DWSW: The Corruption of the Dark Side

I’ve given a bit of thought for how I’d use the Dark Side in a Dungeon World / Star Wars game. I’m taking some inspiration from Star Wars Saga Edition, where committing certain acts earns you dark side points and if you get too many your character becomes an NPC.

My system would be fairly similar, as far as getting the points goes. Jedi will get some moves to give them dark side points, for example…

Fear Leads to Anger, Anger Leads to Hate, Hate Leads to the Dark Side

When you use the force in anger or fear, the dark side takes hold of you and you gain a dark side point.

Simple enough. Not really even noteworthy, I suppose. But the Dark Side is supposed to be tempting.

Force Push

When you use the force to shove someone or something, roll+force. On a 10+, you successfully fling your target away. On a 7-9, you may take a dark side point to fling your target; otherwise, you fail to move it.

Probably needs some tweaking. That’s just a quick and dirty proof of concept. So, now we’ve got the dark side points, how do we get rid of them?

Balance the Force

When you spend time meditating to restore your balance with the force, roll+Will. On a 10+, remove 2 unlocked dark side points. On a 7-9, remove one unlocked dark side point and then lock one unlocked dark side point, if you have any left. On a 6 or lower, lock one unlocked dark side point.

A couple things here. First, I’m going to be reworking the traditional 6 stats into Strength, Agility, Toughness, Intelligence, Will, and Presence. Mostly a cosmetic change, but there ya go. There’s also going to be a 7th stat, Force, which only force users have. Second, there’s that concept of locked dark side points. The idea here is that the dark side is truly a corrupting influence, and if you let it get its hold on you you may never be the same. Locked dark side points are basically permanent. You might be able to get rid of them with a particularly heroic sacrifice, but otherwise… Not really.

So what happens when you get too many dark side points?

Fall to the Dark Side

When you accrue 10 dark side points, you fall to the dark side of the force. You must retire your character,who the GM will use as they see fit.

Nasty? Perhaps. However, the player always has control over gaining dark side points. I think the only ones who would actually end up invoking this move are those who specifically want to play a character falling. Otherwise, I see the points being gained infrequently, going up and down, until the PC starts getting 8 or 9 points and then the player probably begins acting like a boy scout. :)

Dungeon World + Star Wars: A Match Made in a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently on kind of a Dungeon World kick. Coincidentally, I’m also on a Star Wars kick thanks to Fantasy Flight’s excellent Star Wars LCG. And it occurred to me… Dungeon World could be an excellent system for running Star Wars. SW is a setting which I’ve never really felt condensed well down into the typical D&D style of tactical combat and strongly-codified rules. DW could have a more cinematic feel befitting the series.

One of the things that really excites me is that there are so many sources of material for SW fluff. That would often be a pain to translate into whichever game system you happened to be using, but in DW almost anything that’s not written on one of the character sheets can be improvised trivially on the spot.

I’ve got some ideas rattling around in my head already. I haven’t actually played DW yet, though, so that’s probably a good idea before I get into trying to screw with the system and make it into something radically different.

New Beginnings

Happy New Year!

I’m looking forward to bringing Encounter-a-Day back to life in 2013.

I don’t really have any hard goals yet. Certainly the ideal would be to get back to a new post every day, but I suspect I’d fail at that goal very quickly. I guess my first goal is… to just post. When I can, when inspiration strikes, and hopefully more often than never.

New Year’s in Your Game

The transition from one year to the next is entirely abstract and arbitrary. It’s also exciting and meaningful despite that. Here are some things that might happen on New Year’s Eve/day

  • A curse or other magical effect might be set to end at the end of New Year’s Eve.
  • Changes in leadership could be scheduled to occur on New Year’s Day.
  • Most cultures that keep track of years probably have customs for New Year’s. Some common themes for such customs include…
    • Reflecting on the previous year
    • Looking forward to, or praying for luck in, the next year
    • Confessing sins, forgiving wrongs committed against you, in general turning over a new leaf
  • Fae are often concerned with transitions. Dusk and dawn (transitions between night and day), beaches (transition between land and sea), etc. New Year’s could be a ripe opportunity for some faerie mischief.
  • And, of course, parties! When the alcohol is flowing, the music’s playing, it’s a ripe time to make new friends, enemies, and complications.

Dungeon World: Factions

I’m currently reading through Dungeon World. One of the things I really like about DW is the way it codifies things using specific systems and tags. Actually, almost all the GM-specific stuff in DW could be lifted wholesale and used in any other roleplaying game. It’s mostly stuff done behind the scenes the scenes to assist with campaign preparation and improvisation.

One thing that DW seems to be missing is a way of codifying factions (although, to be honest, I haven’t finished reading the book and only barely skimmed the table of contents; it’s conceivable they could be in there, and I’m just making an ass out of myself). So here’s how I’d do factions in DW. Like the other stuff, this could also be easily applied to pretty much any other RPG with no modification at all.


Factions are groups with particular agendas which may work with, or against, the PCs. Societies of assassins, churches, and mercenary groups are examples of factions.

Factions are described by their range, influence, alignment, agenda, and additional tags. Range and influence can be adjusted up or down and can be compared as if the values were numbers.

Agenda: Every faction has an agenda which describes, in simple and broad terms, what it exists to do. “Kill for money.” “Protect the poor from tyrants.” “Preach the gospel of Morheim, Lord of the Northern Winds.”

Alignment: A faction’s alignment determines its modus operandi. Alignments may be somewhat lateral to the faction’s agenda, but should not be completely opposed to it. For example, the church of a good god might have a lawful or chaotic alignment, but shouldn’t have an evil alignment. Also note that the individual members of the organization, even its leaders, can have any alignment, including an alignment opposed to the faction’s own alignment.

  • Chaotic - The faction attempts to achieve its goals in defiance of the established order.
  • Evil – The faction puts its goals aboves all others, and will use any tactics at all to advance them.
  • Good - The faction achieves its goals by spreading goodwill and doesn’t try to cause undue harm or hardship to others.
  • Lawful - The faction achieves its goals through bureaucracy and political machinations.

Range: How widespread the faction, and its influence, reach.

  • Insular - A small wilderness area, a village or keep, a section of a town, or a neighborhood of a city.
  • Local – A large wilderness area, a keep and its attendant villages, an entire town, or a quarter of a city.
  • Provincial - Several wilderness areas and all keeps and villages within them, multiple towns and all nearby villages, an entire city.
  • National - An entire kingdom, a large area consisting of multiple city states, or all the wilderness on an entire continent.
  • Worldwide - The faction’s influence can be felt everywhere, and transcends borders both natural and man-made.

Influence: A description of how many resources the faction can bring to bear within its range. Depending on the nature of the faction, influence can belong to the faction itself or to particular members within it. In the latter case, eliminating those particularly influential individuals might serve to limit the influence of the faction as a whole. Influence can mean favors owed, political offices or military rank held by members, or even blackmail held over powerful individuals.

  • Inconsequential - The faction holds no more power than anyone else. It must either pay the going rates or have its own members do what it wants done.
  • Unimportant - Able to call on small groups of untalented or unimportant people. A street gang, a low-level clerk, etc.
  • Significant – Can mobilize large numbers of untalented people, small numbers of more skilled people, or mid-level bureaucrats.
  • Prominent - Can mobilize armies, multiple squads of skilled soldiers, or landed nobles.
  • Dominant - The faction has influence over anyone for whom it would make sense, up to and including kings.

Additional tags: The following tags provide additional descriptions about the nature of a faction.

  • Affinity - This tag will always include an area or steading which is already within the faction’s range. Within the specified area or steading, the faction gets +Influence.
  • Arcane - The faction is focused on the arcane, and likely includes arcane spell casters in its numbers.
  • Covert - The faction specializes in hiding its true activities. If the faction is not also Secret, it has a ‘public face’ which has little to do with its actual dealings. For example, a messengers guild which is actually a front for a cadre of spies.
  • Divine - The faction has a particular focus on the divine, and likely includes divine spell casters in its numbers.
  • Enmity - As Affinity, except the faction has -Influence.
  • Mercenary - The faction’s services are available for hire.
  • Military - The faction is focused on military strength. Its membership includes a large number of warriors.
  • Secret - The faction’s existence is not common knowledge. The faction may go to extreme lengths to keep its existence secret.

Anonymous commenting disabled

I’ve disabled anonymous commenting on this blog, the spam comments are getting really annoying and considering how long it’s been since I’ve updated here legitimate comments are fairly rare. If this doesn’t stop the spam, I’m considering disabling comments entirely.

I apologize for any inconvenience.

Friends & Foes: The Oathbreakers

Emperor Ormbast IV was not necessarily beloved by all, but he was widely recognized as a fair, just, and wise ruler. His son, Ormbast V, inherited none of his father’s good qualities. V is greedy and cruel; he instituted harsh new taxes and terrible laws to punish those who didn’t pay. He is also petty, not hesitating to order death against any who he perceived as having slighted him.

Arik Andler, was a captain in the royal army, leading a unit of the most elite soldiers the empire had in its service. As such, he and his men were dutybound to follow the emperor’s decrees. However, time and time again Arik found himself sickened by what he was ordered to do and the direction the empire was heading.

After a great deal of pain and soul-searching, he offered his men a choice: stay and fulfill their oaths to the emperor, or sacrifice their honor in order to fight for the greater good. To a man, they chose to follow Arik.

The renegades dubbed themselves The Oathbreakers. The Oathbreakers are known by their scarlet cowls, which some say they wear to hide their shame, and their insignia: a kite shield cleft in twain.

The Oathbreakers primarily focus on protecting commoners from the Emperor’s tyranny. They raid tax assessors and instruct any able and willing in the art of guerilla warfare, in order to protect themselves and their families.

Encounters with The Oathbreakers

The Emperor puts out a bounty or hires the PCs to fight the Oathbreakers, calling them traitors and cowards.

The PCs are confronted by one of Arik’s men when they are mistaken to be the Emperor’s newest lackeys.

Big Quartermaster update

Thanks to Corrin Avatan, Quartermaster’s just been updated with almost 180 new items from 12 different sources.

Player’s Handbook 3 added to Quartermaster

Added this a couple days ago but forgot to mention it. A helpful fellow named Kyle was kind enough to type up PHB3′s magic items.

Steal this Setting: Savage Zendikar

MightyWok requested that I post my rules from a Savage Worlds game I ran on Google Wave set in Zendikar, so here they are.



  • Free Edge – Humans begin play with a free novice edge, which they must meet the requirements for as normal.


  • Disliked – Elves are disliked by most other races and get a -2 penalty to charisma when dealing with non-elves.
  • Keen Hearing – Their well-developed ears give elves a +2 bonus on notice checks to detect sounds.
    Low-Light Vision – Elves can see well in all but the darkest conditions, and ignore penalties for dim and dark lighting.
  • Survivalist – Elves are particularly in tune with the world of Zendikar and begin play with a free d6 in survival.


  • Agile – Goblins begin play with a free d8 in agility, and may raise it up to a d12+2. Through the expert and master edges, this may be raised up to a d12+4.
  • Ambush – Goblins favor ambush tactics, and begin play with a free d6 in climbing and stealth.
  • Small – Goblins begin play with the small hindrance, giving them a -1 penalty to toughness.
  • Outsider – Goblins begin play with the outsider hindrance, giving them a -2 penalty to charisma when dealing with non-goblins and they are treated particularly poorly.


  • Acrobatic Climbers – Kor base their climbing skill on either strength or agility, whichever is better.
  • Hearty – The Kor are a hearty race and gain an extra point to spend on attributes.


  • Aquatic – Merfolk have webbed fingers and toes, and can move at their full Swimming skill while in water (-2” per load limit penalty). Merfolk begin play with a free d6 in Swimming.
  • Dehydration – Merfolk must immerse themselves in water one hour out of every twenty-four. Those who don’t are automatically fatigued each day until they are Incapacitated. The day after that, they perish.
  • Lore of the Sea – Merfolk have a strong oral tradition, granting a +2 bonus on common knowledge checks and they begin play with a free d6 in Knowledge (History).
  • Magical Affinity – Merfolk start with 5 free power points. Those without an Arcane Background edge gain no bonus from this trait, though they do get the bonus power points immediately if they later gain an Arcane Background.



Arcane Background (Mana)

Associated Skill: Channeling
Starting mana points: 10

Starting spells: 3, at least two of which must be from your chosen color.

When you choose this arcane background, pick a color– white, blue, black, red or green. The color you choose determines what spells you have access to and what attribute your channeling skill is derived from.

You may learn powers from your color’s list, as well as your two allied colors’ lists. Spells from your allied colors’ lists cost 1 additional mana point to cast (your own color’s spells cost the usual amount).

For reference, here are each color’s allied colors:

White: Blue, green
Blue: White, black
Black: Blue, red
Red: Black, green
Green: Red, white

A normal character can only channel a single type of mana; even though you have access to other colors’ spell lists, when you cast a spell from one of them you are using your own color of mana to do it, and the spell is aligned with that color. For example, if a blue mage casts heal (which is on the white list), it is considered a blue spell and uses blue mana.

Versatile Caster

Requirements: Novice, Channeling d8

You may cast spells from your allied colors’ spell lists for their normal cost instead of paying an extra mana point.


Channeling (Special)
This skill is used for Arcane Background (Mana). If you take the arcane background edge, make sure to toss some points in here! Otherwise, ignore this. The skill is linked to a different attribute, depending on your chosen color, as follows:

  • White: Spirit
  • Blue: Smarts
  • Black: Smarts
  • Red: Strength
  • Green: Vigor

Spell Lists


  • Armor
  • Deflection
  • Healing
  • Light
  • Smite


  • Conceal/Distract (See New Spells, below)
  • Detect/Conceal Mana (See Detect/Conceal Arcana)
  • Elemental Manipulation (Air)
  • Elemental Manipulation (Water)
  • Speak Language


  • Entangle
  • Fear
  • Lower Trait (See Boost/Lower Trait)
  • Obscure
  • Stun


  • Bolt
  • Burst
  • Elemental Manipulation (Fire)
  • Speed


  • Beast Friend
  • Boost Trait (See Boost/Lower Trait)
  • Elemental Manipulation (Earth)
  • Environmental Protection
  • Shape Change

New Spells


Rank: Novice
Mana Points: 3
Range: Smarts
Duration: 3 (1/round)
Trappings: Illusory camouflauge, ghost sounds, etc.

This spell has two similar modes.

As Conceal, all creatures in a small burst are magically camouflaged, and all others take a -1 penalty on notice checks to spot them for the duration of the spell.

As Distract, all creatures in a large burst take a -2 penalty on all notice checks for the duration of the spell.

Adventurer’s Vault 2 added to Quartermaster

Thanks to the efforts of Patch and René Winter, items from Adventurer’s Vault 2 are now available in Quartermaster.