Posted by : David Guyll March 01, 2015

Waaay back in November I wrote a post about someone asking if he had said something wrong in one of Tim's pity posts.

The short of it is that someone made a joke at Tim's character's expense, so he did what no rational, well-adjusted adult would do: he went on the internet and whined about it, forgetting that if you make a public pos, that not everyone is just going to tell you what you want to hear.

See, Tim is one of (unfortunately) many arm chair slacktavists that thinks, among other nonsensical things, every group should have a woman, and if you can't find one that someone should play a female character so that the group can have "a woman's perspective", because apparently straight white men think they know what women want.

But why bring Tim up again? Well, I'd been noticing for the past few days people trickling in from a site called donotlink to my Class Warfare review. I couldn't see where it was originally coming from, but I mentioned it on Twitter (and made sure to blast the review link again), and someone pointed out that it was coming from Tim's latest Dungeon World "guide".

Ooof course.

It's an 8-page wall of text that, in addition to making misleading, objectively false claims that with Class Warfare you can do things that you "couldn't ever do with regular level 1 DW characters" (I guess most GMs only let you use very specific third-party resources? I mean, my first Dungeon World character was a kobold fighter that could hurl fire at 2nd-level), purports to prove a very specific part of my Class Warfare review "wrong".

I'd say it's flattering that he thinks my opinion matters so much that he just has to mention it, but from what I've seen he's both a mediocre designer and sycophantic writer that doesn't even have the guts to accurately portray my stance or even use a proper link, so it's really just sadly humorous. Here's what he says:

"One review has mentioned that no one would ever take specialities like Shopkeeper, Landed Gentry, or Luminary because they are counter to the idea of Dungeon World (going into a dangerous dungeon) but that is wrong."

There's a footnote at the end that refers to page 38 of Dungeon World, which clarifies that any place filled with danger and opportunity could be labeled a dungeon, something Tim apparently thinks is foreign to me. Here's what I actually said in the review:

"There are a number of specialties that I couldn't see anyone using, especially in a typical Dungeon World game, like the fool, pilgrim, luminary, merchant, landed gentry, and shopkeeper.

I mean, who wouldn't want to be able to roll+WIS to see if you have an item in stock? Fuck going into a dungeon, managing a store is where it's at! Hell, once you hit 6th-level you can even pick a move that lets you check your store for stuff that you shouldn't have.

Not sure why anyone would actually do this, and I have no idea why anyone would even choose this move, as in most cases it just puts you in some sort of nebulous trouble."

I'm sure there are people out there that want to play a shopkeeper (hell, people bitched about 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons not having official rules for weaving baskets and begging on the street), which is why I said that I couldn't see anyone using them "especially in a typical Dungeon World game": in my 20+ years of playing role-playing games I've yet to have a player that wants to play a shopkeeper or a merchant. Never come up.

What I really love is that Tim doesn't even ask one of the fucking obvious questions (besides why the hell Shopkeeper is in the Adventurer category, of course): if I own a shop, but don't take Shopkeeper for the Inventory move, then what? Presumably I don't need a specific move to manage an inventory, so then why would I bother taking the specialty at all? Why not just track my inventory like a normal person? That sounds a lot better than rolling to likely not having something.

I've never even seen published adventures for various dungeon crawler games that assume or recommend a character own a store (or land). Sure, there's been the occasional urban crawl, but even those don't make any mention of players running characters better suited to busting tables. The closest thing that comes to mind are various adventure paths and rules where characters can earn strongholds.

On that note, here's some more nonsense:

"Everyone of these specialties create ties to the world. Your character has their own place. They might be murdering but at least they are not Hobos. The group will have a safe base of operations that also functions as a hub for new adventure.

When starting the first session make sure that your place is well defined. Ask how it looks and what its name is. Ask about the land and the neighbors and what problems you have. These problems can go great into the first adventure thing the group will do. Ask questions like crazy about this place until everyone can picture it in their head since you will be spending a lot of time there.

As a player make sure that the other characters are connected to your place. If everyone would rather be somewhere else then hanging out in your keep or tavern than something isn’t going quite right. Consider giving them jobs/titles at your place to bind them to the place and increase everyone is investment in it."

The funny thing is that owning a store, land, a fortress, or whatever is utterly independent from having a specific specialty (or even a class or compendium class). In A Sundered World one of the starting questions is whether the characters (or even just *gasp* one character) owns a ship: in our current campaign Melissa's kobold pirate is bonded to a ship. There's no Ship Captain class, compendium class, or specialty: anyone can own a ship, whether you're a fighter, a shaman, a nomad, or an oni.

That's the great thing about tabletop role-playing games (even ones which measured acquisition of wealth): if I want the players to run a shop, or another player wants to run a shop, they can just run a fucking shop. There's no need to devote a portion of your class to a starting move that will often result in your store having damaged or missing stock, or an advanced move that will often result in no one being happy with your business.

In closing, again, you're better served putting in the actual work in designing your own classes to do what you want, and playing the game in whatever way works best for your group. Tim's one of the few people I've had the misfortune of talking to that thinks there's a "wrong" way to go about it.

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

  1. The Shopkeeper as a compendium class seems pretty lame. IF a player wanted to run a shop and making moves for it was really, really necessary, I would do them as special moves that anyone can use as long as they owned a shop.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Victor: If you felt custom moves were even necessary. You could always just use a GM move to make them lose stuff, have someone rob them, or have a fire break out. Forcing players to spend their levels to pick up a series of poorly written moves is doubly wasteful.

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  3. I could see a merchant class for a meister-style game, but the whole point of the style is turning a struggling shop into a national wonder emporium. Even so, the mentioned moves sound pretty terrible, like they were trying to come up with something that sounded merchant-y but didn't consider what would actually be useful to a merchant character. Merchant moves should be things like a discount on materials, a windfall of some sort (material or credit or whatever), propaganda/advertising, a trade agreement, etc. Stuff that will actually benefit their shop and being a merchant, not "yes, you have your signature item in stock".

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    Replies
    1. After looking at the recent article on the Pirate (whose character sheets look great, by the way), something like the A Pirate's Life For Me move would work great for a merchant, only with some tweaks for recruiting apprentices, cashiers, cooks, servers, or whatever your establishment needs.

      Now you've got me considering doing a draft for a merchant class...

      Delete
    2. @Svafa: Glad you like the sheet (so far, most everyone does)!

      If you do end up making a merchant class/compendium class, I'd take a look at it. I'm curious if it can be made to play better with the default style of the game.

      Delete

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