Ok, I gotta make a Dungeon World PC for Ian's game...
Let us now turn to the Character Generation section...
Making Dungeon World characters is quick and easy. You should all create your first characters together at the beginning of your first session. Character creation is, just like play, a kind of conversation—everyone should be there for it.
Well they aren't.
Look over the character classes and choose one that interests you. Everyone chooses a different class; there aren't two Wizards.
Fuck that noise forever twice.
So far we have 2 ideas, one is unfeasible and one is terrible, but...hey, maybe these are both hack-around-able and inessential to the game. I am hoping they are. Really I am.
Now some people will tell you you should always play a game as-written first because by ignoring rules I am stacking the deck against it and it will break and then I won't like it and it's not its fault. Well, you got a choice: I play a version of Dungeon World where I can make up a character in the privacy of my domicile and we can have two wizards or I go "What a boring game, let's not play it." Like everyone does with all the millions of games they aren't playing because they don't sound fun.
In other words, I am being really nice to Dungeon World by not holding the obvious unappealingness and impracticality of these rules against it. Me not holding it against it and ignoring these rules may mean I somehow break some essential somethingness deep within the game, but I wasn't going to play anyway otherwise so I don't have much of a choice.
Anyway, class picked, I'm a goddamn paladin like everyone didn't already know that.
2. Choose a Race
Every class has at least two race options. Choose one. Your race gives you a special move.
Uh, wait, it only has one race under paladin which is human. I'm confused. I will live with my confusion.
3. Choose a Name
Choose your character’s name from the list.
Yes, kids, that's what it actually says: "from the list." There are 11 (deeply turgid and Latinate) choices, and if you want to be female it's down to about 4.
Now this rule is kind of like having the cover of your rulebook drawn by Jon Bogdanove--yes, it has no effect on the actual game since everyone in their right mind will ignore it, but it is such a stupid idea (I'm gonna go ahead and call this objectively stupid, not even subjectively stupid. Like if this were Paranoia? Sure, it's funny to play a character with one of 11 names. But in this game it isn't a joke.) it suggests the people writing the game are not good at making things that are good. If anyone can think of any context where this idea is not stupid, please let me know.
This is the storygamey "game book as complete recipe" thing taken to an extreme so extreme you kind of wonder if the game will be shipped with mittens and a packed lunch.
Ok, you get it: I'm kind of terrified by this name thing.
I am pushing through it though, ok? All my favorite games have some stupid rules.
I'm trying to be fair.
I'm trying to be fair.
4. Choose Look
Your look is your physical appearance. Choose one item from each list.
Choose one for each:
Kind Eyes, Fiery Eyes, or Glowing Eyes
Helmet, Styled Hair, or Bald
Worn Holy Symbol or Fancy Holy Symbol
Fit Body, Bulky Body, or Thin Body
Oh my god. Christfuckhatedeathfuck...
Deep breaths. Deep breaths are now being taken by me...
Did I mention bard is a core class? Ok...
"People come to RPGs in order to emulate stories they've seen outside RPGs!" (Not true, only some people do.) (And these people are often disappointed unless they're playing storygamey games and then they're really happy.)
"Each RPG should be designed to emulate a certain genre of story!" (Ok, if you are the kind of person who is into premise 1, then I guess that would make sense.)
"D&D inaugurated its own genre of story!" (Pretty much true.)
"Let's make a game that gives you the ability to emulate that story!" (Uh....ok. I mean, there's already a few of those, but rock on, guy...)
"The best way to emulate a genre is to not just start with- but use all the cliches in it!" (Oh dear.)
Storygamey design can and has been done better than this.
Whereas a well-designed traditional RPGs gives you the cliches like a set of tools to use, not use, or replace (goblin, sword, tentacle), a well-designed story game works by pushing toward the kinds of underlying set-ups that generate genre cliches.
Neither of them go: HEY PRIVATE DICK, NOW YOU'RE SHERLOCK MARLOWE, GO FIND THE MALTESE BASKERVILLE!
Unless it's a game with a comic edge like Primetime Advetures or Toon.
In literary terms saying your Paladin is named Horatius and has "Kind Eyes, Fiery Eyes, or Glowing Eyes" isn't about helping you put a story in a genre (the genre called D&D-style fantasy) it's about giving you a pastiche of D&D-style fantasy.
Ok my human paladin has
An off-the-rack holy symbol, and
A body like seriously why do you care, character sheet?
None of this is so bad, really, I guess. It's just a game for people who aren't like me (so far).
Hilarious note: the game instructions demand you pick which of the three kinds of eyes you have and how old your holy symbol is but nowhere does it say you have to decide whether you're male or female or some other thing or neither.
Alright, Step 5 is stats. I am allowed to roll these in order instead of try to figure out the relative importance of all this stuff during character generation (yay!) ...
Moves: detect evil, heal a motherfucker, ignore "clumsy" tag on armor, tell NPCs what's what on account of God, aaaaand when I dedicate myself to a holy mission I may choose 2 bonuses from the list which I am not bothering to read right now but which are things like "invulnerable to fire"
Your Load is 18 (I think I was in that movie). You start with dungeon rations (5 uses, 1 weight), scale armor (2 armor, 3 weight), and some mark of faith, describe it (it looks like the thing on the cover of God Hates Us All (0 weight).
Long sword (Close, +1 damage, 1 weight) and shield (+1 armor, 2 weight)
Adventuring gear is a collection of useful mundane items such as chalk, poles, spikes, ropes, etc. When you rummage through your adventuring gear for some useful mundane item, you find what you need and mark off a Use.
Well that's suboptimal. Not even the option to buy stuff separately.
Article of faith over here is it's fun to have texture and tactics instead of an out-of-the-box package: you have a slim amount of gold--spikes or a grappling hook? Huge thing there when you're running from the giant rat you just set on fire.
But y'know what? Lotsa D&D games aren't about that. Even ones I run. You can do that if you have to, Dungeon World.
The only actually annoying thing about it really is it does suggest that the people who say "Oh you wanna play D&D? Dude, play Dungeon World! It's the same thing only better!" are missing some obvious reasons people who aren't them might wanna play D&D or another D&Dlike instead...
11. Introduce Your Character
Now that you know who your character is, it's time to introduce them to everyone else. Wait until everyone's finished choosing their name. Then go around the table; when it’s your turn, share your look, class and anything else pertinent about your character...
This is also the time for the GM to ask questions. The GM's questions should help establish the relationships between characters ("What do you think about that?") and draw the group into the adventure ("Does that mean you've met Grundloch before?"). The GM should listen to everything in the description and ask about anything that stands out. Establish where they're from, who they are, how they came together, or anything else that seems relevant or interesting.
But hey, different strokes, fine with me...
Wait, it's in my "best interest" to fill in more? Does that mean "it makes the game more fun" or "it makes the game mechanically easier for my PC"? Because I want the game hard for my PC, not easy, otherwise I am going to be bored.
Reading down....ah, Bonds make things mechanically easier for my PC. So let's have as few as possible...
Rey's paladin "has stood by me in battle and can be trusted completely."
Easy, can I play now?
13. Get Ready to Play
Take a little break: grab a drink, stretch your legs and let the GM brainstorm for a little bit about what they’ve learned about your characters. Being the GM is a big responsibility! Once you’re all ready, grab your dice and your sheet and get ready to take on the Dungeon.
Now whenever I write anything about any game that is currently being published people pop up in the comments who make up things that are not in the blog entry, decide that I wrote them, then get mad at me for writing the thing they just made up.
Like here's me having mad fun playing Burning Wheel and people deciding I didn't like it and whining about it. Here's me saying I liked 4e and would play it again and someone thinking I said I didn't like it and wouldn't play it.
This phenomenon will, no doubt, take place now.
However, for the sizable not-stupid contingent in the audience I will sum up where we are now on Dungeon World, as of the end of character generation:
-There's stuff which is totally appalling but, practically-speaking, optional.