After reading Tim Franzke ‘s Battleshaper which is a class that takes advantage of tags, it made me think about a…

After reading Tim Franzke ‘s Battleshaper which is a class that takes advantage of tags, it made me think about a…

After reading Tim Franzke ‘s Battleshaper which is a class that takes advantage of tags, it made me think about a mechanic from the Fate system (that I read about in Dresden World.)

Are DW Tags similar to one-word Fate Aspects that you invoke or compel?

20 thoughts on “After reading Tim Franzke ‘s Battleshaper which is a class that takes advantage of tags, it made me think about a…”

  1. Yes and no. They’re similar in that both color the fiction and narration. But Dungeon World tags don’t have to be “activated” for their mechanical effect.

    In Fate (which I’m not an expert in, mind), the player would have to spend a Fate point to give a weapon with the Forceful aspect some mechanical heft (in the form of a +2 shift bonus or a reroll). In Dungeon World, that’s not necessary; the tag is, in a sense, always on. Hitting something with a weapon with the Forceful tag always results in an appropriate mechanical effect.

  2. Christopher Stone-Bush has it mostly correct, but to be fair to the Fate system I should clarify his statement.

    Aspects in Fate are always true. A weapon with the “Forceful” aspect should always toss people around on a hit, just like a DW weapon with the forceful tag.

    Invoking (activating) the aspect simply adds additional mechanical weight, normally by allowing a reroll or adding a +2 bonus to the roll.

    So really the situation is more precisely that DW doesn’t have a way to increase the narrative/mechanical weight of tags, not that Fate requires such activation to match what DW does.

    ( If that made no sense I apologize, it’s too late to be trying to explain things. )

  3. But throwing someone around with your forceful blade of kha’a doesn’t do anything in tthe fate conflict rules. It is color without effect. In DW it is both.

    I also like to stress negative tags in DW. When your animal companion is loud then it it is loud LOOOUUUUD! and everyone should remember your AC for being loud as ef after the game. That gives this choices meaning.

  4. I disagree Tim. Aspects in Fate determine the fiction. If I’m “bullet proof”, the guy with a gun can’t directly inflict physical stress on me without dealing with that aspect first.

  5. As people have noted, Aspects are always true. So the superhero with the Aspect “Bulletproof” simply can’t be hurt by bullets. That seems pretty strong for an Aspect though. That might be were some confusion is coming in.

    Going back to the forceful weapon though, in Fate the effect would be purely narrative unless and until the player spent a Fate point. So the GM may narrate how a foe hit by that forceful weapon is knocked off balance or knocked back a few feet.

    But it doesn’t have much mechanical weight. The player doesn’t get to add that +2 bonus or doesn’t get to reroll the dice unless they spend a fate point. Likewise, the GM or another player can only compel the player by giving them a Fate Point.

    Dungeon World works differently. The player doesn’t have to activate their forceful weapon at all. When they hit a foe, the forceful tag tells the GM that the description of damage should be appropriate. In DW, fiction is mechanics.

  6. Also the enemy flies back and needs time to stand up. I can use this time to deal with other threats. Because of the round based nature of fate conflicts this gain in time means nothing. When I succeed with style I can easily say they get a knocked down aspect though.

  7. Perfect explanations, thanks.

    It sounds like tags are there as reminders to the player and GM to be used as much as possible. However, it does require players and the GM to act with that extra level of awareness which may be hard without a definitive reward/penalty for doing so. I.e. The player is happy whenever he uses a poison and the ‘dangerous’ tag is never invoked because the GM forgets it’s there and the player doesn’t call attention to it.

    If a GM wanted to make a house rule where they make a move to “compel” a tag to do something bad, even when the player doesn’t fail, they could get a +’1 forward’ ala Fate point to be spent as a mechanical bonus toward another tag of their choice later in the game, as the fiction dictates.

  8. You never need an excuse for making moves as players. It’s just your set up move then. 

    And as a player when you have a dangerous thing and everyone else at the table is ignoring it, you should bring that up. 

  9. The thing is, Clinton Pong, unlike Aspects which are meant to be double edged swords, tags are usually either positive or negative. Not both. Also, good or bad, tags are always on; the negative ones don’t come into play only when a character fails.

    A weapon with the heavy tag is always heavy. It’s totally legit for the GM to narrate the character having trouble getting it raised in time when speed is important (or at least calling for Defy Danger to do it in time). A weapon with the messy tag is always going to deal horribly nasty damage. They’re always on.

    Yes, that means the players (including the GM) have to be aware of what tags are in play and to narrate actions and outcomes accordingly. If I as GM kept forgetting to take the Thief’s poison’s dangerous tag into account, I feel it’s up to the player to step up and remind me. If they don’t, they’re not playing along with the spirit of the game.

  10. Perhaps I’m adding a level of complexity to something that is clear in other DW games than mine. As a player, I’m hardly aware of other player’s tags (Halfling ranger and elf fighter) while my tags come into play quite often — the crazed barbarian pulling himself up along the length of my rapier to hand-to-hand range and negate my weapon, attempting to use a new poison and poisoning myself, etc. This is happening on 10+ rolls, mind you.

    If the DM is only making hard moves with my tags against me every time we are in combat, I’d like it if there was an option of a hard move+future benefit or soft move instead.

    Ex: GM: “the goblin closes in on you while you brandish your spear. He tries to dodge past it and get up close to you. Would you like to have the Tag reach be used against you! but you can get a +1 forward on another tag?”

    Player: “Sure, as he dodges and weaves, the butt of my spear gets tangled in the brush behind me and prevents me from delivering a deadly jab. I drop the spear and bull forward with my shield instead to try and bowl him down…”

  11. Especially if they do that all the time. Now and then is good show the downside of their equipment and all that. But not all the time. 

  12. It would be a house rule and woven into the fiction as karma or fate points. Like I said, I might be making this tag rule more complicated than it needs to be. If I use it in a DW game, I’ll let you know how it goes.

  13. Clinton Pong

    The player would not narrate the spear that gets entangled. That is a GM move.

    The DW conversation would be something like this:

    GM: “You said you lift your spear. This Goblin is fast and tries to dodge it to get inside your guard. What do you do?” (Soft setup move)

    Player: “I step back to keep him at spear’s length.”

    GM: “Roll defy danger Dex…”

    Rolls 8

    GM: Your spear gets tangled in the bush behind you. You can’t use it. He stabs at you but misses. What do you do?”

    Player: “I bang him with my shield.”

    GM: “Roll hacknslash”.

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