43 thoughts on “In your eyes; are there any major corner cases in the DW rules (as written)?”

  1. A stealthy adversary sneaks up behind a PC and grabs the magic light out of his/her hand plunging the party into darkness.  

    Is it okay to accept the fiction and just tell the player that happened or is there some reaction that the player may use? 

  2. I’d say in general no, because the majority of the structures are built of attractors that are meant to guide you into the game’s proper operating environment; since many of these structures don’t have well-defined edges you don’t get many corners. Some of the move-triggers do have weird edges (e.g. “attacks” that do no harm in the context of Hack&Slash) but since the player-facing moves are all oriented in more or less the same direction you don’t get much complex interaction between them.

    I would say the Aid/Interfere subsystem seems like it has some funky interactions with the “naturalistic conversation” subsystem, but I don’t know if that maps well to the concept of edges and corners.

  3. When you ask The Wizard what the range of a fireball (or a Magic Missile) is, then “As far as I can see” is a bad answer. Setting the range to be Far is better for the game.

  4. Defy dangers tend to be somewhat reactive or for when the action is already happening. I’m sometimes stumped when more investigatory or social things are happening. We can just do it all via RP and GM fiat, but I find myself curious if we should have used some moves throughout the process.

  5. Getting away with lying to someone feels like something that can’t adequately be covered by Parley; I’d definitely love to see some more social support beyond the “you’ve got leverage on this guy, so you can intimidate or negotiate effectively” which Parley seems more directed towards.

  6. Alessandro Gianni If you’d like to have a conversation about that we should have it in a different thread, per Tim Franzke’s request that we just identify issues here rather than comment on each other’s comments. 🙂 

  7. The only time I feel I encounter an edge case is when two moves could apply to a situation according to their triggers. In those cases I usually have both moves go off and get the player to roll one then the other, or just make a call and get them to roll one of the moves.

    To figure out what to use in an edge case, talk more about the fiction. with the lying example:

    What are you trying to get out of them?

    What are you using for leverage?

    What are you telling them?

    Are you using any logical fallacies to get them to go along?

    The answers can help you determine which move applies, what the stakes are, and what the likely consequences may be, and how much stuff is going to end up on fire.

  8. The defend move. My players have asked to defend someone and make an attack. They see the defend move as weak because it is just delaying the inevitable. They would rather die using hack&slash than “waste” their hit points defending.

    The point they make is that they want to defend their comrade and make attacks when they can.  The defend move seems to restrict them. 

  9. Stun Damage – is there any indicator for how it is supposed to work? What is the difference between 4 and 7 stun damage? On a, 8 or 16 HP enemy…

  10. The only edge case that comes to mind: when a character is being attacked by something like an Assassin Vine or a tentacled monstrosity that’s grappling them, and they slash at the creature to free themselves, is that Defy Danger (STR) or Hack and Slash? It’s accomplishing a goal and damaging the creature.

  11. Along the same lines as Andy Hauge and Adrian Thoen: Actions that could trigger multiple moves but that are better resolved by one than another.  Specifically, attempts to disarm, trip, or grapple come to mind because most would consider that attacking an enemy in melee, but the 7-9 and 10+ results of H&S only account for you dealing damage (not your manuever working).  So you often use Defy Danger for such situations, which is more open-ended and can handle them.

  12. Also: attempts to subdue but not kill aren’t well-defined in the rules (though they are easily handled).  If I basket-punch a dude in attempt to knock him out, do I H&S and roll damage on a hit? Do I defy danger, the danger being that I inflict more harm or not enough? 

  13. Tim Franzke this should have been made clearer in the text but “stun damage” isn’t a numerical value. It’s a binary condition. It’s confusing because we have “stunned” too. I’d have called the debility something else, referred to “being stunned” vs. “stun damage” and gone from there.

  14. Andy Hauge To me that’s Defy Danger (STR), if they are grappled by the arms, wrists, etc.  It stands to reason that if they’re just stronger than the thing grappling them, they can swing their weapon, not as hard as if they weren’t grappled, but if they are using an edged/pointed weapon that doesn’t matter so much.  What I would do is, on a successful Defy Danger (STR), have the grappled PC roll their damage and half it.  If half his damage is 3+, have it cut off the offending limb.  On a 2, it hits, but not hard enough to sever, and on a 1, it scratches, possibly hard enough to make it let go.

    If their limbs aren’t grappled, then the PC pretty much can’t miss, no H&S needed, just roll damage.

  15. Adam Koebel slashing at someone’s wrist so that they drop their sword, or sweeping their legs out from under them, or tackling them and bearing them to the ground all sound more like attacking an enemy in melee than acting despite an imminent threat

  16. Jeremy Strandberg

    I believe in DW, a melee is considered an exchange of blows where there is likely to be blood shed on both sides, not  one particular strike. In my view, which roll to use would be fictionally dependent. ie: The Fighter trying to slam a sword out of someone’s hand in a flashing-blades sword fight would be hack and slash with a chance of achieving the goal while still suffering damage, while The Thief pinning their wrist to the wall with a thrust so they can’t draw their sword in the first place would be Defying Danger, with the danger being they miss and take a blow unprotected.

  17. A different corner case in DW:  PC on PC conflict.  Both rolling H&S? H&S vs Defend? Where does Interfere come in?  Yes, the game can handle it, but you have to do so very carefully or the gears grind. 

    Peruse this forum and others for the many discussions and questions of “how do I handle intra-party

    [Regarding H&S vs. Defy Danger… no more comments on that; I don’t want to jack this thread any further.]

  18. Hack and slash is super dangerous in Pvp, since players hit a lot harder than monsters generally, and you not only take damage when the h&s you, but when you get a 7-9 on your h&s.

    Although here’s an interesting question, say Avon hack and slashes lux and gets an 8. Can lux decide to take a different action rather than deal damage as their “attack”? Does lux just automatically do it, or do they still have to roll a move.

    Say Avon tries to stab lux, but rolls 8. Avon gets to roll damage, but lux doesn’t want to fight Avon, and instead wants to disarm them. Would you as the GM just say “you do it, after Avon stabs you” or get lux to roll to disarm?

  19. as a GM, I generally try to get at the root of the PVP situation. Why are you trying to kill each other? What do you hope to gain? What is the point of all this? Intent can really help clear up PVP. Before any dice get rolled, make sure everyone at the table can agree that the narration and moves make sense.

    If not, ask if doing all this makes the most sense for the game? Should we be playing something different? Are we having fun watching lux and avon go at it?

  20. I had assumed you were using the term the conventional way.


    For just things which I find problematically vague or ambiguous I would have listed a few others:

    Draw maps/leave blanks is tricky

    The plain-English reading of “be a fan of the characters” can conflict with the actual directive in the rules

    “Never speak the name of your move” is insufficiently bound to GM moves and can give people bad ideas about how to use player-facing moves.

    What is the player’s agenda? (e.g. is it OK to be an adventure-phobic turtle?)

    Also, more than a few people seem confused by the way the game uses the terms “the fiction” and “story”.

  21. Dan Maruschak about the agenda of the players: 

    “You should also set expectations: the players are to play their characters as people—skilled adventurers delving into dangerous places, but real people. Your role is to play the rest of the world as a dynamic, changing place.” 

  22. Ah, I must have missed that. I was looking for something along those lines to fit into my original corner case analysis, but couldn’t find it, and assumed that what I was remembering came from AW or one of the DW beta drafts but wasn’t in the final.

  23. With that player agenda, I’d say there’s a corner case where there are types of “real people” (e.g. someone who thinks dungeons are crazy-dangerous and the adventuring lifestyle is ill-advised) that aren’t perfectly compatible with GM-side procedures that tend to continuously spit adversity at the players. If the players aren’t inclined to push back things can get unfun.

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