View Full Version : Need to reconcile Dungeon World/PbtA with my setting

2019-01-15, 09:26 PM
I've got a homebrew setting I wanna hack DW/PbtA to work with. But I'm not sure how to make it work.

The major problem is stats. And not the typical "what should I call them and have them represent" kind of PbtA hack issues.

The important part relevant to the issue is that it's kinda like a "inside an MMO, and you can get comically high power level". Kinda SAO/Log Horizon meets Disgaea.

The crazy scale of stats is important to the flavor of the game. Unfortunately, this gets you way past the +3 stat bonus limit of most PbtA games very quickly, which breaks all move rolls.

Unless you have a significant chance of rolling 7-9, or even 6- on 2d6+Stat, the game doesn't work anymore.

In-world, each character's stats are a number, which rises as you gain levels, as in most RPGs. But the numbers they can reach are ridiculous.

I've abstracted the stats already a bit. Each 1-point difference doubles or halves the in-fiction value. (i.e. a +1 bonus to Strength is twice as strong as a +0, a +2 is twice as strong as +1, +3 is twice as strong as +2, etc.) It doesn't matter that in-fiction, your strength is 12,500. That's just narrative fluff.

I'm afraid if I abstract them any more, they'll completely lose their flavor. I still want to have that "enemies that gave you trouble two dungeons ago are absolutely devastated by you now." feeling that a lot of console RPGs have to them.

I'm just not sure how to keep the game working. You're guaranteed to hit the 10+ result every time if you add 8 to your rolls...

I feel like the answer lies somewhere in the way Dungeon World/PbtA stems everything from fiction. Like the way Hack and Slash doesn't trigger when you swing a sword at a dragon, because it's just too tough and awesome to be damaged by a sword. Or the guide for making monsters talks about "monsters without stats" for when something is just too far beyond (or beneath) the abilities of the characters to be represented numerically. You don't Hack and Slash the Elder Abomination From Beyond The Stars, you ram your airship into him and hope.

This feels like something that could apply to my situation if I could only figure out how to formally calculate it. Like you don't need to roll dice anymore to kill slimes outside Noob Town, and likewise, the level 95 Raid Boss is just the DM describing in detail the horrible ways you've been slaughtered, also with no dice rolled.

But when exactly does it shift? If your characters are essentially a guild of MMO characters, you'll start out being challenged by those slimes, and eventually level up enough to take on the raid boss. In Dungeon World, some monsters the DM cooks up are so strong they're just walking plot devices. But in this setting, that range of "close enough to my power to require me to roll dice" is something that constantly marches forward with the characters. I'm just not sure how to mechanically represent that forward march...

Any ideas?

2019-01-15, 10:31 PM
Add a stat like "scope" (or even "level") with very few ranks, then define moves that key off of it. At the same scope you Go Aggro, when attacking down scope you Wreak Havoc, when attacking up scope you Chip Away. Then you just define the outcomes for failures, successes, and partial successes accordingly. Asymmetry in the system lets you not have to worry about the inverse situations where PCs are on the receiving end, so feel free to have Wreak Havoc be defined in terms of failures being not being able to kill enough opponents and getting hurt, where it's still pretty clear that they're vastly outclassed.

Outside of these ranges you'd have the straight plot devices, though you might want something like Get Out Alive as the move that gets called for when way off scope.

Maat Mons
2019-01-15, 10:32 PM
Well, you could keep the players' stats constant. Then, when they "level up," you adjust the stats of all the monsters downward. Things that used to be "don't bother rolling, you just die" get actual (very high) stats. Things that used to have low stats become "don't bother rolling, you just kill it."

Alternately, you could add a "level" stat, and give bonuses or penalties depending on whether you're higher or lower level than your enemy, and by how much.