Hello Dungeoneers !

Hello Dungeoneers !

Hello Dungeoneers !

So, another question, but first some context. 

The party is fighting against a Ice-breathing Bear. The bear is unleashing its Ice Breath against the Fighter. When I ask the player what does his character do, he answers that he just grits his teeth, enduring as he can, then asked me if he had to roll. 

I wasn’t really ok with him triggering the Defy Danger move, arguing that the fictional positioning wasn’t right. If he had a shield, I would have agree, but he was just handing me a golden opportunity, right there. Thankfully, we quickly moved on to have a blast, but I realized this player and I were on different levels regarding triggering moves (but were sufficiently good mannered not to make a big deal out of it in the middle of the game). 

Watch’all think?

31 thoughts on “Hello Dungeoneers !”

  1. He could also be standing in defense of himself or others.

    I’d have allowed that.

    Either way, this is totally the kind of thing CON exists to do.

  2. His reply was pretty clear. He grits his teeth and endures as best he can. He didn’t say he was defending anyone or anything. To me, there is no question which move triggers.

  3. I see your points, but then, you could grit your teeth against everything. 

    Another way to say it : losing HP is a way to grit your teeth and power through it. If it you do not drop to 0, then you successfully went through it. Otherwise, HP is kind of useless. 

  4. > I see your points, but then, you could grit your teeth against everything.

    But not have a chance to succeed. You can’t grit your teeth and bear a swinging rope bridge – you just fall. That’d take strength or dexterity.

  5. As long as it had been put on display earlier just how severe this ice breath is (you know, detail how when the ice breath hits the wall, it immediately buckles under its own weight thats how brittle it is), then you’re in the clear denying the Defy Danger move.

    The book is clear that you can’t use Defy Danger when it makes no fictional sense: you can’t fast talk a 100 foot drop and you can’t flex your muscles to lift someone’s sunken spirits. If this is incredibly deadly, you’re super fucked ice breath, then no Defying Danger with CON is fictionally not possible. And, hey, that’s your job as the GM to determine, as long as you’re sticking to your principles.

    So all that said: if you didn’t reveal in the fiction previously that this was Serious Business ice breath… then its kind of weak sauce to say to the player “oh well uh its actually too dangerous for you to do that?” I mean, hey, if its so dangerous why is the player just now hearing about it? In these situations, when this kind of miscommunication occurs, sometimes its best to roll with things and just go ‘huh, okay, i guess that character knew better than i did this time.’ Not always. But sometimes.

  6. Alfred Rudzki I am kinda agreeing with you. It would be bad manner and weak sauce to say “Ok, you just can’t endure it, take ridiculous amount of damage”. I went for “Ok, you are gritting your teeth, and in a split second, your world becomes one of pain. You can’t feel your extremities no more, the ice being so cold it burns the hell out of you. You won’t be able to endure that much longer without injury. What do you do ?”

    Aaron Griffin Here is how I understand HP : it is a numerical way to represents how tough one is. So, if failing to endure would result to losing HP, that is as saying “You failed to endure, so please endure by losing some HP”. It just makes no sense to me.

    Btw, I am not trying to be an ass, here. I am really glad you people are helping me. Thanks :). 

  7. Oh hey, I think offering that chance to re-evaluate with new information is completely legitimate. That’s a solid enough in-fiction way of going “oh, sorry mate, I screwed up: this is really serious violence, man, wanna pick a different tactic?” 

  8. Alfred Rudzki  Technically, it is not screwing up : 

    MC uses a monster move (in that case, soft move)

    Player hands him golden opportunity 

    MC tells the player the requirements or

    consequences and ask (soft move)

    But I do see your point.

    Aaron Griffin  Touché ! Thank you mate 🙂 I see what you mean now. 

  9. The GM has to make an evaluation how dangerous the breath is. The move triggered is “Tell the consequences and ask”.

    So it goes like this:

    1) The GM decides the breath weapon is not that dangerous, so he says “If you do that you have to roll DD con, on a fail you take 1d6 damage. Do you want to do it?”

    2) The GM decides the breath weapon is that dangerous and says, “If you do that you will take 1d12+4 damage. Do you want to?”

  10. Ok, so : “GM: Emory, as you climb up the side of the ravine you spy a cultist on a ledge nearby who evokes a frost spell and covers the side of the cli  with ice! If you want to keep climbing, you need to defy danger or you’ll fall.

    Emory: No way, I am too tough. I grit my teeth and dig my nails into the wall, climbing one hand at a time. I’m using Con, okay? I got an 8, though…

    GM: Hmm, well, I think the only way you can gain any traction, tough guy, is if you use your dagger to pull yourself up the last few feet. It’s going to be lodged in there until you have some time to pull it loose and there’s an angry spellcaster nearby.

    Emory: I can always get a new dagger when I get home. Time to  nish this climb and that cultist.” (DW, p.63)

    I should have read the example too. It is basically the question I asked you guys. Still, I am worrying about game balance here, and the grit my teeth answer (also known as : I do almost nothing) looks like weak sauce to me.

    I can’t believe that with over 100 hours of game, I am still puzzled by some of the rules. 

  11. Antoine Pempie it’s not quite the same example. Notice that Emory is defying danger with CON in order to keep climbing without falling.  There’s nothing about damage in that example at all.

    In your question (as I read it), you were telegraphing that the freezing breath would do damage and the player was basically saying “no it won’t, because I tough it out!”

    Now, that could still arguably be defy danger (they’re suffering a calamity and saying how they deal with it, which is the second and oft-overlooked trigger of defy danger). But you are well within your rights to say “dude, it’s super freezing cold, like getting blasted with liquid nitrogen… you stand and take it then you’re at least going to take 1d6 damage that ignores armor. And the defy danger will tell us how much worse it is!” As Wynand Louw said: tell them the consequences and ask.

    This might also be a good time to come up with a custom move, like:  

    When the ice bear unleashes its freezying breath, ask the affected players how they react. If they…

     – Leap out of the way, ask them to roll +DEX.

     – Grit their teeth and endure, they take 1d6 damage (ignores armor) and ask them to roll +CON

     – Do something else to defend themselves that might actually work, have them roll +INT or whatever seems right. 

    On a 12+, they suffer no further consequence. On a 10-11, pick 1. On a 7-9, pick 2. On a miss, they mark XP and all 3 apply.

         – They take 1d10+2 damage (ignores armor)

         – Some vulnerable piece of gear is damaged, lost, ruined, or frozen in place

         – They must mark a debility of your choice.

    Maybe that’s a little brutal, but something like that could work.

  12. I’m with Jeremy Strandberg  here – defy danger isn’t a move that you use to avoid damage. It’s a move to allow you to act in spite of an impending threat. If the manner in which you do that avoids the damage, great! But whether you take damage or not should spring from the fiction, not directly from the result of the roll.

    In this case, there’s no question in my mind that the breath would still do damage. Maybe by enduring it you could avoid getting frozen or disabled, or be able to stand your ground, or stab the creature in the mouth while it’s breathing on you. Maybe at best it might reduce the damage. But if you stand in the fire, you’re going to get burned.

  13. Aniket Schneider, I’m not sure I agree. As Jeremy points out, one of the triggers for DD is “suffer a calamity.” Getting hit by a blast of ice is a calamity, and if you “deal with it by enduring” and roll 10+, then “the threat doesn’t come to bear.” I’m down with this not applying in the case of particularly severe attacks (some things you just can’t endure) but saying you can’t ever avoid damage by enduring the attack doesn’t seem right to me. I think you certainly could say “well, if the blast hits you, you’ll take damage, but you can DD+Con to avoid the additional effect,” but I don’t see that as the only possible way to play this setup.

  14. I think the issue here is the fiction, and the discrepancy in how the GM and the player are seeing things.

    The GM feels the Ice-breathing Bear’s breath weapon is too powerful for the Fighter to endure given the current circumstances. If that’s the case, much like Hack & Slash not triggering if a character doesn’t have the fictional position to harm their foe (like an infant with a stick against an Apocalypse Dragon with inch thick metal scales), I feel like Defy Danger would not trigger.

  15. In this instance, the key here is how potent the breath is.

    If you, as a GM, decide this is not something that can be “sucked up” by being a badass; then no move triggers and the fighter’s mistake is answered with Deal Damage.

    If it’s something that is potent, but if you’re enough of a tough bastard you could perhaps soak it, then let him roll and go from there.

    Defy Danger is not a get-out-of-jail-free card just because you can explain why it might be.

  16. Martijn Vellinger, the issue is also in part the fiction that’s already been established. If it hasn’t been said out loud, then it isn’t canonical to the game world. If the GM has not made it clear how dangerous this breath is, I think it would be pretty unfair to jump straight to Dealing Damage. What’s in the GM’s head isn’t as important as what’s been established in the shared fiction. Chris Stone-Bush has the right of it here. If you’ve already shown it blasting apart rocks or killing a weaker man instantly, then yeah, trying to endure it is foolishness that can be rewarded with a hard move.

  17. Justus Goldstein-Shirley sometimes players jump the gun before you can establish fiction though… In this events, if needed, I tend to go with “are you sure you want to do this?”

    That tends to work with my group at least.

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