by Jacob

Revisiting the Power/Aggression Control Mechanic in Dungeon World

A while back, in June, I posted a mechanic for a character powering up and trying to maintain control in Dungeon World. I’m revisiting and revising it in this post.  I’ll also be revising the Fate version in my next post.

While I still like the overall idea of how the old versions worked, neither really captured the true feel of how something like that is done in their respective game systems. The biggest problem, though, was the fact you needed to roll a second time in order to determine the results of losing or maintaining control. Rolling twice can slow the game down a fair bit.

I came up with an alternative (largely due to Delos’ griping)(Note from Delos: By griping he means constructive criticism) and presented the idea to Delos, who has done the most digging into the Dungeon/Apocalypse/Grim World materials out of everyone in my group and is therefore the resident expert.  He liked the basic idea, and so now I flesh it out for you.

Power Up

When using a move to try to inflict harm to an enemy or many enemies, you may choose to empower the move.  Choose up to 2 benefits and an equal number of detriments.  On a 10+, you gain your benefits and ignore the detriments. 7-9, you take the effects of both. 6-, you gain no benefits, but you suffer the detriments.


  • You disable one of the monsters moves
  • You deal an extra d4 damage (can be chosen twice for an extra 2d4 damage)
  • Gain +1 forward
  • Reduce their armor by 1 until they repair it
  • Add the forceful or messy tag to the attack


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

This move could be placed as a new custom class’s move, an advanced move, or if you’re feeling daring, you could allow this move to be available for everyone all the time.

Something Is Different

As you may notice, this move combines both rolls into one, essentially.  And, instead of simply gaining a bonus to the triggering move’s roll or a bonus to damage, you get a nice supply of options. Unfortunately, none give a bonus to the triggering move’s roll because then it would decrease the chance of the character suffering the detriments.


So that’s the new and hopefully improved version of the move.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.


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