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Dungeon World Hits My Microlite7x Sunday Game Group

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Dungeon World coverOne of my four Sunday game players was going to be out of town for business for the last three Sundays in April. Originally, I was going to run my Sunday game for the remaining three players running some of their henchmen as PCs. However, the week before this was to start, the subject of Dungeon World came up on the group mailing list with one of the players asking me what I thought of the game. After saying that he had thought it would be fun but after playing it decided he did not like it as it was too restrictive. However, his real issue with the game was that it was too narrative. While lists of names and weird rules about no more than one of each character class in the game were mildly annoying, the real problem was he had no interest in doing the GM's job of creating the world and deciding what happens beyond what his character could control.

I said that I had heard a number of similar complaints from old school players who are there to explore the world as their character and want to play by saying what their character is doing in the world and have no interest in making decisions that their character couldn't make. Players who aren't playing to tell a good story but to "live" as their character day to day in the world. I pointed out that while Dungeon World is obviously written to be played as a narrative game, it would be easy enough to play the game like a standard early TSR version of D&D.

You could:

  • Ignore the lists of character names, the limit of only one character of each class in the game, and the like. These hardly even count as rules changes.
  • Ignore the bits about creating a world as a group and simply play in the GM's world.
  • When choices have to be made in the game that aren't a choice the player could make in character, the GM simply decides what happens the way he would in a normal D&D game. For example, while a character could choose to use extra ammo to get a hit, he could not choose something like his opponent stumbles so he can hit him (any more than I could choose that you agree with everything I write in this post).
As for the poorly named (IMHO) "moves" which annoy many OSR players, there are really two types of Dungeon World "moves":

The first type (the basic moves than anyone can do) are simply general situation resolution methods that the GM can use when needed -- just like an attribute roll, a hit roll, or a saving throw in old school D&D. They are just methods of resolving actions that the GM calls for when a player has his or her character do something that needs that method of resolution. The procedure is just dressed up in a different language. Making a move is just doing something that the GM says needs to be resolved by that particular resolution system. Therefore players don't need to even think about making these types of moves. They just roll when the GM asks them to roll, just like in old school D&D (but rolling 2d6).

The second type of move is a just a class ability description and the suggested method of the GM to use in resolving the use of that class ability. Moves of this second type are really no different than the class abilities of TSR-era thieves. For example the TSR thief ability "Hide in Shadows" is just like a Dungeon World class ability move: both describe a class ability and give rules the GM can use for resolving the use of the class ability when it comes up in play. Making these types of moves is just using a class ability.

In other words, if the GM and players ignore the narrative stuff and the GM runs Dungeon World just like he would run a old school D&D game, Dungeon World in play would be little different in play than old school D&D. The main difference would be the combat system which lacks the round by round structure of D&D, instead opting for a less structured handling of combat. I don't see a lot of problem here, both Dungeon World and early D&D combat is highly abstract. With some work one could even use a more D&D like combat system.

After discussing this a bit on the mailing list, I was asked if I could demonstrate it. So we've played a non-narrative version of Dungeon World for the last three Sunday games. When you drop the narrative stuff, it does indeed play much like early D&D. Of the three players in the three sessions, everyone thought it was okay but not something they'd want to use instead of my Microlite7x rules in our regular game.

I however, was impressed by how well class abilities (aka the special moves each class gets) worked in Dungeon World. I may experiment with adding a DW-like resolution system to at least some class abilities in a future Microlite7x variant.

Free Version of Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery Second Edition Available

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Microlite74 Swords and Sorcery 2e coverThe "pay what you want"/free version of the revised and expanded second edition of Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is now available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. This version lacks art (except for the cover) and is in my standard, two column "condensed type" format.

Moving from the digest format to the condensed type format was much harder than the reverse. For example, one major problem was all the tables copied from the digest format pasted in the condensed format document without their contents (that is, I ended up with nicely formatted tables that were empty). Going from the condensed format to the digest format never had problems like that. I hope I have caught all these issues. However, if some slipped through, at least DrivethruRPG/RPGNow will notify when I upload new versions (assuming you do not turn such notifications off).

Fortunately, the Microlite74 Ultimate Edition will only have a digest format version. Future projects will be done in the standard condensed format first and then converted to digest. While doing the digest first makes writing easier, I really don't want to see the weird formatting problems again.

You can download the no-art condensed type version of Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery 2e here. For more about Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery 2e see this post.

Second Edition Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery Now Available

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Microlite75 Swords & Sorcery 2e Digest CoverThe revised second edition of Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is now available on DrivethruRPG/RPGNow in a digest and epub combo format -- perfect for printing out or reading on a tablet. Like the original edition, the second edition of Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is designed for low level play in swords & sorcery settings. If the fantasy stories of Robert E. Howard, Fritz Lieber, Clark Ashton Smith, C.L. Moore, Karl Edward Wagner, and David Gemell are more to your taste that those of Tolkein or Eddings, this version of Microlite74 may be just what you are looking for.

Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is based on Microlite74 Extended 3.0 but with many special rules designed for swords & sorcery style campaigns. For example, there are only two classes (Adventurer and Sorcerer) and 6 levels, magic is limited and casting certain spells can corrupt the caster, and many 0e style magic items are relics of dead civilizations from long ago. Humans are assumed to dominate the world and most enemies are other humans and animals. True monsters certainly exist but they are assumed to be rare. Unlike most Microlite74 games which use a Microlite20-based experience system, this version uses a more standard experience point system.

The revised second edition of Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery adds rules for allegiances (which replace alignments), expands the rules for corruption -- using black magic effects the world (e.g weather, chance of wandering monsters, etc.), adds a few new spells to the spell lists, adds rules for mounted combat, expands the section on adventuring (including adding a section on ocean exploration), adds demons and Lovecraftian monsters, etc. Second Edition also adds a section of optional rules including several that have not been in any other versions Microlite74 (e.g. player-defined feats, rules for corrupt and/or tainted locations).

Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery includes:

  • Simple Character Creation Rules: Roll 4 attributes and select a class, a background, and allegiances.
  • Two Classes: Adventurer and Sorcerer, both limited to sixth level – but advancements continues even after reaching sixth level.
  • Backgrounds provide a simple and fast way to factor in a character's culture and non-class-related abilities.
  • Simple and fast-playing combat system that tracks physical damage (aka body points) separately from luck/skill/fatigue (aka hit point) damage.
  • Hit points recover with a night’s rest. Spells cost hit points to cast. Actual wounds recover more slowly.
  • Spells are divided into white, grey, and black magic. Using black magic eventually corrupts the caster and has strange effects on reality. Only first and second level spells can normally be memorized and cast directly. Other spells must be cast with lengthy rituals.
  • Rules for hirelings, monster reactions (not every monster wants to fight), morale (not every monster fights to the death), and more.
  • A complete list of spells, monsters, and treasure.
  • Compatible with most other 0e based games and adventures.

The digest pdf version of Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery is 160 pages. The epub version of contains tables and many epub readers display tables in a single column unreadable mess. Epub reader software designed to display epub3 files usually have no problem with the tables. Calibre displays this epub file well on Windows PCs and Gitden reader displays it fine (if slowly) on android. There is an IOS version of Gitden Reader for Apple devices, but it has not been tested. Note that tables in epub files do not adapt well to small screen devices. Both files include art.

You get both the digest-sized pdf and the epub version when you buy the digest/epub version of the second edition of Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery for $6.99. A "pay what you want" letter-sized "condensed type" without artwork will appear at a later date. I can't be more specific as real life here is about to get very interesting as it looks like my wife and I will be moving out of state as the climate here is playing havoc with her MS as she has gotten very sensitive to heat and humidity.

You can get a copy of the new second edition of Microlite74 Swords & Sorcery on its page on RPGNow.