Text: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported licence.
Artwork: Death in the Snow, Justin Nichol, OpenGameArt.org, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported licence.
I used to be one of those by-the-book game fans. I only wanted to use “official” supplements and if anyone suggested anything that even smelled a little like “house rules” they’d get an eye-roll from me. For some reason, during this period in my gamer-history, I figured that if something was any good, some big ol’ game company would bless it with their seal of approval. I’d have bought it from the dude behind the counter at my semi-friendly local game store, right?
If it’s not self-evident, I don’t believe that any more. At some point, the line between “official” and “fan supplement” blurred so hard that it just stopped mattering. Tabletop gaming exists in a space, now, where the best stuff is made by people who are passionate and who, you know, read and play games. People get together and bash out the most amazing, inspired material just by taking their favourite game and asking themselves what they can do to make it their own. Every hack and mod and module is a love letter. I suppose that was always true, but because we have the tools to collaborate better than we did before (Twitter, Google Plus, Forums, Dropbox, GitHub, internet internet internet) we can take that sweet step from house rules for our basement games out into the open world. We can be both fan and creator at once.
Sage and I wrote Dungeon World to be one of those love letters. To old-school fantasy and to modern design. To narrative and to awe and to play that feels like the first time we cracked our Player’s Handbook. It would have been remiss (or, hell, even a little disingenuous) of us to pretend that we weren’t standing on the shoulders of the game designers who came before us. So it only seems right that we made the game as open as possible to folks who want to do the same. Hence the license being the way it is. Hence the encouragement to go and do cool stuff with what we made. We’re seeing Dungeon World supplements appear out of nowhere, built on forums, crafted on Twitter, tested on Skype and dispersed with the same efficiency (and often on the same platforms) as the official game. It’s magic and we love it.
— Adam Koebel