Happy Tabletop Tuesday, adventurers! Today I am introducing a new segment, one I plan to keep around for at least the month of October, potentially beyond if it’s something that you folks really seem to enjoy.
This segment is called the “Dungeon World Custom Stuff Pack.” What the heck is that? As you may know, Dungeon World is my favorite tabletop. I’ve ran two full campaigns in the last year, and am running a third right now. As part of these campaigns I’ve created plenty of custom stuff, and I’ve created other custom things just for the fun of doing it. And this segment is all about giving away that custom stuff so you can enjoy it in your own Dungeon World experiences!
Today is the first giveaway, so let’s talk about what you can expect. Included is a custom class called the Silent Protagonist. This class is all about recreating the silent hero of JRPG classics like Dragon Quest, Chrono Trigger, and Golden Sun, as well as who is probably the most famous silent protagonist of all, Link from The Legend of Zelda. Also included will be a number of magic items inspired by those games!
I owe a big thanks to two of my friends – WordPress users TheFalconMedic and vcawarrior15 – for their assistance with building this class. They were great sounding boards during this process and helped me to find a few issues in balance and theme that we then worked out together.
As with any custom content made by a fan, you may experience some mild issues in balance. If that’s the case, please let me know in the comments of this post so I can make appropriate changes to the class or the items (although I imagine the magic items will be much less of a problem). So without further ado, let’s get into the gritty details about this custom content!
THE SILENT PROTAGONIST
“You didn’t know you were destined for greatness. You lived a simple life and you liked it that way. Days spent working the earth, nights spent in the comfort of your family. But one day something changed. You discovered that you had a bigger destiny than you ever thought. Maybe you don’t want that destiny right now. But your heart is full of the kind of goodness that evil can’t touch, and that goodness can’t be wasted tilling the earth. So take up your blade, silent one. Tap into the mysterious powers that are beginning to manifest within you. Because your destiny will catch up with you whether you want it to or not. And when it does, you need to be ready.”
The Silent Protagonist takes its inspiration from Link and similarly silent main characters. Now does this mean your character is mute? No. Rather, the silent protagonist is someone who changes the lives of others not through words, but through action. A classic example of how the Silent Protagonist works can be found in Ocarina of Time. When Link goes to the Goron Village to ask Darunia for the spiritual stone of fire, Darunia laughs in his face and gives him an impossible task. But when Link proves himself powerful enough to defeat the Dodongo King, Darunia not only gives him the spiritual stone but declares him his “sworn brother.” As a silent protagonist, people don’t want to hear what you have to say – they want to see what you can do. And when you prove your courage and righteousness, they’ll do everything they can to help you.
A big part of the Silent Protagonist class is the spell list, wielded through a move called Undiscovered Power. The Silent Protagonist spell list is heavily inspired by Dragon Quest and Golden Sun – in combat, the spells are balanced between damage and healing, while there are also multiple spells for use out-of-combat to make the character helpful in any situation. The class relies not on intensive study or spiritual dedication, but on the mysterious force inside of them that allows them to seize their destiny. Because this inner power is stronger in those with a strong life force, it is wielded using Constitution (CON) and thus makes that stat the most important for this class. Silent Protagonists don’t prepare spells like wizards or clerics, which is advantageous because they can always cast every spell they have access to. However, the spell list is pretty limited as a result, and if you exhaust one spell, you’re not likely to have another one that serves as the perfect replacement. Silent Protagonist magic relies a lot on combos – using a couple of different spells together to create very beneficial situations. Perhaps the “main” spell mechanic of the Silent Protagonist is the Beacon spell, which creates a mystical sphere of energy that the character can sense at all times. That’s about all the spell does by itself, but as you level up you learn more and more ways to harness the Beacon and eventually learn to create a second one, allowing incredible combos that gives the class a great utility role.
In combat, the Silent Protagonist relies on a combination of weaponry and spells. Silent Protagonists fight best when they don’t just focus on hitting things as hard as they can. Think about Link – does he just pick his biggest, pointiest weapon and start swinging? No. Enemies have specific weaknesses and each weapon you wield has tags that make it advantageous in different circumstances. The Silent Protagonist focuses on this aspect of combat by dealing increased damage when you use weapon tags in a strategic way. When designing the class, one thing I wanted to capture was the typical combat progression of a JRPG character – you probably start out relying mainly on weapons, using magic only for support, but as you level up and get access to more powerful magic, magic becomes your main method of combat. Of course, this is Dungeon World, where spells can be lost for a time if you aren’t careful. As a result, when playing as this class you’ll still want to keep plenty of weapons handy for when magic fails you.
As you level up in the Silent Protagonist class, you get access to a big variety of advanced moves. These characters tend to be pretty versatile in their source material, having really balanced stats and being good at just about everything. In Dungeon World it’s tough to represent that, so what I did was offer a number of ways to improve this character’s ability to use moves associated with the most likely “dump stats” – stats you put all of your low ability scores in (most likely INT, WIS, and CHA). An example of this is Curiosity, which lets you ask more Discern Realities questions even if you fail. You get better at combat not by hitting harder but fighting smarter – the Silent Protagonist can reroll damage rolls to try and get better results, choose what kind of items they find in the dungeon to keep their tags varied and useful, and even learn to cast two spells at the same time! The purity of the character’s heart is also a powerful theme throughout the class, enabling the character to resist effects that would push him or her towards immoral deeds and potentially resulting in a marking showing their incredible courage and strength of character. This purity can move the hearts of more than just people – animals and even monsters may join your cause at higher levels (another nod to Dragon Quest).
Overall, the Silent Protagonist is a great class to play if you want to play a balanced character with a pure heart. Since you don’t deal the most damage or heal the most HP compared to other classes, you’ll need to rely on your allies for help – but hey, that’s how every hero really gets by at the end of the day. If you want to play a character whose very destiny calls them to adventure, then follow this link to enjoy the Silent Protagonist class:
Arrows of the Sun
1 ammo, 1 weight
According to legend, if you fire a single arrow into the first light of the rising sun, that arrow will return to you wreathed in the flames of the heavens. Of course, whoever wrote that legend forgot to account for a lot of other factors, such as the location or the time of year. But hey, if you try it at just the right time you might end up with one of these gorgeous missiles. When an Arrow of the Sun makes contact with its target, it bursts into brilliant flames. These magical flames burn right through armor and even magical protection, but the one they won’t do is burn something that’s immune to fire. When you shoot one, be sure you don’t miss – the resulting explosion could be devastating if the arrow doesn’t go where it’s supposed to.
+2 damage, Close, Reach, 2-handed, 2 weight
A beautifully ornate staff designed to resemble a mighty dragon. This staff can be wielded in combat as a powerful weapon on its own, but its true power comes from the ability to transform its wielder into a mighty dragon. When you hold the staff aloft and call upon its true power, you become a dragon and gain 3 hold as if you rolled a 10+ on the druid’s Shapeshift move. The GM will tell you what dragon moves you gained, and you may spend hold 1-for-1 to use those moves. Once you’re out of hold, you revert back to your normal form and cannot become a dragon again until you’ve rested for a few hours.
The Time Egg
This weird egg contains within it pure potential – nothing more, and nothing less. The egg hatches when whoever holds it is full of the desire to achieve the potential of the time egg. The egg’s hatching cycle matches the level of the holder’s desire – if you don’t truly want something and work with all of your might to accomplish it, the egg will never hatch. When you pursue a cause with your whole being and hatch the time egg, a path will be opened before you into a moment in time that you choose. Everything around you will be frozen in time while you are actively able to move and shape the situation. Be wary – the things you change could have ripple effects throughout the river of time. You never know what you might come back to.
This glistening blue jewel is freezing cold to the touch. To those without the gift of magic, that is all it is. However, those who can bend the elements of the world sense the power within this gem. When you channel magic through the frost jewel, roll as if you cast a spell from your spell list, using whatever STAT is appropriate for your spellcasting. *On a 10+ you use the frost jewel successfully and it retains its power. *On a 7-9, you choose:
– You draw unwanted attention to yourself or put yourself in a spot
– You take -1 ongoing to Cast a Spell or Undiscovered Power until you rest or prepare spells
– The frost jewel is exhausted of its power until you recharge it
The spell cast by the frost jewel causes a puddle of uncontained water that you indicate to become a mighty shaft of ice, powerful enough to support an iron gate or to hold the weight of a fully-equipped adventurer. If the frost jewel ever loses its charge, you may recharge it by immersing it in snow or ice for a full 24 hours.
I hope you enjoy these homages to some of the video games that have inspired me over the years. May the Silent Protagonist and the tools that come with it bring some fun to your gaming table!
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