Dungeon World – A Fantasy Role Playing System

Dungeon World Artwork

Dungeon World TTRPG

Dungeon World is a fantasy tabletop role playing game that emphasizes player choice and improvisation with a focus on collaborative storytelling. Players take on the roles of fantasy adventurers and work together to explore a fantasy world, defeat monsters, and complete quests.

In Dungeon World, players role play as fantasy characters, each with their own unique abilities and specialties. The game is played using a set of rules that are designed to be easy to understand with a focus on improvisation and player choice. There is less emphasis on battle mechanics in this game. The game is run by a Game Master (GM) who is responsible for creating the world and the adventure. The GM uses a set of guidelines called playbooks to create the game world.

The game mechanics in Dungeon World are designed to be simple and intuitive. Players roll two six-sided dice to determine the outcome of their actions with the goal of rolling high enough to succeed. The GM also rolls dice to determine the outcome of the non-player characters’ actions and events in the game world.

Players can also use special abilities called moves to perform actions or talk to NPCs. There is also a system for character advancement. Players can earn experience points and level up their characters, gaining new abilities and becoming more powerful.

Powered by the Apocalypse

Dungeon World is based on the Powered by the Apocalypse game engine which is a set of game mechanics and design principles that were first used in the TTRPG Apocalypse World and later adapted for other games like Root RPG, Monsterhearts and Blades in the Dark.

The Powered by the Apocalypse (PbtA) engine is a set of simple and intuitive mechanics that are designed to encourage player creativity and improvisation. It also emphasizes collaborative storytelling where the players have a lot of agency in shaping the story and the world they are exploring. The PbtA engine is characterized by its use of moves, which are special abilities that characters can use to perform specific actions, and its use of playbooks, which are guidelines that the Game Master (GM) can use to create a rich and detailed world.

Dungeon World Themes

Dungeon World does not have a specific setting or story. Instead it provides a streamlined set of guidelines and tools for the GM to create their own world and adventures. The game is set in a fantasy world which can include elements such as magic, mythical creatures, and ancient ruins. The GM is free to create a world that is as complex or as simple as they wish.

The GM is also responsible for creating the story and the adventures that the players will go on. These can include anything from rescuing a princess from a dragon’s lair, to exploring ancient ruins in search of lost treasure, to fighting against a powerful necromancer who seeks to conquer the world. The GM can also create non-player characters (NPCs) to interact with the players and provide information about the world and the story.

Fronts and Playbooks

Dungeon World comes with some pre-written adventures and characters in the book. These are called fronts and playbooks respectively.

Fronts are similar to adventures, but they are not fully fleshed out stories. They are more like a collection of threats and challenges that the players might encounter in a specific area or dungeon. The fronts in Dungeon World can be used as a starting point for the GM to create their own adventures, or as a way to quickly generate encounters and challenges for the players. The fronts include details like the enemies, hazards and treasures that the players might encounter, as well as information on the NPCs that they might meet.

Playbooks are pre-written character archetypes that players can use as a starting point to create their own characters. These playbooks include information on the character’s abilities, equipment, and starting moves. Playbooks include classes like the Cleric, the Thief, the Wizard and more, each with their own set of abilities and specialties. Playbooks also include a set of questions that players can answer to help them create a background and personality for their character.

Dungeon world artwork

Dungeon World Game Mechanics

Basic moves are actions that all characters can perform, regardless of their class or race. They include things like attacking, defending, and using magic. When a player wants to perform a basic move, they roll two six-sided dice and add any relevant modifiers to the roll. The GM will also roll dice to determine the outcome of the non-player characters’ actions and events in the game world.

Moves are special abilities that characters can use to perform specific actions, such as searching for treasure, disarming traps, and communicating with NPCs. They are triggered by specific circumstances, and they often involve rolling dice to determine the outcome. For example, when a player’s character wants to search for treasure, they would use the “search” move, which would involve rolling two six-sided dice and comparing the result to a target number set by the GM.

For character advancement, players earn experience points (XP) by completing quests and overcoming challenges. Once a character earns enough XP, they can level up, gaining new abilities and becoming more powerful. This allows players to customize their characters and make them unique, tailored to the player’s preferences.

The game also features the concept of Bonds, a mechanic that allows the players to create relationships. The relationships can be between their characters and the NPCs or with other players. Bonds are used to generate story ideas and give the players a sense of investment in the game world.

How to Find Adventures for Dungeon World

There are a few ways to find pre-written stories or adventures for Dungeon World:

  • The official Dungeon World website has a section called “Adventures” that includes a variety of pre-written fronts and adventures that you can download and use in your game.
  • There are also a number of third-party publishers that create and sell adventures and supplements for Dungeon World. These can be found by searching online for “Dungeon World adventures” or “Dungeon World supplements.”
  • You can also find pre-written stories or adventures on online forums and communities dedicated to Dungeon World. Many of these forums and communities also have sections where players can share their own creations and campaigns.
  • You can also look for pre-written stories or adventures on platforms like itch.io or DrivethruRPG
Scroll to Top