I’d like to talk about the druid move shapeshift.

I’d like to talk about the druid move shapeshift.

I’d like to talk about the druid move shapeshift. My druid uses this all the time, but to me it seems like the 7-9 and 6- effects are out of whack. Standard DW rules are 10+ is a full success, 7-9 is a success with a consequence, and 6- is just a consequence. 

With shapeshift, you get your transformation with 3 hold on success, and on a 7-9 you get it with two hold. On a 6- you even still get it with one hold, but are subject to a GM move. 

Should it not really be: 3 hold on success, 2-3 hold on 7-9 but you are put on the spot. Failure on 6- and GM move?

This also somewhat applies to defend, but the one hold on a 7-9 means you open yourself up to damage.

21 thoughts on “I’d like to talk about the druid move shapeshift.”

  1. This is how I feel as well. It’s just not interesting when he’s like, “I turn into insert predator here and attack everything.” Then “I turn into a bird and fly away.” He gets away scot free every time.

  2. This is part of where designing moves gets interesting: for this move, what is a “complete success?” A “partial success?” A “failure?”

    The druid is all about freedom from form, so we wanted them to always be able to change form when they make the move. So a failure is: “your gold on the form is weak, you can’t make much use of it, and oh yeah trouble too.”

    Working from there, we made the 7-9 and 10+ results to follow from that. If the worst case is you take on a new form, but with trouble, and weakly, then a moderate success is “you take on the form fairly well” and a complete success is “you get a lot of use out of the form.”

  3. Druid: “I become a BEAR! RAWR” rolls “Four!”

    Me: “Mark XP.  You are totally a bear … cub. Your moves are scamper up trees, call for mommy, do cute cub things. The three goblins blink only once before driving their spears into you. Take d6+3 damage. What do you do?”

    Other fun things that have happened in games: 

    Druid: I turn into a badger. … … six!

    Me: Gain an XP! You wake up the next morning, realizing you’re cuddling a very pretty lady badger in a tiny hole in the ground. What do you do?

  4. Why is shapeshifting any different to say a wizard casting a spell though? Sure the wizard can cast a spell fine under normal circumstances, but it takes a bit of concentration and a small bit of time, which means that environmental/fictional factors can cause them to be interrupted.

    Should shapeshift not suffer the same effects? On a 7-9 you shapeshift successfully but while it happens you are put on the spot. On a 10+ its instantaneous, on a 6- something’s not quite right. Maybe you transform into something different? Maybe you transform small? Maybe your equipment clanks on the ground as you transform? Who knows, but the idea is that something happens on a 7-9 to keep the move snowball going.

  5. That’s a totally valid way to view the world and design the class, Michael Walsh, but it wasn’t what we were aiming for. Shapeshift (like every other move) could just be written as Defy Danger.

    Our goal was to make changing form itself practical and not the focus of things. Being in a new form isn’t difficult for the druid, but making use of that form may be.

    For the wizard comparison, look at what the wizard gets for a complete success: a spell plucked from nowhere that does exactly what they want it to. The druid, on the other hand, is now a goat (or whatever). They’ve changed shape, but that in and of itself doesn’t solve problems.

  6. ‘Cause shapeshifting isn’t casting a spell? If you want something to feel different, make it different, no? 

    Don’t give moves with the form that solve problems, give moves that perform tasks related to the form. 

  7. Thanks for your replies. I think I have an understanding of why you did it. My problem is partially compounded by having difficulty making animal moves.

  8. Michael Walsh  If you are having trouble making up moves, then just ask the player what they want from that animal form.

    Give them two moves associated with that, and one random move you just think could be funny. Like a house cat having a “Look cute” move, enthralling trolls and villagers alike 😉

    It’s a lot easier when the player tells you that.

  9. Hey guys, does the druid in your game shapeshifts from an animal form to another or he has to return to his natural form first?

    It’s just curiosity, about how people view it or use it. No big discussion.

  10. Forgive me, but the ‘You can’t change back’ seems like a dick move. Make ’em spend hold, or something else, but finding a site of power or primal water, well, it could hurt everyone else’s fun.

    I love the bear cub move. Something like that is classic and it can be gotten out of.

    Another one that comes to mind is a new temporary tell in addition to the normal one the Druid has.

    Or the classic, shift sickness – stun the Druid and/or something else at the same time.

  11. Rather than framing it “You can’t change back,” perhaps, “Until you can find a way to fix it, this is your natural form now. When you revert from a shapeshifted form, this is what you become. Your monster moves are now your Heritage Moves.” I’d use that one very carefully, though. 

    Trey Palmer, those are some entertaining suggestions, too.

  12. Trey Palmer I’ve done it more than once, with the blessing of the players. Always been fun, trapped in an animal body and all that. Never went to a site of primal water to revert the effect though. Sometimes it was enough a defy danger to recover the original form, or maybe some healing spell. It was all up to the player. The second place for my hard moves on a miss: your mind changes as well as the body!

  13. Alessandro Gianni and Craig Hatler in my game I had a druid half human/half bat when he tried to shapeshift to his natural form, after rollng a miss.

    If I remeber correctly, I just told her she just needed to look for something specific in the swamp they were exploring, to end the unwanted condition.

    I think that, like resurrecting a player, choices like that should fit in what the group is doing, giving it more significance.

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