Posts tagged ‘story games’

October 14, 2014

Class Warfare

Alternate Character and Class Creation Rules for Dungeon World

CW_cover_image_loresWhat is Class Warfare?
Class Warfare is a rules supplement for the Dungeon World role-playing game that provides an alternate and expanded system of character creation. It can also be used to create new character classes, just like those provided in the original rulebook. How Class Warfare does this is by breaking down the Dungeon World character class into smaller pieces—like specialties and archetypes—and showing you how they fit together.

PRINT+PDF FROM DRIVETHRURPG
PRINT ONLY FROM LULU

See a preview of the Rogues section HERE.

Specialties
A specialty is a collection of special abilities that describe one facet of what makes a character’s interaction with the rules of the game unique. Think of it as a shtick, perhaps, or a set of skills, even. Each specialty is approximately one-third of a normal Dungeon World character or character class. The Ranger, for example, is an archer, a hunter, and someone who has an animal companion—three special abilities. In Class Warfare terms, each of those is a specialty.

Archetypes
Each specialty is categorized into one of five different groups, called archetypes. These are general character “types,” that include: adventurer, disciple, magician, rogue, and warrior. Your archetype helps determine your damage die and your maximum hit points, and puts a few limits on which specialties you can combine together.

Basically, it means that if you focus on combat-oriented specialties, you end up with high damage and high hit points, which makes fighting an attractive option for you to take. If you focus on magical powers, you’re much less good at delivering blows or shrugging them off, even just using the basic moves. This encourages you to use your magic and stay out of fights.

Building a Character
You create a starting character by choosing an archetype and two or three specialties. But specialties can also be used as compendium classes, so there are ways to learn new abilities outside your original character concept if you undertake certain quests or perform certain feats. You are not limited only to the choices you made during character creation.

Why did I make this book?
To get rich, of course! Ah hahaha! So funny. In all seriousness, with Class Warfare, I had three primary goals: to make something that would be useful for both myself and other people in creating characters and in writing new classes; to give enough options that it could be used on its own and not just as an example of a new system; and to make it good for at least a little bit more than just initial character creation.

1. A Useful System of Doing Things
I wanted to build a system that breaks down class creation into small but logical pieces. This allows for more nuanced customization of existing character classes, and also gives people a way to make something new and unique that can be used in a game right away, without them having to tackle an entire class all at one time.

Hopefully, this system also gives people some insight into how the classes in Dungeon World balance spotlight time, effectiveness, and the number of moves characters have in relation to each other. Dungeon World is often less transparent than its parent, Apocalypse World, is in this regard, but a lot of people are coming to Dungeon World first, without any reference to other games that are “Powered by the Apocalypse.” Lots of rules design and play discussions that would help new players and GMs are scattered across various forums and private conversations, and aren’t easily accessible to people who weren’t there at the time. If this books can distil some of that knowledge and communicate it, great!

2. A Vast Array of Options
As much as I wanted the system to be easy, I also wanted it to provide plenty of options. The basic Dungeon World classes are already easy to use—the problem is that you only have eight options to choose from! Each of the five archetypes in Class Warfare has between 14 and 21 specialties to choose from, and you can also take one specialty from outside of your archetype. This alone leads to hundreds or even thousands of interesting characters. And then you can always write your own specialties, or ignore my archetypes altogether and build new custom classes out of whichever three archetypes you like. It’s not like I can stop you!

3. Utility Beyond Just Character Creation
I also wanted to encourage people to use these specialties as compendium classes, adding them to existing characters in the middle of play, or using them to extend a character’s game-life beyond level 10. That’s why I included fiction circumstances with each one that would allow you to add it to your character later. It’s only a little thing, but hopefully you find it useful or even inspiring.

How Complete or Definitive is Class Warfare?
Not at all! Just because this book is already super-thick doesn’t mean there aren’t tons more things that could be added to it. Most of the character class material from Dungeon World is included in this book. There’s a bunch of stuff from extras that Sage and Adam have made and some of the compendium classes that were included as kickstarter bonuses—mostly stuff that is available for free, just like Dungeon World itself is. There’s a good deal of my own previous material, including material from Ghostwood Haunts, Island of Fire Mountain, and Lair of the Unknown. Of course, it’s presented in a different format here, just like the material from Dungeon World.

I’ve also included a few moves from other third-party creators—but not a lot. If you want, sometime, I can tell you how I think the classes from Inverse World or Grim World break down into specialties and how you can use them with Class Warfare. But that material isn’t in this book, even though it’s creative commons. You should get it from the people who created it, not from me!

Also, I didn’t want to stray too far from core Dungeon World concepts. It’s true that many people get bored by the “D&D fantasy” genre, and you see new classes that feature drives and backgrounds, freeform spellcasting, or bonds with NPCs. But I wanted to stick to using alignments, Vancian spellcasting, and the four traditional fantasy races. Ultimately, with this book I’m just trying to add more options to the Dungeon World rules, not redefine how the game works. I can do that with other books, yet to be written. After all, this book isn’t supposed to be complete or definitive. Class Warfare is not a destination, it’s a departure point.

Class Warfare by the numbers:
670 starting moves and advanced moves, 526 pages, 227 race moves, 167 spells, 94 illustrations, 84 specialties, 3 different indexes.
$16 for the pdf via DriveThruRPG,
$28 for the print+pdf combo via DriveThruRPG (6×9, white pages, #50 thickness),
$20 for the print by itself from Lulu (6×9, cream-coloured pages, #60 thickness).

PRINT+PDF FROM DRIVETHRURPG

PRINT ONLY FROM LULU

The pdf comes with a blank character sheet, but if you don’t like it, you should check out the sheet Brennen Reece made. If you like that one, also take a look at Brennen’s other Dungeon World character sheets.

July 22, 2013

Adventures on Dungeon Planet moves to DriveThruRPG

Adventures on Dungeon Planet is now available from DriveThruRPG.

You can buy it in pdf and/or print right here.

The pdf now comes with all the character sheets, so you don’t have to come back here and get them. The book is printed on white paper and there may be thin white borders around some of the pictures because it does not have full bleed.

You can still buy the print version from Lulu. They print on creme paper and produce what I consider to be a superior book, although I can’t guarantee what they send to you is exactly the same as what they send to me. I care about the difference in quality, but enough other people told me it was not as big a deal as I thought that I decided to switch. Lulu’s storefront is terrible and DriveThruRPG’s is not. So there it is, and soon there will be more.

March 29, 2013

Adventures on Dungeon Planet

Hello!

I have a new book out: Adventures on Dungeon Planet.

This is what the softcover looks like!

You may know me from my previous work, which includes: The Metamorphica, Heralds of Hell, World of Algol, Sexy Deadly, the tables on page 14 of Dark Heart of the Dreamer, and a few other things, like my semi-regular gaming group Red Box Vancouver. But never mind that stuff right now.

Adventures on Dungeon Planet is a science fantasy supplement for the award-winning role-playing game Dungeon World. It has all sorts of cool stuff in it:
* Four new character classes: the Earthling, the Engine of Destruction, the Mutant, and the Technician.
* Three new PC races: aliens, androids, and white apes.
* Four new compendium classes: the Alien, the Scientist, the Sniper, and the Visitor.
* Futuristic gadgets, special equipment, and robots.
* New rules for spaceships.
* New dangers and two example fronts that use them.
* Procedures for creating alien planets and cultures.
* More than 30 new science fantasy monsters.

It is also full of really old pulp science fiction art from the early part of the 20th century!
And a few pieces from the Prismatic Art Collection.

UPDATE:

Adventures on Dungeon Planet is now available from DriveThruRPG. The pdf is still $8 and the print+pdf is still $20, but now the pdf comes with the character sheets so you don’t need to come here to get them. DriveThruRPG prints on white pages and does not have full bleed, so there may be a thin white border on some of the pages with illustrations. The Lulu print version is still available, but the pdf is no longer available through them. It has creme pages that are slightly thicker and the copies I receive are slightly better quality, in my opinion.

If you have any questions, please ask.

If you have any problems purchasing Adventures on Dungeon Planet, contact me at johnstone (dot) metzger (at) the gmail address.

Some more pictures:

Spaceships and Robots!

The Scientist Compendium Class!

Giant alien minds travel through time and space!

Also, please note:
If you buy just the pdf and later on you want to get yourself a print copy because you like it so much, but you don’t want to pay for the pdf twice, get in touch with me at johnstone (dot) metzger at the gmail thing and I will set you up with a discounted version of the softcover that doesn’t come with a pdf, so you can have them both for the same price as everybody else.

May 21, 2012

The Metamorphica: A Book of Random Mutation Tables

As promised, the book is finally done!

This is a picture of the cover.

The Metamorphica is a very large system-agnostic collection of random mutation tables, for any table-top role-playing game. The digest-sized PAPERBACK VERSION is available from lulu.com for only US$6.66 plus shipping, but you can download the pdf version for free (either FROM LULU or FROM HERE for less hassle) from DriveThruRPG HERE.

How did this happen? Good question!

I was originally inspired to make this when I started using the old Realm of Chaos mutation tables while I was running old Red Box D&D. We had a lot of fun with mutagenic substances so I decided to make a much larger collection that included mutation ideas from a whole range of other role-playing games. Along the way I added a lot of new ones as well, and when it became too big to be a stapled booklet, I decided to add procedures for creating all sorts of monsters and mutants. And also to make it available as a printed book and not just a pdf.

The Metamorphica is system-agnostic, meaning there aren’t any rules in it per se: no attack bonuses, no hit points, and no task or conflict resolution systems. I intend to use this for more than just D&D, but making the book compatible with such disparate systems as Metamorphosis Alpha, Burning Wheel, Apocalypse World, and Diaspora would make it way too long, and take way too much time. You can just make up rules in play if you need them, that’s what I do. It’s really not that hard.

Art preview!

The Metamorphica was written by Johnstone Metzger and illustrated by Andrew Gillis, Nathan Jones, Johnstone Metzger, and Nathan Orlando Wilson. If you need to get in touch with anyone about this book, Red Box Vancouver (no spaces) has a standard gmail address that will accept your inquiries.

Also? It’s free!

Yes, this is (essentially) a free book. But if you would like to not-so-subtly encourage future products of a similar nature, or just buy me and/or the artists a drink by way of thanks, feel free to donate whatever you feel is appropriate. I will also happily accept pdfs, which you can send to the above-mentioned gmail address (the name of this blog, no spaces).

Or, if you would really like to do me a favour (warning, real-life bummer stuff follows):
I find the violence surrounding coltan mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the economics of the electronics industry that encourage it, particularly concerning. Especially since this book would not have been possible without such electronics. However, I have neither the time nor the expertise to track down and properly vet charitable organizations working to solve this issue. If you know of one, and can make an adequate case as to their accountability and their work in the DRC, please let me know. If you don’t know any charities working in this area specifically, don’t worry about it, just enjoy the book. And if you are unaware of this issue, please look it up, the information is readily available. Thank you.

August 8, 2011

The Epic Histories of Microscope

MIIIIIIIICROOOOOOOSCOOOOPE!!!

For this post I’m going to take a minute to plug somebody else’s work, instead of mine or ours, and that’s the game Microscope, by Ben Robbins. Along with those guys in New York, Ben blogging about his West Marches sandbox D&D campaign was one of the original inspirations for Chris to start Red Box Vancouver, which makes him one of the reasons I play D&D today, and enjoy doing so. Considering how committed Ben is to playing and promoting the West Coast Story Games Style, this is almost ironic. Almost.

Microscope: A Fractal Role-Playing Game of Epic Histories is a game that is, much like old-school D&D, all about the setting. Unlike D&D however, players don’t discover the setting because there’s no DM to reveal it to them. This is a game where you build a setting, much like Universalis or Tony Dowler’s How to Host a Dungeon.

But the settings that you create in Microscope aren’t build around a map, they’re built around a timeline. Where things are in relation to each other isn’t so important as when. You’ve seen those epic histories plotted out for the Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, Tékumel, Traveller, Warhammer, and like every cyberpunk game ever made—Microscope turns making those timelines into a game.

At the start of the game, the group of players decides on how this timeline will start and end, and some basic ground rules—like “no furries,” or “this is epic fantasy,” or “all guns are laser guns!” (or that’s the gist of it, the actual details are in the book). Your timeline can be sci-fi, fantasy, cyberpunk, alternate history, alien beings, or an animated cartoon if you want. You could do an alternate history of Marvel Comics even, where instead of gold, silver, and bronze ages, you have classical, psychedelic, post-Kirby, and recession eras, and the only scenes you play out are those that happen in the comics.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Once you start, everybody takes turns. On your turn, you can add a new era, somewhere in between the start and end points, or you can add an event to one of the eras (or a scene, once you have events). This event happens sometimes within that era. If you add a new event to an era that already has one or more events, you add it in wherever—or I should say whenever—you want. Before or after events that exist already, it’s all good, and there’s no veto from other players, so as long as you follow the rules established at the beginning, you can create whatever you want.

Once you have events, you can also add a scene, instead of adding a new era or event. A scene goes with a specific event, and if you declare a scene, players have to pick characters and role-play it out! This is where we “zoom in” on our timeline (Ben likes the phrase “drill down”), to pivotal moments, and play out scenes like Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt carving up Europe, or the botched negotiations between the Elven prince and the Dwarven ambassador that lead to centuries of war, or Captain Picard matching wits with Q. You can use scenes to find out why the uplifted orangutangs decided to live underwater, how the first demon was summoned and bound, or what finally convinced the anarchist to throw his bomb at the tsar.

It’s actually slightly more complicated than that, with stuff like a spotlight player who gets to make up more stuff, and some rules for deciding creative conflicts while role-playing scenes, but I’ve given you the basic idea. Once you’ve played for a few hours, you end up with a timeline that looks like this:

This happened at Fabricated Realities in Olympia, Washington.

Since there’s no built-in end-game, you only stop when you feel like it. You can pack up your timeline and continue playing it next week or next month, making it even bigger and bigger. If you like this kind of co-operative world-building exercise, you’ll probably be interested in Microscope. It’s not the only game that does world-building, and it’s not the only game that does timelines (although Jackson’s Hydra isn’t published yet), but it’s the only one that does world-building timelines. And considering how well it does that, it will probably stand alone for quite some time.

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