I’m struggling a little with how much to give my druid(‘s player) with his shapechanging.

I’m struggling a little with how much to give my druid(‘s player) with his shapechanging.

I’m struggling a little with how much to give my druid(‘s player) with his shapechanging.  I saw a “list of moves” for animal forms.  Suppose the druid takes the form of animal with a strong sense of smell.  Should I let the druid use that to follow a trail?  I can see both sides of this question. One says yes, because he has all the inherent abilities of the form.  The other says no, because he doesn’t have a knowledge of tracking, so he wouldn’t understand how to follow a trail properly.

Please advise.

22 thoughts on “I’m struggling a little with how much to give my druid(‘s player) with his shapechanging.”

  1. Perhaps let the Druid help with the narration…if the animal can track but the human can’t, then I guess he does it as the animal…

    Let’s hope he hasn’t chosen something too vicious, like a wolverine, timber wolf or Tasmanian devil!

    …and he’s not too hungry…

  2. A roll, where 10+ gives him control over his hungry animal form. 7-9, choose two:

    You don’t savage the prey; you don’t race alone ahead of your party; you avoid an ambush.

  3. I’m pretty confident animals that use smell as their primary sense can use it with ferocious efficiency when attempting follow/evade other creatures in their natural habitat.

    Rather that concentrate on what senses any given ‘wild shape’ has, be more concerned if that shape fits the environment/habitat the character is currently in – a wolf owns the forest, and a whale owns the seas. Etc

  4. there are some things, like “uncanny sense of smell” or “flying” and so on, that are not moves, they’re special abilities. The druid, while in a form with a powerful sense of smell, can certainly use that to find tracks, and he would roll on Discern Realities. You have to count for the different sense used, of course, so maybe there are tracks that are more easily followed by smell than by sight, or viceversa.

    “Find your prey following its smell”, on the other hand, is a move: if you grant that to one of the druid’s animal forms, the player would simply have to spend the hold and he’d find the prey, just like that. Choosing which moves to assign and keeping in mind the special abilities of the animal forms is an interesting way of giving focus to some things instead of others.

  5. i don’t know if this clarifies, but: by considering special abilities you’re opening a window on the concepts of leverage and positioning: if the druid turns into a falcon, he doen’t get a bonus to fly or to spot thing from a great high, he simply can do those thing, and he couldn’t before. If someone is lost and you want ti spot them, it may be not possible from where you stand (i.e. you don’t trigger the Discern Realities move), but if you turn into a bird and fly up in the sky to get a good look from above… maybe, you could spot something (you now activate the move)

  6. If you don’t have rangers in your group, then don’t worry about them: there are no other “real rangers” in the world.

    As for the improvised move, you can certainly do that! Or, to put it better, you’re supposed to make custom moves, for things that are important or interesting in your games; but that’s something that comes better with a bit of preparation. Most of the time, if you don’t have a precise idea in mind, and you find yourself looking for a generic move, just use Defy Danger (the danger in this case being, I don’t know… you lose the target? Or maybe there are some dangerous beasts nerby, etc); remember to make it clear what the dangers and the costs are, ask your player to describe how they do it, then choose a stat, and that’s it. Defy Danger can be a pain in the ass, with its 7-9 results, but it’s also so much more than “saving throws”…

  7. Also worth noting: the Druid might be able to shift into a form that covers one of the Ranger’s specialties better than the Ranger, but at the cost of most of their starting moves. And it’s unreliable with limited use.

  8. Why would a Druid want to shift into an animal when they can’t use that animal’s abilities? That would make no sense in the world right?

  9. Yeah I too balked at the shape shift move seeming to let the druid do anything and maybe better, but once I accepted it and realized it’s a front loaded move it got better. I do tend to be more harsh with 6- results than other classes though so I guess I am still biased against druids. Something to work on.

    I would allow the druid to spend a hold to track one of his party members as a bear but if he rolled a 6- maybe he smelled honey and led the group to a bee hive

  10. You can also codify it in a move instead of relying on them to Defy Danger or Discern Realities: spend 1 hold to track someone through the wilderness.

  11. The problem I have with requiring the druid to roll dice after spending a hold is the druid now has two chances of failure to do one thing. I also know the druid is also more flexible than other classes so maybe that’s a valid cost but I know my druid player sulked and stayed in humanoid form when I had him roll after spending a hold

  12. Tim Franzke: Ah, it’s been a while! I couldn’t remember if there was anything you got “by default”, like “fits into small spaces” for a small animal. Common-sense things that would naturally happen fictionally.

    I did remember that the hold moves were basically “spend a hold to do something awesome that evokes the animal”.

  13. If you’re really worried about the bear spending hold just to do this, I wouldn’t be.

    Just because it makes FINDING the friend easier doesn’t mean that it makes GETTING TO the friend easier. You could arrive where your friend is just to find him stuck in a tree, surrounded by a pack of wolves, or track that friend to a river, where the scent trail stops.

    Paul Sheppard  — Someone sulking over a game of Dungeon World? That must be a frustrating player.

  14. I would definitely let a Druid use an animal form like a bloodhound to track someone.  (And have done so!)  I might require spending more than 1 hold for a long track, though.  And I might make a harsher Hard Move on a failed Shapeshift roll than I would on the Ranger’s Hunt and Track, if it seemed like balance was required.  Or throw in a Defy Danger +WIS to stay focused if something especially tempting to the Druid’s animal side presented itself (squirrel!).

    The Druid as a class is pretty much all in on Shapeshift.  Let them use it and be awesome!  And then find other ways to make their lives be full of adventure.

  15. colin roald Agreed, I also don’t see a problem with occasional overlap between classes. E.g. if the Druid takes on the form of an animal that’s good for tracking, you could treat them as companion for the Ranger’s Hunt and Track move making their cunning equal to the amount of hold the Druid wants to spend.

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