Monday, December 10, 2012

Adventure World: an explanation

I keep hearing criticisms from gamer friends that my Adventure World playbooks are unnecessary because somebody already made an Apocalypse World hack and it's called Dungeon World. Yeah, I know. I have a copy of the Dungeon World pdf and it's an impressive piece of work. But if I wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons using an Apocalypse World design philosophy, I would probably just play Dungeons & Dragons and use the MC moves out of Apocalypse World.

I am not a fan of level-based role-playing game systems. D&D is usually the game everybody starts with and so they just get used to this idea that power ascends gradually, but it's always felt disconnected in some way. I remember trying to learn the magic system for the first time and it took me a while to grasp that a 2nd-level wizard doesn't really have access 2nd-level spells. (I was 7 years old, and you'd think it didn't make sense too if you were that old.) When I first got exposed to GURPS and a purely skill-based system it was to play a Star Trek game where I suddenly had a lot of freedom to do whatever I wanted and so I focused on playing a fighter-type. It's what made me comfortable, and I've found that I gravitate toward the same play style every time I'm exposed to a new system.

Apocalypse World is probably the first RPG I've ever not played a warrior-type my first time playing. Without knowing anything about it, it just seemed like a very alien kind of game at first and I dove in with a somewhat random choice of playbook. I've come to really appreciate the game, and when I was recently asked if I wouldn't mind taking over as a GM sometime soon I thought "Well, I'd like to keep playing Apocalypse World, but in a fantasy setting."

That's where my Adventure World playbooks ave been coming from. I read through Dungeon World and didn't like that they retained the level system of traditional D&D, so I decided to make my own fantasy-themed playbooks that would owe more to the core game of Apocalypse World. I take inspiration from multiple sources: the Apocalypse World playbooks and bonus playbooks, the Dungeon World rules, and the Barf Forth Apocalyptica forums. I'm trying to make something unique for my game and my group of players, that still recognizably looks like the core game I started with.

And I've only just started. These playbooks I've been writing are first drafts.