Finally, beware of the tendency to treat Hack & Slash as the catch-all fighting move of the game. (As iserith said) it isn't! It has a very specific fictional trigger. It's the move you make when you are trading blows in a melee. If you want to knock down, disarm, or overpower the enemy, you aren't making this move. If you want to position yourself, you aren't making this move.
I sometimes see people treating H&S like DW's "standard attack roll" and that's a mistake. if you do that, then yeah, you probably will want to modify it to do other stuff and have a broader range of outcomes. But my advice is to leave it alone and don't treat it like a default fighting move at all.
The very specific fictional trigger is "when you attack an enemy in melee." It's not, as written, "when you trade blows in a melee." You can attack someone without them attacking you back. You can physically assault someone with an intent other than wounding or killing them.
I think John swayed me quite strongly when he posted about the limited (but focused!) nature of Seize by Force for AW. I think H&S follows the same thought line. Defy Danger is the catch-all and go-to move for my group.
So are you saying that you'd use Defy Danger to try and disarm someone in melee? Or to knock down an enemy with a shield bash? I can certainly see using that move to resolve those actions--the outcomes
on DD are perfect. But the trigger
for either of those feels a lot more like H&S.
"The masked bandit circles you, rapier drawn and pointed at your throat. What do you do?"
"Um, I'll slap his blade away with my own, then slash down at his exposed wrist so he drops the rapier."
That feels a lot more like "attack an enemy in melee" than "act despite an imminent threat." Maybe it's both: I might need to Defy Danger to open his guard, but that slash at his wrist (if I can make it) is definitely an attack in melee. And as written, the only thing I'm guaranteed on a 7+ Hack & Slash is a damage roll. Does he drop the rapier or not? Dunno. Following principles & agenda, it probably does. But the move doesn't answer that question.
"Ovid, the orc's towering over you as lie there on your butt with your ears still ringing. He raises his club up in both hands. He's about to bring it down on your head. What do you do?"
Fighter's player: "Oh, screw that! I charge the orc with my shield, Captain America-style. I'm gonna send him flying."
Am I attacking the orc in melee, or acting despite an imminent threat? It sure feels like an attack to me. And if I hit with hack & slash, all I get is damage. Send him flying? Yeah, sure, probably. But that's not cooked into the resolution of the move at all. (Maybe this could be interpreted as Defend? But it still feels much more like an attack than "standing in defense.")
As John alludes, the weapon (on in this case its tags) are rather substantive cloudy cues. I mean the Wizard only deals d4 damage when he wades into melee, but if he wields a two handed orcish battleaxe and is successful in a H&S he is also going to be messy and forceful in his dealing of said damage.
They're "cloudy cues" that you can
apply, if you remember and/or if you are diligent about description. But unlike every other move, H&S doesn't require
you to go back to a fictional resolution. You could easily forget to describe the forceful or messy effects of the weapon, much like folks report forgetting to roll the Harm move in AW (or used to forget to roll Saving Throw in DW). Or, heck, if I'm a fighter with a huge, vicious weapon, I might just get tired of describing the carnage.
Ultimately, two points:
- If H&S is only meant for trading blows in melee with the intent to wound, then it's trigger needs to be worded more specifically (and I'd argue that we need an additional move for more one-sided attacks).
- If H&S really is meant for any sort of credible attack against a dangerous target at hand-to-hand range, then I think it needs more possible outcomes and outcomes that are fictionally grounded (that is, not just "you do your damage.")