I saw the issue of the Druid using Shapeshift to overcome every problem come up again.

I saw the issue of the Druid using Shapeshift to overcome every problem come up again.

I saw the issue of the Druid using Shapeshift to overcome every problem come up again. This is a revision to the class that I had come up with. It limits the Druid to just one animal that they can shapeshift into. To compensate, they get Elemental Mastery as a new starting move. While EM is also a highly versatile move, it has some more stringent downsides to it, especially on a 7-9.

What do you think, sirs?


10 thoughts on “I saw the issue of the Druid using Shapeshift to overcome every problem come up again.”

  1. the idea of the druid was so that you could overcome any obstacle. I believe that the shapeshifter move you designed is extremely underpowered, but i have always thought that Elemental Mastery is overpowered.

  2. I think it’s pretty smooth; in my experience, shapeshifting isn’t as bad as its rep makes it out to be (elemental mastery is certainly more narratively broad), but treating it like a heritage class with a fluid but set list of moves is not a bad change. Requiring you to keep to a specific animal instead of a biome is differently flavorful, which is cool.

    My only real grumble is that I’d like to see more advances focusing on the elemental theme, and perhaps fewer focusing on shapeshifting. Since both are part of your starting moves it seems like you should be able to focus on one or the other as you grow, but the options are heavily skewed towards shapeshifting. I count eight advances focusing on it, while the elemental side only gets two. Which seems a bit odd, since the revision focuses on nerfing shapeshifting.

  3. My first thought: “Elemental Mastery at level 1. Sweet!”

    Yeah, I believe it to be the more powerful of the two.

    I would try to put some kind of restriction on it. No Summon Vulcaon/Major Earthquake etc. from level 1.

  4. I feel like this tries to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. What’s wrong with using shapeshift a lot? What kind of holds is the person using? I think making someone use a “hold” for things the animal just does – like fly – is also too restrictive. Flying is how a bird moves. You use a “hold” to “auto-succeed” on a specific task. So using a hold to successfully scope out an enemy camp would be fine. But if the player didn’t want to “waste” a hold to do that, then the GM should require a defy danger role to avoid being spotted and a Discern Realities to learn anything.

  5. Tim Franzke I’ve said it before, but for Dungeon World, scope is something that should be a table discussion, not something that should be coded into the mechanics. Do you need to specify in the move description whether or not The Fighter can split open a mountain with Bend Bars, Lift Gates? I think not, and would apply the same principle to Elemental Mastery. The move is like the old Cast a Spell from The Mage; the snag is the broad trigger and breadth of effects it can pull off, not the scale it operates on. The latter is determined by the people at the table. /2¢

  6. Tim Franzke I agree with James and will add that Elemental Mastery is very powerful BUT also always has a drawback to its use. At level 1, you will be failing or getting 7-9s a lot – a novice druid trying to control a volcano has a lot of Bad Things potential

  7. You know, if shapeshift spam is the problem in your games why not just limit it like spellcasting can be? A 6- lets the GM say whatever, so why not just let that whatever be a limit to further shapeshifting, such as not being able to or taking -1 fotward to further shapeshifting? Or maybe make it more difficult to shapeshift into forms further away from your own, so things like a dog or something would be easier than say a swarm of insects or a cow. Just some thoughts.

  8. How about limiting Elemental Mastery to just one element to begin with, with picking up a second and a third with advanced moves?

  9. I don’t really understand the shapeshift hate. It’s never come up in our games, at all, and in a lot of threads (I’m not saying this one, per se, just generally) it usually comes up as a pre-emptive angst on the part of GMs rather than something that’s actually occurring in the game.

    I honestly think it would be great if more people would post their problematic shapeshift Actual Plays, so we could get a better understanding of where it’s going awry. I often suspect the failure point isn’t the move being especially abuse-able, so much as GMs not playing their moves to the fullest. Shapeshift is particularly vulnerable to that, since “crunchy” moves have their down-sides built into the crunch, but shapeshift is really a power of fictional positioning, and that’s where its drawbacks and limits come from. If players get to run amok with the fictional positioning advantage, and GMs are waiting for the crunch to rein them in… it won’t.

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