#DruidWeek  As a GM with a Druid player, when you ask “So, what do you do?”, do you let the player say “I shift into…

#DruidWeek  As a GM with a Druid player, when you ask “So, what do you do?”, do you let the player say “I shift into…

#DruidWeek  As a GM with a Druid player, when you ask “So, what do you do?”, do you let the player say “I shift into a bear and try to shred him to bits with my claws!”, all at once? Or does it go like “I shift into bear form!”, and you say “OK, cool. You begin to transform. Now fighter, what do you do?” and only when you get back to the druid does he say “Now I rip him to bits!”? Like, is shifting “instantaneous”? Or does it take “a few seconds”?

17 thoughts on “#DruidWeek  As a GM with a Druid player, when you ask “So, what do you do?”, do you let the player say “I shift into…”

  1. I guess I feel like my Druid NEVER runs out of Hold, since as soon as he is out he says “Now I shift into a tiger and pounce!”, and he is once again at 2 or 3 Hold… it also makes Shed very powerful.

  2. I usually like my players to “bundle” their actions so I’m not going around the table for each little detail. Also it let’s other players sort of build on and snowball form another players fiction.

    Shapeshifting in my game is instantaneous for no other reason than they players decided it was and as their fan I said yes.

  3. Jim Schmitz, my Druid does that as well. Just remember, every time he does that is another roll and another chance to get a 6- (…as my player found out when he got stuck in the shape of a field mouse.)

  4. Ever since getting Shed, my druid never seems to take damage any more… It just seems like letting it be instantaneous is really really powerful…

  5. I always played it that the younger / less experienced druids had to take a little time – I would describe their changes in painstaking detail. But the more experienced druids could just flow one shape into another like water – they could leap off a cliff as a stag and shape an eagle before they hit the ground..

  6. Scott McGougan Sure! Keep in mind, this is just off the top of my head… but it goes something like this:

    GM “Obeles, what do you do?”

    Obleles “I shift into an ape and start ripping one of the guards limb from limb”

    Obeles rolls an 11 and takes 3 hold.

    GM “Limb from limb you say? Sure, hack and slash…”

    Obeles rolls a 9. Obeles roll his damage, and then rolls the damage the guard did to him.

    GM “You ripped that guards arms off and beat him to death with them. but his buddies got some shots on you with their spears…”

    Obeles “No problem, I Shed the damage.”

    GM “Ya, but now there are two more guards with spears ready about to turn you into a pincushion. What do you do?”

    Obeles “I shift into a panther and pounce on the one with the funny hair.”

    Obeles rolls a 7 and takes 2 hold.

    GM “Ok, spend a hold to get past their reach this time, as they have spears pointed right at you. then do your damned-est!”

    Obeles “No problem”

    Obeles spends his hold and then rolls hack and slash. He rolls a 5.

    GM, “Not so lucky sir. It seems you didn’t see the crossbowmen behind you. A volley of arrows knock you out of the air, as the guards back up and lay into you as well.”

    Obeles “Good thing I got Shed…”

    GM, “Ya…. Good thing……….”

  7. Brandon Massengill Ya, I don’t give my Druid moves up front. I just let them describe their action, and if it something a person couldn’t do  (like fly away) then it requires a hold. Though, I could see how that could help though.

  8. Jim Schmitz, it sounds like your problem is that you are using the GM move “Show signs of an approaching threat” and then not following it up. If the guards have spears leveled at the Druid and the Druid chooses to shift and attack instead of doing something about them, then the Druid gets hit by the Take Damage move:

    “Your form starts to change into that of a panther, and one of the guards, sensing your attention is no longer on him, leaps forward, thrusting his spear deep into your shoulder. Take 1d6 damage.”

    Sure, he might Shed and lose that damage, but then he’s back in human form and still needs to do something about those guards – or he’s going to choose to take the hit so he can continue with his intended Hack & Slash.

  9. So, Jeff Johnston , while it doesn’t take “time” for your druid to change, it does take concentration/effort which can distract them form an oncoming threat. There is a subtle distinction I might not have been thinking about there…

  10. This could be a good lead in to the post about 7-9 moves. On a shapeshift roll, 10+ is 3 hold and instantaneous transformation, 7-9 is 2 hold and transformation takes a second or two. On 6- 1 hold and GM makes a hard move.

  11. Jim Schmitz I see what you mean. I don’t have a pat solution for this, but do have some thoughts that might help.

    The first is to ask the player how Shed works for them, and then have the fictional fuction matter. Does Shed allow them to quickly move body parts out of harm’s way because of the transformation, or is there a brief regenerative burst during transformation?  It’s key that the player be involved in defining how it works, otherwise there’s too much of an opportunity for it to become adversarial between the GM and the player, and that way lies a different game entirely.

    The second is to remember that the GM move “Deal Damage” is usually something to avoid. Make an effort to give all of your monsters that describes an attack with interesting fiction above and beyond simple damage.  If you have a spear-wielding NPC/monster, give them a move/attack like “Pinion enemies with a spear.”  So when Obeles rolls an 7-9 for Hack and Slash, the NPC “makes an attack” as allowed by the Hack and Slash move. Then damage is dealt and Obeles is pinned down.  Obelese can Shed to avoid the damage, but Shed says nothing about other effects.  If Shed acts as transformation enhanced evasion for Obeles, then perhaps he was able to avoid having the spear pierce his side, but now it’s caught through his armor/clothing and still pins him to the ground.

    Damage is probably one of the least threatening things an NPC can offer to a player anyway, in my opinion.  Being petrified, immobilized, and even having a limb chopped off are all fictional things in their own right, that often happen to come with damage.

    Finally, and this isn’t directly for the problem at hand that you’ve described, think on some good hard moves, along with some fictional “dressing”, to have in the bag for when Obeles rolls 6- for Shapeshifter.  Does Obeles use Shed all time (sounds so), then perhaps his fickleness in leaving the animal form at the first sign of trouble inspires the spirits to chastise him for taking their boons for granted.  Showing a Downside of the Class or Turning Their Move Back on the Them, Obeles might be stuck in animal form and not be able to shift back, or once shifted back not be able to shapeshift again, until some obeisance/sacrifice is made to the spirits, or until enough time passes that they forget the sleight.

  12. Scott McGougan I love this:  “Obeles might be stuck in animal form and not be able to shift back, or once shifted back not be able to shapeshift again”  

    Extra harsh version:

    “You can Shed all you want.  You won’t ever be hurt.  You won’t ever die.  But you always flicker back into this shape.  You’ll spend the rest of eternity as an undying panther.  When the sun has gone out, and this planet is a cold, barren, lifeless rock, you wil still prowl it’s wastes alone, constantly regenerating the damage of suffocating in an airless void.  Unless you can get back on the right side of the animal spirits.”  

  13. Shifting should take a at least a small amount of time and concentration. In my travels I found that moves that have no opportunity cost but the roll are bad for the game.

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