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Fudge Lite

Version 1.0.0

Fudge ladder:
* Superb
* Great
* Good
* Fair
* Mediocre
* Poor
* Terrible

Fudge die (or Fate die): a 6-sided die with two "+" sides, two "-" sides, and two
blank sides. 4dF means 4 Fudge dice are rolled for a result from -4 to +4.
Trait: anything that describes a character.
Ranked trait: any trait that fits on the Fudge ladder (usually called attributes or
Unranked trait: any trait that doesn't fit on the Fudge ladder (gifts, faults,
backstory, character description).
Supernormal abilities: magic, psionics, superpowers, etc.

Character creation:

The GM starts with a base set of traits that's applicable to most settings and
alters the list as appropriate. The GM then gives the PCs points to spend to
purchase these traits, starting at Poor (0 points) and increasing 1 point for every
additional level. The GM may choose any number of starting points, but I'd
recommend starting at 35 (equivalent to Fudge on the Fly Character Creation).

Base traits:
Hit Points
Melee Combat
Physical Awareness
Ranged Combat
Social Awareness

Additional traits for medieval fantasy settings:

Cultural Knowledge (history, religion, customs, etc.)
Dungeoneering (knowledge of dungeon environments)
Magic Lore
Magic Resistance
Nature (plant and animal knowledge, foraging, handle animal, navigation, and
Thievery (disable traps, open locks, pick pockets, and sleight of hand)

Additional traits for sci-fi settings:

Galactic Knowledge (planetary customs, history, xenobiology, etc.)
Psionic Lore*
Psionic Resistance*
Starship Use (Piloting, Gunnery, Astrogation)

Additional trait for pulp settings (lots of chase scenes, airplane piloting, and/or
train/airship operation):
Vehicles (knowledge, driving/piloting, repair, operation)

**Depending on the setting, the GM may wish to combine Hacking and Repair into a
single Technology skill.

The GM is encouraged to add and remove traits as appropriate for the setting. For
example, when running a pocket monster game I started with the base traits, removed
Healing/medicine, added Technology (a combination of Computers and Mechanics) and
Nature, and combined Melee Combat and Ranged Combat into just "Combat".

No trait should be obviously more or less useful than any of the other traits. If
the trait is too specific, or the setting won't naturally challenge that trait, you
should alter it to be more broadly applicable or just remove it. Conversely, if
the trait is too useful you should split it up into multiple traits. As an example
I found myself calling for Perception rolls too often in my games, so I split it
into Social Perception and Physical Perception.

It's recommended that the GM split the traits Magic and Psionic into smaller
categories to match whatever supernormal system the setting uses. (see "Example
magic traits for a medieval fantasy setting")

Hit Points are treated like any other ranked trait. Terrible HP is 1 HP and each
additional level increases the character's HP by 1 point. Armor can add up to 3
HP. 0 HP is unconscious or incapacitated. Most attacks do 1 damage. Attacks that
beat the opponent's defense by 3 or more ("critical hit") inflict an extra point of
damage. Attacks that target an opponent's weakness (e.g. fire against a paper
golem) also inflict an extra point of damage.

GMs may also give the PCs bonus hit points at character creation to keep them from
being defeated too easily.

Trait Checks:
Start with a ranked trait. Roll 4dF and shift the trait up or down the Fudge
ladder by the number of steps indicated. Compare the result to the GM-decided
difficulty level (if unopposed) or to the opponent's relevant ranked trait plus an
optional GM-decided modifier (if opposed). A tie or better means the roller
succeeded. The GM decides if a player's failed roll means failure or success at a

When rolling for an untrained or undefined trait: any trait that everyone should
have some skill at (fighting, climbing, basic math, etc.) defaults to Fair, while
any trait that requires specialized knowledge and/or training (particle physics,
helicopter piloting, etc.) defaults to Poor.

If you don't own any Fudge dice you can roll 4d6 instead. Treat a die roll of 1 or
2 as a minus, 3 or 4 as a blank, and 5 or 6 as a plus. Thus, a roll of 1, 1, 2, 5
would be equivalent to [-][-][-][+], which adds up to -2.

Bonuses and penalties:

Sometimes a player will have bonuses and/or penalties that could affect their roll.
+1 is a good bonus, +2 is a very good bonus, and +3 is a very rare, very large
bonus. The same modifiers also apply to penalties. Only the single largest bonus
and the single largest penalty apply to any given roll.

The GM describes a threat and asks the PC, "what do you do?" A failed player roll,
or a player ignoring an oncoming threat, means the GM can inflict damage or cause
additional problems for the PC. There is no initiative; the GM shifts the
spotlight between the different players as needed.

Resting for several hours in unsafe territory (enemy territory, wilderness,
dungeon) causes players to regain a number of hit points equal to half the player's
max HP, rounded up. Resting overnight in safety and comfort heals full HP.

Players gain 1 HP for each healing resource spent (e.g. potions, bandages, spell
slots, mana, or simply time spent.) Healing rolls are only required in stressful

The ability to cast a specific type of magic is a ranked trait. The different
types of magic and the breadth and limits of those types are up to the GM.

Spell Difficulty Table

Adapted from Daneel's Simpler Magic System for Mini Six

Poor, Mediocre:
Short Range (touch)
Short Duration (one action)
Single Target (one creature/object)
Cantrips/Orisons, See Auras, Speak Languages, Burning Touch

Fair, Good:
Medium Range (bowshot)
Medium Duration (several actions)
Medium Area (several people)
Charm People, Mystic Armor, Heal Wounds, Fire Ball, Polymorph

Great, Superb, Fair Superhuman:

Long Range (sight)
Long Duration (entire scene/encounter)
Large Area (crowd)
Resurrection, Group Teleport, Earthquake, Anti-magic Zone

Good Superhuman, Great Superhuman, Superb Superhuman:

Any Range, Duration, Area & Effect
Wish, Miracle

Increase the difficulty if the spell being cast meets more than one criterion of a
spell of that level.

Bad Things happen on a failed roll. Precisely what those Bad Things are depend on
the difficulty of the roll and how badly the roll was failed. A few suggestions
(adapted from Dungeon World and the Dungeon World hack Wizard World):

* The best you can get is a lesser, limited version. The GM will give you the
* The spell has an unexpected side effect. The GM will describe it.
* You draw unwanted attention or put yourself in a spot. The GM will explain how.
* The spell disturbs the fabric of reality as it is cast. Take an ongoing 1-point
penalty to all spellcasting until you rest and meditate for at least an hour.
* You take damage to at least one of your stat tracks (health, mana, corruption,
sanity, etc.) or lose additional resources (spell slots, time, mana, equipment,

Example magic traits for a medieval fantasy setting:


Here are examples of how each magical trait could be used. Note that these are
only examples. Players are free to come up with other uses for their traits.

Protection from an energy type or from physical attacks, cancelling magics, warding
an area to prevent entry from anything fitting a certain criteria, warding an area
to weaken any intruders that fit a certain criteria, banishing summoned entities,
reflecting spells back at their caster.

Lightning, flame, light, shadow, fog, acid, ice, stone, metal, wood, force, wind,
grease, thorns, web. The qualities of the conjured material may only be manipulated
as it's being conjured (e.g. to impart shape and speed to a fireball).

If Conjuration is too broad a category it can be split into Mundus Conjuration and
Aether Conjuration. Mundus is used for solid conjurations like earth, stone, metal,
plant, and liquids like water and oil. Aether is used for gasses and energies like
wind, fog, light, shadow, fire, lightning, and mana.

Cure wounds, neutralize poison, regenerate, cure blindness/deafness/paralysis, cure
disease, restore ability, resurrection

Make something/someone look like something/someone else, create phantom

Changing a target's shape and/or size, changing materials, adding or removing
qualities or abilities, animating the inanimate, enhancing or diminishing

Summon any of the following: monster, spirit, fey, elemental, animal, demon,
undead, construct, extraplanar entity, swarm. The summons may be controlled or let
loose, but an uncontrollable summon is much easier to summon.

Character Advancement:
Characters get 1-3 Experience Points (XP) per session.

Raising a ranked trait:

Terrible to Poor: 1 XP
Poor to Mediocre: 1 XP
Mediocre to Fair: 1 XP
Fair to Good: 2 XP
Good to Great: 4 XP
Great to Superb: 8 XP
Superb to Legendary: 16 XP + GM permission

For slower character advancement increase the costs.

NPC Creation:
NPCs have a Threat Rating, Hit Points, and any other traits the GM wants them to
have. Any undefined ranked trait defaults to the NPC's Threat Rating. NPCs also
have behaviors that can be triggered whenever a player fails a roll, looks to the
GM to see what happens, or ignores a threat. Enemies meant for short battles
should only have 1 or 2 Hit Points each, while boss monsters should have HP
equivalent to a PC (or more!)

Environment Hazards:
Damage that could kill a human does 1 damage. Damage that could kill a horse does
2 HP damage, and damage that could kill an ogre or destroy a vehicle does 4 damage.

Example combat:

GM: The cultist waves his staff ominously over the altar, but the more immediate
threat are his two warg rider cronies who are rapidly approaching you. The goblins
have wicked curved blades and they cry for your blood. How do you react to their
PC: I cast a Flash cantrip to blind the first rider.
GM: What's your Spellcasting skill?
PC: Mediocre.
GM: I'm gonna say casting Flash in this context requires a Mediocre magic skill, so
you just need to roll 0 or higher on the Fudge dice.
PC: *rolls 4dF*
PC: Ouch. -1.
GM: Poor result. The spell backfires and goes off in your face, temporarily
blinding you. What do you do?
PC: Okay, I know the wargs are coming, so I try to jump out of the way.
GM: Athletics check.
PC: Mediocre plus roll equals-
PC: *rolls 4dF*
PC: Augh! -3!
*GM laughs*
PC: That's... one level below Terrible! I did so poorly on my roll that there isn't
even a ranking for it!
GM: Blinded, you run straight into the wall. Using your moment of disorientation,
the goblins attack you from warg-back with their swords. You feel the blades slice
through your armor. Mark off 1 Hit Point.
PC: That brings me down to 3 HP. Freaking hell.
GM: Okay, the temporary blindness has worn off, but you're still a little
disoriented. You're at -1 to your next roll. The warg-riders come around for
another pass. What do you do?
PC: I vault onto the nearest warg to knock the goblin off his perch.
GM: That'll require a Good Dexterity roll, followed by an opposed Strength check to
knock the goblin off.
PC: *rolls*
PC: Crap, -1.
GM: Combined with the disorientation -1 and your Mediocre dexterity, you did
Terribly. You make it onto the warg, but at a cost. Because of your fumbling the
goblin gets a free shot at you. The goblin does one more point of damage. Okay, now
for the opposed Strength check. The goblin has Mediocre Strength.
PC: I have Good Strength, so this should work.
*rolls 4dF*
PC: -1, so my Fair beats the goblin's Mediocre.
GM: And down the goblin goes!

Example NPCs:

Threat Attribute: Great
Gift: Quick Regeneration: On a failed player roll the troll may regain a hit point.
Gift: Slow Regeneration: The troll comes back to life a certain amount of time
after dying (minutes, hours, days), eventually coming back to full health. Limbs
regenerate, etc.
Fault: Pretty dumb.
Fault: Fire attacks and acid attacks both permanently take hit points off of the
Fault (optional): Permanently turns to stone in sunlight.
Behavior: Big. Dumb. Strong. Grab things, pick them up, and smash them against
other things. Do the same thing to people.

Giant Spider
Threat Attribute: Fair
Gift: Paralyzing venom in fangs
Gift: Webspinning
Behavior: Create sticky webs to catch prey, inject a paralytic venom with your
fangs, then wrap your prey in a coccoon before sucking their fluids out.

Threat: Mediocre
Behavior: Loot, pillage, and plunder. Obey your leader. Attack the innocent.
Take by force.

Brigand Leader
Threat: Good
Behavior: Command your followers. Reward obedience. Crush any challenges to your
authority. Boast recklessly.

Pyromaniac Fire Mage

Threat: Good
Gift: Spellcasting. Spells known: Fireball, Flamethrower.
Gift: Immunity to his own flames.
Gift: Immunity to all flames
Behavior: Burn all the things! If anybody tries to stop you, burn them as well!

Psionic Monk
Threat rating: Superb
Gift: Psionicist. Psionic abilities: Telepathy/empathy, Telekinesis, Physical
Augmentation (acrobatic jumps, fast movement), Suggestion.
Gift: Plasma Sword
Behavior: Defend the weak. Destroy the wicked. Be at peace in all your actions.

Fallen Psionic Monk

Threat rating: Superb
Gift: Psionicist. Psionic abilities: Telepathy/empathy, Telekinesis, Physical
Augmentation (acrobatic jumps, fast movement), Lightning.
Gift: Plasma Sword
Behavior: Let your anger and hatred flow through you. Crush your enemies. Show no

Mooks (guards, stormtroopers, minions, cultists, etc.)

Threat Rating: Mediocre
Behavior: Mob the heroes, die in droves.

Trans-Superb traits

Unless playing in a superhero campaign, player characters don't start the game with
skills above Superb. Still, sometimes a character's roll or a monster's trait goes
above Superb. For these situations there's the trans-superb scale. Superhuman is
a qualifier that adds +4 to a trait. Beyond Superhuman is Planetary (+8) and
Cosmic (+12), but at that point you're talking about galaxy-ending threats.

Superb Superhuman
Great Superhuman
Good Superhuman
Fair Superhuman

"Yes, but":
For boring-but-necessary PC actions the GM may allow the player to automatically
succeed with complications (or without complications if the action is trivial) as
long as the PC has the appropriate trait at an acceptable level. This is an
expansion of the "Tell the requirements and ask" GM move (see Appendix A: Dungeon
World GM Moves). The player states what their character wants to achieve and the GM
chooses up to four complications. The GM must tell the player the complications
before the PC takes action.

Situations where "Yes, but" would be appropriate include: crafting equipment,

giving medical treatment, creating a new magical spell or effect, developing

Sample complications:
* It's going to take days/weeks/months
* First you must ____
* You'll need help from ____
* It will require a lot of money
* The best you can do is a lesser version, unreliable and limited
* You and your allies will risk danger from ____
* You'll draw unwanted attention from ____
* You'll have to take apart/disenchant ____ to do it
* The finished product will have the following side-effect(s): ____

The GM may allow the player to choose between different combinations of

complications. ("Either it will take a lot of money and several weeks, or you can
swallow your pride and ask Jorgen for help." "Never!")

Alternate Character Creation Rules

Subjective Character creation:

Write down everything important about your character, ranking any traits that can
be ranked on the Fudge Ladder.
Quick Character Creation (Over the Edge):
Characters get a broad trait (class, occupation, etc.) and two narrower traits
(specific skills). Any one of the three traits may be Great, while the other two
are Good. Any supernormal ability must be the broad trait. The GM may also
require each PC to have a fault.

Quick Character Creation (Wushu):

Characters are defined by 3 player-defined traits. One should describe their
motivation and be ranked Superb, one should describe their fighting style and be
ranked Great, and one should describe their profession and be ranked Good. The GM
may also require each PC to have a fault.

Fudge On The Fly Character Creation:

Players don't have to decide on their traits before play starts. When a relevant
trait is called for the player can fill it in in the appropriate spot below. The
player may decide on a trait at any time. A player can only place a trait where
there is an open slot for it.

Superb: [________________]
Great: [________________] [________________]
Good: [________________] [________________] [________________]
Fair: [________________] [________________] [________________]
Mediocre: [________________] [________________] [________________]
[________________] [________________]
Poor: [________________] [________________] [________________]
[________________] [________________] [________________]
[________________] [________________]

Alternate Character Advancement Rules:

Starting characters get at least one free defined action of easy to moderate
difficulty ("key") and the ability to buy more. Players gain 1 XP when their
character takes the action ("hits the key") or 2 when the character hits the key
against great odds or goes into danger because of it. Character advancement costs
are multiplied by 10.

Example Key:
Key of Bloodlust: Hit your key when you overcome an opponent in battle.

Players may buy off their key by acting in opposition to it, and earn 10 XP
thereby. A key that is bought off can never be taken again by that character. A
player may act in opposition to their key and still keep it; the player only loses
the key when they wish to.

Buyoff for the Key of Bloodlust: Pass up an opportunity for a good fight.

Players may purchase keys at any time. Buying a key costs 10 XP, the same amount a
character gets for buying off their old key. Each player can only have a maximum
of five keys at any time.

In-character Costs
Players can improve traits, but there will be in-character costs decided by the GM
(see "yes, but"). This may or may not be used in conjunction with XP rules.

Learning From Failure

Players gain 1 XP whenever their character fails a trait check. The GM should
increase character advancement costs to compensate.

Learning From Success

Players gain 1 XP whenever their character succeeds a trait check. The GM should
increase character advancement costs to compensate.

Learning From Failure AND Success:

Players gain 1 XP whenever their character succeeds a trait check AND whenever
their character fails a trait check. The GM should DEFINITELY increase character
advancement costs to compensate.

Optional Rules:

Fudge Points:
PCs start the game with 1-5 Fudge Points. Spending a Fudge Point lets you do one
of the following:
* Automatically succeed at any unopposed roll of Superb or lower difficulty.
* Alter a roll by 1.
* Regain 1 HP.
* Get a +4 result without rolling.*
* Ensure a favorable coincidence.*

*This option requires the GM's approval and may cost more than one Fudge Point.

The GM should award an extra Fudge Point whenever a PC does something awesome.
Players start with full Fudge Points at the beginning of each session.

Wound Penalties / Simplified Wound Tracks:

Whenever a character has taken enough damage they take a penalty to any relevant
rolls. A character brought down to 2 HP will have a -1 penalty and a character
brought down to 1 HP will have a -2 penalty. A character at full health never
takes wound penalties, even if their full health is only 1 or 2 HP. A character
with Superb Hit Points (7 HP) could record their injuries like this:

Scratch [ ][ ][ ][ ]
Hurt (-1) [ ]
Very Hurt (-2) [ ]
Incapacitated [ ]

Simple Mana Points:

Each spellcaster has a spellcasting attribute (e.g. mana, magic, soul, spirit).
The rating of that attribute on the Fudge ladder determines the spellcaster's Mana
Points (MP). Terrible mana is 1 MP and each additional trait level increases the
character's MP by 1 point. Casting a spell costs 1 MP. Mana regenerates to full
with a full night's rest.

Stat Tracks:
Stat Tracks can be used in addition to a health track whenever a character has to
keep track of some sort of resource that, when completely lost, makes the PC unable
to act or unable to act in a certain way. The default difficulty for Stat checks
is Fair unless another difficulty level makes more sense. Penalties from different
tracks don't stack; only the highest penalty applies to a character's actions.

Health track (default)

Penalty applies to: Physical actions
Lose health when: taking damage
Saving Throw: any appropriate combat or evasion trait
Regaining health: Resting for several hours in unsafe territory (enemy territory,
wilderness, dungeon) heals half the players' max HP, rounded up. Resting overnight
in safety and comfort heals full HP.
Stat levels: Scratch (0), Hurt (-1), Very Hurt (-2), Incapacitated

Calling on dark forces

Benefits: Allows the character access to dark magic spells and reduces the
difficulty of certain actions (free Fudge point?)
Penalty applies to: using light or neutral spells
Stat Track based on: Willpower
When to roll: Whenever a PC uses magic in anger or uses a dark magic ability.
Trait to roll against: Willpower
Getting rid of dark magic points: 1 point every 2 sessions. Requires in-character
Stat levels: Touched (-0), Tainted (-1), Corrupted (-2), Consumed (NPC)

Sanity Meter (Call of Cthulhu style)

Penalty applies to: Sanity, most social skills, and possibly Willpower rolls
Stat Track based on: Sanity
When to roll: Whenever a character sees something that Should Not Exist, excessive
gore, or attempts to cast a spell themselves.
Trait to roll against: Sanity
Regaining sanity: 1 point per session, or 2 if the character undergoes therapy
between sessions.
Stat levels: Disoriented (0), Disturbed (-1), Unhinged (-2), Completely Insane

Mana Pool
Benefit: allows the character to cast spells
Penalty applies to: spellcasting and/or physical actions
Stat based on: Mana Pool
A failed spellcasting roll costs the character a point of mana. Alternatively, the
GM may instead make an appropriate GM move.
Note: For this stat track to work properly, the trait that represents a character's
spellcasting ability should be separate from the one that represents their mana

Morale Checks:
Each group of combatant NPCs has a Morale trait ranked on the Fudge ladder. By
default this is the same as the NPCs' Threat Rating but it could be different.
Morale is generally checked in critical combat situations. Two recommended times
for morale checks are:

* After the side's first death in combat.

* When half the NPCs have been incapacitated.

A morale check has a default difficulty of Fair, though this may be adjusted to
account for the circumstances. Morale is checked for the entire group at the same
time, not individually for each NPC. If the NPCs succeed at the morale check they
will continue to fight. If they fail they will try to retreat. NPC groups that
successfully check morale twice will fight to the death.

Appendix A: Dungeon World GM Moves

Whenever everyone looks to you (the GM) to see what happens, choose one of these.
Each move is something that occurs in the fiction of the game. They aren't code
words or special terms. "Use up their resources" literally means to expend the
resources of the characters, for example.
Use a monster, danger, or location move
Reveal an unwelcome truth
Show signs of an approaching threat
Deal damage
Use up their resources
Turn their move back on them
Separate them
Give an opportunity that fits a class' abilities
Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment
Offer an opportunity, with or without cost
Put someone in a spot
Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask

Never speak the name of your move. Make it a real thing that happens to them: "As
you dodge the hulking ogre's club, you slip and land hard. Your sword goes sliding
away into the darkness. You think you saw where it went but the ogre is lumbering
your way. What do you do?"

No matter what move you make, always follow up with "What do you do?" Your moves
are a way of filling the characters' lives with adventure. When a spell goes wild
or the floor drops out from under them adventurers react or suffer the consequences
of inaction.

When to Make a Move

You make a move:

When everyone looks to you to find out what happens

When the players give you a golden opportunity (usually by ignoring a threat)
When they fail a skill roll

Generally when the players are just looking at you to find out what happens you
make a soft move, otherwise you make a hard move.

A soft move is one without immediate, irrevocable consequences. That usually means
it's something not all that bad, like revealing that there's more treasure if they
can just find a way past the golem (offer an opportunity with cost). It can also
mean that it's something bad, but they have time to avoid it, like having the
goblin archers loose their arrows (show signs of an approaching threat) with a
chance for them to dodge out of danger.

A soft move ignored becomes a golden opportunity for a hard move. If the players do
nothing about the hail of arrows flying towards them it's a golden opportunity to
use the deal damage move.

Hard moves, on the other hand, have immediate consequences. Dealing damage is
almost always a hard move, since it means a loss of HP that won't be recovered
without some action from the players.

When you have a chance to make a hard move you can opt for a soft one instead if it
better fits the situation. Sometimes things just work out for the best.

Choosing a Move
To choose a move, start by looking at the obvious consequences of the action that
triggered it. Let your moves snowball. Build on the success or failure of the
characters' moves and on your own previous moves.

If your first instinct is that this won't hurt them now, but it'll come back to
bite them later, great! Make a note of and reveal it when the time is right.
Making your Move
Never speak the name of your move and address the characters, not the players. Your
moves are not mechanical actions happening around the table. They are concrete
events happening to the characters in the fictional world you are describing.

Note that "deal damage" is a move, but other moves may include damage as well. When
an ogre flings you against a wall you take damage as surely as if he had smashed
you with his fists.

After every move you make, always ask "What do you do?"

Use a monster, danger, or location move

Every monster in an adventure has moves associated with it, as do many locations. A
monster or location move is just a description of what that location or monster
does, maybe "hurl someone away" or "bridge the planes." If a player move (like hack
and slash) says that a monster gets to make an attack, make an aggressive move with
that monster.

The overarching dangers of the adventure also have moves associated with them. Use
these moves to bring that danger into play, which may mean more monsters.

Reveal an unwelcome truth

An unwelcome truth is a fact the players wish wasn't true: that the room's been
trapped, maybe, or that the helpful goblin is actually a spy. Reveal to the players
just how much trouble they're in.

Show signs of an approaching threat

This is one of your most versatile moves. "Threat" means anything bad that's on the
way. With this move, you just show them that something's going to happen unless
they do something about it.

Deal damage

When you deal damage, choose one source of damage that's fictionally threatening a
character and apply it. In combat with a lizard man? It stabs you. Triggered a
trap? Rocks fall on you.

The amount of damage is decided by the source. In some cases, this move might
involve trading damage both ways, with the character also dealing damage.

Most damage is based on a die roll. When a player takes damage, tell them what to
roll. You never need to touch the dice. If the player is too cowardly to find out
their own fate, they can ask another player to roll for them.

Use up their resources

Surviving in a dungeon, or anywhere dangerous, often comes down to supplies. With

this move, something happens to use up some resource: weapons, armor, healing,
ongoing spells. You don't always have to use it up permanently. A sword might just
be flung to the other side of the room, not shattered.

Turn Their Move Back On Them

Think about the benefits a move might grant a character and turn them around in a
negative way. Alternately, grant the same advantage to someone who has it out for
the characters. If Ivy has learned of Duke Horst's men approaching from the east,
maybe a scout has spotted her, too.

Separate Them

There are few things worse than being in the middle of a raging battle with blood-
thirsty owlbears on all sides. One of those things is being in the middle of that
battle with no one at your back.

Separating the characters can mean anything from being pushed apart in the heat of
battle to being teleported to the far end of the dungeon. Whatever way it occurs,
it's bound to cause problems.

Give an opportunity that fits a class' abilities

The thief disables traps, sneaks, and picks locks. The cleric deals with the divine
and the dead. Every class has things that they shine at. Present an opportunity
that plays to what one class shines at.

It doesn't have to be a class that's in play right now though. Sometimes a locked
door stands between you and treasure and there's no thief in sight. This is an
invitation for invention, bargaining, and creativity. If all you've got is a bloody
axe doesn't every problem look like a skull?

Show a downside to their class, race, or equipment

Just as every class shines, they all have their weaknesses too. Do orcs have a
special thirst for elven blood? Is the cleric's magic disturbing dangerous forces?
The torch that lights the way also draws attention from eyes in the dark.

Offer an opportunity, with or without cost

Show them something they want: riches, power, glory. If you want, you can associate
some cost with it too, of course.

Remember to lead with the fiction. You don't say, "This area isn't dangerous so you
can make camp here, if you're willing to take the time." You make it a solid
fictional thing and say, "Helferth's blessings still hang around the shattered
altar. It's a nice safe spot, but the chanting from the ritual chamber is getting
louder. What do you do?"

Put someone in a spot

A spot is someplace where a character needs to make tough choices. Put them, or
something they care about, in the path of destruction. The harder the choice, the
tougher the spot.

Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask

This move is particularly good when they want something that's not covered by a
move, or they've failed a move. They can do it, sure, but they'll have to pay the
price. Or, they can do it, but there will be consequences. Maybe they can swim
through the shark-infested moat before being devoured, but they'll need a
distraction. Of course, this is made clear to the characters, not just the players:
the sharks are in a starved frenzy, for example.

Appendix B: Example Keys

The Shadow of Yesterday Keys:

Key of Bloodlust: Hit your key when you overcome an opponent in battle. Buyoff:
Pass up an opportunity for a good fight.

Key of Conscience: Hit your key when you help someone in trouble or improve
someone's life with your compassion. Buyoff: Ignore a cry for help.

Key of the Coward: Hit your key when you avoid danger, or stop a battle by means
other than violence. Buyoff: Embrace combat.

Key of Faith: Hit your key when you defend your faith or convert another to your
faith. Buyoff: Renounce your beliefs.

Key of Fraternity: Hit your key when you are influenced by your friend, or show how
deep your bond is. Buyoff: Sever the relationship with this person.

Key of Glittering Gold: Hit your key whenever you increase your wealth. Buyoff:
Give away everything you own except what you can carry lightly.

Key of the Guardian: Hit your key when you are influenced by your ward, or show how
deep your bond is. Buyoff: Sever the relationship with this person.

Key of the Impostor: Hit your key when you actively fool someone with your
imposture. Buyoff: Reveal your true identity to someone you deceived.

Key of the Masochist: Hit your key whenever you are hurt, physically or otherwise,
in a way that inflicts a temporary or ongoing penalty upon your character. Buyoff:
Flee a source of physical or emotional injury.

Key of the Mission: Hit your key when you take action to complete your mission.
Buyoff: Give up on your mission.

Key of the Outcast: Hit your key when the fact that you are an outcast is
highlighted in the scene in some manner. Buyoff: Regain your former standing or
join a new group.

Key of Renown: Hit your key whenever you add to your reputation, by words or by
deeds. Buyoff: Give someone else credit for an action that would increase your

Key of Power: Hit your key whenever you gain power or status, either by improving
your own situation or weakening a rival's. Buyoff: Relinquish your power and

Key of Vengeance. Hit your key when you strike a blow against those who wronged
you. Buyoff: Forgive those who wronged you.

Key of the Vow: Hit your key when your vow significantly impacts your decisions.
Buyoff: Break your vow.

Lady Blackbird Keys:

Key of the Paragon: Hit your key when you demonstrate your superiority or when your
noble traits overcome a problem. Buyoff: Disown your noble heritage.

Key of the Commander: Hit your key when your orders are obeyed. Buyoff: Acknowledge
someone else as the leader.

Key of Hidden Longing: Hit your key when you make a decision based on your secret
affection or when you somehow show it indirectly. Buyoff: Give up on your secret
desire or make it public.

Key of Greed: Hit your key when you steal something cool or score a big payoff.
Buyoff: Swear off stealing forever.

Key of the Daredevil: Hit your key when you do something cool that is risky or
reckless (especially piloting stunts).
Buyoff: Be very very careful.

Key of Banter: Hit your key when your character says something that makes the other
players laugh or when you explain something using highly technical jargon.
Buyoff: Everyone groans at one of your comments.

Key of the Traveler

Hit your key when you share an interesting detail about a person, place, or thing
or when you go somewhere exciting and new.
Buyoff: Pass up the opportunity to see something new.

Key of the Broker: Hit your key when you bargain, make a new contact, or exchange a
favour. Buyoff: Cut yourself off from your network of contacts.

Key of the Tinkerer: Hit your key when you repair, design, or modify technology.
Buyoff: Personally destroy a unique or particularly important machine.

Key of the Pirate: Hit your key when you impress someone with your piratical capers
or add to your notorious reputation. Buyoff: Turn over a new leaf and go straight.

Dungeon World Alignment Keys:

Key of the Chaotic Barbarian: Eschew a convention of the civilized world. Buyoff:
Embrace civilization.

Key of the Neutral Barbarian: Teach someone the ways of your people. Buyoff:
Renounce the ways of your people.

Key of the Good Bard: Perform your art to aid someone else. Buyoff: Renounce your

Key of the Neutral Bard: Avoid a conflict or defuse a tense situation. Buyoff:
Throw yourself into battle with no hesitation.

Key of the Chaotic Bard: Spur others to significant and unplanned decisive action.
Buyoff: Prevent others from acting rashly.

Key of the Good Cleric: Heal another. Buyoff: Withhold healing from one who needs

Key of the Lawful Cleric: Follow the precepts of your church or god. Buyoff: Break
the rules of your church of god.

Key of the Evil Cleric: Harm another to prove the superiority of your church or
god. Buyoff: Denounce your church or god

Key of the Chaotic Druid: Destroy a symbol of civilization. Buyoff: Embrace


Key of the Good Druid: Help something or someone grow. Buyoff: Destroy something or
someone or stunt their growth.
Key of the Neutral Druid: Eliminate an unnatural menace. Buyoff: Take no action
against an unnatural menace, or even act to support it.

Key of the Good Fighter: Defend those weaker than you. Buyoff: Ignore a cry for

Key of the Neutral Fighter: Defeat an opponent. Buyoff: Be defeated in battle.

Key of the Evil Fighter: Kill a defenseless, beaten, or surrendered person. Buyoff:
Defend someone weaker than you.

Key of the Lawful Paladin: Deny mercy to a criminal or unbeliever. Buyoff: Show
mercy to a criminal or unbeliever.

Key of the Good Paladin: Protect someone weaker than you. Buyoff: Allow someone
weaker than you to deal with the danger.

Key of the Chaotic Ranger: Free someone from literal or figurative bonds. Buyoff:
Restrict somebody else's freedom.

Key of the Good Ranger: Combat an unnatural threat. Buyoff: Take no action against
an unnatural threat, or even act to support it.

Key of the Neutral Ranger: Help an animal or spirit of the wild. Buyoff: Ignore an
animal's or spirit's call for help.

Key of the Chaotic Thief: Leap into danger without a plan. Buyoff: Methodically
plan your actions before taking them.

Key of the Neutral Thief: Avoid detection or infiltrate a location. Buyoff: Draw
attention to yourself, making stealth impossible.

Key of the Evil Thief: Shift danger or blame from yourself to someone else. Buyoff:
Accept the blame or take on the danger yourself.

Key of the Good Wizard: Use magic to directly aid another. Buyoff: Refuse to
magically assist another who could use your help.

Key of the Neutral Wizard: Discover something about a magical mystery. Buyoff: Pass
up an opportunity to learn more about a magical mystery.

Key of the Evil Wizard: Use magic to cause terror and fear. Buyoff: Sincerely
attempt to make amends for your previous behavior.