Yesterday I played in the initial session of a "Dungeon World" campaign run by Michael Bay. It takes the concepts and settings of D&D and applies the "Apocalypse World" rules engine to them. This game had a big turnout of eight players.
The first hour or so was spent choosing our characters.I'd given some thought to this prior to play and had planned to play a "Warlock", essentially a Faustian character who has sold their soul in exchange for eternal youth, immunity to disease and aging etc. They also have a summoned assistant, a supernatural creature that does their work for them.I saw immense potential in this as the "Apocalypse World" engine shines when players manipulate each other.I had a very clear idea of how I'd play with or against the other players,but struggled with how I'd play the actual adventures.
I settled on a more direct concept, a Cleric of Hades.He's a very lawful character with strict boundaries and views the world as a simple split between the realm of the living and the realm of the dead.Hades' domain is the dead, and my mans job is to make sure the undead and other beings don't cross the line into the domain of the living.The catch is that he must make a daily offering to Hades!
The group now consisted of my Cleric,a Templar,a Wizard (+Tony Reyes),a Shaman,a Druid,a Bard,a Ranger and an Artificer.We then went round the table several times and established "bonds"..something you don't see in D&D.This is an opportunity to make a connection with another character and helps you gain experience.For example,I chose the Wizard as the character who I'm seeking to convert to the path of Hades,the Shaman was someone I vowed to protect, the Bard was someone I trusted whereas the Druid was someone I mistrusted, being a person who valued life over death.This simple mechanic adds a whole new dimension to the role-playing dynamic within the group.
Onto the game itself...the classic dungeon crawl in which we were heavily outnumbered on a quest to find magical treasure.This game is lethal,with my Cleric and the Templar both facing an early death.When characters die an event called "last dying breath" takes place.Dice are rolled and it's possible for the characters to escape final death with a price..which we both did.We were both more cautious after that.
The session took several unusual turns,ending with some exploration of portals and other dimensions.Of course,the party had split up at this point..I have no idea how it'll play out next month.It's a great game and a fun spin on the oldest RPG concept of them all.Looking forward to next month at Gigabites.