“This is a fantastic resource – a perfect blend of what makes Dungeon World a classic and the little tweaks that have built up over the years that smooth out the rough edges. Also, the layout is fantastic and makes this look like a polished professional product. I could print these out and put them right into my play kit and people wouldn’t even notice the difference from the main book without a close look. Oh, and then there is the customizable version you included where you can build your own rule set based on all the alternative rulesets you pulled from. This is a truly generous release – thank you!”Grubby Gus
Uncommon World [PDF] is a fantasy roleplaying game designed to be compatible with nearly 400 third-party Dungeon World playbooks, 165 compendium classes, 8,000 monsters, 600 supplements, and 100 adventure starters, while updating the system’s core moves with what has been learned over the past decade.
- Based on a survey of over 250 players
- Leverages refined core moves from seven fantasy PbtA hacks
- Adds drives, uses Follower moves, and eliminates stat scores
The DW community has produced a phenomenal amount of material, and I wanted a core system that worked with that material. The key insight was that almost all that was needed to maintain compatibility was to keep the names of the moves the same! The text of the basic and special moves, however, have all been revised based on a survey of over 250 players, who selected their preferred moves drawn from more than a dozen supplements and hacks.
The PDF contains a Consensus Edition of the rules, using the most popular alternative to DW’s wording for each move, but you can customize all the wording to your own preferences using the online configuration tool. (Warning: this takes a median of 22 minutes, but some people take up to an hour to do it; there’s a lot to read and choose between!)
The moves are organized thematically: Basic Moves, Combat Moves, Downtime Moves, Settlement Moves, Follower Moves, and Travel Moves. (This structure is inspired by Freebooters on the Frontier.)
While many of the hacks have their own names for moves, the name of the DW move that each is compatible with, if any, is used here. For instance, the most popular alternative wording for Spout Lore is from Jason Lutes’ move Establish in Freebooters on the Frontier.
The wording of each move has been edited for consistency and compatibility with one another. Only a few moves, like Discern Realities, needed to keep the exact same structure as in DW; in such cases it is because many playbooks may add a specific capability, like a question, to a core move. (Class Warfare, from Johnstone Metzger, proved invaluable to me to do that analysis.)
Three Major Changes
Because of the need to keep compatibility with existing DW supplements, Uncommon World is more conservative in its changes than most other hacks. Think of it as more a “Dungeon World 1.5” than a “Dungeon World 2.0” (for which you probably want to look at the other hacks). The major changes in Uncommon World are adding drives, using Follower moves, and eliminating stat scores.
- The big change was supplementing alignment with drives. In analyzing the popularity of different End of Session moves, I saw that the majority of respondents chose a move that included drives. Accordingly, I’ve provided a list of drives that can be used with any playbook; these were selected for conciseness, primarily from Homebrew World by Jeremy Strandberg, Worlds of Adventure by Cameron Burns, and Unlimited Dungeons.
- Another change was replacing Hireling moves with a streamlined version of Jeremy Strandberg’s Follower moves from Perilous Wilds, with an expanded Recruit move that explained truncated versions of Quality, Loyalty, Instinct, and Cost.
- The final change was replacing stat scores (e.g., 8-16 for starting characters) in favor of only modifiers (-1 to +2 during character creation), which required updating the Character Creation rules and the Level Up move (inspired by a hack by Yochai Gal).
Uncommon World exists because of the great fantasy-PbtA community and its commitment to releasing work under the Creative Commons. See the PDF for a full list of credits. Thanks to everyone who used the configuration tool to select moves. Thanks also to Kevin Scarlet for designing the logo. Finally, I want to single out Tam H of Hedonic Ink, who did the excellent layout of the rules. She also compiled the Big List of Playbooks and moderates the Dungeon World+ server on Discord. Thanks, Tam!
Need help running Uncommon World or other PbtA fantasy games? Check out the Fantastic Worlds anthology. You can discuss Uncommon World on its subreddit or on the Dungeon World Discord on its other-published-games channel.