What’s the difference in making a h’n’s move against untrained little goblin and a dragon?

What’s the difference in making a h’n’s move against untrained little goblin and a dragon?

What’s the difference in making a h’n’s move against untrained little goblin and a dragon? In terms of sole move it seems there is no real difference. Difference lies in what they can do in return, right?

15 thoughts on “What’s the difference in making a h’n’s move against untrained little goblin and a dragon?”

  1. Yes. But it’s also important to ask “Can the PC actually hurt the target?” and “Does the PC put themselves at risk by attacking the target?”

    If the target can’t be hurt by the PC, like by being a giant dragon with really thick scales, there’s no H&S Move. Also, if the target can’t do anything to the PC in return, like by being a weedly little goblin, there’s no H&S Move. H&S only triggers when the PC can hurt the target and risks being hurt in return.

  2. The difference is that some things are H&S and others are not. Poking a goblin with a rapier is. Poking an iron golem isn’t because you can’t hurt such a golem like that.

  3. It’s also much harder to get into position to hurt a dragon, with the flying, the fire breathing, the tail lashing, etc. Look up ’16 hp dragon’ on Google, it’s a great AP example.

  4. When you have the weapon and position and capability to H&S an opponent then yes, the target won’t make a difference then. However the backfire on a 7-9 or 6- will be hugely different.

  5. I would just add, make sure you signpost to players if creatures have immunities.  Maybe show others’ swords bouncing off its hide, spread rumors around, have a broken halberd hung in the local tavern along with the now-one-handed warrior who was wielding it.  

    On the flipside, when the PCs finally get the magically-piercing harpoon, let them stab the crap out of the big, bad beastie.  Oh, so much stabbing!

  6. Yep, pretty much nailed already: if they can actually get into a situation to attack (and be attacked) then yes, it’s just Hack and Slash.

    So yeah, hacking and slashing a street thug and an ogre use the same STR, vs the same target numbers. That hides a huge amount of difference though: the street thug is likely to cave in one hit from just about anybody, while the orge is likely to take multiple hits. The consequences of missing them are different too: the thug might call for help, run, or shank you for a few points of damage. The orge might smash you into goo or fling you across the room.

  7. The move is triggered by the fiction. As others have said, how exactly are you engaging this dragon in a melee when it’s the size of a house? And what are you packing that would be able to cause physical harm to it? If you can answer those two questions, then roll away.

  8. Also, if a Fighter attacks a lone, unarmed goblin, you might just make a GM move instead of having the Fighter roll H&S. Goblins are horde monsters; they are not supposed to be dangerous one-on-one.

    Not a hard move, just a soft one, like telling them that they have produced a corpse that will surely attract predators before long. “What do you do?”

  9. I’ve had players react with surprised when I tell them to just roll for damage without triggering a H&S move. I’m generous with that if the players have set up a situation where their target is totally at their mercy.

    Striking a little demon thing that the Wizard has trapped in a magic bubble? Don’t roll, just do your damage. There’s no way you can miss it, it can’t do anything to you, and it’s not immune to normal damage. Splat. Dead imp.

    Striking a cultist from behind when a previous Defy Danger roll meant the PC hid so well they were practically invisible? No H&S Move, just deal your damage. Heck, if the cultists are bunched up, you might take down two or three of them before they can react.

  10. Very good question that I have asked here on those boards and frankly the answer I got here and through personal play is that unlike many game (D&D) where the “features” of monsters are shown via its stats, in DW the feature of a monster are shown via the story (narration)

    So to take your example, what is the difference between a h’n’s move on a lowly goblin or a mighty dragon. From a statistical or game mechanics, not much at first glance. 

    The difference however is that your PC can indeed engage toe-to-toe easily with the goblin.

    However for the dragon, they will first have to fight their fear of this beast, then dodge its fiery breath, avoid being cut in two by a lash of its tail and assuming they have survived all the above, then they can make the h’n’s move. We are talking about multiple Defy Danger roll even before you can attempt a strike.

    … oh! by the way their strike might simply bounce back on the dragon’s hide because they are not equipped with the right magical sword which was lost hundreds of year ago in a far far away land…

    See what I mean?

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