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Normally in Dungeon World, each player plays a different class: thief, druid, fighter, etc.

What happens if everyone uses the same class?

Does this have a harmful effect on the game? I'm looking to run a moderately-hacked version of Dungeon World, and there's been some discussion of everyone being part of the same order of knights, or the same guild of wizards. Before I just tell the party "no", I'd rather know what the ramifications really are.

I'm looking for answers from experience, not just guesses about what might happen.

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    \$\begingroup\$ One teacher is really overworked and the others do nothing? :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Jun 23 '16 at 5:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ I suggest you create those experiences you are looking for and inform us of the result! \$\endgroup\$ – iraserd Jun 23 '16 at 10:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Nox Solutions to what the asker is trying to do should be submitted as answers, even if they don't answer the literal question. (See How do we handle a desire to challenge the frame of a question? for more about this type of answer.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 24 '16 at 22:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is not an answer, but it relates. Some time ago, someone posted to 4chan an epic tale of his all-barbarian party. Part 1, Part 2. Basically, it's a "with the right group..." example. \$\endgroup\$ – Bobson Jun 27 '16 at 23:36
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The main problems would most likely be that everyone has roughly the same way of dealing with each problem, which means that:

1) It will be very hard to tell the characters apart. They will all approach most situations the same way and only differ in the details. Dungeon World doesn't have nearly enough customization options to support multiple players of the same class.

2) There will almost never be a discussion about "how do we handle this?" because everyone can do the same things. You'll miss out on most of the inter party conflict and plan making.

3) Nobody will feel special, because nobody will be missed if they die; any other character can take over their role. If they even have one, which they probably don't.

4) Any situation that is weak to the chosen class will be a pushover, anything that is strong against the chosen class will be brutally deadly. Most encounters will play out the same way, because there's only one good approach that works if you are all roughly the same.

5) You will miss all the surprising twists when a situation arises that looks like it could be solved by class X and suddenly the player of class Y comes in with a brilliant idea.

Remember that even the very book itself tells you that it is not allowed for two players to select the same playbook. Clearly this is going to hurt the game, otherwise the designers would not have made it so explicit.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I agree with what you're saying here, but OP did clearly write: "I'm looking for answers from experience, not just guesses about what might happen" and you seem to have posted an answer that is not based on experience. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Jun 23 '16 at 6:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I was tempted to downvote for the same reason, but I decided against it because having even two characters of the same class is against the game rules and an entire party of the same character is far more extreme - I find it unlikely it has actually been tried and tested enough for a comprehensive, experience-based answer, so this is most likely the best we'll get. \$\endgroup\$ – kviiri Jun 23 '16 at 7:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ "To start with everyone chooses a different class". It's not prohibited to choose the same one later. What most people don't know is why Vincent Baker invented this rule for Apocalypse World, which is: at first session, you only need to bring one printout of each playbook. \$\endgroup\$ – Slow Dog Jun 23 '16 at 11:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ The sidebar of "Choose a class" says "Later on, if you’re making a replacement character, you can choose a class someone else is already playing." \$\endgroup\$ – Slow Dog Jun 23 '16 at 14:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ Re: "It will be very hard to tell the characters apart." I suggest you read The Three Musketeers. \$\endgroup\$ – Joe Jun 24 '16 at 21:58
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I haven't encountered this situation specifically, but in my experience world creation in Dungeon World is tied closely to party creation, and this is where I expect most of the trouble to come from. I remember a game where no one played a wizard, so the players decided that there were no wizards, that all of the world's (very limited) magic flowed from the gods through clerics.

When the players are all the same class, the other elements of character creation become even more essential to defining the world. To keep the characters distinct and individual and to build an interesting world, they will need distinguishing interests and go-to reactions. Make one character religious so that player has to come up with your game world's religion. Use race to differentiate characters and their areas of expertise. Find out why each character joined your Order of Knights, or what magic they used to apply to your School of Wizardry and use that to make them individuals.

By making them all the same class, you're throwing away a big piece of what makes them different from one another during character creation, so make sure to use what's left to its fullest.

Making your characters different (and good at different things) is important, but class isn't the only way to do this. As long as the GM follows his Agenda and the characters aren't all the same you shouldn't have any trouble. The composition of your party might affect what adventures you go on, but not how much fun those adventures are.

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What would the world be like if we were all alike?

So, here are the downsides to everybody starting out with the same playbook. I'm talking, like, the exact same playbook, you don't go out on the internet looking for eight different playbooks who are all melee-focused fighters and offer a choice.

The same baseline capabilities. One of your stock moves as a GM is to offer an opportunity that fits a class's abilities, as a way to direct the action toward one particular person who might not have had the chance to do much for a while. If everybody has the same playbook that's not really possible, and whoever jumps at the prompt first will have just as much reason to latch onto it.

A broadly similar equipment loadout. Similarly, you've got use up their resources and show a downside to their equipment, but your playbook also determines your starting gear. So their resource pool is either going to be shallow as a puddle or deep as an ocean, depending on what part of it you're trying to hit, and if you show a downside to a piece of equipment that everybody has you've similarly locked everybody out.

Startlingly similar histories. Bonds outline your character's past, both through your own eyes and through everyone else's. But with the same bond slots to fill, everybody's past seems like a weird, distorted echo of everyone else. Oh, Fightgar and Fightgar-1 both think the other one is soft and needs toughening up, how amusing! ...and Fightgar-B and Fightgar-Omega both think the other one is soft and needs toughening up, that's, uh...

Identical or opposite motivations. And when you pick your alignment, well, there's only a handful of options there as well. Either you want to accomplish very different things to satisfy your alignment or you're all motivated to do entirely the same things.

Alternatives to One Starting Playbook

Aside from "grab random thematically coherent playbooks from the Internet", I mean. Both these alternatives begin with starting at level 2, rather than level 1, which isn't that big an ask for a given playerbase, I hope.

Start at level 2 and multiclass. So one person can maybe start out a Fighter, and at level 2 everybody takes Signature Weapon as a multiclass move, even if it wouldn't be an option for their playbook. That weapon is your weapon as a sworn Knight of the Iron Rose, or whatever. (Or, you know, Cast a Spell for a wizard college, Shapeshifter for a druid conclave, etc.)

Start a Compendium Class at level 2. A bit bigger of an ask on your part, since you'll have to build this fictional organization out as its own playbook-esque thing with variant moves and a baseline capability, but on the other hand, well, you're not limited to assuming this organization concerns itself specifically with the starting scenarios for some existing playbook. If the important part of being in a wizard's college is the office politics and the undergrads offering a mix of dangers and opportunities, then you can put all those in your compendium class, the Wizard, Cleric, and Bard are all running their own departments, and the Fighter is running campus security or the events staff.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ +1 for highlighting the limited histories and motivations available. \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Mar 3 '18 at 19:07

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