Playing with only the Basic Rules

Hi there,

I am wondering if anyone has tried running a “classless” variant of Dungeon World. I’m thinking of running a game wherein PCs all start out generic, with access to only the Basic Moves. Then they gain new moves by way of Compendium Classes. Something like that…

To that end, is there a big list of Compendium Classes somewhere?


The closest I can think of is the excellent Funnel World, although PCs don’t gain moves from compendium classes but level up to become Fighters, Thieves, Magic Users and Clerics.

I don’t know of anything like this but I’d be very interested in it.

Yeah, I am helping my daughter run her first campaign. She wants it based on some story/universe she is into called the Backrooms.

I’m thinking that the players start out as blank slates, generic characters with access to only the Basic Moves from Dungeon World. Maybe everyone starts with the same HP, but gets to choose their attributes, or something like that. Then, as the GM, you set up opportunities for the characters to meet the conditions of the various Compendium classes, and then they can take moves from those Compendium Classes when they level-up. The “themes” method of dungeon building from the PW handbook could be very useful, here.

Example stolen from the internet: the Dragon Slayer Compendium Class: When you drink the still-warm heartblood of a dragon, the next time you level up, you may choose this move… Usually the first move of the class is the best, and taking it opens up the option to take further moves at next level-up. I think it might be cool if the characters end up as composite classes, with moves collected from various classes.

There is a rather long list of compendium classes on r/DungeonWorld:


You might want to take a look at World of Dungeons. It’s a very scaled back version of Dungeon World with only one move: Defy Danger. There are skills and abilities to add some flavor, but you can do with those as you like.

Personally, I’ve been using WoDu over DW for quite a while. My preference is to use the Basic Moves from DW to inform outcomes of the more general Defy Danger, add in Custom Moves that fit the setting/campaign, and generally eschew player or playbook specific moves. Characters still use attributes and skills per WoDu.

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@bigbrother8 How do you handle magic in WoDu? It seems to be rather slow to pull off for Wizards in scenes that require immediate solutions. I like the game and how austere the rules are but for magic I used the spell generation from Freebooters on the Frontier instead.

I actually like the hacked Wizard way of handling magic:

In our vanilla fantasy game we use Freebooters to randomly roll. First, we get the name of the Wizard’s master then we roll 1-3 random spell names. Spell casting is a roll with the results loosely adjudicated; we have a table culture built over thirty plus years of play. There’s a separate evocation ability (ie Magic Missile) since all spells are utility only.

In my Middle Earth themed game the Wizard abilities are constrained to fit the setting but with opportunity for broad interpretation. Since the world is well established, generating effects on the fly is very fast. Mechanically, characters can roll to cast any time but I’ve borrowed somewhat from 4e D&D: if they “spend” Hit Dice, rolled results are increased one step. I’ve long been wanting to avoid things like “once per day” and also make HD more consequential. image

Instead of saying I “eschew” playbook moves, I should say that there is a very limited list of never more than four moves or abilities per class.