Something came up in last week’s session that really had me stumped.

Something came up in last week’s session that really had me stumped.

Something came up in last week’s session that really had me stumped.

Our Ranger fell out of a tree, and in the interest of fiction first, I not only assigned her some dice damage, but also described that she now had also suffered a sprained ankle that would take at least a day or so to heal properly.

The Paladin then performed Lay on Hands and rolled 7-9. To me, this ‘obviously’ meant he would now also suffer the sprained ankle in the Ranger’s place, but my players collectively (and sincerely — they weren’t trying to just game the system) felt that it was more logical for only the dice damage to be transferred (as it says in the Move description), and for the sprained ankle to just disappear as part of the successful healing process.

I obviously disagree, but didn’t want to overrule the players without getting a second opinion. So, any thoughts on situations like this?

13 thoughts on “Something came up in last week’s session that really had me stumped.”

  1. I agree with you. Treating injuries as just HP is not thinking fiction-first.

    If they think the sprain wouldn’t transfer, fine, but that doesn’t mean it would go away either, especially on a 7-9.

  2. That’s what I’d have done, just plain and simple. Ask the paladin’s player how does his Lay on Hands works. Is it a kind of miracle that feeds off his vital force (the HP here representing merely a generic “energy”)? Or is it the kind of magic that actually opens wounds and breaks bones on his body while he performs it? On the second case, the ankle could hurt him instead of the ranger, of course.

    Ultimately, it depends on the kind of campaign you guys are running. Some people like the “hard” approach, others don’t.

  3. Just as Alfred Rudzki I think you handled the situation correctly, I know its difficult in a world like DW to not display “GM Fiat”, but you are still the Game Master, and when it comes to hard/soft moves, specially on 7-9. Give a little, take a little. This is your decision, respecting the players move; but deciding the trade.

    +Only thinking of your Spells/Heals as Hit Points/ Numbers sounds LAME. (FICTION FIRST).

  4. You could also have saved the fictional effect for later. As a soft move when the Paladin is damaged by an enemy you could relate back to the damage he took from the ranger and say that he feels like that hit wasn’t the only pain he felt as the blow connected. Or, you make it where his ankle isn’t sprained, but he feels the pain she would have felt every time she takes a step with that foot. You could make it where he has to defy danger with CON (endure) whenever he is trying to do something but she is currently moving or recently moved.

    All in all though, I think listening to your players is great, but make sure and ask the Paladin what fictional damage he took as a result, even if it wasn’t his ankle. He may have some cool idea, like he has old scars in religious symbols that bleed when he suffers for someone else (kind of like the stigmata in Christian faith).

  5. I would have given the Ranger the Dex debility in the first place and one die of damage.

    As far as the LoH, I agree with your interpretation, and I think that without your input, your players aren’t really playing a game, only telling the exact story they want to tell, and you aren’t doing anything but rolling dice for the bad guys. You do you, boo.

  6. PAH! Let the sprain go, it shouldn’t have been there in the first place; They’re for maidens in distress and children trapped in wells, not daring rangers – even when they fall out of trees.

    Plus it sounds like the players aren’t into sprains and it may be spoiling their fun.

  7. Charles Moore Well, then that particular Ranger shouldn’t have rolled a 2 when she attempted to Defy Danger whilst precariously perched on a tree limb. 🙂

    But, letting it go was exactly what I did. This was not a hill I felt passionate about dying on.

  8. I think that the best thing to do in this kind of situation is to look at the paladin player and say “You just removed all of [name of ranger’s] injury and pain. His included a sprained ankle. What kind of physical injury do you now have?” And if the paladin player says he doesn’t have a physical injury at all? Ask him “why?” – not in terms of mechanics, but why the Divine acted the way it acted this time. Make that part of the fiction. Use it as a plot point later on.

    Unless the point of the sprained ankle was to apply the debility shaky (-1 dex mod) which is normally saved for special kinds of damage (a serious fall might apply) or to require the paladin to have a debility because its the will of the Divine (part of story in your head and the outcome of the 7-9) the real problem is you feeling pressured by players to have the event go a certain way.

    But in Dungeon World? Use What They Give You. Let the player co-create with you, even on the little stuff like this. Once it turns into a conflict over control, and you vs. players? Fun goes away fast.

  9. Leo Breebaart OMG I just realized you missed the perfect opportunity for one of the most cinematic tropes of all time – Impaled on Spike! It’s right up there with falling off a cliff and being swept away by rapids!

    This cannot be allowed to happen again.


  10. No spike needs to mysteriously grow – look up “cypress knees” – those suckers hurt to just bang your shin on, let alone fall on.

    I love the idea of a sprained ankle, personally, but do agree that it leads to a question to the paladin on how the reciprocating gamage works. Scott Selvidge​’s suggestion of religious scars is really cool, and maybe they grow over time… Eventually risking a scarred debility. But ultimately it’s up to the paladin how his particular ability works in the fiction, whether taking on the same injury, general vitality, or otherwise. If it takes only vitality, you could ask how it works with healed bones, implying the healing might still require some loss…

  11. Not that this is helpful, but this is why I despise HP in all forms. I’ve just never seen why everyone seems to think think they are a good system.

Comments are closed.