I want some help interpreting the defy danger rules.

I want some help interpreting the defy danger rules.

I want some help interpreting the defy danger rules. At what point would I have someone roll with INT? My players wanted to use it in oder to dodge an incoming attack by calculating it’s trajectory, but I felt that still fell solidly inside the realm of DEX. Any advice?

12 thoughts on “I want some help interpreting the defy danger rules.”

  1. Defy Danger INT is more like resisting a magic spell that would debuff/defuddle you in some way. Think of Defy Danger INT as basically Willpower against something. That’s how you would normally do it. Dodging an incoming attack by calculating its trajectory, is, no matter how smart they make it sound; it still depends on their reflexes which is DEX.

  2. What you’re describing sounds like INT to me. They’re thinking quickly rather than moving quickly – if they can calculate the trajectory, it might only require a step a few feet to the right to get out of the way.

  3. Not necessarily. I might be able to figure out a knife will hit me in the chest. Doesn’t mean I can stop it happening. I wouldn’t allow it.

    There’s an item in rulebook that allows you to defy danger in odd ways

  4. Using a Defy Danger on INT as they wanted to use it, for dodging ranged attacks, could be fun, imo. Like, you know, the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr.: quick observation and deduction applied to combat. Something that’d be a lot of fun maybe the first times, but can go easily become stale.

    I’m not entirely sure it’s up to you, as an MC, to decide what is a move and what isn’t: the players describe what they do, then, I think, you should decide what kind of move it is together as a group and see if it fits good in the fiction.

    That said, a riddle to solve quickly is, as I see it, the “classic” Defy Danger with INT, some trap that needs defusing or a quick decyphering, something like that. It’s mental nimbleness.

    Victoria Harlette you know, I always thought Defy Danger on WIS was “willpower”…

  5. Repeat after me to your player:

    “Oh wow, so you can predict trajectories — like, see the actual mathematics behind the world around you? Well, damn, [Character name] — tell me about that real quick. Something awesome must be responsible for that.”

    Then take notes and let them have their way.

    Then, down the road, pull out those notes and twist the knife.

  6. “Does that look safe?”

    “Do I know someone in this town who’s not mad at us about something we did last time we were here?”

    “Do I remember the counter-phrase for our contact?”

  7. Be a fan of the characters.  

    As a rule, I let players roll +INT to Defy Danger if they describe doing something clever, using their environment, taking advantage of a distraction… even if it also involves moving quickly.  Reward a player for playing their smart character smartly.


  8. FBI statistics on close-quarters firefights shows that accuracy shooting is a less significant factor in surviving a gun fight than simply knowing what to stand behind and how to position yourself.  If the FBI says smarts are a good way to survive a gun fight, i’ll let a player use smarts to survive an arrow attack!

    Keep in mind, the player shouldn’t call out “i’m defying danger using INT!” 

    Encourage the player to describe their action, and  their motivation.  If it involves being clever, INT is a fair approach.  If they’re simply trying to duck, weave, and dodge then DEX is likely a better test.

  9. ‘Calculating it’s trajectory’ implies a parabola.  For an arrow, bolt, poison dart trap’s dart, hand thrown stone, etc I wouldn’t allow it.  For a piece of siege artillery, yeah.   Well…. maybe WIS.

    I’m 95% with Rudzki and Standberg on this one though – if their explanation builds the awesome, or gives you ammo for later, allow it.

    Normally, I’d see Defy Danger INT for situations like interpreting the orders the foreign troops are yelling to each other in the calm moment just before the battle clash, or when the town guard pulls a sword on you and asks who your loyalties lie with (who is the local noble in these parts again?), or for the party Paladin to notice the thieves cant sign for “Warning : Slick slope and gelatinous cube ahead’ carved into a door frame, or to recongnize the faint odor of Fainting Nightshade in the wine glass.

  10. The important thing here, is what happens when they roll a 7-9? (as different to defying danger with another stat…)

    Player: 7-9!

    DM: Hmmmm, your parabolic calculations are quite accurate, and you rather smugly step out of the way at just the last second. Unfortunately for Dingleberry the halfling who is cowering right behind you and takes an arrow to the knee; d6 damage.

  11. Victoria Harlette seems to be thinking of Defy Danger with WIS: “…through mental fortitude.” DD with INT is “…with quick thinking.” Quick thinking won’t help you survive a befuddling spell, mental fortitude would.

    That said, I’m ambivalent about using DD+INT in this way. On the one hand, it sounds a whole lot like a player trying to get away with using their best modifier rather than explaining what they’re doing and picking the most appropriate move from there. It seems like dodging is dodging, and pretty much anyone can see a projectile and tell it’s coming towards them; getting out of the way fast enough is key. On the other hand, I do want to be a fan of the characters! So I’d probably allow it in some cases, if the players really justify it well in the fiction, and most importantly if it makes sense–arrows fly really fast! If they watch someone winding up to throw a stone, then they can step out of the way at the last moment, but a sorcerer’s lightning bolt is just going to be too fast; the only hope is to leap out of the way.

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