Author Topic: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc  (Read 8142 times)

zmook

  • User
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« on: December 02, 2012, 02:09:18 PM »
I'm pondering how to handle some non-damage combat moves, whether by PCs against the monsters, or by the monsters against the PCs.  A few questions:

1. How should I handle monster disarm moves?  Suppose the paladin is fighting a master duelist, and the duelist disarms him.  The general principle in DW is the NRA rule ("weapons don't do damage -- people do damage"), so it seems wrong to say "you've got no weapon so you can't hurt him any more".  What, he can't punch him in the gut, double him over, and then break his nose with an armored knee strike?  But at the same time, if I as DM just allow full class damage, what was the point of the disarm move in the first place?

It seems to me there needs to be a penalty of some kind applied for losing your weapon, but I can't find a guideline in the rules.  What do y'all do?  I'm not sure where to find the line between making it significant enough to be worth doing, but not so significant as to make the real fighty types seem helpless barehanded.  Half damage?  -1d6 damage?

2.  What about other kinds of "combat disadvantage"?  Suppose the thief takes a move to trip the ogre, with the expectation that the fighter will be able to follow up with some kind of combat advantage.  Now, if he rolled Aid+bond, he could just hand the fighter +1 forward, but hm.  First off, the thief has a +3 DEX, but only +1 bond with the fighter, so he'd rather make the explicit combat move.  And more importantly, "roll Aid" is boring and has no hook whatsoever into the fiction, so I'd rather do the explicit combat move, too.   So, the thief rolls Defy Danger and trips the ogre.  The fighter follows up with Hack & Slash.  Should I follow the cue of Aid and give the fighter +1 forward?   If I do, it seems like it opens up a can of worms for the players to constantly argue for situational bonuses to attacks.  If it's +1 for prone, what about flanking?  disarmed?  stunned?  entangled in a net?  etc. 

From a numbers point of view, if the thief just hit the monster, he could do d8 damage, or 4.5 points on average, minus armor, say 3 points.  If he gives the fighter the +1 forward, that's maybe +14% chance to hit.  For that to really be worthwhile, the fighter would have to be doing something like 21 points of damage on average, egad.  (On the other hand, suppose the target has 4 armor, so the thief is doing only 1.25 damage on average.  Then the fighter only has to be doing 9 on average to make the trip worthwhile.  That seems more plausible.)

Am I asking for trouble going down that road?  I'd like to provide the players with motivation to do things more interesting than just "inflict damage", but the system doesn't provide a lot of guidance.  I'd like to hear what you guys do.

Aaron Friesen

  • User
  • Posts: 93
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2012, 04:20:44 PM »
1) page 20 has your answer. Unarmed character's do one damage. Weapons don't kill people, but they sure help.

2) Very much depends on what's happening in the fiction. My first thought was to say,  "well, if the ogre's just been tripped and knocked to the ground, it's likely dazed and not fighting in melee. Fighter, deal your damage," but that just told me how much that fictional position matters.  What is the thief trying to accomplish? How does the thief do it? Does the thief knock the ogre into anything. Anyway, there went be stable combat modifiers because it's always going to be very dependant on the situation. Look at the fictional benefits of the things the players do, anything else will lead from there.

Scrape

  • User
  • Posts: 378
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2012, 05:23:21 PM »
Yeah, I've always been unsatisfied with sysytems that are like "okay, you're Prone, the following penalties apply..." because they don't always apply. In DW, it's more like ?what are trying to do to the prone target? Okay, because he's prone that sounds easier..." It's muchmore common-sense based on the situation.

noclue

  • User
  • Posts: 609
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2012, 05:27:53 PM »
Yup fiction.

As an aside, rolling Aid should never be boring.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

higgins

  • User
  • Posts: 36
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2012, 05:48:33 PM »
1) page 20 has your answer. Unarmed character's do one damage. Weapons don't kill people, but they sure help.

Two questions:
a) What's the mechanic for disarming someone?
b) Does a disarmed FREAKING OGRE deal 1 damage as well?

What is the thief trying to accomplish? How does the thief do it? Does the thief knock the ogre into anything. Anyway, there went be stable combat modifiers because it's always going to be very dependant on the situation. Look at the fictional benefits of the things the players do, anything else will lead from there.

Okay, let's take two distinct situations:
a) Thief wants to knock ogre down, so that the fighter could kill it more easily.
b) Thief wants to knock ogre down, so it falls into some nearby spikes.
How would you handle them?

Yeah, I've always been unsatisfied with sysytems that are like "okay, you're Prone, the following penalties apply..." because they don't always apply. In DW, it's more like ?what are trying to do to the prone target? Okay, because he's prone that sounds easier..." It's muchmore common-sense based on the situation.

Okay, let's take the most straightforward option -- they're trying to kill it. Now, the ogre is down and... killing it "sounds easier" in fiction. How is it reflected in the mechanics?

As an aside, rolling Aid should never be boring.

But it... kind of is. Any tips you use to make it exiting? I mean, no matter the fiction, the result is always the same, right?

Edit: Sorry, if this seems like a thread hijack, but I've been struggling with those very issues and I believe I'm on the same page with OP.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2012, 06:05:23 PM by higgins »

zmook

  • User
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2012, 10:59:07 PM »
1) page 20 has your answer. Unarmed character's do one damage. Weapons don't kill people, but they sure help.

I've just reread page 20 ("First Edition, November 2012"), and I don't see this rule.  Closest it comes is "A character without a weapon of some sort isnít going to trigger the hack and slash move when fighting a dragon since a bare-knuckle punch really doesnít do much to inch-thick scales."  Which is fine, but in my world a heroic Fighter *can* kill a mook with his bare hands, even if the mook is wearing leathers.  One point of damage, flat, seems low to me.

Yup fiction.

Last I checked, the ogre in the fiction doesn't say to the fighter "you should get +1 forward to hit me", so that doesn't actually solve my problem.  Aaron thinks that the same situation (ogre just got tripped) should result in an actual automatic hit (just deal damage).  I was trying to ask what ruling other people would make.  If you think it depends, then depends on what, for example?

As an aside, rolling Aid should never be boring.

I agree, any roll *should* never be boring, but man, Aid gives me no help.  And it often feels like as soon as the player starts describing what her character is actually *doing*, I'd rather roll *that* action rather than Aid.

Yeah, I've always been unsatisfied with sytems that are like "okay, you're Prone, the following penalties apply..." because they don't always apply. In DW, it's more like ?what are trying to do to the prone target? Okay, because he's prone that sounds easier..." It's muchmore common-sense based on the situation.

Right.  I get that DW doesn't want to specify one rule for all occasions, and I'm fine with that.  What I'm asking is, okay, target has been tripped, so yes, it should be easier somehow for the Fighter to hit it.  How much easier?  Do you tend to hand out +1 forward whenever the player has a good argument that something should be easier?  Are you stingy?  How big an advantage does it take before you hand out an auto hit ("just deal damage")?   A guideline would help me be more consistent on the spot, at the table.

It sounds like Aaron leans towards auto hits.  What about everyone else?

noclue

  • User
  • Posts: 609
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 12:46:45 AM »
No, no, no. This isn't how conversations work at all. The thief can't roll to trip because that would be rude. That would be interrupting. No one's looking at the thief, waiting for him to say anything. The GM is talking to the fighter. "Baldur," he says. "The nasty smelling troll charges you with a huge tree trunk as a club. What do you do?" Now rude little thief can't say " I trip him!" He has to politely clear his throat and say, "pardon me, but can I help?"

Now everyone has turned to look at the thief. The GM asks "what do you do to help, Dogo?" "I trip the smelly ogre," says the polite little thief. "How does such a little dude trip such a monstrosity?" Asks the attentive GM. "Well," says the wily Dogo. "I grab the rope from my traveling gear and loop it around this big rock. Then I dart between the ogre's legs..."

Now we're cooking with gas. Dogo rolls aid, on a hit the ogre is tangled in the rope, giving help to the fighters hack and slash. On a 7-9, the GM is grounded in the fiction. Could Dogo be exposed to danger? Easily. Could he lose Gear? Without a doubt.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 12:51:46 AM by noclue »
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

zmook

  • User
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 01:44:34 AM »
"Well," says the wily Dogo. "I grab the rope from my traveling gear and loop it around this big rock. Then I dart between the ogre's legs..."

"Cool," says I.  "Roll Defy Danger with Dex."  As obviously, that's a Dex move the thief wants to make, and it's clearly dangerous. 

I don't really get Aid.

noclue

  • User
  • Posts: 609
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 03:43:17 AM »
Like I said, the fighter is already hacking and slashing. He's already said what he's doing. The thief can aid him, that's what aid is for. But it isn't the thief's turn to do anything else.

Now, if Dogo wants to trip the Ogre when the conversation turns to him completely, that's totally cool. If the GM were to say "The huge smelly ogre charges Baldur while he's distracted by the falling rocks. Dogo, what do you do?" He can trip away. If the GM just asks the group "what do you do?" And Dogo steps forward with "I trip the ogre," that's fine too.

I can see you're a fan of the cunning Drogo, but what about poor Baldur? He was all set to show you the awesome power of his mighty axe.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 10:19:56 AM by noclue »
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

Aaron Friesen

  • User
  • Posts: 93
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 06:33:46 AM »

I've just reread page 20 ("First Edition, November 2012"), and I don't see this rule.  Closest it comes is "A character without a weapon of some sort isnít going to trigger the hack and slash move when fighting a dragon since a bare-knuckle punch really doesnít do much to inch-thick scales."  Which is fine, but in my world a heroic Fighter *can* kill a mook with his bare hands, even if the mook is wearing leathers.  One point of damage, flat, seems low to me.

Mi culpa. I just backed up my computer after a nuke-and-pave and had an old version. You're right, that text is long gone. It then comes down to a combination of the standard answers of "fictional positioning," "make it feel real," and "be a fan."

while it sounds like I'm a fan of auto-hit, it's much more like noclue's approach. I just assume that it's the thief's turn rather than the thief interjecting on the fighter's turn, and I have different implied fiction. Heck, come to it, depending on the fiction, I'd likely tell the thief to roll their damage as pay of the trip. But still, depends on what exactly is happening. Coming from Burning Wheel stock and remembering my roots, I really dislike ruling on hypotheticals  ;-) I know it sounds like a cop out, but it really does come down to "fictional positioning, and look to your principles."

zmook

  • User
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2012, 03:48:12 PM »
Like I said, the fighter is already hacking and slashing. He's already said what he's doing. The thief can aid him, that's what aid is for. But it isn't the thief's turn to do anything else.

Ah, you use Aid when someone is trying to jump in on someone else's action.  I've never allowed that at all; perhaps that's too much formative D&D training, but I've run games that players get to act only when it's their "turn": if you want to help another character, you take the set-up move on your action, and the other guy follows through on his.

So, use Aid to roll to help someone else's action, out of turn.  It's a bonus!  That at least gives me a consistent framework for when to call for rolling it.  And makes Bond seem a little more worthwhile, which is nice.

while it sounds like I'm a fan of auto-hit, it's much more like noclue's approach.

But I'm still not clear what noclue's approach is.  Depends on the fictional positioning, yes, got it.  But how much?

Okay, let me try to describe some situations.  What would your actual rulings be at the table?

1.  It's the thief's turn.  He successfully trips an ogre who was about to bash the fighter.  What bonus, if any, do you give to the fighter's next attack against the sprawling ogre?

2.  The ogre, back on his feet, is winding up with his stone mallet to club the fighter into next week.  The ranger acts, and hacks the ogre from his exposed side.  What bonus, if any, do you give to the ranger's attack?

3.  It's the bard's turn.  He rolls Defy Danger to disarm the ogre, and the brutal mallet goes flying into the darkness.  Now the fighter Hacks the disarmed ogre.  What bonus, if any, do you give to the attack?

4.  The cleric drops a weighted, entangling net over the ogre.  It comes around to the fighter's turn again.  The ogre is now disarmed, netted, and the wizard just blasted it for big damage.  What bonus, if any, do you give to the fighter's attack?

If these situations still seem too unclear or hypothetical, then what I'd really like to know is:  what other information do you think you need?   I'm trying to specify the important facts of the situations, but if I'm missing something, that's part of what I want to know:  how do other people think about these things?  My goal is to get some sort of reasonably consistent set of guidelines in my head, so that I can give reasonably predictable rulings at the table.

higgins

  • User
  • Posts: 36
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2012, 04:00:14 PM »
I'd add one more situation that has been left unanswered so far:

5. It's the thief's turn. He wants to trip an ogre so it falls onto foot long spikes that are nearby. What move should the GM call for to match these intentions? How do you determine the amount of damage that the ogre would receive from the spikes?

noclue

  • User
  • Posts: 609
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 05:24:39 PM »
That looks like a hack and slash to me. Thief does thief damage.
James R.

    "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which can not fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation."
     --HERBERT SPENCER

higgins

  • User
  • Posts: 36
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 06:07:53 PM »
Okay, so, in situation #5 the thief succeeds Hack and Slash to damage the ogre, and is assumed along with the same roll, to topple it as if succeeded Defy Danger as well. But what about the previous four situations that zmook asked? =)
« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 06:15:55 PM by higgins »

zmook

  • User
  • Posts: 64
    • View Profile
Re: Effects of non-damage combat moves: disarm, trip, etc
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 06:36:32 PM »
5. It's the thief's turn. He wants to trip an ogre so it falls onto foot long spikes that are nearby. What move should the GM call for to match these intentions? How do you determine the amount of damage that the ogre would receive from the spikes?

Personally, I'd allow the thief to roll Defy Danger +DEX rather than Hack and Slash.  The trigger "act despite an imminent threat" I think works at least as well as "attack an enemy in melee", and it allows the character to roll what is presumably a better stat.  I'm not sure what damage I'd give -- d8 class damage seems plausible, since the likelihood the ogre can protect himself from the fall seems to depend on how skillfully the trip was executed.   If the spikes have been previously established as especially vicious, perhaps I'd add +1d4 or a point or two of piercing.