I’ve been meaning to get to this one for a while so I’m taking a break from Fragged Empire and getting back into Dungeon World.
Sundered World is a new setting for the Dungeon World game written by David Guyll and Melissa Fisher. It came about when David was running a D&D 4e game in his own world. The short version of what this setting is: “When gods and titans fought for the world, both sides destroyed each other and what was left was a broken world where people continue to exists.” Instead of having one big planet for people to live on you have a bunch of little planets, chunks of rock, the bodies of dead gods, or whatever. Gravity is subjective and people can generally float, fly, or walk on walls and ceilings at will. This setting is…different.
I’m going to cover the crunchy mechanics and less about the setting. I want to judge this book based on how useful it would be to most people. Generally I cherry pick what I like out of splat books and never use the whole thing.
I should also note that I have hired David out to do art for my stuff and we have worked together getting feedback on each others work. That being said, I’m reviewing this without worrying about hurting David’s feelings because he only has the one and Melissa keeps it in her purse.
The book starts out going through the general feel and history of the setting, which I’m going to skip over and jump to races. Any race can be used in SW, but SW also comes with it’s own. They are:
- Think Tiefling/half-demon
- Sentient golems powered by a raw element (fire, storms, water, or wind)
- Treated as living creatures, unlike the Kytheran (below)
- Angels without a god to follow
- Instead of being small lizard men these are spirits that take the form of small men or animals
- Created from the blood of dead gods
- Dragonborn/half dragons more or less
- Creature that wraps itself in raw astral matter
- Weird as all get out
Each of the races presented have a full color picture, choices for looks, names, questions for your background, a new racial move, and a bunch of advanced moves you can take instead of class ones. Each race has about five advanced moves. Any race can be any class.
So first off, some of these races are really weird/different. I realize that SW is going for different so it hits that chord just fine, but a few of these I could see never seeing playtime at my home table due to their completely alien nature. Though if I ran SW more like a sci-fi game than a standard fantasy one, maybe some of the stranger ones would see play time.
The racial mechanics add some nice flavor to the characters and you’re basically getting a free compendium class you qualify for right out the gate.
Sundered World has its own classes as well though you can use the base classes from DW. From what I understand these classes are completely new (as in David and Melissa haven’t released them as separate play books elsewhere). They are:
- A psionic warrior that can transform their bodies into weapons. Hands and arms become blades and skin becomes as hard as steel.
- I think my version of the Battlemind is better. I’m not biased. Just ask me.
- Cleric to dead gods. Less about worship and more so you’re imbued with whatever spark of a god was leftover after it died.
- Someone who specializes in transportation magic and exploration
- Someone who houses a spirit of some sort in their body. The spirit provides power and council to you.
- Spell caster who made a deal with the devil, fairy noble, or Cth’ulu
- Feels a lot like the D&D 4e warlock
- Instead of a spell list, this rendition of the wizard accumulates Fatigue with every spell casting. Once Fatigue=current HP the wizard passes out. Fatigue is reset to 0 after short rest.
Sundered World also offers up six compendium classes. These are a little different due to the fact that some of them require a certain level to take some of the moves, but otherwise they follow the standard form.
So we have six new classes. I could see some of these being used in any DW game, but the Battlemind and Nomad seem to fit in better in just this setting. The classes appear balanced compared to the base classes of DW. At the very least I didn’t read any game breakers. Some of the classes introduce mechanics I’ve not seen before, while others are more simple “Here are a few moves you can play with”. Nothing wrong with that. Some are more complicated than others.
This section offers new:
- And materials they are made out of
- And materials they are made out of
- Dungeon Gear
- Flying ships
- With canons
- And moves to control and use said ships
- And how to build your own ships
- Flying ships
- Magic Items
Without going through the lists in great detail, there are a lot of new tags to play with. Some of them are very specific to SW but a lot could be used outside of the setting. The ships are simple enough to use and come with examples if you don’t want to build your own. This chapter offers a fun grab bag of cool, weird, and downright “It does what now?” awesome. Not everything in here is a game changer, like armor materials, but they do add some nice fluff.
Alright so I’m about half way through the book so I’m going to take a break and finish it up next time. While some of the stuff I’ve read has some use outside of the setting, I feel that a bunch of it is tied too closely to the setting to be useful outside of it. With a little fluffing you could probably reskin it to make it work. That being said, I didn’t see anything bad, just really weird.
David has told me that he’s trying to be different than other settings and not just another version of Forgotten Realms/Dragonlance/Dark Sun. While some of the individual ideas may not be totally original, as a whole he’s made a really different setting. When I first cracked this open I knew a little about Sundered World and was basically expecting “Elves in Space”, but I got something even weirder.
So if you’re looking for DW but with the weird turned up to 11 I think you’ll enjoy SW. The second half of my review/read through will be about the DM side of things more so. What the book offers the person behind the DM screen.
As always thanks for reading.