by Jacob

Power/Aggression Control Mechanic in Dungeon World

A little bit back, I showed a way to add an control mechanic to Fate; go check it out for the basic explanation at the beginning, since I’m going to jump straight into the mechanic in this article.

The Mechanics

I’m going to present the mechanic as a new universal move that everyone can use, but I think it would work a bit better as a specific class mechanic. But that would restrict you using a class that I invented to just show off the mechanic, so it’s up to you to use it as you will.

The ideas behind the system are very similar to the Fate version; it can have a control bonus and a power rating.

Unlike the Fate game, I would actually suggest a control bonus stat (Wisdom works pretty well, I think). This is only because, if a player takes the maximum bonus from the suggested power rating, there is no possible way to get a 10+. While this isn’t a horrible thing (when characters try to max out, they should probably take consequences), it’s not quite the desired effect of the system. It’s meant to be a gamble, not a worthless choice. There should be a little tension from the choice.

The power rating can also be a simple flat number. I would suggest 3 or 4. The special thing about the power rating in Dungeon World, though, is that it can be applied towards your attack roll or damage roll, but not split between both, which actually causes the move to be split into two moves, since each would cause different sorts of adverse effects.

The moves would be listed as follows:

Focus

When using a move to try to inflict harm to an enemy or many enemies, you may try to add an additional bonus to the roll used to hit the target, up to 3. You must choose to do this, including how much of a bonus you’ll use, before the roll takes place. After that roll, but before damage is rolled/calculated, ROLL – the bonus you gained + Wis. On a 10+, no adverse effects happen. For 7-9, choose one bad thing. For 6-, choose two.

  • You opened yourself to attack from your target. Take 1d6 damage.
  • You are now farther from your goal.
  • You placed yourself in a dangerous situation.

Bombard

When using a move to try to inflict harm to an enemy or many enemies, you may try to add an additional bonus to the damage done, up to 4. You must choose to do this, including how much of a bonus you’ll use, before the to-hit roll takes place. After the to-hit roll, but before damage is rolled/calculated, ROLL – the bonus you gained + Wis. On a 10+, no adverse effects happen. For 7-9, choose one bad thing. For 6-, choose two.

  • You overstrain yourself. You are now Weak. If you are already Weak, you become Shaky. If you are already Shaky, you become Sick.
  • You cause collateral damage, making movement more difficult or putting a goal in jeopardy.
  • You accidentally hurt your ally. Deal half damage to an ally.

Variants

These are especially applicable when you use the move as a specific class mechanic instead of the universal moves.

  • The max bonuses are equal to the stat bonus used in the to-hit roll.
  • Bombard’s control roll bonus uses Con instead of Wis. This is largely based on if you use this as a class move for something similar to the Blood Mage.
  • If the moves are used in a more specific way for a class, try to come up with different adverse effects. For instance, an Aes Sedai from the Wheel of Time series could end up stilling/gentling themselves.

Other Ideas?

I’m pretty new to trying to invent moves for Dungeon World, so I don’t have the practice needed to generate a bunch of good, useful narrative things that could broadly go wrong for failing the control roll. If you have some additional ideas, for the bullet points or otherwise, put them in the comments below, and I’ll add them as soon as I can.





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