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Advancing Your Character

As the player characters go on perilous adventures, preform glorious deeds and survive epic danger thay gain experience points (XP) which allow them to advance as a class or take a multi-class option.  Of course, advancement in Dungeon World is more than making changes to a character sheet.  It is about the development of the character within the shared fiction too.   

Earning XP

In classic DW, adventurers mark XP every time their player rolls 6- while taking a move.

Then they are awarded more as a group during End of Session for:

  • Exploring- Did they learn something new and important about the world?
  • Fighting Dangerous Foes- Did they overcome a notable monster or enemy?
  • Gathering Treasure- Did they loot a memorable treasure?

During End of Session individual characters can earn up to an additional two XP by:

  • acting according to alignment and fulfilling the conditions of your alignment move.
  • Resolving a bond and creative a new one.


This turns into a lot of XP quickly in a system that doesn't demand a lot in order to gain a new level. 


Level Up

Players don't have to wait for the game session to end to level- simply to mark the XP that is rewarded at that time. Whenever characters have take the opportunity to rest in a safe locale? The player can use the Level Up move if they have the minimum amount of XP to do so.  When they do so?  There should be some narrative description involved in "how" the character hones their skills and unlocks a new move, new spell, increases an ability score, etc.  Make it grand.  Involve the other characters even.  


Level Chart
Level XP required to progress
1 8 (7+1)
2 9 (7+2)
3 10 (7+3 )
4 11 (7+4 )
5 12 (7+5 )
6 13 (7+6 )
7 14 (7+7 )
8 15 (7+8 )
9 16 (7+9 )
10 17 (7+10)


Obtaining Multiclass Moves

In classic DW, players have the option to gain a move from a different class rather than a new advanced move from their own.  They may choose any move from any class equal or lower to their current level.  For the purpose of multi-classing, interdependent moves (Cast A Spell, Spellbook and Prepare Spell and interdependent wizard spells) count as one move.  Make a note of what level you gain this multiclass move.  If you later take a move from that same other class and it refers to your level?  Count your levels up from where you first gained a move from that class.  

Example:  Leena the 3rd level bard has 12 XP when her party Makes Camp.  Her player opts to spend 11 of them to reach level 4.  Instead of a new bard move, her player decides that Leena needs the thief basic moveTricks of the Trade. For their +1 ability point, they opt for dexterity and detail out how Lena toils for hours practicing with the lockpicking tools she'd won dicing at that tavern they'd stopped at a week ago and she'd stuffed in her backpack and forgotten about (player spends 1 use of adventuring gear to make this so).  Already deft-fingered from playing the mandolin she discovers she's better at lock-picking than she expected to be and that small locked chest her good friend Finnegan had been carrying around suddenly pops open for them all to behold!   Lena is a 4th level bard/1st level thief.  Next time she uses Level Up, she will be a 4th level bard, 2nd level thief and can access advanced thief moves if she so desires.  

Beyond 10th Level

Some GMs might feel that 10th level is where they would like the adventurers to reach the climax of the fiction and move the campaign towards a satisyfing conclusions.  Others may wish to continue.  If so? 


Once a character reaches enough XP to go beyond 10th level, things change and they have some choices instead:

  • Retire to safety and comfort
  • Take on an apprentice
  • Change entirely to a new Class


If you retire a character, make a new character to play instead and work with the GM and other players to establish your place in both the fiction and the group dynamic.  


If you take on an apprentice?  Play the new character (the apprentice) along side your current character, who stops gaining XP.  


In classical DW, If you change class, you keep your ability scores, race, HP and whatever moves you and the GM agree are core to who your character is. You lose all other class moves, replacing them with the starting moves of your new class.  {Suggestion: The GM might consider allowing the player to 1. have the higher HP, Base Damage, and Load of whichever class is higher or 2. if the discrepency between old and new class is higher than 2.  Give them the middle number, rounded up -LAS).   

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