Uncharted Lands of Yonon
We will be using Dungeon World for our game system. If you’d like to learn the rules of Dungeon World before we play, you can read them here. This isn’t required reading, though. The rules of Dungeon World are simple and straightforward enough that you don’t need to learn them before you play. If you’re already familiar with Dungeon World, there are a few rules we’ll be using that are different from the standard ones – specifically for wilderness travel, hirelings, and bonds.
Before we get into the details, an important note about your characters’ backgrounds: you’re all new arrivals to Yonon. No one is a local, and no one is part of the first wave of colonists that arrived years ago. I’m requiring this because I want everyone to start on the same page with regard to your knowledge of the area.
Regarding your characters’ relationship to the setting: most of you will probably be from the kingdom of Navalle, a large mercantile nation back on the mainland that established the colony of New Madro. The people of Navalle are mostly human, but plenty of other races have a presence there too. The technology of this world is also a bit more advanced than a traditional fantasy setting: printing presses and primitive firearms exist, although there is no printing press in New Madro and gunpowder is not plentiful.
Choosing a class
In Dungeon World, each character class has its own unique character sheet you’ll be filling out. You can find the character sheets for the basic classes of Dungeon World here, after the first few pages of the PDF. You can also read about those classes in a more web-friendly format here.
If you want more choices than just the basic classes, there are a lot of options out there. There are variations of the Ranger and the Wizard that I prefer to the originals- if you’re interested, I can send you the PDF files for them. Many people have written new classes for the game- if you’d like to look at some of them, you could start here or here. (As a warning, there are a lot of dead links, incorrect links, and classes that you would need to pay for on those lists, but there are also a lot of interesting free ones.) If you’d like to play any class other than the basic ones, send me a link to it and I’ll let you know whether it will be OK for our game. You should also know that some of the classes on those lists are “Compendium Classes”, which aren’t for starting characters- those are special classes you can earn after your character has gained levels.
Figuring out the details
On the character sheet, you’ll be asked to choose a Name and a Look for your character. The character sheets offer suggestions if you can’t think of one, but you certainly shouldn’t feel limited to the ones offered on the sheet.
Next, you’ll assign your character’s statistics. The character sheet will show six statistics (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma), and six values (with associated bonuses or penalties) that you’ll be assigning to the six statistics. If you’re not sure what a statistic is used for in the game, taking a look at the moves listed later on your character sheet and the basic moves here can help.
(If you’re familiar with D&D/Pathfinder, note that the bonuses and penalties that go with high and low ability scores are different than they are for D&D.)
After assigning your statistics, you need to choose an alignment. Alignments in Dungeon World are there to give a general idea of your character’s attitude or values- they aren’t hard rules about how you behave. Choose one of the alignments listed on the sheet, or write your own if none of the provided ones are a good fit for how you imagine your character acting.
You’ll also need to choose a race for your character. Choose one of the options from the character sheet, or contact me if you’d like for your character to be a different race than the ones listed there.
Because of the nature of our campaign and the large pool of players, we won’t be using the “Bonds” rules for Dungeon World, so you can skip that area of the character sheet. Later on this page, I’ll explain what we’ll be doing instead.
The next choices you’ll need to make depend on what character class you chose. Some classes will need to choose between several options, starting moves, or spells, while others don’t have any more choices to make. On the second page, you’ll also be given a choice or two about what equipment you will start with.
Most of the second page of the character sheet is devoted to advanced moves, which you will be able to choose between when your character gains levels.
The last few details you’ll need to fill in are your armor (which is based on your equipment), your hit points (which you find by adding the number listed on your sheet to your total Constitution ability), and your level (which starts at 1).
Other Important Information
Beyond what’s written on the character sheet, there are 3 other pieces of information I want about your character: a GOAL, an ATTACHMENT, and a RUMOR.
The GOAL is what your character is striving for. After all, it takes some serious motivation to travel through uncharted wilderness and explore dangerous locations. I mentioned a few ideas for goals in the first email I sent out for the campaign: perhaps your character is out to get rich, perhaps they’re after ancient secrets, perhaps they want to get their name on the map and in the history books, or maybe they’re looking for someone they lost when the old colony at Fort Prosperity disappeared. In any case, I want goals to be specific: Rather than “I want to get rich”, try “I want to earn 2000 gold marks in order to save the orphanage I grew up in”, or instead of “I want to become a powerful wizard”, try “I want to become a powerful wizard by mastering the magic of turning things into newts”.
The ATTACHMENT is someone or something that’s important to your character. It could be a place or an organization you were a part of back on the mainland. It could be an important person, either back on the mainland or someone who traveled with you to Yonon. It could be another player character, if you want to arrange that with someone else beforehand. It could even be an object, a keepsake that’s important for you to be holding on to.
Finally, the RUMOR is something your character has heard about Yonon: its inhabitants (ancient or modern), its geography, its climate, its wildlife, or anything else. I’ll decide whether or not it’s true, and your character may or may not believe the rumor, but feel free to let your imagination go wherever you want with this. If you’re used to more traditional RPGs like D&D, having me outsource part of the worldbuilding to you in this way can feel pretty unusual, but it’s a big part of how Dungeon World works. Hearing your rumors will also help to give me a better idea of what kinds of things you’d like to see and discover in Yonon as we play the game.
If you have any questions at all about any step of the character-creation process I’ve outlined here, don’t hesitate to contact me by email, text, or on our Google Groups forum.
Optional Step: Make a Character Page on this Wiki
I’ve sent everyone invitations to join this site and become part of the campaign. Once you are, you should be able to create a page for your character using the “Characters” tab on the left. Feel free to add as much or as little info and description as you like, but even if you don’t have time to do much, it would be nice to have pages for everyone’s character on here.