Friday, February 1, 2013

Adventure World: notes

When you play Adventure World, your GM is called the Oracle.

Why the Oracle? Because an oracle is a predictor and counselor, divining for knowledge from the unknown. An oracle is a guide, not a dictator.

two 6-sided dice

Just like Apocalypse World, the Adventure World hack uses 2d6. But the success threshold is 8-11 for partial successes, and 12+ for total success. The maximum a single ability can be raised to is +5. This means there is greater difficulty to achieve complete success in areas a character is not specialized in, but the specialized areas where a character is maxed to +5 have less chances of failure.
A +3 still misses on a roll of 2 or 3, a +5 only misses on a roll of 2.

Race separate from class.

race playbooks
NAMES Name suggestions come from race, not class
STATS always balances to zero: one stat at +1 and another at -1
MOVES get one automatically; extra racial moves become improvements
GEAR sometimes, not always; gear primarily comes from class
HX only describes "on other players' turns" effect
SPECIAL sex move comes from race

class playbooks
STATS always balances to +1: two stats at +1 and another at -1
MOVES get one automatically; extra class moves become improvements
GEAR gear primarily comes from class
HX only describes "on your turn" effect
SPECIAL death move comes from class

Basic Moves

These are only slightly changed from the original rules. I'm still toying with the idea of expanding some of the choices by separating the descriptions. I'll probably keep this the way it is though.

When you face danger, attempt to sneak, or act defensively, roll +Valor.
When you embark upon a journey, roll +Valor.
When you threaten someone, roll +Power.
When you inflict violence against someone, roll +Power.
When you seduce, charm or manipulate someone, tell them what you want and roll +Moxie.
When you read a person or examine your environment, roll +Alert.
When you attempt to discern the unnatural from an object you can touch, roll +Magic. (this is essentially a limited form of Detect Magic / Legend Lore, but the key aspect is that everybody has access to it)
When you attempt to commune with the shadows, roll +Magic.

Language Wheels

One of the things I wanted to add to my Adventure World hack was languages. Old school fantasy RPGs always relied upon languages for communicating properly and some character classes even had abilities for deciphering ancient languages. I wanted to convey the process of learning a language or attempting to translate something into a relatively easy to understand mechanic. It was suggested that I use the countdown clock and I thought this was a capital idea, so I turned what I had written into the Language Wheel.

When you try to understand speech, roll+moxie. On a 12+, choose 2. On a 8-11, choose 1:
• you make yourself understood
• you understand more-or-less what they're saying
• you don't come off looking like a fool

When you try to translate script, roll+alert. On a 12+, choose 2. On a 8-11, choose 1:
• you understand the basic message of the script
• you translate the script quickly
• you learn another facet of the language, mark 1 segment of your language wheel

Every time you roll to understand a language you will mark 1 segment of the Language Wheel. Having at least 1 segment in the wheel means that the PCs can communicate simple ideas like "where is food?" or "can I sleep here?" or "do you have flint and steel?" but complex ideas like "can you help me scout this mountain?" or “let me show you how we should ambush those bastards in the valley!” or "don't kill him, he's the only one who knows how to get out of here!" need a roll until the Wheel is completely filled in. Once the Language Wheel is full and one more failed roll occurs the character understands the language and doesn't need to roll anymore, they've learned the Language.


Attempting to make a realistic system leads to headaches (see GURPS, see Deadlands). Hit Points are fine.
Everybody starts with 10. You can get more, but since there is no leveling up, you have to sacrifice potential skill for more health. Armor is still going to work like AW. If you have 4-armor then it prevents 4 points of damage, etc.

Death Moves

One of the things I've been toying with is the concept of PC death affecting the other characters. This kind of move would either give a permanent bonus to those who don't die, or a temporary shift of power that lasts for the rest of the session.
When Obi-Wan Kenobi died: When you die your body disappears and everybody witnessing this gets +1 Valor for the rest of the session.
When Gandalf died: After you die, you may return at the start of the next session as an angelic version of yourself. You may not take Improvements anymore.
When Buffy died: When you die everybody else improves examine an environment.
When Charlie (on LOST) died: When you die tell the MC to reveal a secret, or a secret threat.

You can kind of see how this works. For actual death moves, the move would be something beneficial but keyed into the character type that is dying. A fighter or barbarian who dies gives everybody else a dot of experience. A thief who dies causes a distraction or reveals a secret as they fall. Stuff like that.


I've tried to come up with a list of "regular" extras that characters might pick up through the course of play. While these are not complete, this is a listing of ones I have already written. I suspect I might end up writing a few that are custom to races.

Laboratory: Choose which of the following your laboratory includes. Choose 3: a stable, a tower, a well-stocked pantry, a cellar, a private garden, skilled labor (apprentices), a mine of raw materials, a forge, a fortified carriage, carpentry tools, alchemical equipment, gemstones and crystals, a target range, a relic of the ancient past, booby traps.
When you go into your laboratory and dedicate yourself to making a thing, or to getting to the bottom of some mess, decide what and tell the Oracle. The Oracle will tell you “sure, no problem, but…” and then 1 to 4 of the following:
• it’s going to take hours/days/weeks/months of work;
• first you’ll have to get/build/fix/figure out ___;
• you’re going to need ___ to help you with it;
• it’s going to cost you a ton of gold;
• the best you’ll be able to do is a crap version, weak and unreliable;
• it’s going to mean exposing yourself (plus colleagues) to serious danger;
• you’re going to have to add ___ to your laboratory first;
• it’s going to take several/dozens/hundreds of tries;
• you’re going to have to take ___ apart to do it.
The Oracle might connect them all with “and,” or might throw in a merciful “or.”
Once you’ve accomplished the necessaries, you can go ahead and accomplish the thing itself. The Oracle will stat it up, or spill the beans, or whatever it calls for.

Hideout: By default, your hideout is in a secluded location, with food and lodgings for a half-dozen people for a week (more at a stretch). Then, choose 2:
• Your hideout is large (lodgings for several dozen)
• Your hideout is well-stocked (food for a month)
• Your hideout is hidden and guarded by traps
• Your hideout is guarded by five loyal retainers (3-damage small band)
• Your hideout is defensible (3-armor for a band defending it)
And choose one:
• Your hideout’s location is well-known (+famous)
• Your hideout is difficult and dangerous to reach (+hazard)
• Your hideout is filthy and ill-kept (+disease)
• You share your hideout with someone you don’t command (+rivalry)

Musicians: you have two to five musicians that follow you around, write songs about you, and play instruments. At the beginning of the session, roll+music. On a 10+, your band have surplus. On a 7–9, they have surplus, but choose 1 want. On a miss, they have no surplus and are in complete want. If their surplus lists gold, that’s your personal share. These are loyal to you but not fanatical, and they have their own lives apart from you (surplus: 1-gold, music +1, want: desertion). Name them. Characterize them.
Choose 2:
• the musicians are dedicated to you. Surplus: +1gold, and replace want: desertion with want: idle.
• the musicians are educated and worldly. Surplus: +insight.
• the musicians are dedicated to their craft. +1music.
• the musicians are joyous and celebratory. Surplus: +party.
• the musicians are shrewd and frugal. Surplus: +1gold.
• the musicians are hard-working, no-nonsense. Surplus: +1gold.
• you travel with a full compliment. Add four more musicians. Surplus: +2gold, Add want: hunger.
Choose 2:
• the musicians aren’t really yours, more like you’re theirs. Want: +judgment.
• the musicians rely entirely on you for their lives and needs. Surplus: -1gold.
• the musicians are sloppy and simple. -1music.
• the musicians disdain fashion, luxury and convention. Want: +disease.
• the musicians disdain law, peace, reason and society. Surplus: +violence.
• the musicians are decadent and perverse. Want: +savagery.

Workshop: you have tools and the space to make some kind of craft. Choose 1:
• leatherworks (projects: clothing, armor; cost: 1 gold; wants: skins, coal)
• carpentry (projects: furniture, shelter; cost: 2 gold; wants: wood, skins)
• smithy (projects: armor, weapons; cost: 2 gold; wants: metal, coal)
• jeweler (projects: rings, necklace; cost: 3 gold; wants: metal, gems)
During downtime, you may attempt a project provided you have the materials needed by paying the cost. Roll+alert. On a 12+, you make the project in the time allotted and have items worth twice the cost. On a 8-11, you’re lacking in materials and need to fulfill one of your wants before you can finish. Your final project will be worth as much as the cost to build it. On a miss, the project is a disaster and you lose all the materials associated with the project.
You can take Smithing multiple times, specifying a new craft each time you take it.
needs work

Warband: By default, your warband consists of 5 violent bastards with low quality weapons and armor (3-damage band small 2-armor). They are not fanatical or mindless, but they are impressed by you and pretty much do what you say. Then, choose 2:
• your warband consists of 15 more violent bastards. Size: medium instead of small.
• your warband’s well-armed. +1damage.
• your warband’s well-armored. +1armor.
• your warband will not betray you. +loyal.
• your warband is well-educated. +insight.
• your warband will fight to the death. +brave.
• your warband’s self-sufficient, able to provide for itself by raiding and scavenging. It gets +rich.
And choose 1:
• your warband’s weapons are makeshift and crude. It gets -1damage.
• your warband disdains armor (why?). It gets -2armor.
• your warband is a pack of undisciplined hyenas. It gets +savage.
• your warband’s loose-knit, with members coming and going as they choose. Vulnerable: desertion.
• your warband is in significant debt to someone powerful. Vulnerable: obligation.
• your warband is filthy and unkempt. Vulnerable: disease.
• your warband is lax about security and likes to drink and brag. Vulnerable: reprisals.
• your warband depends entirely upon you for their needs. Vulnerable: poor.

Any kind of followers who die will not be gradually replaced, but new followers can be acquired by visiting towns and impressing the locals. If mistreated they might leave, but in time you might be able to recruit replacements. Consult your Oracle for details.

ideas for improvements

XP buys improvements


1 gold will cover a month's living expenses, if your tastes aren't extravagent
100 silver can be converted to 1 gold