Here are the first rough drafts of the playbooks for my Land of 10,000 Gods Dungeon World game. Experienced Dungeon World aficionados will notice that they are mostly kit-bashed versions of more familiar character playbooks.
A few things to note:
- I decided that Vancian magic just didn’t work for the vision I had. Yes, it had its good spots in players looking for old, dusty scrolls. But it’s been used enough and I wanted something more dynamic and creative for my spellcasting characters to do than pick through a list.
- Almost all characters have in their description a “Hero Mark”. Particularly in artistic depictions, heroic characters frequently had distinctive coloring or some feature that marked them out as extraordinary, and I decided to use this as a personalization of what is commonly known as “the PC glow”. Characters have a particular physical characteristic that marks them out as heroes. That’s the ONLY effect it has. It doesn’t interfere or aid them in any other way. So if a hero has a glowing aura it doesn’t hinder her when she is trying to sneak, nor does it help her when she is trying to see in the dark. As with such things in literature and art, it’s there when it is useful to perform its task, and forgotten otherwise.
artist_adventurer: in tales, whether sung, performed, written, or depicted in art, the hero’s life is all glory and adventure. These tales inspire hope and bravery and determination.
You want to do more than simply depict the tales of others who inspired you. You want to be the inspiration for a new generation of tales, the great hero who will inspire children through song and story and play. Nobody knows more about the history, the nature of the hero than those who spend their lives depicting them. Time to start making your own tale.
Ascetic some say the ways of the gods are unknowable. Some say not. But you have found a path to understanding the gods – you seek to be more like them by freeing your spirit from the physical limitations of the body. Your physical form is irrelevant, and useful only to demonstrate to others your mastery of it. The spiritual is what holds your attention, not base need for food and drink. Years of contorting your body have made you strong and tough however, and you are not above giving your foes an opportunity to master pain – lots of pain.
Ascetic Paths included here!
Barbarian: civilization is the best thing ever invented and agriculture is pure genius! How else could so many people live so close together and produce so much wealth for you to plunder? Gold, food, clothing, weapons – all yours for the taking whenever necessity or the mood strikes you. Granted their cities stink and the majority of so-called civilized people are weaklings, mere sheep waiting for you, the wolf. But your desire has always been to live free, to conquer, and to die with your sword in someone else’s ribcage while you spit curses into their face.
Life is good.
Druid: you are of the sacred spaces, you were born of the soil and wear the marks of her spirits on your skin. You may have had a life before, but not now. You have given up your static shape. You listen to your allies praying to their strange gods and polishing their metal items. They speak of the glories of that festering town you left behind.
Their gods are children, their items false protection. You walk the old ways, you wear the pelts of the earth itself. You will take part in their adventures, but you will never be one of them.
Holy Killer: Even the gods die. So what is more powerful than the gods? Death. Death is the key that unlocks the circle of rebirth. Death leads to reincarnation – punishment for the guilty, reward for the enlightened. There is no improvement and no cosmic retribution without death.
Your faith has many imitators – the selfish and greedy who seek to hide behind your holy calling in order to rob and murder. Only a few see the true importance of death in the cosmic scheme, and travel the world unrecognized on a holy mission.
Bring the guilty to cosmic punishment. Bring the deserving closer to enlightenment.
Mage: You are one of the select few among all the races who have discovered the secret power of magic in the world, and have begin to explore both the heights to which it can bring you and the limitations it can place upon you. You can’t do everything, but what you can do is mighty. Perhaps your companions will prove useful in their own way, but you are the mage, and your power defies belief.
Priest: everyone believes in the gods, but few take the time to study them, to explore them, to understand them. You have dedicated your life to the gods – to understanding their nature, their needs, and how to petition their aid in times of need. The subject is far too broad to master in its entirety, but you have developed a special relationship with some of the gods, and they are more likely to hear your petitions than those of others. They grant you a fraction of their power in exchange for the devotion you show them. Their power shields you from harm. Your very presence reminds others of the greatness of the gods.
Ranger: the city born folk you travel with – have they never heard the tiger’s cough, felt the wind from the mountains burn with cold, felt the silence of the barrens stretching for miles around? They have not, and for those reasons they would be lost without you.
You are the one to guide them through the wild, the one to put food in their bellies, the one who will make certain that their camping spots are secure. Your companions may be bold, but without you they are no more than a feast for wolves. For the honor of the wild, for the beauty and often harsh truth of the natural world, you will bring them safe to where they are going.
Relic Bearer the gods have chosen you to bear one of their relics in the world, and you travel with holy purpose. The relic often leads you into danger, but you deal with such hazards gladly in exchange for the chance to carry an object made manifest by the gods, and to further their work in the world by using it. Travelling the world fighting enemies of the gods isn’t an easy life, but you never wanted one anyway.
Go forth! Smite! Destroy that which the gods deem unworthy! Carve yourself a place in the Vedas and bring about the will of heaven!
Trickster: There’s too many rules in the world. Everywhere you go, people are telling you what you can and can’t do, making idle threats if you don’t behave. Who needs that? You’re a free spirit. There’s never been a situation you couldn’t charm your way out of. You’re better off without all those pesky rules. Cunning is your sword, deception your armor. But when those fail, you’ve still got friends with steel armor to hide behind. Nice guys, but still beholden to a world of rules. They need your help to settle the fights that can’t be won with violence. A few clever words and careful manipulation can opendoors better than a battering ram. Trust me.
Warrior Poet: the world is a civilized place, a place of beauty, a place of refinement. Unfortunately, there are those who would bring about its downfall – who would see the beauty, refinement, culture, and development that so many have striven for destroyed for no better reason than greed or simple love of destruction. You love poetry and comfort and art. You like nothing more than to lay back on comfortable cushions and listen to a pretty girl play the veena while eating good food. But someone has to defend civilization, someone has to make sure that everything doesn’t burn. It is the will of the gods that the someone is you. And so you strap on your armor and pick up your weapon again and again, and go forth into the world to stop that which would kill poetry, music, dance, and painting.
Go forth! Inspire the next generation of artists and storytellers, that they may immortalize your deeds.
*I noticed at the last minute that I hadn’t quite finished page 3 of the Priest. I’ll get a revised version up tomorrow.