Posted by : David Guyll December 21, 2013

The Astral Sea is a major facet of A Sundered World, containing the remnants of every other world that was. Most of the time when the players have to deal with it, it will be while traveling, but they can also exploit its subjective gravity during, say, ship combat, while exploring ruins, or even just wandering around a city.

If you are not familiar with the Astral Sea, in Dungeons & Dragons you could walk on any solid surface as if it were the ground. You could also kick off and fly around, though you generally moved slower than usual (4th Edition made it a clumsy fly speed, while 3rd Edition based it on your
Intelligence modifier).

How we are representing this in Dungeon World (pending criticism that shows us a better way) is that when you are "drifting" (the term used for people not experienced at mental maneuverability) you use INT for stuff like making an accurate landing and evading an attack. Additionally you move at only about a walking pace and take -1 forward, because you are also moving pretty clumsily.

For characters that want to get better at this we whipped up an easily accessed compendium class, though it might get moved to a background. The only requirement is that you spend a meaningful amount of time drifting. Let us know what you like, dislike, would add, or remove.

ASTRAL SWIMMER
When willing yourself through the Astral, you can quickly pick up a running speed and take no penalties when maneuvering.

Once you have this move, you can then start picking up these other ones:

A LEAF ON THE ASTRAL WIND
When you are swimming through the Astral and maneuvering with grace is a factor, take +1 forward.

ASTRAL ASSEMBLY
When you gather up Astral essence to fabricate a weapon, tool, or other object without moving parts, roll+INT. *On a 10+, the item works normally for a few minutes. *On a 7-9, the item works for the most part; take -1 forward when using it and it will not last long. *On a miss, there is not enough essence around to make you want; take -1 ongoing when using this move until you leave the area.

PLOTTED TRAJECTORY
When you throw something or make a ranged attack in the Astral, you can use your INT instead of DEX, and you can even maneuver your shot around cover.

RAMMING SPEED
Once you get going there is very little that can stop you. You not only swim much faster than normal but when you manage to build up speed, the next melee attack you make gains the Forceful tag and deals +1d4 damage.

SIZE MATTERS NOT
While in the Astral your Load increases by 2+INT. While swimming you can also slowly push or drag objects that are up to Huge size.

RAISE DEFLECTING SHIELDS
Requires: Astral Assembly
When you are aware of attacks coming your way in the Astral, gain 1 Armor and ignore Forceful tags. 

{ 2 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. This is an awesome concept. Usually I find that compendium classes have some sort of entrance requirement though, something to mark that the character has passed over a threshold of some sort and been allowed entrance to the deeper mysteries and techniques of whatever club or class is in question. This one doesn't seem to have such a threshold, which is fine, but I thought I'd bring it up. Even something as simple as: When you spend a night, from sunset to sunrise in study and contemplation of the Astral Sea and its ways, you may take Astral Swimmer, ... .
    Also Plotted Trajectory seems a little strong. Giving away cover totally changes the rules of combat and fictional positioning, but your experiences may vary.

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  2. The entry requirement (so far, anyway) is that you "spend a meaningful amount of time drifting". The idea is that when a character spends a lot of time drifting that something eventually "clicks", and she can go faster and maneuver more elegantly. Spending a night in study sounds more defined and evocative; I like it, too!

    I wanted to make Plotted Trajectory do a bit more than let you exchange your DEX for INT. How about changing that bit to "when you take a minute to study someone's position behind cover, your next ranged attack ignores that cover".

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