First post to the Tavern here after getting interested in Dungeon World. I’m trying to get a better handle on how exactly the free-form combat works, but suspect I really need to simply dive into the rulebook and go from there.
One quick question, though. With the 6-,7-9,10+ dynamic, I don’t understand how the game handles different levels of difficulty in its rolls that are handled by higher target numbers in systems like D&D.
Can anyone explain that to me?
14 thoughts on “First post to the Tavern here after getting interested in Dungeon World.”
The core focuses of the two games are different: while D&D focuses in difficulty, mechanized by a pass/fail and target number resolution mechanic, Dungeon World homes in on the consequences of the action; if you can’t do it, you simply can’t. If you can, cool, roll and see what happens as a result of you doing it.
I definitely get that and understand the different philosophical underpinnings. One of the reasons I like it. Just curious if there was any mechanism built in.
It’d be easy enough to add in a negative penalty on the fly.
Will Phillips resist that urge! Adding penalties and bonuses to rolls can really really screw with the math of the game, which can unbalance the narrative pretty hard. Some moves give +1 ongoing or -1 forward but if the GM is handing out numerical adjustments as you go along, it can really undermine the Principles and Agenda.
Basically, “To do it, do it.” The difficulty is in setting up the narrative so that you can perform the move in the first place. You don’t woo the prince because you roll Parley, you can only roll Parley when you intend to woo him, have his attention, and most importantly have his interest. That’s the leverage requirement in the Parley move. In addition, for a Hack & Slash to happen there needs to be a fair fight. You can’t just Hack & Slash a dragon with any old weapon and sneaking up on a guy while they’re asleep doesn’t trigger the move either — in that case you just deal your damage.
Basically, the difficulty modifier is in creating a situation where can do the thing in the first place.
Bonuses and penalties don’t fit in DW as much as they do more tradition games.
A good thing to remember is that when the players roll the dice the question they’re rolling them to answer is never reall “can you accomplish this” but instead “what price must you pay to accomplish this”.
As was mentioned in another thread you’re better off giving bigger threats a stronger fictional position.
IE: When the party faces Heelgrind The Mile High, Prince of Giants they see that he fells ancient redwoods with his steps and cleaves through mountains with an idle swing of his arm. His hide is craggy and shimmers with stones and metals laced throughout it.
So when you ask your party Fighter what he does if he responds “I charge forward and hack at his ankles” you’re well within your rights to drop a hard move on him.
You don’t apply penalties to make the big threats scary, you put them in a position where normal tactics or plain brute force won’t work. Make the players attempt to put themselves in a strong enough position to overcome the threat.
I’d love to get some clarity here as well. I’ve read some fantastic examples of massive monsers being handled via the fiction (Prince of Giants above as well as the 16 HP Dragon) – get that and it makes a lot of sense. How do you handle a skillful threat?
For example, what if you have an opponent who is a famous duelist? They are fast and highly skilled with the blade. They are not big like a house, have reach or anything like that – if the fighter wants to wade-in and go at them with their sword it feels like it simply would trigger a Hack and Slash. The moment that happens the mechanics seem to nerf this kind of threat since they are not about having tough armor or a good amount of HP. The fighter’s roll+Str seems to circumvent the reasons why a quick duelist is a threat.
Check out this discussion here:
Phil Mitchell you could say, if the Fighter charges in, that the duelist deftly parries and quickly steps out of the way, easily dodging your clumsy strike. If you felt a hard move was necessary, have him then deal damage or slash at the Fighter’s armor straps, causing it to fall off.
Yes, as Giovanni Lanza says, this is a golden opportunity so make a move as hard as you like.
Tim Franzke Very helpful. This is in line with what Giovanni Lanza posted above. Though I’m trying to think how the PC would defeat the duelist then? Could it be something like they have to assess their opponent triggering a Discern Realities or take a defensive stance in order to create the conditions whereby they could trigger a Hack and Slash?
Phil Mitchell I think it would depend on the Fighter in question. After they were summarily shut down trying to dive in with Hack and Slash, I’d ask “how are you going to defeat this person?”
Yes and Yes. Both are options. Maybe they need specific training before they can.
Maybe they need to spout lore about the fighting style. There are a bunch of options the players have besides simply attacking.
Cool – actually seems like a great way to encourage characters out of their comfort zone.
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