The Beginning of Publishing My First Dungeon World Supplement

I’ve decided to publish my own Dungeon World supplement, called Binding World.

View the Binding World website.

I’m going to attempt to document the entire process on this blog as it may be useful to anyone reading it in the future. Let’s take a look at what this project will be:

The Goals

  • Hold a printed copy in my hands
  • Have someone I don’t know buy at least the PDF
  • Complete those two goals by Oct 1st 2018 (Dec 31st 2017)

That’s it. I’m not looking to make money on this, or have it be wildly successful, I just want to do it.

Even though I only have a few goals here, I’d be surprised if this didn’t end up being a lot more work than I’m intending. Holding a printed book in my hands means I’m going to need to the following

  • Write the damn thing
  • Get it edited
  • Do the layout
  • Commission or purchase some art
  • Get someone to print it for me

Writing the damn thing is something I enjoy, so that’s good. I’ve never hired an editor before, I might just stick with friends and helpful folks. Layout I’ll probably do myself and ask for input from my artist friends. I won’t get crazy with it so hopefully I can keep it looking okay by keeping it simple.

For the art I’d like to have a decent cover done up, and some background styling done that thematically fits the compendium classes. Here’s an example that would fit the Helltamer using an image from DOOM as the background and some Lorem Ipsum text.

I really want to hold this in my hands and have it printed, but I won’t be doing a print run. If all I can do is get a few copies printed at a print-on-demand service that will be plenty. I’ll likely use Lulu.

Getting someone to buy the PDF will mean I’ll need to make it appealing, get it up on somewhere to sell (likely DriveThruRPG.com and PayHip.com), and convince someone that having this PDF is worth more than their cup of coffee tomorrow. It’s also important I don’t know this person, because then I can believe it’s the quality of my product that made them buy it and not an obligation to a friend.

The Contents

Here’s a brief run down of what I currently want the book to contain.

  • A table of contents
  • An introduction
  • Three compendium classes
    • The Bloodbinder
    • The Medium
    • The Helltamer
  • Three dungeon starters
    • Each one clearly associated with a compendium class
    • Have ways for characters to unlock the compendium classes
    • Custom moves
    • New monsters
    • Impressions for theming
    • Questions for building the adventure
    • Items and discoveries
  • A color cover done up
  • Some internal black and white art
  • Printable character sheets
  • Printable dungeon starter sheets

I have rough versions of each of the compendium classes written. I need to spend some time on each clarifying the mechanics and then I’ll be able to start playtesting all of them.

The dungeon starters were originally meant to be Fronts, but I think the dungeon starters will be easier and more fun to write. I decided this when I saw these 20 Dungeon Starters compiled into a PDF on DriveThruRPG.com. They’re great for inspiration, both for this project and for my campaigns.

To start off the project I’ve also launched a landing page for the website and a newsletter you can subscribe to for a 20% off coupon when it launches.

Medium – Dungeon World Compendium Class

This is a compendium class I wrote after picking up the Medium randomly at a Pathfinder game at PAX West. I found the idea of channeling spirits, and choosing specific types when you did, pretty cool. Special thanks to karaktakus from the RPG Talk Slack Dungeon World channel for helping and providing feedback.

I’ve hosted the move here on GitHub where you can suggest changes, and pasted it in its current form below.

Medium

When you are possessed by a spirit, or converse with one at length, you may consider the Medium a compendium class that is open to you. The next time you level up instead of taking a move from your class, you may take the Medium starting moves.

Continue reading “Medium – Dungeon World Compendium Class”

Face of Your Father

Face of Your Father

When you are about to deal the killing blow to this enemy, it casts an illusion and takes on the form of someone you love. Name the person and describe the relationship you have with them. This illusions persists into death, but is dispelled if the enemy attacks. If you completely fall for the illusion mark XP and act accordingly.

If you see through the illusion and deal the killing blow to your loved one, describe how you end them and roll+WIS. On 10+, you know it was only an illusion but you are troubled by the image and take -1 ongoing until you can rest. On a 7-9 the same but your dreams are plagued by nightmares of what you did—you won’t be able to get any sleep the next time you try to rest. On a 6- the same in addition to what the GM says.

You can view this move here on Vin Moves and here on GitHub.

The name is a nod to The Dark Tower series. Thankee-sai.

This is another move that tries to bribe players into roleplaying a negative situation by giving them XP. The move originally had “if you spare the illusion” instead of “if you fall fully for the illusion” which wasn’t strong enough wording. I was worried with that phrasing that players would just step aside, take their XP, and let someone else finish them off. With the new word choice I’m hoping players will actively defend what they think is their husband, mentor, or mother.

The stick to that carrot here is pretty mechanically, but I think it could be roleplayed pretty well. I’m not sure it’s clear in the 7-9 result, but if you can’t get sleep then you aren’t resting, meaning the -1 ongoing would last for more than a day. You also don’t get to heal when you Make Camp. That’s something you should know if you read the Make Camp rule, so I’m going to leave it out of this move’s description.

I didn’t originally specify how long the illusion lasts but my editor asked if it would end when the monster died, which was a good question. I added “This illusions persists into death, but is dispelled if the enemy attacks” to clarify that. I think having the corpse stay as your loved one could be great for roleplaying if you just saw someone from your party put an arrow through their heart.

I couldn’t think of a good 6- option so I went with the classic option of shifting that responsibility to the GM.

Insidious Hunger

Insidious Hunger

This enemy exudes an aura of gluttony and everhunger. Each time you are attacked by this enemy, gain 1 craving. Whenever a move would have you consume a ration, such as Make Camp or Undertake a Perilous Journey, consume an additional ration and reduce your craving by 1. You must consume at least 1 ration to reduce your craving. If you ever go a day without eating while you have any craving, lose all craving and gain an appetite for sentient flesh.

You can view this move here on Vin Moves and here on GitHub.

The first note I had for this move was simply “something with rations?” and it grew from there. It originally would require you to consume a ration mid-combat or accrue a penalty, but that felt like it would be very clumsy in a fight. This version doesn’t affect combat as much, aside from giving you an extra reason to avoid an attack.

I had a bit of trouble trying to make it clear that moves like the Druid’s By Nature Sustained didn’t make you exempt from the craving. Eventually I settled on the single sentence in the middle “You must consume at least 1 ration to reduce your craving” which I think makes it clear.

The negative effect here at the end here I think is pretty interesting, but the move could substitute that with almost anything. Like most of my moves I started with you just taking damage, but this is more compelling to me. I also had “appetite for human flesh” to start, but then I remembered elves and dwarves.

I’d like to throw this into my game just to give a little bit more power to rations. They’re something that generally goes forgotten in my groups. That is almost entirely my fault for not being strict on them, but I think if some of the players get a couple points of craving I’ll be more inclined to double check their ration levels.

Monstercat Adventures Ep. 3 Recap

Cast

  • Shank (Amanda): a thief who throws daggers
  • Hisho (Thomas): a cleric who smashes heads
  • Grom (Bill): a half-orc fighter with an axe named Ghostbane
  • Galadiir (Dan): a strong looking wizard who steals swords
  • Oaky (Sean): an androgynous elf druid with dreamy eyes

Third Session

Our band of intrepid adventurers continue through The Hollow Forest, following the Elven ghost of Galloway as he searches for his wife. They hope to follow Galloway back to the last place he remembers, the forgotten city of Imfalon, whose location is as unknown as its veracity is doubted. There they hope to find memorable treasures, ones like the magical sword freshly stolen by Galadiir.

It is on this journey that Grom, the half-orc fighter, becomes restless and charges ahead of the group headlong into a procession of frightened and battered human refugees. Their leader, a half-orc blacksmith by the name of Thordock, explains how the village of Olto that he and those with him call home came under attack by a large horde of elven zombies. He asks Grom and the rest of his party for aid.

The group splits up, with Grom and Galadiir making their way straight to the village, moving stealthily. This lasts until Galadiir trips on his sword and swears, attracting the attention of a large horde of elven zombies being herded by a decapitated horseman, whose severed head laughs maniacally as he swings it around on the end of a chain. Seeing this, Oaky begins transforming into an Owlbear and heading down to help his fellow adventurers.

The rest of the group – Hoshi, Shank, and Thordock – sneak around the zombie horde and into the village or Orto itself. A few straggler zombies give them some trouble before Hoshi uses his divine power to cast Turn Undead and sends them fleeing.

Eventually the zombie horde and its headless horseman leader is defeated. The party is presented with tokens from Thordock that they can present to any resident of Orto to show that they helped save the town.

Some highlights from the night

  • Grom chopping down a tree and having it fall onto the approaching zombies
  • Shank throwing kitchen knife after kitchen knife at everything around her
  • Shank throwing her short sword into the neckhole of the horseman when she ran out of knives to throw
  • Grom whirlwinding into a group of ten zombies and nearly passing into the Black Gates of death
  • Oaky saving Grom by going zombie bowling as a giant Owlbear
  • Oaky transforming into a wee little pig to catch the fleeing horseman
  • Hoshi smashing the severed head of the headless horseman, releasing the evil spirit within
  • Hoshi having that same spriti fly into his body
  • Galadiir pouring a health potion into Grom’s mouth while he lay nearly dead before charging sword first into more zombies
  • Grom finding a Blinking Coin that when flipped in the air will teleport you to a location you name
  • Grom saying “the Moon”, flipping the coin, and disappearing before the party’s eyes

Retaliataura

Retaliataura

When you deal 7 or more damage to this enemy in a single attack, the shimmering aura around it crackles and lashes out with tendrils of arcane energy at you and anyone with reach range of you. If you are caught in the counter-attack describe how you defy it and roll+STAT. On a 10+  you avoid the attack entirely. On a 7-9 choose 1. On a 6- the GM will also choose one:

  • You take the damage that activated the aura
  • The damage required to activate this aura is reduced by 1
  • The enemy negates the damage. This can only be taken once per counter-attack

You can view this move here on Vin Moves and here on GitHub.

Retaliatory + Aura = Retaliataura

This move plays off something I’ve touched on in previous moves which is adding a bit of doubt into character’s attacks. Perhaps hitting the enemy right now as hard as I can might not actually be the best move?

The move here is another one that has two triggers to it. The first is dealing damage over a certain number. I’ve started with 7, but this can and should obviously be adjusted based on the strength of the party. I specified a single attack here instead of a single roll. I hope this is clear that it’s the addition of all dice involved and any damage bonuses. For example a Wizard rolling 2d4 for magic missile can trigger this move because you add the dice together.

The second trigger is slightly open to interpretation to the GM based on how close everyone is. The only guarantee is that the person who hit the damage threshold definitely gets attacked. For the stat here I’ve left it open ended and even explicitly used the word defin the move to make it clear that players are basically doing a Defy Danger here, but the results are explicitly stated in the move.

For the results that you get here I think I’ve got a good mix of tough choices. The only thing that troubles me here is the damage negation option, as its something that only one person can take even if three people roll poorly on this move. I’ve clarified that in the option, but the extra wording seems a bit clunky to me. The other two options give you a choice between “bad thing now” and “more bad things later”. Having the damage you take be equal to what the player rolled is kind of neat to me as well.

Evil Lair

Evil Lair

When you set out to learn about this enemys’s lair, describe how and roll+STAT. On a 10+ choose 3, on a 7-9 choose 1.

  • You learn the location of its secret entrance
  • You know what monsters protect it and their stats
  • You learn of a trap including location, trigger, and effect
  • You learn of a hidden treasure and its location

You can view this move here on Vin Moves and here on GitHub.

This move is reminiscent of the Famous Weapon move I wrote previously, in that you roll it before meeting the enemy and your rolls build a part of that enemy for you.

I’m open to suggestions on the different results, but I think I have a good base here. Each option has its bonuses, and I hope that it’s clear that when you pick one option that the others are closed to you. So if you decide to learn of the hidden treasure, you don’t learn of the secret entrance.

One thing that could be more clear here is having multiple members of the party roll on it. Other moves that I’ve written for Vin Moves have triggers that single out a specific party member. This one is a little more open, and would technically allow for multiple players to roll separately for it. I’m going to leave it like that for now and put the decision to the GM.

Volatile Growths

Volatile Growths

While in the presence of this enemy, every time you get a 6 on a die while rolling a move you can either keep the 6 or reroll that die. If you keep the 6 this enemy develops 1 pulsing growth on their body that seethes with magical energy. When this enemy dies its growths explode in a cascade of magical energy, if you are caught in the blast roll+CON and subtract the number of growths that exploded. On a 10+ you are unaffected, on a 7-9 choose 1, on a 6- the GM will also choose one.

  • You take b[2d8] damage
  • You gain a new debility of your choice
  • Something you carry, the GM will tell you what, is destroyed

You can view this move here on Vin Moves and here on GitHub.

This move has one mechanic that I quite like which is having players decide whether to keep a rolled 6 or not, knowing that keeping it could lead to some nasty results. It combines a couple things I really like in my games: risk/reward scenarios and rerolling dice.

The original version of this move had the blast from the dying creature simply deal damage based on the number of bubbles that exploded. So if the monster had 3 nodules and you killed it, everyone took 3d8 damage. Functional, but a little boring.

With the addition of the roll+CON-nodules mechanic makes things a little more intersting. The options I have in the list are just hard moves that the GM can make as normal on a 6-, so they aren’t terribly interesting, but they’re better than straight damage. I’d like to expand them to be a bit more fiction based but for now they do fine.

Subtracting the number of nodules from your roll is similar to what I did with the Heresy World Health/Wounds system I wrote where you subtract the number of critical wounds you have from your roll. Subtracting from your rolls adds a tiny bit more math, but I think the mechanic here enforces the narrative; the more nodules there are the more dangerous this enemy is.

One thing that might change after more playtesting is the trigger for nodule growth, namely whether this happens too often or too rarely. If needed it might worth forcing the choice of rerolling or not onto a 5 as well.

Haunting Spirit

Haunting Spirit

When you deal the killing blow to this enemy, its haunting spirit escapes from the corpse and screams into your body, roll+WIS. On a 10+ the spirit has a tenuous grasp on you, it will trouble your dreams. On a 7-9 the same, but the spirit also haunts your waking life and will occasionally speak to you. On a 6- the spirit might briefly take control of you during moments of weakness. The spirit will stay with you until an appropriate ritual is performed to expel it.

You can view this move here on Vin Moves and here on GitHub.

This one comes from my recent rewatch of Supernatural. I like that this move is all fiction and not mechanics. One thing I’m not sure of is the 6- result. Having something take control of you might be too much, so I’m considering changing it to the spirit can affect the world around you like a poltergeist. This gives you a neat move to make on failed roll at least.

Fueled by Pain

Fueled by Pain

This enemy revels in its own pain. Whenever this enemy takes damage, including self-inflicted damage, it becomes visibly more dangerous and increases its damage die size by one. If its damage is already at d20, add an additional d20 to its rolls and take the highest. If this enemy goes for a minute without taking or dealing damage, or is healed, its damage die resets to its original size.

You can view this move here on Vin Moves and here on GitHub.

What I like about this move is that introduces something to the fight that I half remember hearing the developers of Left 4 Dead talking about: it’s not always smart to hurt the bad guy. In Left 4 Dead this applies to the Boomer, because killing him while he’s next to you will get you covered in bile.

This idea is kind of present in Fueled by Pain, cause it almost always makes sense to kill the dude, but sometimes it might be worth trying something other than hitting him if you’re not going to be doing a lot of damage. I also like the idea of healing an enemy being a good thing.

I hope that the talk of damage die size and adding dice to the roll is clear in this move, but it might benefit from examples. To explain further here, if a monster has damage of d10+2 and they take damage, their damage becomes d12+2. After that it will be d20+2 then b[2d20]+2 then b[3d20]+2. If at any point you avoid taking or dealing damage to them, or you heal them, their damage would go back to d10+2.

One cool little piece I’ve added is just the line “including self-inflicted damage” which I think gives the GM a badass way to point to a looming threat. The enemy could cut themselves across the arm and then grow fangs, or stab their dagger into their gut and pull it out covered in new spikes.