Dungeon World Playbook

So I’ve been running a small play-by-post in Discord for a couple of friends over the last couple of months. We’re using Dungeon World to handle the mechanics, and it’s a wonderful system for this sort of thing – introducing D&D players to a more narrative style, in a framework (chat) that lends itself to essentially writing off-the-cuff fiction as you play (can you say “my cup of tea”?)

Player Emulator Framework

I wanted to discuss how the tables in the PET framework work, since I think they might be a bit intimidating.

First, a little about PET, the Player Emulator with Tags (you have no idea how long it took me to come up with that name, as lame as it is). PET is designed to offload most major choices to the dice, and to let you take control of a mix of traditional GM responsibilities and traditional player responsibilities in the measures you find interesting.

Pythia Chart Dungeon Effects

Have you ever been in a situation where you REALLY REALLY want to touch that altar or swim in that limpid pool or drink from that totally not suspicious, convenient, and obviously refreshing fountain in the middle of an otherwise inhospitable dungeon?

I’ve got you covered.

Calypso Scenario Excerpt

I thought it might be helpful to put up an excerpt of a Scenario from The Calypso Compendium.

There are six Scenarios in TCC; Citywatch (superhero), Darkness Falls (paranormal investigation), Fantastic Journey (fantasy), Secrets & Shadows (paranormal romance), Starfarer (science fiction), and The Sword & The Rose (romantic fantasy).

Let’s go over the Scenario Darkness Falls. It’s paranormal investigation with a hero who is more than they seem, essentially The Shadow meets The X-Files and Haven.

Pythia Charts in Calypso

As I may have mentioned a time or two, I often convert from Pythia to pen and paper as the whim strikes me. But I can’t remember if I actually covered which Pythia charts ended up “making the cut” to be included in The Calypso Compendium.

So here’s an overview. Even if you’re not interested in a Lady Blackbird/Apocalypse mash-up, the tables should have a lot of utility for any interpretive game.

Chaos Oracle

I’ve probably posted this before, but I thought it’d be fun in case I didn’t. This is cribbed from Pythia’s fu panel, which is stuffed full of different oracles.

This is what I’ve dubbed “the Chaos oracle” because it makes things 114% (or so) more chaotic. It’s good for answering questions quickly and for throwing a lot of wrinkles into the mix.

PC Moves Chart

So about six months ago I wrote a framework for emulating PCs, with the idea that you would play solo as usual, but when it came time for your PC to do something, you’d use a chart (along with some more complicated mechanics for modifiers and timing) to determine what the PC did.

Rolling d6s

One thing I’ve been having a lot of trouble wrapping my brain around is the probabilities when rolling d6s and not adding them together, but looking at the face value of each. If I roll 2d6 and need a 5 or better to succeed, what are the odds I will? What if I manage to add another die? What if I need a 4 or better? What if “even” is what I want, not 4+?

OSR Mutable Class


One of the great things about solo play is that you never, ever have to worry about hogging the spotlight or being overpowered. It gives you a chance to play those wild, crazy classes your usual gaming group would never tolerate (“I’m playing a Wild Mage. There’s only a 3% chance I’ll accidentally kill everyone”).

Markov Name Generator

Similar in spirit to this Procedural Name Generator except much less sophisticated, far fewer data files, and, overall, much much less awesome. But the ability to run it locally is important to me and I didn’t feel like reinstalling haxe or figuring it out. Now I will probably go reinstall haxe.

Adventures with Traits Three

So I got to thinking, why use any special abilities at all? Why not just go ahead and make everything a trait. So I did. Should I probably just finish slogging through FATE? Probably. But this is more fun.

Warning, only some of this is play-tested yet (which is why it's not published yet). Probably contains at least a few logical errors and mathematical flaws. And the usual disclaimer regarding solo play versus shared play applies – I have no idea how well any of this would work in a group game.

Further Adventures with Traits

Inspired by a post at Last Gasp(link has some NSFW content, LotFP alert) on turning things into dice progressions, I decided to see how many systems I could convert into traits. Hahaha. It turns out everything can be represented by traits if you look at it hard enough.

Warning, almost none of this is play-tested yet (which is why it's not published yet). All theory. All speculation. Probably contains at least a few logical errors and mathematical flaws. And the usual disclaimer regarding solo play versus shared play applies – I have no idea how well any of this would work in a group game.

Dispensing with Attributes

I’ve said it before: I don’t really like attributes. I’m interested in making characters and playing to see what happens to them, and attributes just seem to get in the way of that.

Never fails – I have a great character backstory, a cool climbing mechanic I want to try, I can practically see the master thief in my mind, and I roll up middling-to-fair barbarian stats instead. I’m playing solo, I can scrap it and start over, but then why don’t I just make the stats up instead of maintaining the fiction that I’m actually rolling them up? Because then it’s not playing by the rules. And then I almost always get annoyed and just fudge it.

Stat Rolling With Python

I hate rolling stats. By the time I get to stat rolling, I’ve usually already got the character ‘in mind’ that I’m creating. Maybe I rolled up an interesting hook for the backstory, maybe I’ve got a mechanic I want to try out, maybe there’s a class that inspired me, or maybe there’s just a new supplement I want to explore. And then I get a 60 point dud stat array.

I hate rolling stats. So I invariably cheat. Here’s how.

Creating Mythic-Style Charts

Inspired by the great Mythic-style charts on the Lone Wolf Roleplaying google+ community over the last few days, I wrote a simple script that uses nltk TextBlob and python to take a text file, sort it by word type, and output each type as a separate, numbered chart.

It’s not perfect; the resulting chart needs quite a bit of curation, but it’s a lot easier than doing it manually!

Pointcrawl Terrain Generator

For the Kyneros campaign I knew I wanted to do a lot of overland exploration, wilderness and dungeon crawls, and entirely oracle-generated world-building. I’ve always had a love for random generation, and it’s an essential part of my solo adventuring experience – but I know my limits, and when it comes to terrain I don’t have the patience (or attention span) for a literal hexcrawl.