Friday, March 9, 2012

Dungeon World gems, pt. 1

so in Dungeon World, there's a little gem tucked away in the Cleric section (p34):
"Once a spell is granted the Cleric can cast it. When a spell is cast
it may be revoked by the deity. A revoked spell is no longer granted
to the Cleric and can not be cast until the Cleric Communes and
asks for it again."

So - - let's ponder this for a second. Clerics have lost heavier armor in DW (it counts as Clumsy for them, but not for Fighters), and frankly items like poultices, bandages, and so on really give Cure Light Wounds a run for its money - bandages in particular restore 4hp, while CLW only heals 1d8 (not all that much more, tbh).

But Clerics get a boost from that line "may be revoked by the deity". Not just a power boost, potentially, but that one small sentence means that the DM has a clear, concrete way to comment on a god's current feelings towards its loyal servant. You can also be weird and mysterious by revoking certain spells but not others.

At the same time, this is a challenging, fiddly bit of decision-making to embark on - - the DM must remember her principles and abide by them very carefully. Be a fan of the PCs. It's possible that a god could be punishing its disciple by revoking spells, but if so, the DM should make that clear in other ways so the player can address it. If the god is instead micromanaging, then hints or clues about the "mission" the god thinks the Cleric is on right now would be useful.

Don't think about what you're trying to do to or for the player with revocation. Think, in the fiction, what the deity is trying to do to the cleric.


  1. A Cleric spell is revoked as one of the choices in the 7-9 "Cast a Spell" move. The Cleric doesn't need to go on a mission to get the spell back, they just need to Commune.

    Not to say what you outlined above is a bad idea, but I don't think it's the intention of the rules that you cited. You can always revoke a spell explicitly as a GM move (consume their resources) if you feel the Cleric has gone out of favor.

  2. Good call; I definitely missed that part of the move.

    I guess the larger deal is that I'm excited by the notion of playing around with the cleric's spell-access as a way of telling another, sort of "nested" story - that of the cleric, his faith, and his god.

  3. Mmm, in game terms that seems the opposite way around dealing with such a thing. In the riddle of steel RPG you get bonus dice for engaging in story like stuff. In alot of other RPG's you get something for engaging in story like stuff. Here the player is losing something so as to engage in story. And being outclassed by bandages in the process.

  4. Yeah, good call. I think I'll let a religion or deity "create itself" by making moves.
    I played on Monday, and a surprising amount of information can be sketched out with a couple of Spout Lore checks, as it turns out...

    I also read closer and noticed that clerics and wizards have an equal chance of losing spells. I had not realized at first that wizards don't always lose their spells upon casting, so consider this whole post to be non-sensical ^___^