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Tabletop Game / Dungeon World

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Dungeon World is a Powered by the Apocalypse tabletop RPG from Sage LaTorra and Adam Koebel, and published by Sage Kobold Productions digitally in 2012, with a print version released the following year. The game has a specific focus on sword-and-sorcery fantasy and dungeon crawling.

As one might expect from a Powered By The Apocalypse game, Dungeon World categorizes player actions into "moves", with the appropriate ability modifier added to a roll of 2d6. A 10+ result means a success without complication, 7-9 means the move partly succeeds or succeeds with a problem, and 6 or less means there is trouble (not necessarily limited to failure), but the player also receiving an experience point.


The game also emphasizes the idea of "Draw maps and leave blank spaces", giving players the opportunity to improvise and allow the finer details of the dungeon to emerge during gameplay.

The full rulebook includes tons of details in an easily-digestible format, although everything necessary to play in terms of info (character sheets, reference sheets and GM sheets) is available for free on the official website.


Dungeon World contains examples of:

  • Animate Dead: The Cleric gets this as a third level spell, with the raised zombie getting a choice of 1d4 traits including added durability, a +2 modifier due to talent, and/or a functioning brain that allows it to complete complex tasks.
  • Animorphism: The Druid gets this as a starting move with "Shapeshifter", calling on the spirits to change their shape. The "Chimera" advanced move even allows them to shapeshift into a merged form of up to three different shapes.
  • Back Stab: As befitting the class, the Thief playbook includes this as a starting move. This can be given extra damage with "Cheap Shot", and even more so with "Dirty Fighter".
  • Battlecry: The Barbarian's "War Cry" move, using a CHA roll to either rally allies or strike fear into enemies.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: One of the advanced Ranger moves allows the player to do this when they stay still in natural surroundings.
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  • Counterspell: Shows up by name as an advanced move for the Wizard playbook, granting +2 armor if the Wizard has at least one prepared spell of first level or higher.
  • Death Glare: The Fighter has an advanced move called "Evil Eye" where a CHA roll can cause an enemy to freeze or flinch on a success, or immediately identify the Fighter as the biggest threat on a failure.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Comes with the territory, with the added mechanical wrinkle of having finer details fleshed out by the players and GM on the fly through success rolls. "Draw maps and leave blank spaces", as the rules put it.
  • Experience Points: As this is a Powered by the Apocalypse game, these are handled through a lot more than just combat encounters. Players are awarded experience based on resolving the bonds between them and other players, learning new and important things about the world, overcoming notable monsters or enemies, or looting memorable treasure. The latter three are awarded to everyone simultaneously if the players democratically agree that they happened by the end of the session.
  • Fantastic Light Source: The whole purpose of the Wizard's "Light" cantrip, allowing an object they touch to give off a light as bright as a normal torch for as long as it is in their presence.
  • Hellfire: Immolators can summon these from their moves using the Advanced Move From Hell's Heart, which makes cold black fire, which serves as an Armor-Piercing Attack due to it scorching the soul itself. Due to this, it's also unable to harm creatures without souls.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: The Ranger playbook has a starting move which gives the character a supernatural connection to a creature of the player's choice.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: The Druid's "Chimera" move allows them to shapeshift into one of these with up to three different animal shapes involved.
  • Playing with Fire: The Immolator, a playbook for characters built around various means of controlling fire, even going so far as to incorporate metaphorical fires such as igniting an NPC's passion by introducing them to a new idea using the "Firebrand" move, or "Sick Burn" for insulting an NPC.
  • Projectile Spell: The Wizard's "Magic Missile" first level spell, closer to its single-target variant from D&D 4e rather than what 5e would later do by giving the option to hit several creatures.
  • Rain of Something Unusual: "Storm Of Vengeance", a ninth level Cleric spell, can cause this to happen. The weather in question can be anything of the player's choice, with the playbook using blood/acid rain, clouds of souls, and winds strong enough to carry buildings as examples. Watch The World Burn, an Advanced Move for Immolators, also allows you to do this by creating a rain of fire.
  • Ritual Magic: The Wizard can do this as a starting move whenever they draw on a place of power to create a magical effect. The GM decides on the duration, steps, who should assist, what the ritual will cost, or any risks involved.
  • Shout-Out: Many playbook moves are a reference of some kind, often to music.
  • Soul Jar: The Wizard's ninth level "Soul Gem" ability allows them to trap a dying creature's soul within a gem.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: The Ranger playbook points out that this isn't what happens when their Loyal Animal Companion acts on their will, but the "Wild Empathy" advanced move allows them to do this.
    • The Druid has a similar starting move in "Spirit Tongue", specific to creatures whose essence the Druid has studied.
  • Turn Undead: Shows up in the form of a Cleric starting move, where as long as the Cleric is holding and brandishing their holy symbol, no undead may come within reach of them. A 10+ result can even momentarily daze intelligent undead and cause mindless undead to flee.
  • Vancian Magic: The Wizard has access to a Powered by the Apocalypse-flavoured variation of this. When a prepared spell is released, the Wizard rolls +INT. A 10+ result causes a successful cast without the spell being used up. A 7-9 casts the spell, but at a cost of either drawing unwelcome attention, disturbing the fabric of reality thus taking -1 ongoing to cast a spell until the next time the Wizard prepares spells, or the Wizard simply forgets the spell and cannot cast it again until they prepare spells.
  • White Mage: The Cleric playbook, coming with a suite of healing spells in addition to their starting and advanced moves.


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