Comic book stories and characters like you've always wanted them! Worlds in Peril combines descriptive, creative and flexible powers with a narrative structure that encourages players to take control of their stories and build worlds together. Powered by the Apocalypse World system (2d6+ modifier), Worlds in Peril is a standalone RPG that will produce compelling super hero action in any world with little-to-no preparation. Play to find out what happens, be the hero you want to be!
The Apocalypse World engine has already been hacked and adapted into various games, many of which have been successfully funded through kickstarter and crowdfunding.It's been adapted to the award-winning Dungeon World for dungeon crawling adventures, Tremulus for lovecraftian horror. Sagas of the Icelanders for playing Icelandic settlers. Monsterhearts for playing teenager monsters. Monster of the Week for monster hunting, and many others! We've spend the last year and a half designing, hacking, playtesting and writing to introduce superheroes into the already incredibly diverse and amazing Apocalypse World system.
So what’s changed? What’s different from Apocalypse World or Dungeon World?
Powers are descriptive and flexible. Worlds in Peril focuses on what you do with your powers rather than what exactly they are in order to account for any and all possible powers and combinations. Powers are rarely static and are continually expanding and growing as you use them to do more things. When you create your character you have a Powers Profile to fill out in which you describe what your character can do with your powers at varying levels of difficulty (simple to do, difficult, borderline, theoretically possible). As you move outside of those defined areas moves are triggered depending on the situation and your Powers Profile may change.
Descriptive Conditions that have tracks instead of hit points. Damage and combat works differently and is designed to be even more no-prep and less hassle for the Editor in Chief (MC/GM) and has the additional benefit of descriptions to ground everything in the fiction of the game world. An enemy will have a number of Conditions they can take before they lose their agency in the fiction or before they are taken down. Conditions have descriptors so we know when they're dealing with and what they look in the fiction. When dealing with damage, dice are rolled to determine the severity and staying power of a Condition rather than a value of hit points which helps to influence and determine what is going on in the game world along with the descriptor.
Your playbook/character is made up of mini-playbooks:
1) An Origin playbook is the reason why you became a hero and possible how you get your powers (I became a superhero because of..). The books are called things like "The Accident" or "My Alien heritage", "A Death in the Family, etc. They make up the important core of a character and each playbook has a couple moves unique to that book.
2) A Drive playbook is the current motivation and drive of your hero (It is my goal and drive to...) things like "See Justice Done", "Push the Boundaries of Science", etc. These books help set a direction the character is going and outlines requirements for advancing and taking more moves in that book so a character always has something to do and pursue during those few moments where they have control over their own life. Since a drive book expresses a character's current motivation and goal, a character might have multiple drive books open and working towards multiple goals as events unfold in the fiction. A character might start off with "Pushing the Boundaries of Science" but if their neglect leads someone important to them dying they might switch to the "See Justice Done" vigilante playbook. The drive book provides a goal and direction for a player and their character to work towards and also shows the overall outlook and history of a character over time as well!
Advancement is all tied to what you do in game via Achievements. For example, you can't unlock the "Relic of the Past" drive playbook until your character's inability to cope with an aspect of modern society gets them in trouble. As you show your characters goals and motivations by working towards new moves or new playbooks by having them fulfill prerequisites through roleplaying and story in the game world you earn Achievements. Achievements are used as currency to advance and show your character change. In short: in addition to unlocking new moves naturally through play via the fiction of the game world, you also earn Achievements which you can spent to make your hero tougher, change or further define their powers and much, much more.
Bonds are relationships characters have with other characters or institutions in the game. They have them with other player characters in the game as well as other important non-player characters or institutions like "The City" or agencies like "Law Enforcement". They all have numerical values to indicate the nature of the relationship and they also act as an in-game currency that can be spent (or "burned") to get bonuses to rolls when players want their character to succeed. When Bonds are burned, the nature of the relationship changes and the player is responsible for showing the nature of the change at some point - most likely during downtime. This forces a character to reconcile and create conflict with other characters and important people in their lives (Peter Parker missing a date with Mary Jane to protect the city and having to deal with the fallout, for example).
For the GM (or Editor-in-Chief in Worlds in Peril), we have rules for creating enemies and villains at various levels of difficulty and that vary diversely in scope. From mobs and henchmen to heavy hitters or a character or team's arch-nemesis, we've got it all along with simple, easy to follow steps for no-prep, ready-to-go creation of enemies or ones prepared in advance as the Mastermind with a nefarious plot to advance their own agenda and that puts the world in peril!
If you'd like to see what about an hour of play might look like, we filmed a bit of one of our playtests. This is with our regular group who had never played any games that use the Apocalypse World engine and we jumped into play right after character creation. I hadn't prepared anything and I was the Editor-in-Chief (GM, or MC - in the green hoodie) so it was pretty spontaneous but it was a lot of fun, check it out!
If you've played any games that use the Apocalypse World engine, you know that players have a lot of agency in them so have a pre-planned adventure, scenario or even game world can sometimes be detrimental or just less fun in general. There are no assumptions made in the game book about a time period or locale to play in but there are rules and moves – both player and GM facing – that allow for all the world building a group could ask for. That said, there are examples of play and locales in the book that assume an urban environment like New York City along with other areas more fantastic and far-reaching.
All of us have been reading comics since we were kids, mainly Marvel but some DC sneaks in every now and again and a fair amount more Indie stuff. So, whether consciously or not, we are definitely influenced by all the comics we read but we've all been Marvel fan boys since we could read.