Monday, July 30, 2018

Homebrew World

Homebrew World is the working title for my mini-hack of Dungeon World, optimized for one-shots and short-term campaigns.

Playbooks from my first time running this
You can find the most current print version right here:

Current print version

And here's the version for online play, using Google Sheets:

Current online version

So what's different?
  • Most +1/-1 modifiers are replaced with advantage/disadvantage (roll an extra die, discard the lowest/highest).
  • Parley is completely different; it’s as much an info-gathering move as it is a “convince them” move. Also: works on PCs.
  • Aid and Interfere are rewritten as well. Aid is now “grant advantage but with risk” and Interfere is its own thing.
  • Less dramatic rewrites of Hack and Slash, Defend, and Defy Danger
  • Expendables (rations, bandages, etc.) are condensed into “Supplies.” Adventuring gear is now a combo of undefined "load" and expending Supplies. Ammo is tracked as a "status" on weapons/equipment. Shields give a bonus to Defend.
  • Most “Special” moves are gone. Undertake a Perilous Journey is replaced with Venture Forth. I’ve included a couple of my favorite custom moves for speeding up play.
  • There are only 3 debilities, and each affects two stats. But they’re easier to clear.
  • XP and leveling are different, because this is meant for one-shots or short-term play. You get XP on a miss or when you Make Camp (instead of at end of session). An advance costs only 5 XP. You can burn XP to give yourself a +1 on a roll you just made.
  • No more “big number” on stats, just the modifier. Likewise, HP is now a set number per class.
  • “Race” is just part of your look. But everyone has a choice of Backgrounds, which replace the “race” moves and that give you a series of bond-like questions to use during intros.
  • Drives instead of Alignments; same mechanic but less baggage.
  • Many changes (some small, some big) within the classes themselves. 
    • There are two versions of the Fighter: one that's all skill and steel and guts, and the other (the Wielder) that's all about their special weapon. 

If I was going to be in charge of DW 2.0, this is a lot of what it would look like. 

Homebrew World was largely inspired by Yochai Gal's One Shot World (which you should totally look at, too; it's free, closer to "core" DW, and the materials he includes for GM support are great.)  It also owes a debt to Peter J, whose Dungeon World Quick Start Pack (no longer available) first got me thinking about this sort of thing.

If you have questions about Homebrew World, let me know in the comments, via Google Hangouts, or by email (jack underscore blackfoot at the yahoo company).  Likewise, if you play Homebrew World, I'd love to hear about it!


  1. someone who usually ends up playing a smashy-smashy fighter-style character in RPGs, I appreciate that one of the name options for the fighter is Hob <3

    Super cool! If I can't find an extant group to squeeze into I might try to use this as a gateway drug to form one.

  2. This is amazing! I love your work. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. This is amazing.
    It fixes so many small nags I have about DW

    1. Glad you like it! Let me know if you play it, or if you have any questions for feedback.

    2. What's your recommended player count? (min and max)

    3. TL;DR: recommended for 3-4; can work with 2 or 5; not recommended for 6+.

      Detailed answer:
      3 players seems to be the perfect number. That's enough players to form interesting triangles, and enough different points of view to get some really unexpected, creative angles on things. But it's a small enough group that you can spin up quickly and easily manage the spotlight, keeping everyone involved. I find I can get a lot of plot covered quickly with 3 players.

      4 players works well, but it's more work and moves less quickly.

      2 players would be my minimum, and I think it would work fine with the right players and GM. Even then, you'll find that the Background questions work poorly with 2 players... asking "Which of you put this job together" when there's only 1 other player doesn't work. You'd have to change the discussion to be more like "which of these questions makes the most sense?"

      As for maximum: I think it'd be the same as standard Dungeon World: it starts to strain with 5 players, and gets downright hard to manage with 6 but a skilled GM can do it. 7+ is really, really hard and the game will suffer for it even if you manage to pull it off.

  4. This looks great! I've used One Shot World twice now to great success with newbies at Cons. I'll try your version next since I love your rewording of some of the basic moves like Defend.