Hey all, new to Dungeon World, DM’ing, and the community!

Hey all, new to Dungeon World, DM’ing, and the community!

Hey all, new to Dungeon World, DM’ing, and the community! Had a question about monsters taking debilities during combat. Several of my players (on in particular) seems very intent on trying to debilitate the monsters they fight in combat through the fiction. Given that certain classes (ex: the ranger) have abilities that specifically say the target takes a debility of some kind (through called shot in the case of the ranger), how do I go about handling this? For example, if my player says “I want to stab the monster in the foot to slow down its movement” “Ok, roll hack-and-slash” and he gets a 10+… is the monster now slowed? If so how is this different from the rangers called shot? My first thought was to allow targeted shots, but at the loss of dealing damage, giving the ranger the bonus of dealing damage on a 10+, as opposed to a non-ranger character. Thoughts? And thank you in advance.

8 thoughts on “Hey all, new to Dungeon World, DM’ing, and the community!”

  1. The “Debilities” as listed on the character sheet don’t mean anything for monsters.   Monsters don’t have stats the way PCs do.  You’ll observe that the ranger powers don’t specifically mention them.

    If your PC stabs the monster through the foot, then the monster has a foot wound.   What this will do will depend on the monster and…the fiction.  It might slow it down. 

    I think it’s reasonable to allow this with Hack and Slash only if the player can explain why they’re able to get a clean attack the monster’s foot specifically.

  2. If your PCs have moves that are triggered by attacking something with a debility, you can still say that the monster has the debility, even though (mechanically) it does nothing.

  3. First off, my apologies on the confusion. I didn’t mean debilities in the stat based, mechanical sense (-1 to a given stat), I meant them more as a physical debility in the fiction (i.e. wounded foot, knife through hand, etc). That said, I do like the idea of having the player explain WHY they are able to do that. I guess being new I was focusing too much on the “WHAT are you doing” side of things. Thanks for the suggestions.

  4. I am a fan of the ranger being the only one who gets to call shots. Especially when you think of hack and slash as an exchange of blows instead of just one swing – in a melee you might aim for the knee but it doesn’t always work out the way you want when you’re also defending yourself and trying to find an opening, even if you do connect with the quadrant you targeted, it might be a glancing blow or they may be tough enough to take it without slowing down. Whereas the ranger has specific training to incapacitate his opponents from a distance. I am a fan of players describing their attack vectors, like “I chop straight down at his arm” or “I swipe backhanded across his body, low under his shield, to open his guts…” But I don’t usually make one roll equal just one swing.  

  5. Yeah; Melee is a swirling mess of limbs and blades and shields and whatever.  Trying to say “I hit him in the foot!” during a general melee situation is going to require some serious justification.

    You’ll notice that Called Shot actually requires the target to be surprised or defenseless, which should tell you how ‘easy’ it is to hit your enemy exactly where you want to.

  6. The Ranger isn’t the only person that can call shots, he’s just the only person that can use the Called Shot move. It’s a subtle difference, but a pretty important one.

    In the case of a warrior in melee saying “I try to stab him in the leg,” it’s totally the DM’s call what ends up happening. In the Ranger’s case, the player is specifically invoking the Called Shot move, which gives the player much more control of what’s happening in the narrative. HE gets to roll the die and declare that the orc is hobbled and slow moving. The DM can of course restrict use of Called Shot as is appropriate for the narrative – just as he can restrict use of Hack & Slash when the Wizard punches an iron golem – but as soon as the move is triggered, the outcome is under the Ranger’s jurisdiction. In contrast, Hack & Slash just says to deal damage – any narrative injuries beyond that are the DM’s call.

    It’s similar to the old discussion about “what happens when a Cleric wants to break down a door since only the Fighter has Bend Bars, Lift Gates?” The answer isn’t that the Fighter is the only person in the world capable of breaking stuff, it’s just that the Cleric’s player doesn’t get to weigh in on the situation beyond saying “I wanna break it.”

    Don’t make your combats boring just because the rules don’t explicitly say they can be cool! Players can and should be trying to attack enemies within the context of the narrative — don’t try to reduce it to “use SWORD on MAN” with a sack of hit points on each side. Class moves exist to make that class cooler, not to make everyone else lamer.

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