New Dungeon World racial moves (converting a DnD game)

edited October 2012 in Make Stuff!
The background:
So last christmas I gave my DnD4 base books to my then 11 and 13-year old cousins, along with a vow to DM for them later that winter. They loved the books, I DM:d a few sessions, two of their friends joined in, we had a pretty good time. However, I was constantly reminded of why I decided I could give the books away – I will probably never play DnD as written again, except maybe as a board-game-rpg-hybrid with only people who really know the rules. My cousins did their best, but I kind of had to remind them of everything. Our last session, I think maybe the fourth, was in May or something. We had trouble finding good dates, alas. I met them a few times during the summer, at one of their birthday parties and such, but picking up the game wasn't on the table.

The younger one, now 12 years old, got back to me a week ago, and told me had found a date when the entire party was available, and asked if we could play. We did, and it was great to see they still wanted to do this – we just hadn't had the time until now. I had forgot the names of NPCs and everything, but together we pieced together where we left off (sneaking around inside a goblin fortress preparing for war, enchanted to look like goblins) and kept on like it hadn't been four months. But again I felt that I really don't like DnD anymore.

So I told them at the end of the session that I felt like that, and that there was this new, shiny game called Dungeon World that had rules I was much more comfortable with! They didn't really know how to react – this is their first and only rpg experience so they have no idea what the rules do to the game. They asked me if their characters would still be as powerful, still be as powerful compared to each other, if the details they had written down would mean anything, if we'd have to take a lot of time for more statting-up in this new system, and so on. They were a bit wary, but I think I can get them to agree – next time I'll bring the playbooks and see if they catch on.

Tl;dr: I'm hopefully converting a DnD game for 12-16-year-olds, that haven't played anything else, to Dungeon World.

The thing is, they have chosen race and class. And none of them are the suggested races for the DW classes. Two are Eladrin, and I can't just say they're elves because they chose Eladrin knowing well that wasn't ordinary elves – they can teleport and are more magic! There's a halfling ranger and half-elf paladin, neither of which is supported by Dungeon World. So I wrote some new racial moves:

Eladrin Wizard:
You get the following cantrip:
Fey Step – your fey blood warps the scene and the senses of non-Eladrin. You show up within ten steps where your foes did not expect you.

Eladrin Thief:
You can use the fey magic of your bloodline to show up anywhere within ten steps where your foes did not expect you. When you do, roll to Defy Danger using WIS.

Half-Elf Paladin:
When you enter a foreign settlement, tell the GM whether you respect the local deity and the practices of their worshippers. If you do, their temple will take you in and show you hospitality.

Halfling Ranger:
– When you Defy Danger and use your small size o your advantage, take +1.
– When you are outnumbered, you have +1 armor.
(I can't decide which to use)

What do you think of them? Do you have any other suggestions?

Do you have anything else that's important to remember when converting a game? Their DnD characters are just about to level up to level 2, and I haven't used to full character sheet so they don't have that much gear and details about them.

And finally, if you don't care about my game, what are your suggestions for Dungeon World racial moves for the races that aren't supported in the book?


  • I'm not a huge fan of how races work in DW, so for the Planarch Codex I introduced a new set of moves that work like this:

    When you create a new adventurer, decide on your species, ethnicity, and/or cultural heritage, picking anything or any combination of things that sounds interesting to you and the other players.

    For example, I might play a marsh-dwarf witch who has some spiderlord ancestry several generations back.

    Then, pick 2-3 starting heritage moves, selecting from the “monster moves” that best match your heritage (no matter where or who you come from: in somebody’s eyes, you and your family are monsters).

    I pick the Dwarven Warrior move ‘Drive them back;’ the Spiderlord move ‘Spew web fluid at someone, sticking them to the floor;’ and invent a marsh-related move: ‘Scavenge the terrain for food and supplies.’

    At the beginning of each session or when you invoke your rights of blood and tradition (however you do that), roll+Wis. On a 10+, hold 3. On a 7-9, hold 2. On a failure, you still hold 1. Spend this hold 1-for-1 during play to make a heritage move, just like that.

    When you gain new appreciation for your heritage, add a new heritage move or change an existing one.
  • I would ask the players "What excites you about playing a halfling? How do you see halfling paladins as distinct from other paladins?" And similar questions.

    And yeah, fey step. Eladrin are all about teleporting willy-nilly. That's such a LONG walk from your seat to the bar!
  • I'm not a fan of automatically having to Defy Danger with WIS upon arrival, but other than that those look fine.

  • Seconded on the Defy Danger, especially when WIS is a go-to dump stat for Rogues.

    I am seriously intrigued by that method for racial moves, but I'd probably just default to once per session or similar. What special thing do humans get? Or do they take powers to reflect their clan/family?
  • Deliverator, Jim_Crocker: Do you think the Thief move would be better off exactly as written but without the roll?

    I get that some of you don't like forcing the Thief to roll something he's not good as a lot, as it's more fun to start out being awesome and having moves that play to your strengths. I'll think it over. However, the automatic Defy Danger roll is not "upon arrival" – it's the entire thing. Fey stepping is dangerous, and you might bring something with you, leave something behind, arrive a second too late, arrive two seconds too early… There are a lot of complications I can think of. I might re-word it so that the Defy Danger roll is only in stressful situations, so that the player feels free to teleport for fun outside battle.

    J_Walton: that's cool, but I won't be using it this time. Part of it is the "it just happens" nature of monster moves, which I think I'd only feel comfortable using for non-MC characters if the players were experienced with the AW framework.
  • Personally, I'd just say something like:

    "Fey Step: You can teleport, about ten paces or so. Doing this too often, like say, more than once every five minutes, is a little risky."

    Then, y'know: are they doing it in a dangerous situation? Roll to Defy Danger. Are they using it to get OUT of a dangerous situation? Still a Defy Danger, but it gives them a bit of fictional leverage they might not have otherwise had (a way to escape being surrounded by orcs, say.)
  • Jim: Assuming that second comment is aimed at me, the basic human moves I used in playtesting were...

    • Be underestimated
    • Succeed at a foolish stunt
    • Enter the service of a greater power

    But, yeah, all PCs can also take moves based on their ethnic/cultural background, like if they were raised in a blood cult or hail from a particular region or something.
  • Maybe you could link the eladrin thief fey step move to Backstab? Like:
    - "you can feystep behind an enemy to surprise them and try to backstab them"
    - "when you succesfully backstab someone, you always don't get into melee with them by feystepping away"
  • I think all of those racial moves are solid! I'm particularly a fan of the half-elf paladin.

    The eladrin thief is maybe a little weird. A few ways to possibly address it:

    Why are you defying danger? Instead of stating the move to be made, state the fictional situation (you're disoriented, you're physically exhausted, whatever fits) and go from there. That will often trigger Defy Danger of course, but this way we're focused on the fiction.

    Another possible action is skipping the roll, but giving clear fictional context for why it's not always the best idea. This is one of my favorite things to do with D&D tropes—so these elves can step out of our world and pop back in a few paces away, how does that work within the world of the game? If it's really that simple, why haven't they conquered the world? What limits it such that the eladrin aren't the most powerful people in the world?

    A few possible answers:
    -It draws attention (a loud clap as air is pushed away, magical vibrations, etc.)
    -It can only happen in certain places
    -It requires something to make it happen
    -It leaves the eladrin vulnerable
  • Thanks!

    Adding what makes the move dangerous is definitely a good idea. I thought about what to add, and my favourite idea is this one:

    Eladrin Rogue:
    - You can slip into the feywild to show up anywhere within ten steps where your foes did not expect you. Be careful – magic runs wild there, as well as mystical beasts.

    A trip through a place where magical beasts run wild is potential enough for any amount of trouble, but if the player is worried that this seems far too risky, I'll console him with the fact that you're only there for the time it takes to run ten steps, which is not much. If I use this, I'd also change the Wizard's to match:

    Eladrin Wizard:
    - You get the following cantrip:
    Fey Step – you slip into the feywild and show up within ten steps where your foes did not expect you.

  • The best part of the Half-Elf Paladin is the unasked "if not, what the hell are you going to do about it?"
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