Does Defend become too powerful at high levels?

Does Defend become too powerful at high levels?

Does Defend become too powerful at high levels? One of the options for Defend is “deal damage to the attacker equal to your level”. My concern is that this may be too attractive an option once PCs reach the upper levels, especially for classes with low base damage.

And is there an official stance on standing in defense of yourself to trigger the Defend move without covering anyone else?

25 thoughts on “Does Defend become too powerful at high levels?”

  1. I don’t see it becoming more attractive than H&S. You can’t just roll moves, you have to trigger them. Fine, defend yourself all you want — once my orcs realize you’re not fighting, they’re just gonna grab the idol/Prince/money and run.

    Or my Kobolds will just blast you from a distance with spells and slings, since if you can’t deal damage in the fiction then you can’t select deal damage as an option.

  2. Also if you can’t deal damage to someone normally, Defend doesn’t magically allow you to bypass that. Choosing to deal damage is only an option if you can deal damage in the fiction. And that is generally harder to do from a defensive/passive vantage point.

  3. Alfred Rudzki and Tim Franzke nailed it. You can’t trigger the Defend move without actually defending in the fiction. As soon as you describe your character acting with the intent to hurt a foe, you’ve triggered Hack & Slash.

  4. The argument could be, I am defending this position.  According to the move that is valid.  On a hold 3 only one can be spent on dmg, you would just do half your level.  That’s nothing compared to hack n’ slash where you can put other dmg skills with it.

  5. I don’t think it’s going to be an issue :

    – Dealing damage by spending a Defend hold still mean that the attack directed at you succeed (partially if you spend another hold). H&S let you unharmed on a 10+. 

    – If you do something else than defending yourself, you should lose holds (some exceptions may apply). So Defend is really going in “passive mode”, letting the opponents (so, the DM) set the pace. I don’t think that it’s optimal for a PC in DW. 

    – Dealing damage can be done by other moves than H&S, so you have to compare it to those, too. Some creative use of Defy Danger may be safer, and Volley is usually much safer too. By level 7, the PCs should have plenty other moves too, so I don’t think that standing in defense of yourelf will become some kind of default action.

  6. Not sure why people think hack and slash should be intrinsically superior to defend. You might argue the opposite, that when you want to avoid damage at low levels hack & slash is better than defend because you avoid damage on a 10+ and do your classes damage to the opponent.

  7. Jonathan Hamby why couldn’t I redirect three attacks to me, or halve the damage of three attacks, or open up three attackers to harm? The idea that it couldn’t be done is ludicrous.

    I think I see the thing: no, I don’t mean spend all three on three attacks at once — I meant, all three over time could be spent on the same option.

  8. Tim Franzke with the answer I was going to post. It’s all inherent to character intent and action. If you want to kill something, you can’t “defend” your way into it dying. You have to narrate yourself defending. Also, you have to narrate how you’re dealing that damage, right?

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