Has anybody done anything like Freebooters on the Frontier for urban settings? A supplement that OSRifies Dungeon World a little bit for city exploration and faction play? I want to run a city based DW game where the PCs are lowlifes trying to eke out a living in a large, wild city at the hub of the planes (Sigil in Planescape is a big influence here). Freebooters does a lot of what I’d like mechanically in terms of PC fragility and reorienting the game towards exploration and loot, but it’s all pointed towards wilderness exploration. Any thoughts about cities and factions?
Maybe @jasonlutes has a thought or two?
Hi @Jesseabe it may not be exactly what you’re looking for, and it’s still a work-in-progress, but the current playtest docs for Freebooters 2e include a bunch of tables and guidelines for generating urban elements. See the Settlements & Citizens pdf at the other end of that link.
Thanks @jasonlutes! Definitely useful in terms of building setting elements, but honestly, that’s not the awesome thing from Freebooters I want to adapt/see adapted (and I’m more and more convinced that it doesn’t exist yet. There was a productive conversation around this in the Gauntlet Slack with @SamTung and @SamR this morning, and here’s how I’ve refined what I’m looking for:
So one thing Freebooters does well that isn’t well suited to urban play is traversal. I’d like some procedures that make navigating spaces in the city interesting. I could use OSR style random encounters to spice things up a bit, but I feel like there could be something like the set of navigation moves in Freebooters for cities that would feel cooler. I’d also like some more support for faction play. Again, there are lots of OSR resources for this, but I’d love to see some more PbtA type moves/currencies that might make things feel more alive. I haven’t read Green Law of Varkith yet, but my sense is that it may have some of this material.
On the bigger picture stuff, what I love about Freebooters is its combination of OSR style risk/reward decision making (which Dungeon World doesn’t really have), with an exciting set of exploration and traversal moves. There is a great number of urban OSR settings and games, Bastion from into the Odd, Zak S.'s Vornheim, Chris Kutalik’s Marlinko, for example. I love playing them, but want a game that supports the improvisation and snowballing story of PbtA for this.
Then following up when @SamTung asked me what I meant by exploration: In the same way that Freebooters has a set of Travel and Exploration moves, I’d like to see a set of Traversal and Exploration moves with triggers like: “When you set out to find a location you have never been to before…” “When you try to find a route that will allow you to approach a location unseen…” “When you attempt to traverse the city by avoiding the main thoroughfares…” Obviously, I’m not at all committed to any of those triggers, but that’s the kind of thing I’m thinking about.
So that’s where I’m at, though we got a little farther in fleshing out some of what is unique about cities that we’d like to see here, and in particular how exploration, traversal and space could be linked to city factions (something that I think can be done uniquely well in urban settings). I LOVE what Freebooters does in the world and wilderness exploration, I’d like to see something similar when it comes to cities. I was hoping somebody else had already done the work, but it doesn’t seem like it.
My Freebooters group is about to head into the city for some urban adventures. I’ll let you know if I come up with any insights.