Unarmed damage?

Unarmed damage?

Unarmed damage?

We finally got our first game going via Hangout tonight and it went really well.   In the climax scene the barbarian recklessly slams through a barred door and falls skidding across the floor into a roomful of awaiting bandits. Crossbows twang as he deftly barrel rolls amongst shattering bolts but loses his dagger in the hectic chaos. Carnage ensues. Later as he chases the fleeing bandits across a rubble field he tackles a lagger and twists his ankle as he does so. With no dagger, he wants to bash the guys face in.

I really didn’t know what to do. I almost went with 1 damage, then maybe 1d4 but ultimately we said screw it…we all want to see the barbarian be viscious. So I gave him full damage. It just felt weak to do otherwise in the final moments of that brutal scene. So what’s the official way to do it?

16 thoughts on “Unarmed damage?”

  1. Seems to me like it doesn’t matter what weapon a character is using – they deal their damage unless the story says otherwise. Weapons simply give them more descriptive and useful tags with which to deal damage (like reach, for example). I believe there’s a quote in the book somewhere about ‘weapons don’t kill people, people kill people.’

    I would have ruled the same as you – If the fiction and the scene calls for it, have him deal normal damage. No reason to penalize him unless it’s cool.

  2. Well the reason I got hung up is because I could have sworn that it said somewhere that you only get your class damage when wielding a weapon. Otherwise, X damage. Can’t find it anywhere though. Was this possibly an old rule in the early version of DW?

  3. Yeah, pretty sure you always just roll your damage. Being armed might make the move possible: you can’t Hack and Slash against an armoured opponent with your bare fists, unless you have a great plan. As always, trust the fiction.

    Check pages 20-21, specifically. 

  4. If a player is going into combat unarmed, then they just have to think about what they’re doing to trigger moves. Like trying to H&S a dragon with a dagger, your bare knuckles may not trigger H&S against a plate armoured foe.

    If you’re just bashing some chumps face in though, roll your damage and make a necklace out of their broken teeth!

  5. Huh, I remember what you’re saying about it just being 1 damage if you’re not wielding a weapon, but it doesn’t appear to be in the current rules; or we’re engaging in folie à deux.  Regardless, here’s that snippet from the top of p. 21:

    Some Moves…

    …Use the phrase “deal damage.” Dealing damage means you roll the damage dice for your class; sometimes your weapon will add or subtract damage too. You use your damage dice any time you make an attack that could reasonably hurt your target. Usually that means you’re wielding a weapon, but your fists can be weapons with the right training or an interesting situation.

  6. i think you did right, the fiction lead to this epic moment!… and you would have… oh no you can just tickle him because you dont have something sharp on hand… you did it brilliantly, this is the hollywood ending, the empty gun, the broken leg, the last ditch i’ll bet him with my raw arnie barbarian rage

    where as if it were the wizard, that as played meek all game and then decided wanted to just hit one of the trained guards who has likly fought to the death before… id have it deal no/stun/maybe 1hp damage… 😀

    trust your instincts 😀

  7. In one of my last game I had the warrior disarmed in a corner and face to face with a cultist wielding a blade. They were brawling, the cultist was tryin to push his blade on the warrior’s throat.

    Me: So what do you do warrior?

    Player: I hit him with my forehead.

    Me: you just want to free yourself from his hold or you want to hurt him.

    Player: hum, I spit in his face and roar in anger bashing his face with my forhead as harder I can.

    Me: ok, it sounds like hack & slash to me (so he rolled…).

    So I let him deal D10 damage. If he had narrated his action differently, maybe I would have him roll to defiy danger, or else.

    In conclusion, I let the character always deal their class damage, or if it doesn’t sound like they can deal damage we work around with othr moves appropriate to the fiction.

  8. id have been so tempted to ALSO hurt him… he head butted someone whist knife over his throat, ignored threat of danger, totally within his character (it sounds) but couldnt have resisted 😀

  9. Andrew Murphy yeah, but I let decide the dice about that (hack slash, 7-9), that’s why he ended up with a bloody long wound close to an eye than impaired him in subsequent actions.

    Also, as you have guessed, he is a raging dwarf fighter who had killed one of his brother just to prove he was worth to lead his clan in place of his older brother.

    In char creation he presented himself as a “cheap but reckless mercenary, you get what you pay for”.

    Another consideration it’s that when I make a monster attack I rarely let them deal damage it’s the last option I consider when it’s the most obious chiice based in the fiction, but at the same time characters in my games are always very close to the death gates.

    I like to build tension with soft moves and strike hard when I have to, I frequently stand up to mimic the action I’m narrating!

  10. My tendency would be to downgrade your class damage if you’re not wielding a real weapon. Thus, a fighter would do d8 damage instead of d10. It’s just a house rule, but that’s how I interpreted page 21.

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