I can tell you what my design journey was.
I started by trying to apply my notes and fixes to DW.
At some point, quite early, I noticed that I was throwing out the window pretty much everything that made DW feel like DW, so I took a deep breath and decided to “rebase”.
I literally copy-pasted AW2 text on a gDoc, and went on the task of reworking it.
I did this to have a baseline structure for an actual rulebook.
To have ready-made content for all the wheels I wasn’t going to reinvent, instead of dealing with a gruyère document.
And because it wasn’t yet clear to me how much I would veer away from AW.
That said, I needed some fantasy playbooks as a placeholder while I was designing what, to me personally, was the actually important stuff.
So I copy-pasted the DW classes on it too.
Eventually I got to the point where the rules were ready to be tested, but now they were largely incompatible with the original DW classes. So I started working on them too.
This process went through a few stages.
First the DW classes were just the DW classes, with bits modified to be FW compatible.
Then I started gutting them: each DW class has about 30 moves, counting both starting and advanced ones, whilst FW has a fixed total of 11.
Then I started reworking the moves that were left there, too. I wanted them to rely more on fictional positioning and to prompt more the Players into describing stuff.
Then I went to town about two classes with which I had a specific beef with, so to speak
The Paladin and the Cleric (now Knight and Priest) are pretty much a deconstruction and critique of the sanctimonious a-holes they often are in most other fantasy games.
Then I started getting feedback from players and GMs about a problem they were having: they read the class names and expected the same gameplay as with the analogous DW ones… but at the table the experience just did not match the expectations!
They played different, had a different feeling.
So that’s when I changed the names. Now people still draw a comparison between FW Warrior and DW Fighter, but they also seem to get that they are different, and this apparently solved the problem in the majority of cases.
So yeah, there surely is some DW DNA leftover. I never said otherwise.
But first of all, it’s more a matter of some DW bits being injected on top of the AW base.
Secondly, the relationship with DW was more in the vein of “I won’t be like you, dad!” than something like “thanks for teaching me, dad!” … which is by no means a negative judgement on DW, only an acknowledgement that the main guidance I got from my years of playing DW (and I played it a lot back in the day ) was that now that I was doing my own thing I wanted it to be different than DW.
Without my DW experience, FW would be much different from how it is today. And I am deeply grateful to DW (or rather to Adam and Sage ) for that.
But that’s why I stand by my words: in an article offering a quick and broad overview about the similarities/differences between DW and FW from the perspective of a user… there is little of DW in FW, and what little is there is mostly cosmetic and superficial.
From a game design heritage perspective? (aka: what we are discussing here now)
Well, then DW has been a great influence on FW’s design, albeit in the “i’m going to be different” kind of way as explained just now.
. . .
A word on why I kept the D&D class stereotypes that DW uses too.
Some suggested me to try and create original archetypes that would map on to fantasy narrative tropes: the chosen one, the ascendant, the brooding one, the unexpected, etc
I gave it some thought, but in the end decided against it.
I felt like it would have turned the game into something too specific… like SCUP or Fellowship or The Watch, which are amazing games that are very focused on their specific main reference.
Like most PbtA games one could ply them to play other things, but that’s not what I wanted for FW. I have a different vision for it.
D&D classes, and their DW translations, are not about a specific kind of story or a specific character archetype (in narrative terms).
They are neutral.
They are jobs.
Collections of skills that say very little about the kind of story you will play with them, focusing instead on HOW you will interact with whatever story you drop them into.
This served my purposes better, so I just kept them as a base to hack
I hope this clarifies further my position, meaning and intentions