Agrash Rage-Fist the orc says, “Human village weak. We strong!”

Agrash Rage-Fist the orc says, “Human village weak. We strong!”

Agrash Rage-Fist the orc says, “Human village weak. We strong!”

The Bard interjects, “But if you-“, but the orc immediately takes a swing at her with his fist.  What do you do?

In this case the Bard wanted to discern realities to decide how to react, so I had her Defy Danger +INT to think quickly enough to both analyze and react before she was hit.  Turns out this is just standard orc behavior to assert dominance, and Agrash wasn’t trying to hurt her, so she rolled with the blow and avoided antagonizing anyone.  Classic neutral bard.

Thought I would share, since I’ve found Defy Danger +INT to be extremely rare!

8 thoughts on “Agrash Rage-Fist the orc says, “Human village weak. We strong!””

  1. My first concern is that the way you’ve written this, the player wanted to do something, Discern Realities, and you instead forced them into a separate move altogether.

    It may be that there is something lost in the translation – perhaps it was not quite as clear as you make it here.  

    As presented, though, it reminds me of my old way of DMing games, before reading Dungeon World – i would determine the “right way” for players to get through a scene, and then use carrots and sticks to drive them generally through my pre-determined story.  When they didn’t comply, i’d find their behavior somewhat adversarial.  And yet, when i was a player, i found the same behavior in a GM to be too restrictive and didn’t appreciate it.

    Upon reading Dungeon World, i quickly fell in love with the philosophy of throwing an interesting scene on the table WITHOUT any pre-determined ways to resolve any tension, and then just encourage the hell out of the players’ attempts to work their way through it in whatever fashion they come up with that is within the generously-assessed ballpark of “reasonable” and/or “whoa!”.

    In your scene as described above, i would have let the player discern realities.  Depending on the question(s) asked, they could well have observed the same thing – the swing was mostly show, not intended to harm them.  A miss would have ended up with similar results either way.  

    The big difference between both approaches wouldn’t have necessarily been in how the scene resolved.  The fiction could have ended up in the same place through Discern Realities, Defy Danger – Int (or Spout Lore, which sounds more like what you ended up doing while trying to get +Int into a Defy Danger test).  Rather, the difference would be that one method gives players strong authorial input (and lets me as GM sit back and be entertained by their awesomeness) and the other method teaches them to guess at what they think I want them to do.

    One last bit critique – it’s easy to mistake Defy Danger for a classic D&D-esque saving throw.  Your bit above almost sounds like “save versus Intelligence to avoid being punched!”   This is particularly true if you didn’t identify the move in response to the player’s stated intention, but rather threw it out there as an option to escape danger.  Any time you find yourself driving the players to a particular use of Defy Danger, ask yourself “am i just mimicking a saving throw?” – any time you ask “What do you do?” and the player describes what they do to escape harm’s way, THAT is when they really trigger Defy Danger.

  2. It was a little unclear from how I wrote it, but the player rolled both moves. Because they had just a split second to decide how to react, I had them defy danger in order to discern realities and still have time to act on the result.

  3. Eric Lochstampfor , i don’t see a problem with triggering Discern Realities in a brief moment – studying something closely doesn’t necessarily mean taking time, it can also mean putting the information received together in a meaningful way.

    If someone wants to trigger Discern Realities when the Orc’s fist is swinging in, i’d let them do it.  With a success, i’d work with them to figure out how fleeting impressions of scent, sound, taste, sight, intuition… all comes together to give them some insight (depending on the question(s) asked!).

    On a fail… “You catch a fleeting glimpse of the fundamental interconnectedness of all things.  You see the unified field.  You know what the butterfly’s wings will do to weather across the globe.  For a moment, a brief and tantalizing moment, you see it all!  Your mind escapes into the ether, leaving your body behind.  In the path of the Orc’s fist, which connects with the bridge of your body’s nose in an unpleasant crunch of cartilage, a spray of blood, and a nirvana-destroying, blinding pain.  What do you do?”

  4. Andrew Fish Reading over your comment again, I’m a little concerned that I’ve missed something.  Just rolling Discern Realities and omitting the Defy Danger seems to violate the rules as written – The Bard was clearly acting despite an imminent threat, so she has triggered Defy Danger.  She is thinking quickly, so she rolls +INT.  What the player intended to do is only relevant if they want to change their action so as to avoid triggering the move.

    If she wants to just take the blow and spend the next few moments on the ground pondering what just happened, then sure, forget the Defy Danger.

  5. Andrew Fish

    I’d be more inclined to let The Fighter analyze a melee opponent in a few seconds than The Bard. If it was sheet music it’d would be a different story, otherwise all characters become Sherlock Holmesian deductive masters even in matters outside their perview.

  6. Eric Lochstampfor I think that’s a fair distinction to make.  In this case though, the character was trying to read the intention of the punch, i.e. trying to pick up on social cues.  I can’t think of a class more qualified to evaluate that than The Bard, even in a very tight situation.

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