Hey all! I have a question around the Druid’s shapeshifting, spending hold, etc.

Hey all! I have a question around the Druid’s shapeshifting, spending hold, etc.

Hey all! I have a question around the Druid’s shapeshifting, spending hold, etc.

I have a Druid in my game who is very creative with the transformations and moves/hold they come up with (I’m a big fan of all of this).

Still, I second guess myself when it comes to prompting rolls while in animal form.

If the Druid shapeshifts into an eagle, takes a hold like “Scratch with Razor Sharp Claws,” then goes to claw at the face of a monster, do I:

A. Have them use up 1 hold and roll their damage.

B. Roll Hack and Slash and use 1 hold.

C. Something else entirely.

I guess I’m stuck in the idea that the Shapeshift move leads naturally into other Moves, but I’m not sure if it supercedes those moves. Ya know?


17 thoughts on “Hey all! I have a question around the Druid’s shapeshifting, spending hold, etc.”

  1. Rather than come up with animal moves, I just say it costs a hold to do something you couldn’t do while in human form.

    So if the Druid attacks a monster with their claws while in eagle form, I’d say that triggers Hack & Slash. If they instead snatch the monster and fly away, that would cost a hold.

  2. I disagree with RidersOfRohan. If the move they chose is describing an attack “like rip off a limb”, “trample them to the ground” or “scratch out their eyes”, the Druid just spends a hold. Only if they attack in a way that is not covered by one of their moves they roll H&S.

  3. Horst Wurst Reread my comment. I said the benefits are its special features and high lethality in certain forms. Not rolling still to access them. I only said roll when it calls for a hack and slash. But thanks for your feedback.

  4. Michael Guerra, it’s because you don’t get a completely new play book when you change forms. You can still perform the basic and class moves (if makes sense in the fiction). Separately, the move states “The GM will also tell you one or more moves associated with your new form. Spend 1 hold to make that move.” In practice these moves are the ones that are typically deemed automatic, but suppose you could attach a stat roll to it as the rules don’t specify it’s automatic, rather that it cost 1 hold to make it. However, I wouldn’t take this approach and I don’t think most other DMs do. I think it’s better to design interesting fictional moves, tied to the animal form, who’s “value” aligns with a “cost” of 1 hold. Minimizes extra rolling by the Druid and they’ve already taken the risk for the reward when making the Shapeshifter move in the first place.

  5. RAW, there are no rolls to perform moves associated with the new form.

    This does GREATLY reduce the risks for the druid vs other classes, a common dissatisfaction by many players.

    I’ve been trying to come up with another way to handle it in game and thus far its lead me to this.

    You transfrom and receive new animal moves that you DO need to roll to perform. The only time you loose a hold is on a 7-. I treat it almost like volley or cast a spell.

  6. Indeed, Shapeshifter is a pretty safe move, because it has no drawbacks on a 7-9. You only get 2 hold on 7-9, but that’s still two actions the druid can take without rolling in order to do things that potentially would require rolling more risky moves for someone not using Shapeshifter. And then they can always roll the Shapeshifter move again to get more hold, which again has no drawbacks on a 7-9.

    As an alternative to Robert Doe’s change above, my (untested) houserule to address that is:

    Shapeshifter 7-9 result: hold 2, but also choose one:

    * You draw unwelcome attention (possibly from the local wildlife) or put yourself in a spot. The GM will tell you how.

    * The spirits tire of your demands; take -1 ongoing to Shapeshifter until you spend some time quietly communing with the land.

    * The animal spirit takes a strong hold; you are not completely in control, and the spirit will take time or effort to dismiss when you try to leave this form.

  7. Robert Doe and Robert Rendell, both interesting approaches, but going back through the Druid Shapeshifter move and re-reading the ‘Making Moves’ section of the rule book. I don’t see anything that suggests spend 1 hold to achieve this effect. Instead the Shapeshifter move says “Spend 1 hold to make the move”. If we look at the “Making Moves” section of the rules it breaks down making a move into two components: trigger and effect. And it’s made clear in this section that making a move may, or may not, require a roll. Coming back to the Shapeshifter move it states “The GM will also tell you one or more moves associated with your new form.” As such, I think it comes down to the design of the animal form moves the GM makes with the player. In practice I, and I believe many GMs, try and make the moves effect align with 1 hold of “cost” but if the you and player are excited about a particularly interesting (but potentially powerful effect) then it appears to be within the rules for the move’s effect to require a roll. I think I would take this approach over tweaking the Shapeshifter move directly as it should be fairly low risk for the Druid to change form. Once they do, it’s my opinion that their “no roll” moves shouldn’t eliminate most rolling anyway, just allow them to apply interesting fictional effects along with making other moves. I would jump to the custom rules section of the rules though if the player was excited about a more powerful effect.

  8. Robert Doe I think I found it! Hiding in the side bar of the hard copy rule book. 🙂 It reads: “Animal moves just say what the animal naturally does, like “call the pack,” “trample them,” or “escape to the air.” When you spend your hold your natural instinct kicks in and that move happens. If you spend hold to escape to the air, that’s it – you’re away and on the wing.” So with that addition, it supports that the moves should be auto success, however, they should be limited to what animals naturally do. What I key into is ‘naturally’. Is a hawk naturally successful in escaping to the air? Yes. Naturally successful in melee with a humanoid? Probably not. As such, I wouldn’t have an animal move that gives a hawk a free damage deal against a humanoid. Against a small animal however; it’s natural prey? Probably.

  9. Andrew Alwood indeed – the moves are essentially like monster moves in the hands of a player, and like those GM moves, no rolling is involved.

    Sure, the list of moves they have is short and specific to the animal form – but they choose that animal form, so it will most likely have something appropriate to the situation.

    More than damaging moves, it’s using Shapeshifter to Defy Danger where I think other players will start to feel outshone. A druid who shapeshifts to escape a danger has no ugly choice to make on a 7-9… they get 2 hold, escape to the sky (or whatever), and still have 1 hold to do another move.

    Anyway, it’s all a matter of taste and the table’s sensibilities. Personally, I feel that even the player playing the druid might prefer something more interesting than “you get slightly less hold” on a 7-9. Some of the most unexpected turns in the (unfortunately few) DW games I’ve run have come from a player electing to put themselves in a spot when I didn’t even realise they were currently in danger.

  10. With regards to the 7-9 outcome shapeshifter is just like DR or SL, it´s not that unique. Furthermore not all moves they pick should be combat moves, so limiting the number of holds does limit the Druids effectiveness in battle. You can also think about soft moves like “show a downside of their class (in this case animal form)” or “turn the move back on them” to make them spent holds.

    In general I like to make a 6- really hurt, so in the case of the Druid: The animal form is flawed in some way, they only have-transform, an unwanted trait lasts even after they transform back etc.

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