Been a fan of DW since I first saw it, but I haven’t played DW since before the Basic Set. I've been waiting for a definitive version to be finished so I could hack on non escalating HP (http://apocalypse-world.com/forums/index.php?topic=661.0
) and a couple of other things I wanted. When I discovered while listening to the Podge Cast that escalating HP was gone, I rushed out and joined the Guild and we excitedly jumped into a game using Beta 2.2.
Dambrath (GT, Elven Ranger) and his wolf Elouise escort Rat (Jim, Human Thief) to Flet’s Landing on the edge of the wild in search of “opportunities”. Rat finds his pickpocketing attempts get him into trouble, but he handily slips out of Flet’s Inn and leaves Dambrath to deal with the ensuing brawl. Early the next morning they embark on an adventure across the river into the ruined Necromancer’s Tower, an adventure from which no-one has ever returned. Their first encounter with a Carrion Crawler* hidden under the collapsed doors leaves Rat heavily wounded. They tried to slip in via one of the towers, but the goblins peppered them with arrows. Dambrath and Elouise took the bit between their teeth and charged in slaying goblins in the guard room and the roof. Rat followed cautiously after and ensured that appropriate looting was achieved. Both sorely wounded now they decided to live to fight another day and became the first “heroes” to return from (almost entering) the Tower.
* Used Choker with some mods to give Carrion Crawler flavour. The Tower is based on what I remember from the original Red Box Set starter adventure I last played as a kid.
Overall the rules seem much tighter now. In particular the main things I was planning to hack are fixed:
- No escalating HP makes the character moves and monster stat blocks simpler and more focussed.
- Monsters also have a lot more character in their writeups and monster moves.
- I found the current rules (or perhaps more AW play in the interim) made non-initiative combat work simply and easily for us.
There were a couple of questions we had, which were pretty minor and I’m sure Sage and Adam are already working on. For example:
- Damage equal to level in the Defend and the Cleric Penitent moves seems like a hangover from escalating HP. It makes Defend instead of Hack and Slash seem a great option for Wizards from level 2.
- Aid or interfere: why do you need a bond with someone to do this? How do you aid or interfere with someone you don't have a bond with?
- Level Up: so you lose additional XP you gained beyond what you need when you level up?
- Some typos, like the Bard move Vicious Blast should be +2d4.
Loving the cover (?) art from the site. I was going to hit some suggestions on some artwork for monsters and artless characters sheets (so I can drop in something that for my game that fits my ideal better, like the Red Box Set art). But then I found the tweet about coming monster art and an artless character sheet I can work with.
Overall we were very impressed and the only three suggestions I have are:
- Adding damage dice in combat: we did a lot of this for first level characters and it slowed things down a little. I wonder if a scale like 3:16 would be easier: 1d4 increases via a move to 1d6 then by another to 1d8 to 1d10 to 1d12 to 1d12+1 to 1d12+2 etc. So moves say “increase your die one size” or something. You could keep Animal Companions (and Backstab) as additional dice, but do we really need +2d4 for them? Wouldn’t single die like +1d4, +1d6 and +1d8 be easier?
- Maybe add some additional classes to cover more bases. The Thief poison rules are truly excellent. But I wonder if it isn’t worth giving these to an Assassin class instead as there are plenty of other ways to make a Thief shine. The Fighter is also great, but I think there is room for a raging Berserker (or Barbarian) as well.
- Definitely update the Villager and put it into the mix, as this adds a whole new set of options to the game.
I’m very pleased my favourite version of D&D has got even better and that I will need to do virtually no house ruling to make it exactly what I want. It is a testament to Sage’s and Adam’s ability and willingness to actually listen to others as part of their open design.