The Fool: A Dungeon World Playbook
Author: Adrian Thoen
Page Count: 2
Release Date: 5/17/2013
Cost: $1.99 (PDF)
Get it here: DrivethruRPG.com
The Fool is a playbook for the fantasy reskin of Apocalypse World known as Dungeon World. The game system is notable for the departure from standard character creation found in most role-playing games where you sit down and crack open the book(s) to make characters from scratch whether they be based on classes or not. In this game, you just choose a playbook. This is great for casual role-playing because you can just pick an archetype and go with it, making a few basic choices like name, appearance, stat placement, and a few other things. This is a playbook for a haphazard, luckless (or incredibly lucky?) chap who may prove disastrous or helpful to the party.
Oh The Calamity
One of the key attributes of the Fool is Calamity. Over time, when the Fool tries to do something that is more than he can handle (which is probably a lot), he can choose to gain a Calamity point that he can later use to benefit himself or the party. Other ways to gain Calamity are simply by being gullible or getting lost, how hard could that be? Advanced moves will give you chances to get even more Calamity by being helpfully unhelpful and mishandling magic items. Other advanced moves will add to your Fool’s Fortune move (the one that uses the Calamity points) so that you have more choices on what to use your ill-gotten misadventure currency on. Your boffs can even add damage to other characters’ attacks, or possibly get some important information from the GM (although the GM will also throw in incorrect information, so it may all be a wash).
What do I think about the playbook? I think it’s pretty darn funny. The author does a good job of fleshing out the stereotypical fool you might find in fables and comedic media, someone who just can’t help but make a mess of things, with the occasional flash of brilliance. Besides that, the author has created this Calamity mechanism that the player can work with and not just act like an idiot the entire time (at least, not a completely useless idiot), and that really raises this product up from a novelty to something useful and interesting. I can see this playbook being great for light-hearted campaigns, or just for dropping in the lap of the new guy or the guy who can only make one session in a longer game (feel free to exchange “guy” for “gal” as needed) as a sort of hazing. Everything is nicely laid out and looks professional, just like the standard playbooks. For just two bucks, I think it’s a great deal if you play Dungeon World at all.