bits of gear and magic items.

We've updated our All of the Playbooks Bundle,to include The Swashbuckler. We've also added a Rogues Gallery bundle if you just want The Bard, The Pirate, and The Swashbuckler, and an Adventuring Party bundle if you want all of our more "normal" selection of playbooks.

Our Dungeon World GM Screen is also out. Still waiting on the proofs from DriveThru, but anyone that buys the pdf version from now until the print version is ready will get a discount link. That way you won't have to pay more in order to try it out sooner than later. They're good to go!

It looks like the next class we'll be doing is The Golem. Personally I was hoping for The Rakshasa or The Fighter, but the people—over a hundred voters this time—have spoken. We're working on it with John Kramer, which means the end result will have two separate classes, as well as a bunch of other content that people have come to expect from us.

In A Sundered World news, the promo adventure and comic are both nearly done. Just sent the adventure out to backers for closed feedback. Assuming they have no problems with it, I'll just need to do finish the art and a bit of text. Melissa is toiling away coloring the comic, after which that will be done.

Finally, the crew from Mythoard have graciously allowed us to put up Lichfield for public consumption at the start of next month. So if you missed out on it, you won't have to wait until October to get it!

Dungeon World: Game Master Screen


UPDATE: Per someone's request, this product now contains another set of four pdfs with a portrait orientation.

While I'm waiting for the print proofs to come in for our Dungeon World GM Screen, I figured I could at least upload the pdf-only version for people that don't want (or need) cardstock panels and/or the Hammerdog GM Screen.

There are four sets of panels: two are in color, the other two are black and white, and one of each set features background art. This way you can choose which panels you want to print. Speaking of printing, each set contains twelve landscape, letter-sized panels (ie, 8.5 x 11 inches).

Here's a preview of one of the art panels, in both B&W and color:



Everyone who purchases the Dungeon World GM Screen between now and the time the print version comes out will receive a $5 off discount link. This way if you want to check it out sooner-than-later, or decide you do want the cardstock panels and/or Hammerdog screen, you won't have to pay anything extra.

In addition, all of the background art is also available as an art pack. As with our Awful Good Art Pack, it's cheap ($2.99 for twelve illustrations, both in color and B&W) and can be used with minimal restrictions (basically, you can't use it in another art pack without permission). You can also get all of our art as a bundle.

Announcements
The Swashbuckler is out! This is our take on a melee type character that relies more on grace and wits than a big-ass sword and heavy armor. It boasts a new character sheet layout, some extra moves, and new bits of gear and magic items.

We've updated our All of the Playbooks Bundle,to include The Swashbuckler. We've also added a Rogues Gallery bundle if you just wand The Bard, The Pirate, and The Swashbuckler, and an Adventuring Party bundle if you want all of our more "normal" selection of playbooks.

It looks like the next class we'll be doing is The Golem. Personally I was hoping for The Rakshasa or The Fighter, but the people—over a hundred voters this time—have spoken.

Finally, the crew from Mythoard have graciously allowed us to put up Lichfield for public consumption at the start of next month. So if you missed out on it, you won't have to wait until October to get it!

A Sundered World: When You Are Successfully Funded...

This is going to be a bit of a short post, as we were without internet for the past few days (and weren't even sure we'd be online today), and I've got a bit of a backlog of things that need writing, illustrating, editing, reviewing, etc.

The Kickstarter campaign for A Sundered World was successfully funded, coming in at just under 150%. I think all things considered—a previously failed campaign, no stretch goals or guest writers, and at least a few Manufactured Outragers spewing demonstrably false accusations—we did pretty damned good.

On the backers' side of things, I'll be rolling out portions of the book gradually for closed feedback: add what needs adding, clarify what needs clarification, change what needs changing...basically what Melissa and I have done for everything we've ever written.

The comic is just over halfway done (currently finishing page 4), and the adventure is nearly ready for closed feedback. Backers will get both for free, but they'll also be available for purchase once they're done.

Announcements
The Swashbuckler is out! This is our take on a melee type character that relies more on grace and wits than a big-ass sword and heavy armor. It boasts a new character sheet layout, some extra moves, and new bits of gear and magic items.

The art for the Dungeon World GM Screen is done, and I've ordered some proofs. If they look good, expect it up in the next week or so, along with the GM Screen Art Pack.

It looks like the next class we'll be doing is The Golem. Personally I was hoping for The Rakshasa or The Fighter, but the people—over a hundred voters this time—have spoken.

Finally, the crew from Mythoard have graciously allowed us to put up Lichfield for public consumption at the start of next month. So if you missed out on it, you won't have to wait until October to get it!

Dungeon World: Evolution of the Playbook

Our first class, The Vancomancer, was originally very much like other Dungeon World classes out there: a cover, two pages for the class, and another page or two for spells (I forget if I was able to fit them all on one sheet, or if a second one was needed). It's since seen a very hefty overhaul, making it more inline with the rest of our classes.

At the time I was just looking at what others were doing and following suit. The only tweak was that I included an extra page that touched on some of the fiction and moves, to give those likely not familiar with The Dying Earth a better handle on what the class was going for, in particular the spells and sandestins.

Our second class was of all things The Skeleton. It started as a kind of joke, but thanks to Melissa, feedback, and actual playtesting it eventually blossomed into a usable, entertaining class. As with The Vancomancer, I ended up including an extra page talking about the concept and fiction, since the end result wasn't just any old skeleton that you'd find in a dungeon.

In addition, this was the time where I started adding little custom graphics to our sheets (changing the black bars into bones), and including some extra moves that we deemed less interesting/useful than the rest. I reasoned that it's not like people have to print this stuff off, and maybe they'll like them more than the default moves, so why not?


With The Mummy and The Ghoul we decided to make it a point going forward to include a kind of behind the scenes look at our classes, as well as add any moves that we thought of during the design process, but couldn't fit on the actual sheet (and The Mummy is noteworthy for being our first class to also feature new magic items).

The Pirate was when we yet again changed how we do things. Thanks to InDesign I was able to easily create "digest" pdfs to go with each class. This allowed us to better organize the core class, extra moves, any new bits of gear, design notes, and in some cases compendium classes and monsters. This digest pdf is now a standard for us, and we've since gone back and updated our original classes to also include it.

Now, something that's often presented an issue is making sure that all of the advanced moves fit on the back of the sheet. The expectations were (and still are) that each class gets at least 20 advanced moves, and sometimes it's not easy to do. But by reducing the font size, space, and/or word count I've been able to make it work...up until The Cultist, that is.

Thankfully I'd already been working on an alternate character sheet layout, because there was just no way to get all of the advanced moves on the "classic" sheet. I'd entertained the idea of just putting the 2-5 advanced moves on it, with blank space to write in the rest, but thankfully when I laid it out using my new sheet everything fit.

I continued using the new sheet as-is for The Oni, but during the design process for The Swashbuckler I made another tweak. Sometimes Melissa forgets which advanced moves she's taken and how they impact her other moves, and I'm sure many tables have someone that similarly forgets things on the back of the sheet (especially if said thing isn't used very often).

So, I added some check boxes underneath the starting moves as a reminder and reference:



Now if she takes an advanced move that modifies a starting move, a quick glance tells her how it's affected. The descriptions are abridged, but at least this way she'll have an easy reminder, and if she needs clarification she can always flip the sheet over to get the full explanation. I have another idea for a character sheet layout, mostly applicable to classes that have two kind of "modes". I'll probably start out using it with a werewolf class, and see where it goes.

At any rate, I'm curious what people think about our playbooks and character sheets, what you like and don't like about them, and what you wish we'd do (either differently, or even add to the mix). I chatted with one Owen Karr: apparently he's also in the habit of stuffing his playbooks with extra content in order to give you more bang for your buck.

Announcements
As of this post we hit our funding goal a while back, which is pretty exciting for us. Since there's still several days left, I wanted to reiterate a few things:

First, you can increase your pledge to get additional classes at a discount.

We're doing this because people have asked us to include additional classes that we've created, like The Bard, The Psion, and The Pirate. The problem is our classes are really popular, and we don't want people to pay for content they already own.

This way you can get exactly what you want at a discount. It should be noted that any classes you buy through the Kickstarter will be sent out at the campaign's conclusion: you won't have to wait for the rest of A Sundered World to get them.

Second, per someone's suggestion, I'm going to write a kind of promo adventure for A Sundered World in time for GenCon. It will be about Lichfield in length (so that ideally you can wrap it up in a couple hours), and will feature pregen characters, one of which will be of a race I haven't talked about before. Everyone backing at the $3 level or higher will get this when it's ready.

Finally, there're going to be comics, short stories, maybe even novels (backers of any level can see the first page). The art is currently going to be done by Melissa and myself, and the writing will be by Brannon Hollingsworth. Everyone backing, even at the $1 level, will get the first comic when it is ready.

Non-Kickstarter News
  • The Swashbuckler is out!
  • The art for the Dungeon World GM Screen is done, and I've ordered some proofs. If they look good, expect it up in the next week or so.
  • It looks like the next class we'll be doing is The Golem. Personally I was hoping for The Rakshasa or The Fighter, but the people have spoken.
  • The crew from Mythoard have graciously allowed us to put up Lichfield for public consumption at the start of next month. So if you missed out on it, you won't have to wait until October to get it!

A Sundered World: Episode 108

Cast
  • Agron (level 5 scion psion)
  • Katra "Crazy Gin" (level 5 kobold pirate)
  • Waive (level 5 scion nomad)
  • Warpath (level 5 tarchon battlemind)

Summary
Having beaten the key out of a stone guardian's hindquarters, Agron mentally hoisted it into the door and unlocked it. The walls of the room beyond were dominated by great dwarven statues. As with the rest of the vault, fire from their mouths and eyes provided flickering illumination.

Sitting within the center of the room was the anvil Waive sought. It was larger than expected. It didn't tower over them, but was still tall enough that he had to climb onto it in order to reach the top. It was made of a strange, unrecognizable material that was dark and glassy, and unblemished in any way.

He placed both of his swords on it and struck them once with the golden hammer. He felt a kind of consciousness flare from within them, as if they'd both been sleeping for some time and had been abruptly woken up. They thanked him, and when he hefted them was surprised as to how much lighter they were.

They returned to the Metal Dwarf. He nodded approvingly towards Waive, and this time shook his hand without burning it. Warpath gave him back his hammer and asked him to come with them, to help protect the world from the conflict that was surely coming. He declined: his time had long since passed, and they would need to stop whatever was about to happen on their own.

The devil was waiting outside. While he was waiting for them, it was not because he had any business with them. No, he was waiting for them to leave before he entered in search of a sword. Waive told him that their weren't any, and the devil said that he'd take a look anyway. Their patience exhausted, the party demanded to know what he was was doing, why was he was following them, and why he had the tarchons attack Spiral Harbor.

He told them that he had only given Panzer what he had wanted, and praised Panzer for, unlike Warpath, embracing his nature. He said that, also unlike Warpath, Panzer was always going to become a dragon, he only...hastened him down that path. Enraged, Warpath challenged him to a fight then and there. After the rest of the party agreed to stand down, the devil accepted.

Warpath charged him, but black chains erupted from the ground and held him fast. He struggled against them, but the chains tightened, cutting through his flesh and forced him to his knees. The devil calmly strode towards him, mocking him for not putting up more of a challenge. He then produced an iron sphere, saying that he'd give Warpath another chance, but before he could do anything with it, Waive folded it away.

Katra leaped onto the devil's back, shouting for Warpath to run. With the devil's concentration broken Warpath in turn broke free of the chains, but instead of fleeing drove his arm-turned-sword into the devil. The devil reacted by simply looking down and muttering something about his robes being ruined, before his body was suddenly wreathed in black flames.

Katra fell to the ground, screaming and rolling about. Warpath struck again, but was surprised to find that the fire not only burned through flesh and steel, he could feel it scorching his very soul. The devil stood his ground as the party fled, but they'd only taken a few steps towards Katra's ship when he told them that he would destroy it if they did not first return the sphere.

Waive did so, reluctantly. The devil said that he would remember this, then bowed, turned about, and entered the vault. They boarded the ship, but before they departed the devil's vessel opened fire on the island, blasting it apart with bolts of black fire.

Waive rushed inside and found the Metal Dwarf's bones scattered about, most reduced to slag. His skull was still intact, so he scooped it up and headed back out. He intended to forge it into some kind of weapon, but the eyes flickered to life and it thanked him in a shaky voice. When Waive made it out, he saw the devil floating back towards his ship, with the massive sword in tow.

At this point they were certain of two things.

The first was that the devil was likely gathering the parts of a dead god. They weren't sure why, or what his plan was. Was he going to revive an evil deity, or corrupt a good one? Maybe he was going to create one from scratch? Maybe he was going to construct a new body for himself.

The second was that he was somehow tracking their location, but none of them had any magical knowledge, or even the ability to sense magical effects. They figured angels could at least detect infernal magic, so returned to Spiral Harbor and had some angels examine their ship.

To Katra's despair, all of the platinum plates that the devil had traded for the cambion ship bore the taint of infernal magic. The angels confiscated and disintegrated them, and now significantly poorer they picked up a job transporting cargo to Agron's home island.

Behind the Scenes
Another brief (and late) summary, as I've been super busy with various A Sundered World things, other role-playing game projects, and art commissions.

Adam finally got to upgrade his swords to artifact status (which I mentioned in a post a ways back, and have even included one in The Swashbuckler). He started out using the scion race move to pick up the fighter's signature weapon move, flavoring it as a pair of swords with the +1 damage and 2 piercing tags.

Since they're inhabited by sister spirits, I'm trying to cook up ways on how they can work together, and even act independently. Some ideas I've come up with are giving them the near tag (they can fly out and stab people), warn him of impending danger, give him a bonus on defend, and even act of their own accord (treating them as hirelings with the warrior skill).

There was some concern on the player's side of things as to just how tough the devil was. I think they'd wanted to confront him for a while, but were afraid of getting, I dunno, instantly killed. I explained to the players how monsters in Dungeon World are made, that there's a limit to damage, hit points, armor and such. Really the only wild card are the moves.

I'm guessing that's why Shane decided to try and take him down. He did pretty well all things considered, managing to shave off about half of his hit points before they stopped. Probably because Melissa's character was almost dead, Shane's was about halfway, and there was still a devil-crewed ship floating above them.

They also have a very good idea as to what's going on: the devil is trying to assemble a new god, or at least a giant body. The trick is finding it and/or stopping him, though if they only kill him who's to say another devil won't just pick up where he left off? Such is the nature of campaign fronts.

Announcements
As of this post we hit our funding goal a few days ago, which is pretty exciting for us. Since there's about a week left, I wanted to reiterate a few things:

First, you can increase your pledge to get additional classes at a discount.

We're doing this because people have asked us to include additional classes that we've created, like The Bard, The Psion, and The Pirate. The problem is our classes are really popular, and we don't want people to pay for content they already own.

This way you can get exactly what you want at a discount. It should be noted that any classes you buy through the Kickstarter will be sent out at the campaign's conclusion: you won't have to wait for the rest of A Sundered World.

Second, per someone's suggestion, I'm going to write a kind of promo adventure for A Sundered World in time for GenCon. It will be about Lichfield in length (so that ideally you can wrap it up in a couple hours), and will feature pregen characters, one of which will be of a race I haven't talked about before. Everyone backing at the $3 level or higher will get this when it's ready.

Finally, there're going to be comics, short stories, maybe even novels (backers of any level can see the first page). The art is currently going to be done by Melissa and myself, and the writing will be by Brannon Hollingsworth. Everyone backing, even at the $1 level, will get the first comic when it is ready.

Non-Kickstarter News
  • The Swashbuckler is out!
  • The art for the Dungeon World GM Screen is done, and I've ordered some proofs. If they look good, expect it up in the next week or so.
  • It looks like the next class we'll be doing is The Golem. Personally I was hoping for The Rakshasa or The Fighter, but the people have spoken.
  • The crew from Mythoard have graciously allowed us to put up Lichfield for public consumption at the start of next month. So if you missed out on it, you won't have to wait until October to get it!

Dungeon World: The Swashbuckler

By popular demand—seriously, we held a vote over on G+ and everything—here’s The Swashbuckler, our take on a melee type character that relies more on grace and wits than a big-ass sword and heavy armor. I wonder if we'll get accused of "copying" or "stealing" this one?

Anywho, you won’t reliably deal as much damage as a fighter, and what with a lack of heavy armor and shield—and, very likely, a lower Constitution—you can’t take as much punishment. To that end you’ll need to rely on the parry and resourceful moves to stay one step ahead of your opponent, and soak up some of the damage.

This product contains two separate pdf files. The first is a digest-sized, 23 page pdf laid out like the Dungeon World rulebook. It includes:

  • The Swashbuckler, a complete class with 20 advanced moves: improve your fighting technique, goad enemies into fighting you, attract a sidekick, and more!
  • New equipment like the parrying dagger and buckler, as well as some firearms if your campaign features them (note: these were originally included in The Pirate).
  • Two new magic items, including an artifact: do what it wants, and it'll become more powerful! 
  • Seven moves that just didn't quite make the initial cut. 
  • A kind of behind the scenes look at some of the fiction and other content. 

The other is a 2-page, letter-sized character sheet for you to print out and actually use at the table. It features a new layout that provides more room for gear and alternate moves than the "official" Dungeon World character sheets.

Note: If you purchase using the Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG.




$2.25

$2.50

Announcements
The Kickstarter for A Sundered World is just over half way over (as of this post), and we're only some $300 away from funding (also, as of this post)! There are three big changes to the Kickstarter that I haven't talked about here.

First, you can increase your pledge to get additional classes at a discount.

We're doing this because people have asked us to include additional classes that we've created, like The Bard, The Psion, and The Pirate. The problem is our classes are really popular, and we don't want people to pay for content they already own.

This way you can get exactly what you want at a discount. It should be noted that any classes you buy through the Kickstarter will be sent out at the campaign's conclusion: you won't have to wait for the rest of A Sundered World.

Second, per someone's suggestion, I'm going to write a kind of promo adventure for A Sundered World in time for GenCon. It will be about Lichfield in length (so that ideally you can wrap it up in a couple hours), and will feature pregen characters, one of which will be of a race I haven't talked about before. Everyone backing at the $3 level or higher will get this when it's ready.

Finally, there're going to be comics, short stories, maybe even novels (backers of any level can see the first page). The art is currently going to be done by Melissa and myself, and the writing will be by Brannon Hollingsworth. Everyone backing, even at the $1 level, will get the first comic when it is ready.

Dungeon World: The Bandit Formerly Known as Prince

Cast

Summary
The characters set out from Willowspear, following the sluggish, polluted Dunwater River as they traveled west. They were searching for an ancient, dwarven tablet that had been found at the river's bank in Dunwater, and stolen by a gang of goblins before it could be delivered to a scholar at Willowspear.

After roughly a day of travel the plains turned to rolling hills, and they discovered a particularly large, rocky hill that featured a gaping hole near its base. Torch sconces were set on both sides of the opening, and stairs had been roughly hewn into the stone: it was a safe bet that this was the goblins' lair.

In a rare moment of reason, Azagin scaled the rocks in search for another entrance. He didn't make it far when an eye appeared on one of the rocks and blinked at him. Without hesitating he stabbed at it, and was flung to the ground as the "rocks" recoiled and bellowed in pain. Somehow, the goblins had acquired the services of a giant, rock-like humanoid as a guard.

The Rock Giant fell upon Azagin, trying to crush him with its massive limbs, but it was clumsy and slow. Azagin darted between its legs, hacking at them with his arm-turned-blade. Its hide was thick and tough, but fortunately nowhere nearly as durable as actual stone. He managed to hamstring it, giving Sketch the opportunity to climb onto its back and drive her blade through its skull.

With the Rock Giant slain, they found that it was in fact "resting" upon a second entrance. They descended inside and quickly discovered a considerable treasury. There wasn't any strange tablet among the scattered coins, gems, and jewerly, but seeing as they were already there they each loaded up several sacks worth.

Before they could leave, a pair of goblins arrived. Azagin and Sketch hid near the room's entrance, and Paisley began singing a soft, soothing song. The goblins were drawn towards her, and when they entered the room simply stood there, entranced by her music...which made it easy for Azagin and Sketch to each take one out.

They returned to the surface, loaded their treasure into their wagon, and went into the original entrance. When the tunnel split, Sketch scouted out the right passage. She found what could loosely be described as a dining hall, with a trio of goblins loudly eating and drinking. After briefly trying to come up with a plan, Azagin proceeded to scream loudly while charging into the room.

Even armed the goblins wouldn't have stood a chance: Azagin cut a few down, and Sketch killed the other while it was still scrambling for a weapon. They searched the hall, but as expected didn't find any tablet. That just left the other passage, but as they left the self-proclaimed Bandit Prince ambushed Paisley.

He held a dagger, presumably poisoned, to her throat and demanded that Azagin and Sketch drop their weapons. They obliged, and he escorted them out of his lair. Once he let Paisley go, Azagin willed his arm into a blade and rushed him. He slammed into the Bandit Prince, stabbing him savagely as they both tumbled down the stairs: he was dead before they made it to the bottom.

The Bandit Prince had the tablet on his person, which fortunately near as Azagin could tell undamaged. Azagin took both it and the Bandit Prince's head: when they returned to Willowspear he would give it to the Watch as proof of his deed.

Behind the Scenes
This is a bi-weekly campaign that is being run by Ben, one of the creators of Fright Night. It's interesting seeing someone relatively new to running games in general take Dungeon World for a spin. It's working out well enough, though the soft and hard moves are causing some difficulty.

Not for us, mind you: it was incredibly easy to get into the goblin den and slaughter everyone. Even the Bandit Prince went down without so much as a poisoned graze. The real difficulty is avoiding making soft and hard moves that consistently swing too far in either direction. I've heard this as one of the reasons people don't like Dungeon World, and I can definitely understand why.

We'll just have to wait and see how things go over the next few sessions, but at the least Ben seems to be statting the monsters correctly. This is something I've seen some people that actually charge money for adventures and settings fuck up to an astouding degree. I'm not even talking something minor like a couple hit points or a tag: I've seen stats so bad, it's like they didn't even read the section on making monsters.

Announcements
The Kickstarter for A Sundered World is just over half way over (as of this post), and we're only some $350 away from funding (also, as of this post)! There are three big changes to the Kickstarter that I haven't talked about here.

First, you can increase your pledge to get additional classes at a discount.

We're doing this because people have asked us to include additional classes that we've created, like The Bard, The Psion, and The Pirate. The problem is our classes are really popular, and we don't want people to pay for content they already own.

This way you can get exactly what you want at a discount. It should be noted that any classes you buy through the Kickstarter will be sent out at the campaign's conclusion: you won't have to wait for the rest of A Sundered World.

Second, per someone's suggestion, I'm going to write a kind of promo adventure for A Sundered World in time for GenCon. It will be about Lichfield in length (so that ideally you can wrap it up in a couple hours), and will feature pregen characters, one of which will be of a race I haven't talked about before. Everyone backing at the $3 level or higher will get this when it's ready.

Finally, there're going to be comics, short stories, maybe even novels (backers of any level can see the first page). The art is currently going to be done by Melissa and myself, and the writing will be by Brannon Hollingsworth. Everyone backing, even at the $1 level, will get the first comic when it is ready.

In non-Kickstarter news, The Swashbuckler is out!

A Sundered World: Episode 107

Cast
  • Agron (level 5 scion psion)
  • Katra "Crazy Gin" (level 4 kobold pirate)
  • Waive (level 4 scion nomad)
  • Warpath (level 4 tarchon battlemind)

Summary
After exchanging some words and veiled threats with the Devil Prince, the characters learned that he had an agenda, though they were just no closer to determining what said agenda was. To make matters worse, he seemed to know exactly what they were up to.

They left and arrived at the Sword Vault without further incident. It was, near as they could tell, in the same condition they'd left it in. Returning to the corridor were a dwarven banshee had nearly destroyed them all, they discovered a set of iron doors at the end.

The door was trapped, but since Katra's hands were immune to fire she was able to grasp the super-heated handles and open them. The interior was dark, cold, and quiet. A hall led to a chamber with channels that looked to have once carried water throughout the complex, but were now dry. Two of the walls featured huge doors of brass and gold, and another passage led away from the wall across from them.

Waive tore open a window in space behind both of the doors, allowing him to slip through and open them using a series of wheels. The gold door lead to several forges and an archive filled with stone and metal books that, near as Agron could tell, contained smithing techniques and information on metallurgy. They were quite heavy, so he only pocketed a few that he assumed would be the most valuable.

The brass door led to a device that was powered by numerous, massive fire cores. Though the cores currently inserted were depleted, they found another door that led to a room that contained plenty, including several that had been breached and were radiating an intense heat throughout the room. Katra new that breached cores were extremely volatile, so they left the chamber and continued exploring the third passage.

It was much shorter than the rest, and at the end they found a sarcophagus made entirely from gold. Warpath opened it and found a metallic skeleton wearing a robe made of a golden fabric, clutching a golden hammer to its chest. He took the hammer, and when nothing happened they retraced their steps to the entrance, so that they could investigate another set of less ornate, stone doors.

When they returned to the central chamber, the Metal Dwarf had awakened. It demanded that Warpath return his hammer, and when he did it commanded them to leave. Waive and Warpath implored him to help awaken the spirits resting within Waive's swords. Initially it refused, but after burning and breaking one of Waive's hands said that they would have to help themselves.

Metal Dwarf returned to the sarcophagus and smashed the wall behind it, revealing a darkened passage. It told them that their first task was to light the Vault's furnace, so they returned to the room with the fire cores. Waive and Warpath busied themselves gathering them up using their mind and muscles respectively, but once they'd collected the last two the exposed cores exploded, revealing a trio of salamanders.

Agron flung one of them into the other, while Warpath impaled the third. The other two quickly recovered and lunged after Warpath, but Katra struck one in the eyes with a shard of metal, and Waive plunged his blades through a twist in space to stab at the other. The one Waive struck darkened and crumbled into hand-sized chunks of smoking rock, and when the other bit into one of Warpath's legs spikes exploded from it, shredding its head and cause it to also crumble apart.

With only one left, Warpath twisted his sword-arm about until it too was reduced to rubble.

They brought the cores to the furnace, inserted them, and pulled the largest lever they could find. The chamber shuddered, and they could hear metal clanging on metal somewhere within the walls. After several minutes the Vault flared to life: dwarven faces that lined the walls were illuminated, and lava flooded the channels they'd seen earlier.

They returned to the Metal Dwarf. It used the hammer to smash the lid of the sarcophagus into four pieces: their next task would be to carry them through the hall and down into the Vault's depths. It offered them the hammer, but dropped it before Warpath could take it. The hammer struck a panel in the floor, causing the dwarven statues that lined both sides of the hall to draw massive swords and begin slicing randomly about.

Agron used his telekinesis to draw the panel back up, and the statues slowly wound to a halt. When the Metal Dwarf tried to step on it again, Agron mentally hoisted him into the air and held them there until everyone made it to the other end.

The hall connected to a spiral staircase that wound down around a sword of staggering size: the crossguard, from end to end, was several hundred feet in length. The blade extended well beyond the light from Katra's hands, and as they descended the stairs discovered it was easily longer than several ships lined up from bow to stern.

It took about half an hour for them to reach the bottom, and after walking through a thankfully much shorter hall they entered a vast chamber. A metal disk set in the center was surrounded by a stone staircase. It ascended some thirty feet, leading up to a stone vat that was suspended by thick metal chains above the plate, as well as a pair of levers. Finally, directly across the room from them was a door that featured and irregularly shaped keyhole.

They gathered their godsteel fragments into the stone vat, and Waive pulled one of the levers. The vat quickly became intensely hot, melting the godsteel, and when he felt that it was sufficiently liquefied he pulled the other lever. The vat tilted, pouring the molten godsteel through a hole in the plate. After several minutes the floor trembled, and the plate in the floor slid away, revealing a creature with the head of a dwarf and the body of a lion. It loomed over them, clad in godsteel armor.

Warpath leaped at it, but it reacted far more quickly than he anticipated and swatted him out of the air. Agron struck it with a bolt of mental force, but this had no discernible effect, and it retaliated by blasting him with a gout of fire. Katra managed to dodge out of the way and lob a grenade into it's mouth. There was a muffled explosion, but it didn't seem to adversely affect it.

As it searched for a target, Waive slipped underneath it and drove his swords into it's hindquarters. When he pulled them out he felt an intense heat, and gobbets of molten stone dribbled from the crack, which was slowly expanding.

Warpath regained his feet and again charged, but it pinned him underneath one of its front paws. It prepared to unleash another gout of flame, but then Waive struck again. Its entire backside exploded, showering Waive with blistering stone and propelling the front half into the vat, causing the rest of the creature to shatter.

As chunks of rock and godsteel clattered about them, there was a pair of much louder clangs, as a long, golden, many-toothed key fell out of its torso.

Behind the Scenes
Wasn't sure if the characters were going to talk their way out of fighting the Metal Dwarf, but they did a good job with the social roleplaying (and rolling well didn't hurt). The other way the encounter could have gone, would have been for the smith to use the hammer to awaken just some of the horde of dwarf zombies that formed the Vault's walls.

Maybe next time...

We talked quite a bit about the new battlemind move, and settled on allowing you to roll for focus, but only during combat. It makes sense from the fiction, while preventing you from healing to full almost whenever you want.

Chris also pitched an interesting modification to Self Healing, which allows the battlemind to slowly heal over time so long as they spend time meditating on their wounds. Way faster than just making camp, but not necessarily always convenient.

A Sundered World Kickstarter
The Kickstarter for A Sundered World is now live!

Go.

Back it.

I posted a preview of the current version of the kobold race and battlemind class: you don't have to be a backer to see them, but hopefully they'll entice you to become one!

I'm also working on a series of A Sundered World comics with one Brannon Hollingsworth. There's a preview of the first page up as well, but for that you gotta be a backer.

A Sundered World: Episode 106 Synopsis

Cast
  • Agron (level 3 scion psion)
  • Katra "Crazy Gin" (level 3 kobold pirate)
  • Waive (level 3 scion nomad)
  • Warpath (level 3 tarchon battlemind)

Summary
The party returned to Spiral Harbor, with a sizable chunk of godsteel in tow. When they met up with Waive at the Sky Captain's Watch, they discovered that he had in turn met Ironhide's brother, a tarchon capable of similar flesh-shaping feats named Warpath.

Warpath had already learned from Waive that Ironhide had fallen in battle, and was especially grateful to meet Katra, who had given him the weapon used to finally slay Panzer.

He was eager to meet with Ironhide's soul, but Sift explained that while they were at Tyr's Arm his soul had been drawn inside. They weren't sure if he willingly went to join with the army of souls so that he could continue to fight, if he was drawn inside by it's overwhelming conflict resonance, or a combination of both. Regardless, Warpath was satisfied that Ironhide had at least avenged himself.

Waive was surprised to learn that Warpath had also met with the devil prince: apparently he had given something to Panzer, which was the source of his newfound size, strength, and ability to transform into a dragon. Waive had observed him retrieve whatever it was from Panzer's ashes after his defeat, but had not pressed him for information.

While they were gone, and before a new host of angels had arrived to help restore and fortify the city, Waive had also learned from the archive that there was much more to the Sword Vault than what they'd initially explored. It had been constructed around the sword of the Dwarf-Maker, and served as the headquarters for what was best described as a kind of smithing cult.

He wanted to return to it in hopes that he could find a way to repair and awaken his own blades. Plus, there was likely much more lost treasure and knowledge hidden within. Since the Vault was near Metacaropolis, which contained another godsteel fragment that they would need to restore Ironhide, the rest of the party agreed.

Their voyage took them near an island from which they had previously gathered honey when they were low on food. This time, instead of giant bees, they had to deal with a swarm of dark elves that managed to latch onto the underside of the ship using strands of webbing as they sailed past. Though Waive and Warpath managed to dispatch them all, Waive was afflicted by a poisoned javelin.

They decided to make a detour to Metacarpolis, so that they could pick up some antitoxins and other healing supplies. Fortunately the infernal merchants were more than happy to accept their assortment of holy relics, in exchange for a six-pack of healing potions.

After additionally stocking up on more mundane medicines they returned to their ship, but before they could board they spotted a familiar face, disembarking from a familiar black ship. He was dressed in black and red silks. Numerous horns curled from his head. He had no eyes, but they knew he could still see, and though his mouth was fixed in a perpetual, lipless grin, he could still speak clearly.

"It's very good to see you again, my friends."

Behind the Scenes
Quick Note: The Kickstarter for A Sundered World is now live! Go. Back it. You know you want to.

We had to push Sift to hireling status while we wait for his player to make a comeback (we miss you, Matthew), and Shane ditched his vampire in favor of another tarchon battlemind. I'm cool with this, both because he seems much happier with this style of character, and hey, more playtesting!

Speaking of playtesting, thanks to Shane I'm changing the battlemind's key move, because as it was if you take Self Healing, you could always top yourself off so long as you had about ten minutes of downtime (or less, it depends on which temporary penalty you went with).

The problem is that I thought of two versions, and I'm not sure which I like more.

Currently, you can spend 1 focus when you deal damage to deal +1d4 damage, and when you take damage you can spend 1 focus to reduce it by 1d4 (it's not an armor boost, so it still works against the piercing and ignore armor tags).

Version 1
When you spend a few moments to try gather and focus your psionic energies, lose all focus and roll+CON. ✴On a 10+, gain 3 focus. ✴On a 7-9, gain 2 focus. ✴On a miss, gain 1 focus in addition to whatever else the GM says.

Version 2
When conflict erupts, roll+CON. ✴On a 10+, gain 3 focus. ✴On a 7-9, gain 2 focus. ✴On a miss, gain 1 focus.

Version 2 could be tweaked so that on a miss the GM still hits you with something (though I wouldn't want to do that since it's an involuntary thing), or so that instead of rolling you just set your focus to a flat amount (like 2 or 3).

So, which do you like more? Version 1? Version 2? Version 2 with a tweak?

As an added bonus, here's some battlemind art (based on my dwarf battlemind from another campaign):


A Sundered World Kickstarter is Live!

It's been a long time coming, but the Kickstarter for A Sundered World is finally live, so back it and/or spread the word! It's pretty straightforward: the more money we get, the more time we can spend focusing entirely on it, and the sooner it gets done.

As an added incentive it's going to be cheaper for backers by about $5-10 (depends on if you also want the nearly unrestricted art pack). You'll also get access to an alpha doc when the campaign is complete, allowing you to take it for a spin, provide feedback, suggestions, criticism, and the like.

There aren't any content stretch goals, because I don't want to deliver something that's late and/or lackluster. There's no "if we get x amount we'll add y race/class/other doodad": everything we want to make, we're just going to, simple as that.

At any rate, thanks for taking the time to read this. Melissa and I have created a lot of awesome stuff over the past few years thanks to all the people that have supported us, and we've got so much more in the works (including several other projects that are nearing completion).

A Sundered World: A Magical Art Update

For the first bit of art we have a cthon wizard, based on one of Melissa's characters from a previous playtest session:


This wizard differs from the Dungeon World version in a variety of ways. The first, and most prominent, is that there's no list of spells. Instead casting a spell is a roll-and-hold move, and you spend hold to perform various magical effects.

Another major way it differs is a fatigue mechanic: each time you roll to gather magical energy you gain a random amount of fatigue, and when your fatigue equals your current hit points you pass out for a while. Whether you pass out or voluntarily rest for a short period of time, your fatigue resets to 0.

Finally, the class is based around magical languages. This is similar to the backgrounds we use in our other classes, and takes the place of race moves. You start with one, and there are advanced moves that let you improve it, as well as gain one or both of the others.

The next piece is a WIP that depicts a race I haven't really talked about, as well as the Chronometron:


Utilizing the Chronometron is necessary to open up the chronomancer compendium class, which gives you the ability to see the future, push people out of the time stream temporarily, rewind time, move faster, slow other people down, and so on and so forth.

The drawback is that it's also one of A Sundered World's many dangers.

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