A Sundered World: Races

Someone over on G+ mentioned how races are handled in A Sundered World, specifically that they really like it and wanted to port it over to vanilla Dungeon World, so I wanted to explain what it is and why I did it this way.

Races in A Sundered World are basically compendium classes that you qualify for so long as you choose that race when making your character: if you're a dwarf, you can choose dwarf moves, and if you're a kobold you can choose kobold moves.

I should point out that, as a nod to half-races, scions (the A Sundered World equivalent of a human) can choose race moves that let you branch out into other races. For example, changeling lets you choose elf moves, and devil in the details lets you choose cambion moves.

Unlike the core ranger's half-elven move--Dungeon World, page 133--you don't have to choose them right away, and it's technically possible to choose more than one "half-race" move. Depends on how you justify it and/or your GM is cool with it.

You could do this for Dungeons & Dragons races like aasimar, half-orcs, djinn, dragons, and so on (could also work with the sorcerer class, since they can have magic in their blood from various ancestries).

When you choose a race you either get a starting move or choose from a list, whatever makes sense. For example, dwarves get one move (iron bones), while cthon get to choose an elemental essence (fire, water, lightning, etc), cambions choose a sin (wrath, envy, sloth, etc), and ishim choose a domain related to the god they once served.

As with a compendium class, when you level up you can either choose a move from your class or race, giving you more control over how much your race impacts your character, and I could even see people hacking them into a full on race-as-class thing.

Some things that might be deviations from compendium classes (never seen anyone else do it this way, but it's not explained in the rulebook) are that some moves require other moves and/or you to be level 6 or higher. Also, in A Sundered World: Player Fragments we designed some moves that require race and class combinations.

So, for example, tarchon kobold battleminds can transform their limbs into blazing weapons, and mine kobold nomads can teleport through rock to create tunnels.

I did all this for two reasons.

First, it never made sense that only certain races could be certain classes. What, dwarves don't have any paladins? Elves don't have clerics? Halflings don't have any bards? Yeah, I get that you can make new race moves for classes (and many people did a looong time ago), but early on while writing A Sundered World I figured that I could just sidestep the issue entirely by removing races from the equation.

Second, while writing A Sundered World I started thinking up moves that specifically pertained to a race, things that I thought would be cool for them to do, but not doable at the start. For example, I thought it would be awesome for tarchons to transform into full-on dragons, or lightning essence cthon to shoot lightning bolts.

The end result is that default A Sundered World characters are a bit better off than their core Dungeon World counterparts, though the book provides several ways you can fix that if you want to downgrade the former, or bump up a class that uses races (though we've already re-done most of the core Dungeon World classes anyway).

A potential downside is I guess game balance.

I know some people think that balance isn't a big deal, but it totally can be if, for example, you write a 2-5 advanced move that essentially lets you kill anything you want, even on a miss (this is a move that actually exists). Of course this is to be expected when players can mix and match a variety of moves due to compendium classes and multiclassing moves,

If your players come up with an insane combination, I'd modify the move(s) causing issues or just outright ban it.

If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

A Sundered World: Player Fragments, the first supplement for A Sundered World, is finally out!

Hot on the heels of The Blackguard, The Troll is out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

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