In honor of Thanksgiving in the United States, I offer you a Compendium Class for Dungeon World: The Wendigo! Based on the D&D 4e monster of the same name (detailed in the Demonomicon), the wendigo is a demon that possesses people who become cannibals. Willing cannibals can channel the power of the demon such that they retain control of their faculties.
It's my first Compendium Class, so feedback is welcome.
This is probably a little less structured than my other reviews, more properly being "rambled thoughts on Dungeon World," but there you have it. (The fact that I haven't blogged in two months likely contributes.)
For those not in the know, I have been running a Dungeon World campaign every two weeks for two months; today is session number six. Having had a few weeks to ruminate on the subject, I've started forming some thoughts on the game.
(Also, if you're interested, you can read the whole thing online. So you can easily take it for a test drive before purchasing.)
Dungeon World hits a lot of notes I enjoy in gaming. I enjoy quick task resolution, modular complexity, and modular character ability, and Dungeon World has all those in spades. Roll 2d6, add your modifier, and compare against a set range of numbers. Boom, task resolved. Likewise, you can easily hack it, so it can be as rules-heavy or as rules-lite as you'd like. Finally, since it's heavily narrative, you can be as gritty or as high fantasy as you'd like with it — maybe each attack roll kills hordes of mooks, or maybe each roll represents a single, desperate struggle against one guy. It's your call, really.
Coming from a variety of wide-open, traditional RPGs, though, the prescriptive basic/advanced move list is a little different, at least at first. (I personally prefer the simpler task resolution in World of Dungeons.) Beginning GMs will likely spend time trying to delineate whether a given action falls under a given type of move; it's a small learning curve, but a notable learning curve nonetheless. Likewise, it's not as granular as many traditional RPGs. It can handle the mapping and resource management tasks of classic D&D, as well as that Oregon Trail feel, but it certainly doesn't do it in quite as structured a way — if you're expecting to map a dungeon 120' every ten minutes, this is going to be quite different. (You're probably just going to manage a rough sketch in vague, narrative time.)
Likewise, it does narrative combat rather than tactical combat. Since I started with World of Darkness, narrative combat is old hat to me, but it's still a very different animal than D&D's regimented combat system; even classic D&D's abstract combat requires a certain amount of tactical acumen (unsurprising, given D&D's wargaming pedigree).
Overall, Dungeon World is very good at providing a quick, action-movie feel to the somewhat staid world of fantasy role-playing games, but lacks the granular rules that sometimes add a little panache to the affair. It won't handle resource management and dungeon mapping in a way to which you're accustomed, but that might suit your needs.
For me, I'll certainly use it sometimes — it's great for beginning groups, particularly since it's a little forgiving in terms of combat, and the fast resolution mechanics mean it's also great for one shots — but sometimes I want that complexity to give the rules a little more shape. Additionally, the emphasis on narrative and intraparty relations does not suit every game, although it certainly covers a wide variety of them.