A quick question about Messy and Forceful.

A quick question about Messy and Forceful.

A quick question about Messy and Forceful. I have a player with a sword that can resize, small as a dagger, big as 8 ft long/1 ft wide. It also has the messy and forceful tags.

She had just tied up an Orc for interrogation. Almost immediately he has wiggled out of his bonds and she turns just as he is getting back on his feet.

Player: “My sword shrinks to the size of a tiny dagger and I throw it into his left thigh.”

Me: “As the dagger sinks into his flesh you hear a large crack as his femur breaks, followed by a tiny explosive shockwave that sends the lower half of his leg flying. He is now rolling around on the ground, screaming bloody murder, and making an awful mess.”

Player: “Seriously… seriously WTF?!”

Me: “You shouldn’t have used your signature weapon. Forceful create a shockwave that shattered his bone and messy rode that shockwave resulting in the amputation. Your weapon sunk into the dead center of his leg, so…”

I’ll stop here. My question is, is my messy too messy, my forceful too forceful? Or does this sound about right?

10 thoughts on “A quick question about Messy and Forceful.”

  1. Sounds OK to me.  I might have said it sticks in and then expands back to the size of a sword, severing an artery, but that’s a small difference that leads to the same place (bleeding out).

  2. Yeah I think it’s fine as long as those tags are understood to apply regardless of the weapon’s manifested size. Perhaps that’s where she got confused. Definitely wouldn’t say it grew in the orc’s leg, as that takes power over the weapon and its narrative away from her (unless, of course, it is understood that the weapon will have a mind if its own at times).

  3. This doesn’t answer the question, but my personal preference is to try and keep the player and the GM on the same page. Easy solution, next time you’re not sure: ask the player:

    “You’re going to use your dagger, even though it has messy and forceful? Gosh, that sounds like it’s going to cause a nasty wound, how bad is it?”

    or, if you have a little bit of anticipation:

    “Your weapon is tiny now, but it’s still messy and forceful. How does it do that?”

    Basically, stake out the territory, remind them of what’s been established in the past, and let the player how far they’re willing to push it. I’ve been trying to learn how to do this as things come up in the moment, which takes some doing sometimes.

    Unless this was a 6 or less and the situation had never come up before, in which case its probably a legitimate place to reveal a downside and still have it seem fair.

  4. Of course, the way you phrased it, you didn’t realize that you were on different pages until after it happened.

    I guess in that case I’d recommend pushing harder on the fictional justification for the effect: the sword expanded in flight, the serrated edges caused extra nasty gashes, its tiny but still heavy, etc. Basically, why is it forceful and messy in the fiction? Note that the signature weapon tags tend to have a little narrative justification to help this along. 

  5. This is a hard move. As long as you had the ability to make a hard move from a player’s miss, I don’t see a problem with it. The weapon’s magic hiccuped and shockwaves ensued. It’s no less reasonable than a size-changing sword.

  6. I didn’t even call for a roll. Nothing was really at stake and she was going to mess this Orc up no matter what. We’re kind of learning as we go, which includes learning how I interpret different parts of the system. I think she has the idea that the tags come into play when she wants them to (given that they are bonus like) and I see them as constants in the universe (like physics).

    We’re also playing on a pretty epic tier. Previous to this happening she took on nine Orcs and messed them up with this sword doing some cool and crazy stuff, all by herself. I feel she has established that this sword is ridiculously powerful. She uses it for everything she can justify and I generally let her. She wasn’t upset, just taken aback.

    Right after this she pulled out a torture kit from her Adventuring Gear, defined three items inside this briefcase, and then cauterized his leg using electricity and her sword =P

  7. All of DW is a conversation, right?  And that means clarifications and questions.  When she replied with “Seriously, WTF,” that’s your (none-too-subtle) social cue that you and she aren’t the same page.  When that happens, I think it’s best to clarify the fiction and allow for “take backs.” 

    Unless she hasn’t had this sword long and is unfamiliar with its properties, it’s pretty lame to go “Well, you shouldn’t have !”

  8. She is definitely having fun. I did offer a take back and this was our third session with this new character and super sword. She would have been really upset if I didn’t allow her to grab that interrogation kit from adventuring gear so she could save the orc for questioning. I think she walked away with a greater appreciation for her sword. All is well. I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t off the reservation with my interpretation. Thank you very much for the feedback guys =)

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