Another Thief question – Why isn’t there a move(s) for Hide in Shadows, Move Silently or Climb Walls?

Another Thief question – Why isn’t there a move(s) for Hide in Shadows, Move Silently or Climb Walls?

Another Thief question – Why isn’t there a move(s) for Hide in Shadows, Move Silently or Climb Walls? These three skills seem pretty iconic.

29 thoughts on “Another Thief question – Why isn’t there a move(s) for Hide in Shadows, Move Silently or Climb Walls?”

  1. Agreed. When playing DW, try and cast a wide net when deciding if a move is triggered, and what move.

    Most action based anythngs from d&d style gaming will trigger a deft danger if a roll is needed at all. Remember also though that if there’s no danger, there’s no roll.

    A hidden thief doesn’t usually need a roll to knock out a passing guard 🙂 but if there’s another guard nearby that’s going to be its own defy danger to avoid detection from HIM

  2. Yeah, we made a custom sneaking move to encompass Hide in Shadows/Move Silently because our Thief sneaks a lot and it was disappointing for the player that he didn’t have a special ability for one of the primary thief abilities. Pretty much any thing a class can do could be considered Defy Danger, but moves are supposed to be the special stuff that defines the class.

    I can’t remember how it goes, it’s written on his sheet, but it’s something like:

    When you wish to sneak unseen roll +Dex. On a 10+ you remain hidden from sight. On a 7-9 choose 1:

    – You find a way into a hiding spot, but it will be difficult to leave it unnoticed.

    – It is only a matter of time until you are discovered.

    There was a third choice but I can’t remember it off the top of my head.

  3. There’s also a big distinction between when you roll dice in DW and when you roll dice in other games.

    You don’t roll dice because there’s a chance to “fail” in DW. You roll because you trigger a move.

    Defy Danger is triggered by acting despite an eminent danger or when you suffer a calamity. If there’s no danger associated with your action, you don’t trigger Defy Danger.

    Besides; a thief is typically rather good at sneaking because it’s tied to DEX.

  4. Most any action can be covered by Defy Danger, so, with all due respect, that answer is less than optimal IMO. I just don’t see how/why “pick pockets” has it’s own move, and something like “Hide in Shadows” doesn’t.

  5. I think it’s more a matter of the style of result you are looking to get from the move being triggered.

    Look at bend bars, lift gates – it could be a defy danger just like anything else, but there is a certain tone to the result that is gained when you use it instead of just DD.

    In the case of move silently, what are you hoping to gain from adding in a specific flavor other than “ok, they didn’t hear you”?

    If you are going for some specific kind of result, that has the flexibility to not just be repeated the same way over and over again, in other words, while discern realities always has the same result, they are open ended questions to ask, so the actual result will vary every time. If you’ve got the same idea for move silently, I say go for it, make that custom move. If the only thing you are thinking is some kind of +1 forward because they didn’t hear you, I would caution to stay away from that kind of thing. DW isn’t a + and – kind of game, if you get what I mean. It’s still early though and I may not be making a ton of sense yet.

  6. You asked why it wasn’t there. Unless Sage LaTorra or Adam Koebel interferes, we’ll never know.

    No matter what, it isn’t needed, but if you wish you can just make a custom move.

  7. Again as someone said,

    the Thief is THE Thief. If he is in the shadows and sneaky there is no way anything will see him. Be a fan of the character. Or tell him the consequences and ask.

  8. Tim Franzke If the Thief succeeds because he is THE THIEF, why have any moves all all? I am not trying to be overly pendantic, but I have a feeling I might be missing a subtle distinction, and am hoping someone can point it out. 🙂

  9. There’s never been any sensible mechanical reason to split Hide in Shadows and Move Silently. I could see a general Stealth-related move, particularly if your campaign is more Metal Gear Solid/Thief: Deadly Shadows than most. But the design-based answer I see is that everyone’s Defy Danger is different. The Thief defies danger to sneak; the Wizard defies danger to wrest knowledge and power from the arcane; the Fighter defies danger to thrust the point of a sword past a fanged maw. Defy Danger is a ‘do what your class does’ move.

    Scale Walls, on the other hand, is a general athletics thing, and it makes no sense to restrict it to the Thief. Dungeon World is written to evoke the feel and be reminiscent of D&D tropes; I suggest to you that including the three moves you suggest would take it from ‘invoking’ D&D to ‘aping’ it.

  10. Seems like sneaking could be a hold-and-spend move, though DW doesn’t do that quite like AW does, yeah? Spend hold to 1. Get somewhere unseen, 2. Do something without anyone noticing, 3. Take out a sentry, etc. Or you could have a “push your luck” thing where you keep doing sneaky stuff with diminishing bonuses until you get caught.

  11. When you try to sneak into a complex roll+DEX 

    On a 10+ choose 2, on a 7-9 choose 1 

    * You get in 

    * You don’t get caught 

    straight out of the Apocalypse. 

  12. Aha, brainwave! What if it stacks on top of other moves!!

    When you join most sizable thieves guilds, they induct you into the cult of their ancestral forebearers. These are not their actual ancesters in most cases, but the founders of the ubiquitous secret societies of theivery, deception, and assassination that like to think they govern the world. Once you prove your worth as an initiate by pilfering a well-guarded high-value target, the cultmasters will begin to teach you the infamous Path of Ghosts. This is the first move you can take, once you begin studying the path:

    Ghost Step: You are a shadow in their minds. Whenever you are about to make a roll, but want to attempt the task in a clandestine fashion, choose a number of the following options equal to your DEX (you can choose the same option multiple times if you really want to be sure):

    – you do it silently

    – you do it without being seen

    – you draw an enemy away from where they should be

    – you impress, dismay, or frighten someone (like Batman)

    – you straight-up take someone out

    After you pick your options, make your roll as normal. On a 10+, yep, all of that. On a 7-9, you do what the move says, and only one of the things you picked doesn’t happen exactly like you planned; the GM chooses which (if you picked the same one multiple times, having a backup may help). On a 6-, what the move says, and also you encountered a lot of friction and.or trouble which the GM will tell you about.

  13. Jonathan Walton’s version is hot stuff.

    Why isn’t it it’s own move? Because we didn’t want people to think that only the thief can sneak around in shadows. Of course having a move for it doesn’t mean that, but when we attempted to make moves like that people often got confused by it and thought that then no one else can sneak.

  14. Minor edit to the move above: the options should really say “tell the GM how you do it without being seen,” etc. That way it emphasizes the conversation and the fiction. And then if you get a 7-9 or 6- and some of them don’t work out, you have some idea how/why.

  15. I’m curious, Sage LaTorra , didn’t people think the same about Backstab (because I did at first) ? That only thieves could do it because only they had a move like that ? If so, what made you choose to have Backstab as a Move and not Hide in shadows ?  

  16. Well, I’m not sure anyone can backstab like the thief. Everyone can deal their damage to a helpless opponent, sure, and we can call that out pretty clearly in the section on harm and healing. The option to do special thief-y things is probably thief-only.

  17. OK, I’m not sure I’m following you, Sage.

    Why is backstab different from Hide in shadows ?

    Any character can do both, but somehow, something made you decide that one action deserved a specific move and the other didn’t.

    To me, both actions, when done by a thief, could generate extra results (bonus damage for the backstab and extra stealth for the hide move, that could give you some holds to spend against your target, like for exemple, spend one hold to go behind your target unnoticed, ready for a backstab).

    Just curious. Was it playtesting that made the différence or your personnal preference ?

  18. It’s easier to see stealth in the fiction, and judge it from the fiction, I think.

    How much more damaging is a backstab? I don’t have a great real-world understanding of that, so it’s hard to get from the fiction of the game.

    How much more sneaky is the thief? Well that I have a frame of reference for. I can think about the real world and judge it pretty easily.

  19. I really think the lack of any stealth moves is a huge weakness in the original Thief. A sneaky move would be a better starting move than Poisoner is, I’d think – Poison isn’t a very thief-y thing at all. Alex Norris wrote up the City Thief, which I think works way better for the niche the Thief wanted:

    It features the Avoid the Light move, which is based on the Walker’s No One Looks Up move, and gives the class a very solid, fictional move for stealth, which the Thief sorely needs.

  20. Actually, we totally disregard reality when it comes to damage in rpg’s, and I am pretty damn content with that. Must people die from a single well placed knife stab. Not very fun to play.

    As for which moves to include, I really feel that moves are there to take the control over the fiction out of the hands of the GM, and put i to the hands of the players.

    Tricks of the trade is really just a substitute for Defy Danger that gives the player more control when he merely gets a weak hit. On every other result, it’s equivalent to Defy Danger.

  21. Yeah, if we were to write a stealth move it would probably be like Tricks of the Trade: Defy Danger explicitly applied to that situation.

  22. Yeah – you’ll notice the City Thief’s stealth moves are explicitly moves about making them extraordinarily good at hiding, not about making the act of sneaking a mechanical thing. That’s something that is best handled by DD+Dex since everyone can do it. I eventually came up with a few more moves for the City Thief, since I was trying to get the poison angle out completely.

    Also, as Jacob pointed out, 85% of the credit for Avoid the Light should go to him.

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