Author Topic: Stun, Debilities and taking penalties forward  (Read 3781 times)

WeloiAvala

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Stun, Debilities and taking penalties forward
« on: February 04, 2014, 02:37:10 PM »
Hello,

New to Dungeon World, and possibly running my first session this weekend, and having read the rules and the guide, I've still got a few questions...

Now, as a GM move, I can (among other things) deal damage or use up resources.  Can this include things like stun, debilities or taking a penalty forward?

Here's an extended example that's popped to mind, and I'm just trying to see if I've got the Moves right: a fighter launches himself at a cave troll.  He attempts to leap onto its back, defying danger--and fails.  Instead of scrambling onto the monster's back, he finds himself plucked out of the air and slammed up against the cave wall and pinned there (Turn their move back on them).

Should that deal damage?  (Or should Deal Damage usually be a distinct move?)  Could the impact also (or should it be only?) stun him?  In reaction, the fighter wants to fight his way free (his allies being too preoccupied to help.)  Would this be a fair distinction: a -1 to hack and slash as his broadsword is awkward at this range as he tries to pommel smash the troll's wrist? 

Or would this be a case of defying danger to break free, rather than hack and slash; if he'd attacked the troll instead, looking to hurt it rather than get free, then that would be hack and slash?  Can he combine the two, hack-and-slashing the arm to get he troll to drop him, but also inflicting harm?  Or should a Defy Danger get mixed in there?

Say the poor guy fails again; now the troll pitches him across the room (separate them!), where he smashes into the opposite wall: damage that skips armour?  Or rather: he dents his sword against the troll's hide (use up their resources)--would that give it a -1 until he hammers it back into shape or finds a replacement?

Basically, I'm wondering how many moves I can trigger at once, and when it's "following the rules" to assign a -1/+1 to a move, or to give a debility.

Cheers!



aerothopter

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Re: Stun, Debilities and taking penalties forward
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2014, 07:38:47 PM »
Here's an extended example that's popped to mind, and I'm just trying to see if I've got the Moves right: a fighter launches himself at a cave troll.  He attempts to leap onto its back, defying danger--and fails.  Instead of scrambling onto the monster's back, he finds himself plucked out of the air and slammed up against the cave wall and pinned there (Turn their move back on them).

I would consider that more of "Put them in a spot" but I guess "Turn their move back on them" works too. If that's what you're going to do, that doesn't deal damage. Remember, you choose as hard of a move as you'd like, but only one move. So:

"You're slammed up against the cave wall and pinned there. The troll is holding you down. What do you do?"

You let the player have a chance to save himself from damage, if he'd like, probably through another Defy Danger roll. Deal Damage is a distinct move which you could have used but chose not to. An example using "Deal Damage" instead of pinning him down:

"The troll grabs you off his back and slams you against the wall of the cave. Take d10 damage."

Simple, right? The fiction is mostly the same, but the effect is dealing damage instead of putting him a spot.

Could the impact also (or should it be only?) stun him?  In reaction, the fighter wants to fight his way free (his allies being too preoccupied to help.)  Would this be a fair distinction: a -1 to hack and slash as his broadsword is awkward at this range as he tries to pommel smash the troll's wrist?

Or would this be a case of defying danger to break free, rather than hack and slash; if he'd attacked the troll instead, looking to hurt it rather than get free, then that would be hack and slash?  Can he combine the two, hack-and-slashing the arm to get he troll to drop him, but also inflicting harm?  Or should a Defy Danger get mixed in there?

I usually only see stun or debilities happen when you deal damage, since stun is a type of damage. I don't think there's anything that specifically forbids using debilities without dealing damage, but my group usually just does debilities when dealing damage. As for the -1 to Hack and Slash, I would think that a better solution is what you set out later: Defy Danger to break the pin, then Hack and Slash.

My big question is: can he really deal his full die of damage pinned down like that? He would, if he succeeded with the -1 penalty, and pummeling a troll with a pommel doesn't seem right for that. If the fiction doesn't let him, then you shouldn't let him roll. Instead, say:

"You can't bring your sword to bear while you're pinned. What do you do to break out of the pin?"

A little leading question, I grant, but you have to make sure the players are making moves that follow from the fiction, too. I think Vincent has written somewhere about how he used to have penalties and bonuses built in based on how hard things were to do, but he nixed them because they didn't add anything narratively to the game. Either you can do it--then you roll it--or you can't--then you don't.

Say the poor guy fails again; now the troll pitches him across the room (separate them!), where he smashes into the opposite wall: damage that skips armour?  Or rather: he dents his sword against the troll's hide (use up their resources)--would that give it a -1 until he hammers it back into shape or finds a replacement?

One, I don't think "across the room" is really separated. And again, one move on your side, not two or more. It can be a harder move than "Separate Them" though. This is a troll and he's not messing around! Deal some damage, already. As for Ignores Armor, that makes zero sense to me. His armor would definitely protect him from a blunt trauma, even if nothing else. So, some options:

"When you're trying to ________, the troll flings you again into the opposite wall (stunning you?). Take d10 damage. What do you do?"

"You make a huge swing of your sword at the troll and manage to hit him in the crack between his armor plates. Great news! Until...he shifts a bit and your sword CRACKS OFF AT THE HILT. What do you do?"

If you're going to "Use Up Their Resources" don't pussyfoot around. He can repair the sword if he defeats the troll and grabs the other half stuck in the armor, and reforges it. For now, though, a -1 ongoing isn't interesting, it's just annoying. Actually take his sword away from him: he failed a roll and you're trying to fill his life with adventure. Big adventure to try to stop a troll with only a hilt! Or maybe he goes in for the blade and wields it anyway. Who knows what he'll do?


tl;dr: use one move. The move should follow from the fiction: blur the lines a bit between circumstance and mechanics. As Apocalypse World says, "misdirect". Although you might just be dealing damage, you can set up his positioning such that the battle feels dynamic. Don't pull your punches. But you only get one move, as hard and direct as you like, and then you let the players have their turn in the conversation.

Jeremy

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Re: Stun, Debilities and taking penalties forward
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2014, 01:24:18 AM »
If you like your answers all official-like, see page 167, 2nd paragraph:  "Note that “deal damage” is a move, but other moves may include damage as well. When an ogre flings you against a wall you take damage as surely as if he had smashed you with his fists."

Expanding on that: lots of moves subsume other moves.  And you'll often find yourself making a soft move as an immediate follow-up to a hard move.  It's far from clear cut. 

Like, I agree you shouldn't be like "the troll grabs you, smashes you against the wall--take 1d10 damage--then knocks your sword away from and then flings you across the room. What do you do?"  But if you choose to make the move "deal damage" and the troll's damage is forceful (and it probably is), the fictional effects of forceful is part of you dealing damage.  Likewise, if you use a monster's move (like the troll's hurl someone or something) and it would naturally result in damage, then damage is dealth.  (Forceful damage, in this case).

So: "You got a 4? Mark XP, Phinnigan. As you leap towards the troll, he spins and swats you out of the air with a backhand. The force knocks you clear across the room. Take 1d10 damage!  Ooh... 9?  Yeah, the wind got knocked clean out of you!  Ovid, you see Phin go flying and collapse in a heap and the troll turns and lumbers towards him.  What do you do?"

You could argue that I'm separating them, that I'm turning their move back on them, that I'm dealing damage, and/or that I'm using a monster/dungeon/location move.  Who cares which one I made?  I made my one hard move, beginning and ending it with the fiction.  Then, to reflect the fictional fact that Phin got the wind knocked out of him, I shift focus to Ovid via a soft move, the troll lumbering toward a dazed Phin. You could argue that's me showing signs of an approaching threat or offering an opportunity to Ovid or even putting someone in a spot. But again, who really cares which one it is?

I don't remember where, but I remember someone saying that the list of moves are only there to give you ideas for cool things to say when it's your turn to say something.  Lots of folks report ignoring the moves until they're stumped, otherwise just following the fiction. 

So, yeah, make your move. But as long as it begins and ends with the fiction, don't stress out over which move you're making.

WeloiAvala

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Re: Stun, Debilities and taking penalties forward
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2014, 12:59:03 PM »
Okay, cool, although it brings up a few more questions.

(By the way, thanks for the help!  Good to find a helpful, friendly forum.)

1) If a player rolls a six, but is assisted up to a 7, do they still mark XP?

2) I'm still a bit unclear about range and assigning negatives.  For example:

Bob the fighter is locked into melee with a nasty orc.  He swings his broadsword and misses and the orc slips in past his guard into close range, bull rushing him up against the dungeon wall.  Bob, what do you do?

a) I skewer the brute with my trusty sword!  But at this range, it's awkward; do I just arbitrarily say he can't, or should there be a -1 or something?

b) I grab my sword with both hands and smash the pommel into its head!  So... is that just standard hack'n'slash, doing normal damage?  Doesn't that make the range tags pretty much pointless, since they can always be circumvented by the fiction?  Or should/can I say that the damage is halved or something, using the weapon in that way?

c) Holding my sword in one hand, I bash my gauntleted fist into its face: normal hack and slash?  Defy Danger if the orc is wielding a dagger?  Any negatives or anything unless the player has fictionally created a backstory of fisticuffs?  Or would the punch just stun the orc?

d) I bodycheck the orc, shoving it back, and the skewer him with my blade!  Defy danger to push it back then hack and slash, or is this combining two Moves into one?

... sorry if this seems pedantic, I just want to make sure I've got the interpretation of the game right.

And thanks for the help!

-Mike

Jeremy

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Re: Stun, Debilities and taking penalties forward
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2014, 05:52:07 PM »
1) If a player rolls a six, but is assisted up to a 7, do they still mark XP?

No. The roll result is no longer a miss (6-). 

2) I'm still a bit unclear about range and assigning negatives.  For example:

Bob the fighter is locked into melee with a nasty orc.  He swings his broadsword and misses and the orc slips in past his guard into close range, bull rushing him up against the dungeon wall.  Bob, what do you do?

a) I skewer the brute with my trusty sword!  But at this range, it's awkward; do I just arbitrarily say he can't, or should there be a -1 or something?

"Cool, Bob, but how do you run him through when he's up close and in your face and about to stabby stab you in the gut with his 6-inch knife?"

b) I grab my sword with both hands and smash the pommel into its head!  So... is that just standard hack'n'slash, doing normal damage?  Doesn't that make the range tags pretty much pointless, since they can always be circumvented by the fiction?  Or should/can I say that the damage is halved or something, using the weapon in that way?

Couple ways you could deal with this, and there are a few principles and your agenda to guide you.  Be a fan of the characters tells you to let it be a normal H&S, so does Think DangerousFill their lives with adventure and begin and end with the fiction might tell you to do reduced damage.  And you might want to ask questions and use the answers before you decide.

Is the orc wearing a helmet?  Have you established that orcs are big, tough, I-don't-give-a-fuck types?  Maybe the move just does stun damage, enough make the orc stagger back and get back to a more optimal range.  Or maybe it does half damage.  I could go either way, and my answer would be informed by who the PC is.  I'm much more  likely to let the figher or paladin get away with dealing damage in a suboptimal situation than the bard.  Fighters and paladins are badasses.

c) Holding my sword in one hand, I bash my gauntleted fist into its face: normal hack and slash?  Defy Danger if the orc is wielding a dagger?  Any negatives or anything unless the player has fictionally created a backstory of fisticuffs?  Or would the punch just stun the orc?

That sounds like H&S to me, with stun damage as the result.  Again, might depend on who's doing the punching and the nature of the foe.  I'd probably go with stun damage.  "BAM! The orc staggers back a few paces, shaking it's head and spitting blood. What do you do?"

Of course, if the orc was already trying to knife the PC in the gut (i.e. you'd established that he was doing so, probably as part of the soft move that put him into close quarters), I might ask the player what he was doing about that knife.  If he ignored it, I'd deal damage from the knife and then let the PC H&S to punch the orc in the face. 

d) I bodycheck the orc, shoving it back, and the skewer him with my blade!  Defy danger to push it back then hack and slash, or is this combining two Moves into one?

I'd probably go with Defy Danger (+Str) and then (if successful) a H&S.  The range tags are what make me think that.  DD to address the imminent danger of an orc in your grill, making it possible for you to attack with your sword (H&S). 

Compare that to "The orc lunges at you with his rusty sword, like right at your throat. What do you?"  "I parry the thrust with a bind and riposte!"  "Cool, roll to H&S!"  You could argue that the PC is Defying Danger or Defending and then Hacking & Slashing, but I think almost every GM would call that just a straight H&S.

Munin

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Re: Stun, Debilities and taking penalties forward
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2014, 07:58:36 PM »
In the last example above (parry and riposte), if my player said that I might ask: "which is more important to you, the parry or the riposte?"  If he's concentrating on the parry (maybe because he's already taken a lot of damage in this fight), then I might call for Defend.  If he definitely wants to strike out at his target, then I'd go Hack & Slash all the way.