It seems that interrogating oneself over Defend is in the air, so here is my shot at it.

It seems that interrogating oneself over Defend is in the air, so here is my shot at it.

It seems that interrogating oneself over Defend is in the air, so here is my shot at it.

My foremost trouble with this move is its temporality.

First, when it triggers, on a success, nothing really happens in the fiction. But on a 6-, the GM gets to make a move. It’s weird. Second, what happens when the holds are spent? Not very much.

Secondly, with the hold mechanics, I feel like a pc shouldn’t be able to defend again. Because if the they could, why didn’t they get more holds the first time? What does it means that the holds are spent? As far as I know, other hold-spending moves are usually for more abstract/unique things, giving something like a number of charge for a per-session effect or things like that. They depend less on a fictional trigger.

Now, players and GM may work together to move the game from there to a place where defend is less desirable, but it always feels artificial to me.

I feel that defend should work very well with no holds, as an “instant” move, like Hack n slash or Volley. Like this (untested): When you rise in defense of a person, item, or location under attack, roll+Con. ✴On a 10+, choose 3 from the list below. ✴On a 7–9, choose 1…

6 thoughts on “It seems that interrogating oneself over Defend is in the air, so here is my shot at it.”

  1. Gherhartd Sildoenfein I like your observations about Defend. Definitely food for thought.

    Magimax how did you mix it with H&S? Did you add the “spend hold” options from Defend as alternatives to doing additional damage on a 10+, at the expense of incurring the enemy’s attack?

  2. Robert Rendell

    I never found the options of defend interesting (and though we almost never used it, preferring H&S instead) but I thought also that hack and slash lacked a defense option so I mixed the two.

    The move looks like this now (sorry this is a rough translation from french):

    When you attack an enemy in melee, roll 2d6+STR.

    On 10+, you inflict your damage and avoid its attack. You can choose to inflict 1d6 more damage exposing yourself to an attack.

    On 7-9, you inflict your damage and the enemy scores an attack. You can choose to defend, not inflincting your damage to diminish by half the effects or damage of your foe’s attack.

  3. I do think there’s value in having Defend be a hold-and-spend move, rather than a roll-and-choose move.

    1) At a very high level, at least one of the basic moves should be a hold-and-spend move, mostly to establish that it’s a thing in the game. This makes class-specific moves like Trap Expert, Shapeshift, and Through Death’s Eyes less jarring. It also provides a framework for other custom moves that the community or specific tables might come up with.

    2) Hold-and-spend is a good way to represent a more passive “stance” or “readiness.” It hearkens back to old school “protect the caster” style play, back when spells has longer casting times and the fighter or someone would stand near the wizard and either spend their action to give them an AC bonus or ready to intercept anyone attacking the wizard.

    I sort of think of it like Discerning Realities in a fight. You aren’t necessarily doing very much. You’re spending your “go” (when the GM asks you “what do you do?”) on looking around, studying the sitch, hoping to glean some insight and a +1 forward to act on it, at the risk of a miss and a GM hard move. Fictionally, you’re largely just standing there. And on a 7-9, nothing specifically bad happens, but the GM might very well make a soft move as a result of you just standing there and not really doing anything.

    Similarly, a Defend might look like you aren’t doing much… just digging in and keeping your eyes pealed, taking up a defensive stance. You roll, risking a GM hard move but hoping for a 7+ and an advantage going forward. On a 7-9 (or a 10+), nothing specifically bad happens but the fact that you’re “just standing there” is an opportunity for the GM to make another soft move (or even a fairly hard one) and force you to react to it.

    The big difference is that with Defend, you hold onto your advantage and spend it when you want to. That’s pretty cool!

    With all that said, I definitely think the move could use revisions. I think the triggers (for when you roll and when you can spend hold) should be clearer, and I think the things you can spend hold on should be tightened up. For example, I’d rephrase “Redirect an attack from the thing you defend to yourself” to be “Suffer the effects/damage of an attack instead of the thing you defend.” That way, you’re not feeling like you have to spend hold to intercept a soft move… it’s clearer that you spend it when the attack is already landing.

  4. Temporally, Defend is a bit weirder than Discern realities, because on a success nothing more happens than the positioning the player declares, but on a miss, things will move. On a Discern realities success at least, as with most other moves, there is fictional change on both success and failure.

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