Druid’s shapeshifting…do you treat the animal move automatic successes as “7-9” or “10+” like results?

Druid’s shapeshifting…do you treat the animal move automatic successes as “7-9” or “10+” like results?

Druid’s shapeshifting…do you treat the animal move automatic successes as “7-9” or “10+” like results? More specifically, if an animal has a move like “maul them,” do they evade any attacks they make to defend themselves? It just occurred to me while writing fronts that the Druid needs to take care to position themselves fictionally such that their automatically successful shape-shifting moves don’t cause them problems.

15 thoughts on “Druid’s shapeshifting…do you treat the animal move automatic successes as “7-9” or “10+” like results?”

  1. They gain moves based on their animal form. And moves can generally involve rolls. So I have them roll on ‘maul them’ or ‘dive attack’ just like a normal attack and use the shapshift form for fictional benefit.

  2. I treat Druid animal form “that’s something you can just do” moves as 10+ results. But I do the same thing whenever any character can “just do” something because of their fictional positioning, so the Druid isn’t really getting any special treatment in my games.

  3. I think a good benchmark is “do they gain a benefit from spending the hold?”

    To continue with the combat move example, if they’re a bear going crazy on a weak enemy like a goblin, spending the hold might let them bypass hack and slash and just deal their damage, or it might give them permission to hack and slash with a group of enemies while they’re in a frenzy. Against something big like an ogre, the benefit might be that they actually can hack and slash; where in their normal form they might have to defy danger to get in close beforehand, here they can spend hold to bypass the process. Key thing to take away being that I wouldn’t have them pay hold to trigger hack and slash in a way that’s not significantly different from what they would get to do in their normal form.

    Similar things apply to non combat moves, of course; spending hold on an animal senses type move might let you Discern Realities in a weird way, or ask an off menu question or something.

    TL;DR: let the situation and fiction dictate how much a point of hold can buy, don’t be shy about requiring a roll along with the hold where appropriate, and make sure it always provides at least the possibility of a benefit over a normal form basic move.

  4. Usually I see animal moves as you can automatically do them because it would be weak if you just rolled a stat and didn’t get any benefit. Though I do see James Etheridge thing about fictional positioning being important. A bear is still not going a maul a dragon very effectively

  5. james day​ I think the example with ‘dive attack’ is fitting pretty well here. The benefit is being able to h&s at all through fictional positioning. Without turning into a hawk, the druid could not have attacked the rogue on the other side of the canyon in the first place. Diving onto the enemy for an attack still requires deft movement and enough force, so h&s is still required.

  6. Stefan Bernhard

    But in that case, why would you ask them to spend hold?  If all the move does is grant fictional positioning advantages, why bother with the Hold mechanic at all?

  7. Mike Pureka Well, Hold as a currency for the Druid is supposed to measure the duration that the Druid is able to spend in the shapeshifted form. The move would be phrased something like: “Dive attack: Dive at an enemy from afar and attack with your claws”. Spending the hold enables the druid to strike in melee from afar. That is what the hold is spent for in this case: a “ranged melee attack”. 

  8. Stefan Bernhard

    I understand what you’re trying to say, but at the same time, I struggle with the idea that the whole duration is completely arbitrary and based on whatever the GM thinks “should be a move” whereas everything else they are allowed to do in their shapeshifted form has no impact on the duration at all.

  9. See this thread, especially the response by Sage (whom I believe is one of the DW creators).  To quote a relevant paragraph: “A note on shapeshifting in general: taking on a new form is, in a way, saving up successes for particular tasks. The druid makes one roll and, through the clever selection of a form, can turn that into 1 or more successes. The cost of this is the new form: since everything is triggered by the fiction taking on a new form changes what rules engage. That’s the fundamental tradeoff of a new form: that form’s strengths turn your one roll into more successes, but that form also limits your options.”

    Essentially, the roll to shapeshift provides successes that can be used later, so if the druid is in a combat capable form (like a bear) making him roll Hack and Slash is redundant, UNLESS the fiction says otherwise

  10. This is what the move says: You still use your normal stats but some moves may be harder to trigger—a housecat will

    find it hard to do battle with an ogre. The GM will also tell you one or more moves associated

    with your new form. Spend 1 hold to make that move. Once you’re out of hold, you return to

    your natural form. At any time, you may spend all your hold and revert to your natural form.

    That seems to me that the moves that an animal has are separate from the regular moves. Whether that involves dice still is still up in there air as it doesn’t say specifically that it does or doesn’t…

  11. Aye, I used to be in the “automatic successes / monster moves” boat, as Sage describes, but a while back there was a pretty good discussion in the Tavern about how the granted animal moves could be moves requiring rolls, and that opened me up to wider possibilities which I found a little more interesting.

    Also, controversial opinion, but just because the creator envisions something a certain way doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the best way to interpret it. In this specific example, I would argue that fictional positioning is something that’s always happening, whether you’re currently turned into an animal or not, and as such calling fictional positioning a ‘tradeoff’ to justify those free full successes doesn’t really hold up for me.

    (Just in general, the shapeshifting move is kinda messy on this front, because you basically have to pay hold if you want being an animal to actually matter–and how much that hold should buy for you, when you should have to spend it and so on is kind of up to your table to decide. It works once you find your groove, but it is perhaps not as straightforward or elegant as it could be.)

  12. James Etheridge

    No. Fictional positioning is a “Tradeoff” in the sense that becoming an animal is neither better nor worse than not being an animal. As in, the fictional positioning of being shapeshifted is a wash (though generally will be in favor of the druid because they pick the shape and they’re unlikely to turn into a trout in the desert).

    The “tradeoff” for “you get to do cool stuff” is “You only get to do 3 or 1 cool things before you unshapeshift.”

  13. Well, your first point is pretty much exactly what I was saying. Sage was arguing that the fictional positioning of being an animal is a cost you have to pay to make up for the free successes you get; I was saying that it isn’t actually a cost at all, for precisely the reasons you describe.

    I don’t think your second point is really a good argument either. Regardless of how many extra full save-for-later successes you get, you’re still getting more out of a single roll than other characters do. Which is why I generally frown on the monster move interpretation, although I do admit that is the fastest and easiest way to run it at the table.

  14. James Etheridge

    Well, if the move didn’t provide any advantage at all (“I roll, and I get the same degree of success at slightly different stuff”) then it would be pretty bad, wouldn’t it?

    Also, I am not really a fan of “Roll for the privilege of rolling again.”

Comments are closed.