May 10, 2017

DW – DungeonHacks

Dungeon World can be a confusing game especially if you come from rule heavy games such as D&D. For example, some of you may understand the use of 2d6 for rolls as it provides a bell curve but do not like them or simply rolling those dice does not feel right and you wish you could roll your trusty d20 instead, perhaps you (as many players and GMs alike) struggle with the free form of handling combat; there are no turns, no rounds, no rolls for initiative to see who goes first, and so on. Below I have compiled the changes I have made to the game in order to make it more enjoyable to my players. Hopefully, some of these hacks may serve your game:

Switching to a d20

Switching to a d0 was one of the first things we did after playing a few sessions. Here is how we did it:

  • We switched the 2d6 for a d20
  • The target numbers to beat changed from the standard 12+, 10+, and 79 to  20+, 16+, and 1015
  • Modifiers went from -3 to +5
  • At character creation, all attributes begin at -3 you then have 32 points to distribute among your attributes.
  • We removed the ability scores left only the bonuses
  • Every even level (2, 4, 6, 8, and  10) you can increase one of your attributes by +1.
  • HP changed for the classes:
    Bard: HP 15 +CON, LOAD 9+STR
    Cleric: HP 15 +CON, LOAD  10+STR
    Druid: HP 15 +CON, LOAD  6+STR
    Fighter: HP 22 +CON, LOAD  12+STR
    Paladin: HP 20 +CON, LOAD  12+STR
    – Ranger: HP 20 +CON, LOAD  11+STR
    Rogue (thief): HP 15 +CON, LOAD 9+STR
    Wizard: HP 10 +CON, LOAD  7+STR

Structuring Combat

Although there are no rules as to how to handle combat, the book does mention that combat functions just like any other part of the game, there are no rules for turns or rounds but it does say that each player should get a chance to act. With this information, we can provide some structure to combat which can help players and GMs coming from a D&D background.


We can divide combat into rounds without having to stop the flow of it. This is something for the GM to track and maybe some players with ongoing effects. Since every player and monster in combat gets a chance to act if able, we can call a round that moment when all players and monsters have acted at least once. Once this happens effects such as being on fire, having regeneration, and so forth, could trigger at the end of a round. If you as the GM don’t want to mention when a round starts or ends just keep in mind the effects the players and monsters are under and have them trigger at the end of each round.

Damage Types To Weapons

This is not necessary, but, if you wish to add some level of complexity to combat you can definitely add damage types to weapons and spells. of course, you can always go by the fiction to know what type of damage is being dealt but by defining these types you give consistency to your games and provide solid mechanics to player moves, monster moves and special qualities such as adding resistance, immunity, and vulnerability to certain types of damage. If you want to use D&D’s damage types, I found an article that explains each damage type.

Resistance, Immunity, and Vulnerability

I use the following tags from Awfulgood Games mainly for magic items and monsters which draw inspiration from D&D:

  • x Resistant: The target is exceptionally good at resisting the specified type of attack. When you take damage, roll twice and take the lower result.
  • x Vulnerable: The target is exceptionally bad at resisting the specified type of attack. When you take damage, roll twice and take the highest result.
  • X Immunity: The target is immune to the specified type of attack. When you take damage, you take no damage instead.


Since DW does not have rules or guidelines on how to handle diseases, you can use the rules provided below:

Resist Disease

When you make camp while afflicted by a disease and try to resist the effects, roll +CON
✴ On a 10+, the disease stage is reduced by 1.
✴On a 7-9+, the disease stage remains the same.
✴On a miss, the disease stage is increased by 1.
A disease normally starts at stage 1. If the disease enters a new stage, the effects of the new stage normally stacks with the effects of the old one. When a disease reaches stage 3, the effects are permanent unless a cured is found.

Example diseases:

Bloodrot [Disease]

  • Stage 0: You are cured of the disease
  • Stage 1: You move half as you fast as you normally would and you also gain the sick
    debility which is ongoing until the disease is cured.
  • Stage 2: Your skin becomes saggy and begins to ooze out blood whenever you sweat.
    When you take damage, roll twice and choose the highest result.
  • Stage 3: You turn into a blob of skin and blood and become a bloodrot amniote.

Wererat Fever [Disease]

  • Stage 0: You are cured of the disease
  • Stage 1: Gain the sick debility which is ongoing until the disease is cured.
  • Stage 2: The fevers kick in and your appearance begings to change to that of a wererat, gain the awkward tag ongoing.
  • Stage 3: You change into a wererat.