Since Dark Heart of the Dreamer was released for Dungeon World, the “story-first” mechanics and the Heritage Moves have often been hailed as a perfect fit for the Planescape campaign setting. Heritage Moves can help promote the racial, Faction, and other relationships that player characters will develop in a Planescape campaign.
Here’s a look at some possible Heritage Moves, and how to apply them to the huge variety of races and Factions that populate the Planescape setting.
The mechanics work just like in Dark Heart: instead of choosing your Race after you’ve picked your Class and gaining a specific Move, you instead choose up to 3 Moves that can come from any combination of race, Faction, patron deity, or some other (fairly large) allegiance that may influence your beliefs or natural abilities.
For each race, it’s nice to have 2-3 choices; for each Faction, 1 or 2. Patron deities and other groups may be dealt with in a more ad-hoc way, as it’s fairly easy to come up with ideas for Moves based on various listings of D&D deities, such as this one from Wikipedia. Simply look at the Domain, Portfolio, and Followers entries and you can probably come up with some good ideas, though I’ll try to put up a few examples at some point for popular deities.
Heritage Moves by Race
- Tiefling – Summon darkness to obscure; Resist Hellish elements; Trick & swindle
- Aasimar – Harness holy light; Summon reserves of willpower
- Bariaur – Ram with devastating force; Burst of speed
- Human – Adapt to overcome
- High Elf –
- Wood Elf – Harness the power of the natural world
- Wild Elf –
- Drow – Poison them
- Half-elf –
- Halfling –
- Kender – “I already stole that!”
- Dwarf –
- Gully Dwarf – Do something stupid that works out for the best
- Duergar –
- Half-orc –
- Gnome –
- Tinker Gnome – Understand and/or modify how something works
- Rogue Modron – Compute impossible probabilities
- Warforged – Living armored hide
- Dragonborn – Exhale dragonsbreath
- Changeling – Harness an animal’s trait
- Githzerai –
- Githyanki –
- Goblin – Charge!
- Hobgoblin –
- Orc –
- Lizardfolk – Make amphibious assault
- Gnoll – Bloody frenzy
- Thri-kreen – Make an astounding leap
- Mul (“Half-dwarf”) – Endure damn near anything
- Half-giant – Size matters
- Air Genasi – Feet don’t touch the ground
- Earth Genasi – The strength of stone
- Fire Genasi – Fire and heat
- Water Genasi – Liquid movement
Heritage Moves by Faction
- The Athar (Defiers, The Lost) – Shake off the influence of others; Defy the powers of the gods
- Believers of the Source (Godsmen) – Honest and fair in all dealings; Intuition from past lives
- Bleak Cabal (Bleakers, Madmen) – Already insane; Comfortably numb…and numbing
- The Doomguard (Sinkers) – Break things via weakpoints; Gain insight from death or destruction
- The Dustmen (The Dead) – Invoke the Dead Truce; Gain insight about a being’s mortality
- The Fated (Takers, Heartless) – Jack of All Trades; Con-man
- Fraternity of Order (Guvners) – Manipulate the probabilities of a given action; Find a temporary loophole in the laws of the multiverse
- Free League (Indeps) – Cannot be compelled; Know another’s allegiance
- Harmonium (Hardheads) – Invoke your commanding presence; Unshakable will
- Mercykillers (Red Death) – Reveal duplicity; Call karmic justice down
- Revolutionary League (Anarchists) – Impersonate someone to infiltrate; Reveal a secret you shouldn’t (or couldn’t) know
- Sign of One (Signers) – Pierce illusion and misdirection; Perform an amazing feat by subtly altering reality
- Society of Sensation (Sensates) – Preternaturally sharp senses
- Transcendent Order (Ciphers) – Perform an instinctively fast action without thinking; Get the hell outta the way
- Xaositects (Chaosmen) – Communicate through nonsensical means; Sow chaos and disorder
The Need for More!
As you can see, there’s a few blanks, and there’s of course plenty of other potential player-friendly races as well as Sects and other groups to add to the Factions area. This is a great place for players to chime in with their ideas, and to discuss the themes of the campaign so that you can brainstorm some fitting moves.
…And just in case you’re wondering, yes, many of these make fantastic ideas for Aspects in Fate games, or as traits (Distinctions, especially) in Cortex Plus games.
What Heritage Moves have you come up with for your Dungeon World games?
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