If you have a player use the Druid’s shape-shifting to cash in a hold and trample a baddie, which/how many of these…

If you have a player use the Druid’s shape-shifting to cash in a hold and trample a baddie, which/how many of these…

If you have a player use the Druid’s shape-shifting to cash in a hold and trample a baddie, which/how many of these do you do you as GM:

-1) succeed at the action, no roll needed

-2) make them roll if danger is involved

-3) only have the player cash in a hold if their action is something that their character couldn’t do otherwise (fly, breath underwater, etc)

-4) allow the move to deal damage also

-5) only allow the move to be used for fictional positioning, no damage

69 thoughts on “If you have a player use the Druid’s shape-shifting to cash in a hold and trample a baddie, which/how many of these…”

  1. I think on #3 you mean “couldn’t do otherwise.” For me it’s all of the above depending on context but usually 2-4. There has been a lot of talk about the Druid shapeshifting move. The “norm” as far as I can tell is that the druid gains the capabilities but not the sensibilities or stats of the creature. So if you turn into an eagle, you can fly but aren’t particularly gifted at it and you would roll the Druid’s damage die (no more or less, regardless of form) and you would Defy Danger, for instance, with your own DEX. I, personally, depart from that norm on damage. If you turn into an elephant I will let you trample something dead outright or I will have you roll higher damage if you attack (maybe you are fighting something “your own size” like a hill giant). It’s a judgement call and the inconsistencies have bit me in the butt before. Also, though this is not exactly spelled out in the book, I do not let the Druid go from one animal form to another. I.e. it would go like human – monkey – human – snake – human, never human – monkey – snake – human.

  2. 1 yes

    2 no

    3 only if it is one of the moves we have agreed beforehand. Merely flying or breathing underwater does not require a hold. Non-trivial actions we haven´t agreed on are off the board.

    4 yes

    5 no

    I am not sure about 2, though. I can see the point that the ability to perform an action does not mean that the action must always succeed or is necessarily without consequences for the Druid.

  3. Generally, i’m in camp 1 above.

    I used to misapply the expenditure of Shapeshifting hold, and had a group of players help me understand this more clearly. I previously would have The Druid roll for moves as normal, and spend hold to add effects of their shape-based Moves, similar to adding tags to attacks.

    As i understand it now, the trick is in clearly setting up the moves when The Druid first adopts a form, so that they can spend hold for some useful item related to their form.

    Spending the hold should automatically get them that thing, with no roll required for success (#1).

    If doing that thing exposes them to danger, you can describe the danger. This might give them the opportunity to Defy Danger or take other measures to avoid the issue, while still completing the hold-purchased move. It might also open up the fiction for another PC to step in and defend The Druid. Any rolling is NOT to determine whether the hold-purchased move works, but rather to determine whether the danger manifests.

    Regarding 3, the hold-purchased moves should not be for innate abilities of the form. Birds can fly, fish can breathe underwater, etc., with no hold spent. But a bird’s excellent distance/movement vision, or evasive action, or silently swooping in from above, or going for the eyes… those might be hold-based moves. This is a bit more subjective, and you should reference the GM Principles and Agenda when determining whether what The Druid wants to do is innate or should be a hold-purchased move.

    Regarding 4, if the hold-purchased move would harm the opponent, they should at least deal the Druids base damage, along with appropriate tags for the move. In some cases, they might automatically kill an opponent without rolling dice, or impose some other effect, if it fits the fiction and the GM principles and agenda. This is no different from being able to deal damage or outright kill a sleeping opponent without triggering Hack & Slash – creative use of fictional positioning in encouraged!

    5 limits the shapeshifting move unfairly. i previously required a hack& slash from The Druid using a damage-dealing attack, and had the hold-purchased move only add tags to the results of the hack & slash. i did this in an attempt to “balance” things – but i had some great players help me see things differently.

    Dungeon World isn’t about balance. It’s about the PC’s each being badass heroes within their own niches. And about the GM finding interesting ways to make their lives dangerous, despite their epic badassery.

    Let The Druid, and other Playbooks, have their moments to shine! And then hit them hard so they have the chance to do it again.

    if the Druid keeps turning into a bird to fly above the enemy, and then turning into a whale to drop down and crush them, Captain Ahab might come hunting soon!

  4. Ray Otus the only thing I was deviate from based on what you said, is I read in the sidebar on the move that the player can cash in a hold and they just do the action. I read that as not needing a roll. So, if they do something that they couldn’t regular do, like fly, I let them take flight. It’s what they do while flying that I may make them roll for or not.

  5. I like what you said about changing damage dice depending on what they become. If they turn into a giant sized monster to fight a giant troll it could be like a kaiju type fight. I’m totally down for that.

  6. Andrew Fish you bring up something I forgot; I’m supposed to discuss with the players which moves are worth taking a hold. Usually, the player has discussed what that is and the soul reason they are transforming in the first place. ‘If I turn into a giant eagle, can I cause a gust if wind to blow the guard off the ledge?’

    That being said, if the player is going to attack as the eagle, I wouldn’t charge a hold. Now, if they wanted to use a claw attack to grab the guard and bomb drop him off into the distance, than I probably would. +Andrew, tell me how you might handle that differently if you do.

  7. Here is my problem with some of the above solutions to, like being in a more powerful form and dealing higher damage (which makes sense fictionally), but this playbook contradicts itself so much. If your damage is based on form, then why is there an advanced move and I quote.

    Red Of Tooth and Claw (2-5)

    When you are in an appropriate animal form (something dangerous) increase your damage die to d8.

    This move also increases if you choose its upgrade in 6+ section to a d10 and since this is a move pertaining directly to what form you are in. It’s like saying. You need this or you don’t do more damage. I don’t really like the druid because it is one of the few classes thats not to clear on how things should work.

    Do those advanced moves even matter? when you can fictionally just instantly kill things by bird into air into whale and drop? then why have them. So I house rule my druid a tiny bit, and let people know well in advance.

    Starting Level 1, no you can’t transform into an Elephant or a Whale, you may be special, but you need some time to grow. So make use of that d6 wolf, and its abilties to summon an entire pack with its howl, turn into that Lion with tooth of claw and drop your whale on your enemies with that d10. Or all of those once you’ve had time to grow and become a truly powerful druid. (Not all may like this, not all have to). As for tags, and moves. They help flavor and this still allows some instant kills, at the respective capabilties of the form.

  8. Good points RidersOfRohan. I have not done a good job of putting any kind of sensible “box of fiction” around the Druid. And it doesn’t always make sense as far as a playbook. I feel like size and damage are somehow relative. (You don’t see a brain mole doing b[2d12] and it’s hard to imagine a dragon only doing d4.) So maybe some kind of fictional size limitation by level would have been smart. Maybe those advance moves should be like – you can now change into things that are huge or tiny, your damage die increases or decreases one step. Something like that.

  9. Ray Otus exactly my train of thought. Size and damage, which based on the currently listed advanced moves. Seem to satisfy it. I am sure not all will like this solution, but it makes sense functionally and mechanically.

  10. RidersOfRohan Ray Otus​. I could go either way on these I guess. On one hand I like the idea that you could turn into a giant just so you fictional stand a chance against another giant, but you won’t be as powerful as a Real giant. That is just the limitation of being a Druid.

    But I also like to think of the special moves that increase damage from D6 to D8, D10 for the Druid would apply in the opposite direction as well. Ie, You can now be a more furious owl or fictionally you are now dire wolf instead of a regular wolf.

  11. Andrew Huffaker – regarding your example with the Giant Eagle buffeting enemies with a gust of wind, or grabbing them to be dropped elsewhere:

    When The Druid shifts into an animal form for the first time, they are usually trying to solve some immediate problem. I try to identify one or two moves that fit the immediate situation at the expense of hold, and leave room for a third move if the player has something in mind right now, or perhaps leave a blank space in case something occurs to us later.

    Any standard attack that they want to do in an animal form, that doesn’t trigger the expenditure of Hold, is resolved as normal – generally rolling Hack & Slash if the enemy is in a position to fight back.

    To generate a gust of wind to blow an enemy around, or to snatch prey and fly away with it, sound like great reasons to shift into a Giant Eagle, and could well be two of the moves for that form.

    If they want to do a normal attack, they would probably trigger Hack & Slash.

    If they want to use their Gust of Wind, they would need to be in the fictional position to do so (probably in the air, or at least have room to flap wings vigorously, and at close or reach range), and spend a hold. It probably requires the eagle to stay fairly in place to gather the wind and direct it at the target, so perhaps they are a sitting “duck” for incoming arrows/spears/charging melee and they may want to respond to dangers of that sort.

    If they want to snatch prey and fly off, they spend hold to do so. In the process, they may expose themselves to a slicing blade – what do they do? Likely trigger defy danger, or a nearby ally may Defend them and deflect the blow.

    As the eagle flies away with their prey, the prey may keep making attacks if fictionally appropriate. Or perhaps the eagle’s defy danger included getting a better grip to neutralize this threat. Either way, assuming the eagle can fly away, dropping the enemy wouldn’t cost hold, but perhaps here again we have an opportunity for the target to attempt to cling to the eagler’s talon, and the eagle needs to figure out how to shake it free.

    Once you have a few good moves for The Eagle and the player thinks up more to stack into that shape, i’d encourage them to think of other animals from the same region that might better represent that thing.

    “You want the giant eagle to have an eye gouge? It’s rather large, and its talons tend to remove faces, not eyes. Perhaps there is a swift falcon that we could look at for this and a few other moves?”

  12. Lemon Curdistan from the Something Awful forums put a nice FAQ together years ago on the Druid’s shapeshifting move. I have always played the move according to what is in the FAQ and it is pretty much in sync with the comments from Andrew Fish above. See link below.

    Also, I think shifting form from a bird in flight to a whale would require another shapeshifting roll. Think about all the great fictional possibilities when the player gets a 7-9 or 6- result on that roll..

    Also, wouldn’t the whale generally take damage if it fell from a height onto the hard earth.

    drive.google.com – drive.google.com/file/d/0B3jBKG-w4xhFSFZydk52YkFpZTA/edit

  13. Andrew Huffaker, Andrew Fish – I see you all discussing forms like giant eagles, and dire badgers. What kind of fictional limit do you apply on forms? An owlbear is out, right? As is a hill giant? For me “giant” and “dire” are in a gray zone. I think the animal has to be naturally occurring in the druid’s homeland. (Emphasis on naturally; no magical creatures.)

  14. I’m enjoying the discussion of house-ruled limits on The Druid and its shapeshifting. I tend to disagree with them, but they prompt good points for consideration.

    Level-Based Forms

    Adding level-based limits to shapeshifting options is reminiscent of D&D, where druids had narrow sets of options, but these increased as the druid leveled up. I never questioned it there; the game was designed around balancing encounters and used levels as a tool to accomplish this.

    I don’t think that the same level-limiting approach is necessary, or appropriate for DW. I recognize that it appears built in a bit through advanced moves – but this is more about giving The Druid the opportunity to focus more and more toward being the damage-dealer, at the player’s option and at the expense of pursuing other moves. They could skip those moves altogether – i’ve seen druids focus almost instead on elemental mastery and practically ignore shape shifting, to great effect. The point is, the levels don’t establish balance; levels give the player choices that help establish The Druid’s niche within the story.

    Damage Die Adjustments

    I’m similarly opposed to changing damage dice based on the adopted form – any playbook deals as much damage with a dull spoon as with a two-handed axe, as long as they are in the fictional position to use it. This is part of the fun of DW – “Yeah you do 1d10 damage with a dull spoon, Barbarian. It’s messy and forceful. Explain to us how!”

    If The Druid turns into a hippo and bites into an enemy but only deals 1 damage, take the time to figure out why the enemy didn’t get crushed to death. And if The Druid is a wasp and deals 6 damage, explain that, too. Perhaps the venom is particularly effective!

    In +Ray Otus’s example of a brain mole dealing high damage (b[2d12] is an exageration for The Druid’s damage die) – if The Druid-as-brain-mole ends up in a fictional position to inflict damage, then let them use The Druid’s damage die, and figure out together how it works.

    Spotlight Hogging

    If the problem were ever to arise that a player of any class started solving all of the party’s problems by exploiting a move, the solution wouldn’t be to house rule the move. Instead the GM should work to find new ways to challenge the party and shift spotlight AND/OR the group should discuss the “player agenda” – the Druid gets to shine when it’s their spotlight, but should support other players when their PC comes into center stage.

  15. Andrew Fish I like your argument about the damage die. FTR, though, I think you completely misread my brain mole example. My point was that creatures tend to do damage relative to their size. A tiny creature wouldn’t typically do a ton of damage and a massive creature typically wouldn’t do incidental damage. But it’s all fiction-relative. If a tiny creature can cast a fireball, then so be it. Anyway, I tend to think in terms of the range of creature damage not weapon damage (which is really just to say class damage + tags like armor piercing), because the Druid is turning into a creature not a weapon. But I totally get that the game as written wants me to restrict it to the class and I mostly do. I think where I err is not just applying the fiction instead of damage. IOW, if a druid becomes an elephant and steps on an orc, why bother rolling elephant damage. He squashes the orc, end of story. If a druid turns into a cave bear to fight an ogre-demon, then it allows him to trigger hack-n-slash and do his druid damage using his bear claws. Right?

  16. Ray Otus i’d generally agree that shapeshifting is limited to natural creatures, based around the theme of a druid and the idea of a “species.”

    But in a fantasy land, i’d allow giant eagles to be natural; hell, if a player wants to assert that owlbears are natural, or have been out in the wilds long enough to have joined the ecosystem, i’d be willing to listen.

    I’d make it clear that we are establishing and defining things about the dangerous world they live in – and then i’d use that to challenge them. What else did the mad wizards let loose, that is now common place?

    In the end, i see the best uses of Dungeon World as being for relatively short, frenetic stories of incredible adventure, rather than lengthy campaigns.

    With the rather limited investment of “lonely fun” required for me to prepare for adventures, i like to take the breaks off and let players drive how crazy it gets, and try to match them in kind.

    If i was with a group planning for a really long campaign using DW, i’d talk to the players about ways to draw some of the more incredible stuff out over time – find ways to make studying the essence of an owlbear a story arc in its own right.

  17. Andrew Huffaker regarding the brain mole comment, i don’t recall thinking you misread it.

    I was responding to Ray Otus’s example, using a brain mole, as a small creature doing disproportionately high damage.

    My argument was built on the idea that if the brain mole is in a fictional position to deal damage, all things considered, then it would deal The Druid’s damage die.

    If something i wrote came across as a refutation of something you said, i wasn’t aware of it. That said, i’m loving the dialogue here. Do we disagree?

  18. Ray Otus – i’m 100% in agreement that the druid becoming an elephant might simply squash an orc, without rolling damage. Perhaps there would be an opportunity for the orc to present some danger to the druid; but if the elephant gets a trample move, spend your hold and do it!

    I’d also agree that a bareknuckle human druid punching the ogre-demon might not trigger hack-n-slash, but when the druid turns into a cave bear, they can now trigger hack-n-slash, and that the damage would stick to the druid’s base die (modified by moves as appropriate) – though i would consider at least a Messy tag. If the cave bear includes a move to rend the target, or some such, they could even spend one of their available hold to automatically rend and deal damage, IF they get into the fictional position to do so (which would likely including facing the dangers inherent in getting that close to an ogre-demon).

  19. So, to both Ray Otus​ and Andrew Fish if a player turned into a whale and squashed some minions outright. Would you let them use that same move to outright kill a ‘boss’? I’d have a hard time arguing that they couldn’t mechanically, but I can see that getting old for other players quickly.

  20. So… do you imagine them flying up as a bird and then turning into a whale and dropping? Because I had that happen in a game (druid from the frozen north) and that’s when I went with the “always go back to human” rule. 😀 But yeah, unless the bad guy had a way to teleport away quickly or somehow resist that much force, then yeah. It kills the bad guy. It MIGHT also kill the whale-druid from the massive internal hemorrhaging. Whales weren’t meant to be on land, their internals won’t stand up to it. Of course the Druid probably has that practically-broken move about shifting back to shed damage.

  21. I like the way I house ruled it, still makes the class shine like crazy, just not stupidly broken. So I will keep the, size based transformation or the damage based forms (with appropriate advanced moves). For those I play with, it works and it takes nothing truly away from the class, unless your playing intentionally to screw up the game.

  22. If the druid weaponizes “drop whale” – it could absolutely work to kill a “boss” just like any other Monster, when fictionally appropriate.

    The caveat would be that for a Monster to survive long enough to become a boss, it is likely a bit more sly, tough, resourceful, etc, than other monsters. Look to its own moves, and see if it would reasonably take steps to protect itself.

    Does the boss know the druid uses this attack, perhaps having seen/heard of previous instances? Maybe they have a team of pike wielders hidden about – warn the druid as they circle above the boss in bird form that the boss is keeping a wary eye on him, and seems tensed for action – “What do you do?”

    If the boss wouldn’t reasonably suspect or be able to react to the druid’s method, and if having a whale land on them would be fatal, it should work. Maybe give the Druid the warning that the boss is running too and fro – there is a risk that the whale might miss. Give them a chance to “swim” through the air to land on target – after all, dropping from the air isn’t a natural whale attack, and wouldn’t be a spend-hold-for-guaranteed-success move, unless your land has some very interesting whales.

    I also think Ray Otus makes a great point that whales aren’t designed to take massive drops – the fall just might kill the druid, too, or at least seriously ruin its day. Beached whales die from the weight of their own bodies once they aren’t supported by buoyancy. Landing, or simply laying, on an enemy might cause some nasty damage.

    I do let The Druid shift from one shape into another without first transitioning to its “natural” state. As Robert Finamore pointed out earlier, the roll required to shapeshift gives opportunities for complications to arise naturally, and the lack of an actions-per-round system (or “slow” or “reload” type tag on the move) make the return to the normal form non-meaningful except as a narrative hiccup.

    In the end, your job isn’t to beat the PCs; it’s to present them with a dangerous world to be heroes in. Years ago I threw the Orc Warchief and a motley band of various orcs against the party, thinking with his special quality “divine protection from mortal harm” he would rough them up and chase them away. Instead, the players plausibly held the band at bay while they undermined the warchief’s divine protections with judicious use of discern realities, spouting lore, and other moves to strip away the shaman blessings that made him immune, and then killed him. It was a TON of fun to run as GM, and years later is one of my favorite DW memories. In D&D, i’d have been bummed out that my invested time was circumvented so easily; in DW, i hadn’t balanced the encounter, and could join them in reveling in how badass the PCs were.

  23. RidersOfRohan – Dungeon World is a hack of apocalypse world; the book contains advice on how players can further hack dungeon world itself. nothing in the book is sacred, and nothing takes precedence over whatever brings your group a good gaming experience.

    These conversations can be useful and provocative, but i sure don’t claim authority or intention to force you to play the way i advocate.

    Have fun!

  24. Regarding the return to human form being “non-meaningful except as a narrative hiccup.” Actually, I’ve found it to be quite meaningful because it changes what is possible in the fiction. And it’s not an imposed limitation. The move reads that way: (Shapeshifter) “Once you’re out of hold, you return to your natural form. At any time, you may spend all your hold and revert to your natural form.”

  25. Well, I think you guys have given me a lot to consider in regards to my Druid player. As always you guys have been awesome. Andrew Fish I haven’t seen you on the threads much in the past, but I really appreciate your insight and hope to read more from you in the future.

    I’m gonna go dark, but feel free to keep talking to one another.

  26. Andrew Fish is one of three or four voices I listen to intently on matters of Dungeon World importance. Jeremy Strandberg and Jason Cordova are two others, of course.

  27. Ray Otus when they run out of hold, they absolutely return to their natural form, no matter how inconvenient. I was thinking of a druid who is hanging on to unspent hold, and wants to assume a new form right away.

    And I’m a flattered by your kind words; you’re among those I have learned a lot from and whose content i have enjoyed immensely in the various rpg communities I follow, and have enjoyed this dialogue!

  28. Andrew Fish Yeah that’s understandable. “Hence” the let players know a head of time. If something is different, because it being a hack means, a lot can be different. It works for us and as you said, that’s what matters.

  29. I think of Earthsea a lot in relation to this move. I love the bit where Ged is trapped in hawk form and Ogion has to recognize him, calm him down, and then say his name to get him to regain his humanity.

  30. Druid Shapeshift is a Crap Move

    No one wants to watch the GM stop the game to scrawl out some moves that may or may not get used.

    What I’ve settled on is giving the player whatever Hold they get from the move. Now they know what that Hold is spent on right? So we just pretend I’ve written out the moves and they’re all different. So the player has to mix it up, but they still get to tell their own story – it’s no longer my job to guess or ask.

    Whenever the player is shapeshifter and is presented with a Move, I ask if they use Hold or roll for it. It sounds like a free ride, but the player has taken a risk to earn the Hold and they feel the burn of using a resource – they’d rather keep the Hold like it was a Phoenix Down.

    Ultimately the spirit of the original written Move is what we adhere to. We play like we wrote out the moves. We just know it’s a waste of time, and generally leads to situations where the Druid has a bunch of useless moves because I’m not psychic.

    Regarding abuse, I frame this house rule by saying, “you can take the piss, but you have to sell me on it.”

  31. I can understand not creating the animal moves in game, but in our games we would formulate a library with a few animal forms and associated moves before the game and that library could grow over time. There are a number of docs with example animals and moves floating around. The FAQ I linked above has a few. Here are a couple more:

    docs.google.com – Druid shapes sheets


  32. Robert Finamore I’ve seen sheets like those. They are cool and useful I think for people who struggle to get a few ideas about what they could do. On the other hand, sometimes you come up with something you want to do that seems correct to the animal but isn’t on the list, so you ignore it anyway, right? My point is, such a list is helpful but any list shouldn’t be seen as prescriptive/restrictive. If a cool opportunity comes up in the fiction you have to go for it! 🙂

  33. Robert Finamore – that is a great idea, and useful inspiration.

    In games i’ve run on roll20, i would create a “menagerie” handout for each druid, and we would begin to track the animals they used, and which moves they had assigned.

    I ought to go back and survey the various handouts and see what was common, and what stands out.

  34. Ray Otus I agree that there is something to be said for allowing animal move development in play, but I think there needs to be some balance in what is allowed. You certainly want the Druid to be fun and have a level of versatility, but the Druid can’t have too much flexibility as it will begin to outshine every other class because there will be an animal move for every situation. Perhaps have a couple of set moves in advance and a couple of blanks that can be filled in later. Don’t forget that the Druid can still do cool things in animal form via a basic Move roll without spending the hold for a set Animal move.

  35. Robert Finamore The balance is the fiction. I mean … let’s say the druid changes to a grizzly bear. Ok. Awesome. He can use hold for anything a grizzly could do. That’s all the balance you really need. If he tries to convince me that grizzly bears are really good at smelling lies on people or that they can leap across huge gaps Imacallbullshit. 🙂

  36. I get the worry that the druid will scene steal. For instance, he could break down a door in grizzly form and steal that from the fighter. He could sneak into a place as a mouse and overhear a conversation and take that from the thief. It takes imagination on the part of the druid though, and there are limitations to what he can do. More to the point, he gives up being good at much else really. In my experience people who play druids get bored with them quickly if they don’t find an angle other than shapechanging.

  37. Ray Otus​ , Joe Banner​ and I talked this before. How many times do players ever turn into something that doesn’t fly? Or Not the biggest strongest thing they could? This move breaks economy and does exactly what you said above in that the Druid just turns into whatever the scene needs and can basically take it away from everyone else. It can turn into ‘I can, because….MAGIC!’

    So, all things considered, I need to figure out a way to highlight the other aspects of the playbook, talk to the players to make sure the game feels OK, and then have a glass of scotch.

  38. My main concern with the Druid move isn’t anything specific, it’s just that it tends to provoke 49+ strings of comments rather than the GM just being able to go “cool, OK, here’s how that happens”. I expect there’s plenty of GMs and groups who’ve found their own interpretation of the move… but damn, there’s a fair few interpretations.

    FWIW, if a player uses the Druid’s shapeshifting to trample a baddie, one of 2 scenarios would probably play out at my table:

    1) The player had taken “trample baddies underfoot” as one of their animal moves, so they just do it, no roll, no strings (…see below) attached.

    2) The player had not taken “trample baddies underfoot” as an animal move, so they roll hack and slash against the baddie(s) they want to trample.

    The only string is, it’s now on the GM to provide baddies and/or situations that the Druid cannot simply trample underfoot. For a campaign featuring any combat, this can be difficult even for veteran GMs. If the druid comes to rely – even abuse – this power, they could come to feel the druid is “overpowered” or one-dimensional.

  39. Yeah the 50+ and counting worth of comments alone, is clear sign that the class needs work. What other class, can do everything (outside of a vary timely and cost noting ritual from the wizard) can perform every other classes job proficently and has an answer to every scenario AT LEVEL 1. everyone fell off a cliff? It’s cool bird time, every one is knocked into raging waters, it’s cool shark time, small army is attacking us, bird into sky into whale time. Can sneak better then a thief , scout better then a ranger, hit harder faster stronger then the barbarian and fighter. Now lets get back to a prior point, all of the above can be accomplished at level 1, that’s a he’ll of alot of staying power and most of above can even be done on a 6- since they get some hold regardless. Just wait til they actually get some levels, who needs the rest of the party? We have the druid. Ending, I am a fan of the players, just not a fan of this class.

  40. I think you are overstating it a bit. The druid is not all that effective in combat. He can’t cast spells. He can sneak in places, but often has to return to human form to do anything useful. Etc. Yeah, he’s powerful. Shouldn’t he be? This is Dungeon World. 🙂 I don’t recall druids ever actually dominating our game.

  41. Ray Otus I think the only real problem I’ve had in practice is having the Druid answer every obstacle by flying. That sucks. It forces me to do something, like, on a 6- I said that the forces have found you wanting and you can only use your other domain (frozen north) until you atone with the forest gods. It was a nerf, but not really, because flying creatures are all over the place.

  42. Andrew Huffaker Flying is indeed a powerful ability. Did you try challenging him with a wind spell or a stronger arial attacker? In some ways, if a problem is weak to a simple flyer… I mean wouldn’t wizards and such prepare against small-med flying creatures? Just playing devil’s advocate here. It’s not necessarily easy to think about this stuff when it comes up. Hindsight is 20/20.

  43. Ray Otus Pretty much agree with what you’re saying there. I’m not saying the Druid’s overpowered, but his abilities have the potential to do one (or three) things very well very quickly, which is a challenge to new and old GMs alike.

  44. Ray Otus it’s more like non-combat puzzles. Bridge is out? Fly. Get to the top of the tower? Fly. Someone needs to pull the lever on the other side? Fly. Get a rope to the top of the well so that other can climb out? Fly. Doors locked? Fly around. Fly out, fly above, fly away. Fly fly fly fly fly!

  45. Ha ha. Yeah, Joe Banner and Andrew Huffaker. I hear you. I think shapeshifter should maybe be a lycanthropic compendium class with a downside rather than a druid ability. I kind of miss the nature-spell-guy. There’s definitely room for that in DW with the restricted spell lists of Wizards and Clerics.

  46. Strandberg implemented some great restrictions that lead to more stories. All in all, this move is fine. I’m pleased with the discourse of these discussion though. Good on the community for being able to have a discussion, not an argument.

  47. Another problem I have with the Druid’s Shapeshifter move as written is that the 7-9 result is consequence-free. You get less hold than on a 10+, but there’s no fictional consequence – no drawing unwanted attention, no unwelcome truths revealed, just slightly less hold.

    The hold can be spent to do active things like trampling an enemy, escaping to the sky or moving soundlessly – things that would require a character who wasn’t shapeshifted to make some sort of risky roll, like Hack and Slash or Defy Danger. Given that the mantra is “the Druid doesn’t have to roll when they spend hold, since they already risked failure when they made the Shapeshifter move,” surely the risk when making the Shapeshifter move shouldn’t be so much less than the risk of making one of those moves?

    Instead, Shapeshifter is in the same category as “passive” moves like Discern Realities and Spout Lore, which only result in badness on a 6-.

    I really like Jeremy Strandberg’s rewritten Shapeshifter move. Nice and simple, doesn’t require a roll or halt play to come up with three animal moves when they shift, and still gives them all the fictional power of being in an animal form.

  48. Robert Rendell That’s an interesting point. One might argue that there are other starting moves with only a reduced effect (no real negative). Like the Barbarian’s What Are You Waiting For? But it is rare that a 7-9 doesn’t have an actual downside, even if it’s just “you draw unwanted attention.” And the difference between 3 hold (10+) and 2 hold (7-9) is pretty damn negligible.

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