25 thoughts on “How is unarmed combat handled in DW?”

  1. If you can harm the creature you’re fighting with your hands then you can hack and slack normally, damage is based on class not weapon. However, it is within the purview of the DM to say you simply can’t hurt a heavily armored target with just your fists.

  2. yes, a weapon possibly enables you to make some extra moves, but the damage is the same with fists, sword, gun, a showel, an empty whiskey bottle or a full whiskey bottle.

  3. You may have to defy danger if unarmed fighting an armed opponent, depending on circumstances. The armed opponent is probably capable of fighting at Close, while unarmed you’d have to settle for Hand range. Defy Danger to close the distance and such, then H&S.

  4. The same applies to the other ranges too! Be careful about trying to stab a spearman with your sword, cause he’s at Reach range and you’re at Close!

    The range tags are the answer to most common sense questions like “how does fighting unarmed work?” Or “how does fighting a dude who has a whip work?”

  5. Trying to choke someone out? Defy Danger with STR or DEX (or INT if you’re going for pressure points and leverage and junk). The “imminent danger” is that they get loose and fuck up your shit.

    Can a Halfling grapple an Ogre? Maybe if he can justify it somehow…

  6. I’d phrase that a little differently:

    To lower damage on unarmed attacks, just create a custom move for your campaign.

    “When you deal damage to an enemy and are unarmed, reduce the die type to the next lowest die available.”

    Though, Dungeon World doesn’t use anything lower than a d4, so an unarmed Wizard might have to do a static 1 damage or something.  Sad times, Unarmed Wizard.

  7. I could not possibly disagree more strongly about needing to house rule the combat rules in DW. I’m not looking for the greatest, most solid Authentic Historical Combat Simulation Wargame ™ ever. Fighting in DW is about the Tags, specific weapons bedamned.

  8. I’m with Alfred Rudzki on this one-  DW is not simulationist.  This means a game where Conan can punch his way out of prison without so much as needing a sword, and it stays cinematic and easy.

    Weapons are keys to narrative.

  9. However, by this logic.. shouldn’t armour be dealt with in a narrative way as well? (I guess there is a discussion lying there on hp economy and the narrative use of hp)

  10. It is.

    If I bash you in the head while your helmet is off, you dot get your Armor.

    If I crush your leg, you probably don’t get Armor.

    Armor wouldn’t protect you from a fall, or damage from drowning.

    None of this is in the rules for Armor, right? It’s just narrative and how armor works fictionally.

  11. What I am saying is: why don’t you have a class-given armor rating, then you fictionally decide if it applies? It could apply because you are tough, because you are wearing armor, because you parried with your weapon etc.. – I am trying to extend the same reasoning applied to damage to armor.

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