Hey everyone, here’s an early draft of some rules for status effects. Comments are appreciated!

Hey everyone, here’s an early draft of some rules for status effects. Comments are appreciated!

Hey everyone, here’s an early draft of some rules for status effects. Comments are appreciated!


If any of these rules don’t make sense, drop them and leave it to the fiction.


Every Status Effect has a Vector – a means of transmission – whether it’s the gaze of a cockatrice, the ingestion of spoiled meat or the sight of an extradimensional monster. In some cases, a status effect will have multiple vectors. These vector act as narrative triggers for the following move:

When you attempt to resist a Status Effect,

roll+Con+Severity for physical vectors.

roll+Wis+Severity for mental vectors.

✴ On a 10+, you resist the effect completely. ✴ On a 7-9, you suffer a partial consequence. ✴ On a 6-, you suffer a full consequence.

Above all, don’t feel compelled to list every possible vector for a Status Effect – you should be able to eyeball it. Good mechanics are rules of thumb, useful fictional shorthand – if they bog down the story, they’re not doing their job.


The likelihood that a Status Effect will take hold is represented by its Severity, placed in brackets next to a vector. A Status Effect’s severity will typically be Mild (+2 to +3), Moderate (+1 to -1+) or Extreme (-2 to -3), although some Status effects will modify this system or bypass it entirely.

Very often, different vectors for the same Status Effect will vary in severity. Vectors which bypass a roll are tagged with the consequence they produce, whether (Partial) or (Full). Removing the severity modifier entirely is also an option – if it’s bogging the game down, get rid of it.


Every Status Effect has Consequences which may express themselves Fully or Partially. Full consequences tell you the worst a Status Effect can do. Partial consequences will be less intense, or they will inflict specific consequences at full intensity. For example, your body may be partially petrified and slowed, or your arm may be fully petrified.

Some Status Effects are so intense that there’s no meaningful difference between a partial effect and a full effect. These are best represented with unrolled poison-style mechanics – the drama here is in avoiding the vector in the first place.


Some Status Effects have Treatments which can mitigate or even cure their consequences. In most cases, treatments will be Partial or Complete. Partial treatments alleviate consequences by one step – full consequences become partial, partial consequences are cured. Complete treatments cure consequences completely. Some treatments will only treat certain consequences, and others may come with problems of their own.

5 thoughts on “Hey everyone, here’s an early draft of some rules for status effects. Comments are appreciated!”

  1. I think I see what you’re going for here, but I have some concerns about how well this will fit with DW.

    The first warning sign is the “If this doesn’t make sense ignore it”. One of the beauties of DW is that the rules are designed to be consistently applied every time they are triggered. If your intent is for some effects to not trigger the move, there is precedent for that (Hack and Slash only triggers if you can give and receive damage, for example), but you’ll need to rephrase things to indicate that. You might want to add “Inflict a status effect” to the list of GM moves.

    A lot of people will also shy away from things like Level 1 = +1 or +2; Level 2 = +3 or +4; etc. Since the moves in DW are intended to represent not just application of the user’s ability but also the fictional circumstances, having levels and associated bonuses/penalties starts to break the fiction:mechanics ratio.

    The other concern is whether this really adds enough to the game to justify the additional homework. The hit point and debility rules cover a LOT of ground already, so any additional record keeping and rules to remember need to have significant entertainment value to justify themselves.

    I could see this working in a game where you drop the debilities or hit point rules, but that will quickly lead you away from DW and into different game/hack territory.

    Sorry if this sounds like I’m crapping on your idea. Like I said at the beginning, I do see where you’re going, I just think it needs some refinement 🙂

  2. And honestly, most threats/dangers/calamities fit so easily into Defy Danger already that this complicates the game unnecessarily for me. The thing with DW, though, is that you can hack it and modify it as you wish – add, take away – so if this mod works for your game, go for it!

  3. Jared Hunt No that’s great! I was concerned the returns on mechanical effort wouldn’t be too good. I’ve been thinking about dropping Severity entirely – would you say that’s a good idea?

    I was planning to use this with a game where I’m dropping debilities and HP.

  4. I think dropping Severity would definitely be an improvement. If this was the central mechanic for tracking harm I think you would have an interesting basis for a hack.

  5. Upon thinking about it you’re right – I could do all this with Defy Danger and the fiction. I hadn’t considered making it a central mechanic before I posted it, but that’s a really good idea – I could do Nobilis-style Wounds! Thanks Jared Hunt!

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