I think this may have come up before at some point, but I can’t find the thread…

I think this may have come up before at some point, but I can’t find the thread…

I think this may have come up before at some point, but I can’t find the thread…

There’s an old saying that goes, “When you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” If you have a character that gets an advantage or benefit to doing things a certain way, how much do you notice that they are on the lookout for opportunities to do anything that way, even if it’s not appropriate or doesn’t make sense?

I ask because I’m brainstorming a Defend-heavy character, and my concern is that they will do nothing but Defend if it becomes too good.

5 thoughts on “I think this may have come up before at some point, but I can’t find the thread…”

  1. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing. The Fighter is all about the Hack and Slash, but the fiction and the player getting bored and wanting to do something clever tends to prevent that from being all they do–and even when that is mostly what they do, hey, The Fighter is fighting stuff. Working as intended!

    That said, give the class other options anyway. Not to discourage them from Defending all the time, but because they won’t be able to Defend all the time (either because the situation doesn’t allow it, it wouldn’t be helpful, or the other players won’t always enable the “stay there and let me tank for you” dynamic) and they need something to do when they can’t. Take the Class Warfare advice and give them three areas of competence, and you should be fine.

    Edit: and to add an arbitrarily cute analogy, Defend isn’t a hammer, it’s a 9/16″ box wrench. Useful in a lot of situations, but it won’t drive nails. And Dungeon World is chock full of nails.

  2. I think this is where the GM move put them in a difficult spot is for. It makes sense that the player will use their best move, so its up to the GM to come up with obstacles or dilemmas where the best thing to do is to not use the best move or an agnosing chouce to use it.

  3. I find this to be a much bigger problem in games like Fate Core than DW, that use what one might call “verbal” mechanics.  You have an advantage written in words (an Aspect for example) that applies wherever those words apply. 

    With DW, the only time a move triggers is when the fiction says it triggers.  You can’t make treat Defend as covering a situation where you are standing up for your friend in a debate, or use Hack and Slash for backstabbing, or whatever.    The “triggers” (in the broader sense of when certain traits get used, instead of the specific meaning in DW) in DW are much more consistent and clearly stated, really not left to the imagination of the players/GM.

    I have a character in my game that is very Defend focused, very good at it.  He will always be defending something (usually the burglar character).  In my experience this has been a feature, not a bug.  On those occasions where he rolls a miss, it leads to awesome.  When he rolls a hit, he just does his thing, and it is also awesome.  And on all the other occasions, there is either not something to defend, or he needs to get something active done (like actually defeating an enemy) and is forced to trigger other moves (i.e. Hack and Slash, Defy Danger).  

  4. Another thing to consider is ultimately, DW characters get really good at two stats. You’ll be great at defending and take moves to gear you towards that, but most classes tend to have another stat focused line of moves (Fighter has wisdom moves, charisma moves, and multiclass). Barring that, you can complement your defense character with high wisdom to discern realities or high intelligence to act as a source of direction.

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