Standard Volley– On 10+, can I say, “I shoot the arrow at his head/eye/hand/somewhere specific”?

Standard Volley– On 10+, can I say, “I shoot the arrow at his head/eye/hand/somewhere specific”?

Standard Volley– On 10+, can I say, “I shoot the arrow at his head/eye/hand/somewhere specific”? Or is it just general damage, or left to GM fiat?

28 thoughts on “Standard Volley– On 10+, can I say, “I shoot the arrow at his head/eye/hand/somewhere specific”?”

  1. Also, it looks like you’re deciding the narrative of your action after you got the die result. DW is designed the other way around; Say what you’re doing, take the move that applies (Volley, Called Shot), and then the narrative continues once you know if you succeeded.

  2. Well, Games that use the *W engine should work differently from the “standard-D&Desque-games-we-played-a-lot-in-the-past”. This is true in melee as in ranged combat.

    For example, a “good” DW player shouldn’t say “shoot with my bow… 4 damages”. He should say “I want to kill that bastard, I aim for the heart… 4 damage! Bye bye man!”. Or he should say “I want to hit the hand, ’cause I’d love he’d drop his weapon”. I as master could reply “ok Defy Danger on Dex” (because the requested effect is something different from standard volley, AND a character with Called Shot ability should be better to gain those effects AND the damage). Other masters could say “Ok you aim the hand? Good, he takes damage AND he drops his weapon! Cool.”

  3. It’s my understanding that, if you’re shooting for an effect in the fiction, not to do damage, that it could totally be Dex Danger.  Like, if i’m trying to shoot a grappling hook through a narrow window, that’s not Volley, even though i’m shooting a target, right?  I’m not going to roll damage against the window, i’m just going to see if i shoot the grappling hook into the window or not.  If i’m shooting something out of a guys hand, the guys hand is just another window, right?  Volley has the end result ‘do you harm them?’  If you’re not concerned with harming them, shouldn’t that be acting against Danger?

  4. My bad, Volley wouldn’t be triggered by the grappling hook because:

    “When you take aim and shoot at an enemy at range” 

    is the trigger. 

    I think this says something about how shooting people in “The” Dungeon World works. When you shoot someone with a ranged weapon. It will hurt. Tricks like shooting stuff out of someones hand can only be done by the Ranger (or if you picked up Called Shot). 

  5. Sorry, not to de-rail, as this is only tangential to the original topic.  I think the GM fiat/interpretation element is what gets at the original answer best.  You should be just narrating “I shoot him in the eye” and rolling Volley and letting the damage/armor/fiction determine how it shakes out…

  6. However, when would you most want to do that? To save an ally from an incoming attack? Could be an Aid roll. When the enemy is directly in front of you, it really depends on the fiction if such a shot is possible. The system is kind of saying: 

    When an enemy is directly in front of you and you wanna shot at them, you can do it but you won’T stop the attack. You can safe yourself some other way but then you don’t shoot. I would be okay with that personally. 

  7. I was thinking more “he holds the amulet aloft and the beast is entranced by it. What do you do?”

    “Oh, so it’s the amulet that gives him the power? Cool, I take out my hunting bow and shoot it out of his hand while he’s distracted…”

    I could see: Volley, Dex Danger, or even a flat out “oh, he’s paying you no mind, so that works perfectly, no roll.” Depending on game/group/sitch.

  8. I suppose I would ask the player how they would have the skill to do such a thing. If they are a knife-wielding thief with good DEX, that makes sense that they could perform a shot like that, however it would follow DD rules rather than a Called Shot. If it was a wizard with 0 DEX, how would you address it then? Say no? A wizard could sure TRY to do it, but it would be much worse of course. What about providing a -1 to the roll if DEX is not your top stat? They might get lucky, after all, as we many times do.

  9. OP – You can and should. Heroes should describe their actions specifically and dramatically, before anything is rolled. The GM will follow the fiction to determine the outcome, until a Move (such as Called Shot in this case) steers their hand. 

    Ex. 1) The thief says, “I hurl a dirk at the enemy archer’s hand to disarm him before he can return fire.” The GM says, “That sounds like a Volley… [roll] … 11! Your dirk plunges into the meat of his forearm, roll your damage. He might not be able to shoot, but now you’ve got his attention and he’s drawing a knife with his other hand; what do you do?” But the Gm could also say, “This guy is trained for combat, he sees the knife whirring toward him and twists to protect his hand. Your dirk gouges his shoulder as it spins past him, roll damage, but now you’ve got his attention and his arrow is nocked; what do you do?”

    Ex. 2) The ranger says, “I aim for the thigh so I can hobble the knight before he gets too close.” GM says, “That sounds like a Called Shot, roll+DEX and pick your options,” and it plays out as the ranger says.

    In the first example, it’s up to the GM to interpret the results based on what’s known of the battlefield conditions and enemy’s skill. In the second, the hero’s Move steers the fictional result.

    Use the same principle when clerics try to pick pockets (as opposed to thieves using Tricks of the Trade), or wizards try to kick down doors (vs. fighters using Bend Bars, Lift Gates). 

  10. Apologies, people – this was a following up comment for Tim Franzke​​​. My line was “frozen”, so I couldn’t see that other people already replied with similar posts. Please, if you want, ignore my post.

    – – –

    Tim, I say no, ’cause if the player wants to shot an arrow to disarm the enemy, or shoot to a leg slow the enemy this isn’t a standard “shoot to kill”, so I’m prone to shift to Defy Danger.

    As a master, you shouldn’t say “no” to a player, so, you need to find other ways. Defy danger, Aid (if you think this simply sparks the action of another player), no roll “the arrow hits the arm, he cry and drop his weapon”, etc. However, not Volley: the results (and the 7-9 list) are useless in this fiction. 

  11. Again, doing what you just described is perfectly fine and healthy play. Nobody is to fault for that. The results you get out of that are all satisfactory. 

    However, I personally follow a very strict reading of the move triggers and the rules in general. You can play DW with a much looser interpretation and be fine most of the times. 

    The book says:

    A character can’t take the fictional action that triggers a move without that move occurring. 

    Shooting at the guy to make him drop the amulet would fall into that rule. That is not the GM saying “You can’t do that!” it is the rules saying that it should happen in a specific way.

    You could argue that the character is shooting at the amulet, not at the enemy but then we get even more into splitting hairs – which is what I am doing atm.  

  12. Well, if you want to be by the book, the trigger is “When you take aim and shoot at an enemy at range” – and in my example, i wasn’t shooting at an enemy.  I was shooting at the Amulet in their hand… 🙂

  13. Tim Franzke​​ also, there are lot of movies where they shoot each other, apparently not heavily damage themselves, but simply for gaining advantages. Shoot in a leg just to intimidate. Shoot in shoulder just to stop a chase (!). Shoot in the hand just to stop the other to grab an object. Then, two scenes later, they are all right, ready to rumble, and get shooted, again. Of course, I don’t say this kind of tropes are right for every kind of campaigns, however, I use them a lot. Please, Note that it’s true the contrary. In Dungeon World discussions (around the forums etc.) there are a lot of examples where a monster does 2 HPs damage to a character, but with the messy tag the monster also chomp away your hero’s arm. How can this thing happen? Because they are telling you that HPs have nothing to do with fiction details.

    However, as I usually repeat, just to not be misunderstood, there are lot of ways to correctly play DW. Ours are all valid. I like to chat about the diverging details.

  14. How can defy danger even be used here? It says “when you act despite an imminent threat or suffer a calamity”. How is shooting an arrow at an object even remotely related? There is no imminent threat or calamity?

    Maybe people are defaulting to this because they are trying to make things “fit” with what is in the book, but I don’t think defy danger is the answer here.

  15. I think that putting an arrow through the head/eye/hand/somewhere specific of a foe before they do something to you qualifies as “acting despite an imminent threat” Ben Harrison. But as I mentioned earlier, I’m one of the players/GMs who reads the “danger” in Defy Danger pretty broadly. 

  16. Forgive me, I’m also trying to make sense of this whole *W business and have only run one (short) game so far. I’m very interested in this discussion.

    If there is indeed an imminent threat, then I can see the defy danger coming into play. I guess I can’t see what that “imminent” threat is if you’re at range with a bow. I read the move as applying when you trying to do something which if not avoided, will bring some sort of harm.

    I understand the GM can pull a hard move if you fail regardless, on any move, but that isn’t necessarily an “imminent threat” in the fiction.

  17. This might be going off on a tangent Ben Harrison. But if the evil sorcerer is about to level their wand of disintegration at a party member, I would say anyone trying to shoot the wand out of their hand would be acting despite an imminent threat.

    But as I said before, I’m the type of player/GM who uses Defy Danger as a way to handle risky actions, or actions that have the potential for dangerous results. Hiding in the shadows to avoid a pack of Snake Cultists. Leaping a chasm of lava. Outrunning a troll as it charges own the hallway. I know some people don’t use the move that way however. 

  18. Yeah, we are going OT. DW hasn’t a “Act under pressure/fire” (Apocalypse World does), however (as in the original move), you could see the “fire”, the “danger”, in a very wide way.

    The enemy is running away, if he’s successful he’ll warn his army! The danger is “he’s coming the army!!!”. How could an archer defy the danger? With a good arrow in the leg 😀 No need to fully kill the runner.

  19. Tim Franzke, I think a character can’t trigger a move that they don’t have access to. However, nothing prevents a character from attempting the fictional activities of  moves that you might intuitively think should be exclusive of other classes.

    Emphasis mine:

    “If it’s ever unclear if a move has been triggered, everyone should work together to clarify what’s happening. Ask questions of everyone involved until everyone sees the situation the same way and then roll the dice, or don’t, as the situation requires.”

    Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask

    “This move is particularly good when they want something that’s not covered by a move, or they’ve failed a move. They can do it, sure, but they’ll have to pay the price. Or, they can do it, but there will be consequences.”

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