Dodging

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Dodging
« on: July 10, 2013, 03:01:14 PM »
I recently introduced DW to my group, and we had a real problem with dodging.  I think I'm probably missing something, so I wanted to post here for some guidance.  Some version of this situation came up many times:

1.  Monster approaches player.
2.  Player does something other than attack.
3.  Monster attacks. 
4.  Player says "I try to dodge out of the way."

How does this get adjudicated?  I had them rolling Defy Danger (as "Defense" seems to be "Defense of Other" not "Defense of Self") and they kept rolling 7, 8, or 9.  Then I tried to think of what partial success would be.  It often involved falling over upon dodging.

That cannot be right.  But dodge is not calculated into armor like it is in Dungeons and Dragons (since armor is damage reduction here) and it seems odd that a player can do nothing when I say they're being attacked.  In fact, it seems impossible, since bad guys don't have attack rolls - it's all player centered.  (Unless I'm missing something.) 

So what happens?  Does the player have to just do nothing and take the blow?  It seems like there should be some equal mechanic to Hack & Slash, where on 7-9 the Monster gets to attack back.  If there is not, then on monster will attack, followed by player attacking at 7-9 giving the monster a free attack, and so on. 

Maybe my mindset is wrong (I still tend to gravitate to turn-based narration) or maybe I'm missing a rule.  Any help would be appreciated.

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noclue

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Re: Dodging
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2013, 03:51:02 PM »
Yeah, I think it's a mindset thing. So, it's not monster approaches, player does x, monster attacks, player dodges. It's

"The slobbering Orc opens his maw and lunges for your throat, what do you do?"
"I dodge out of the way"
"Awesome, so are you like back peddling before he grabs you or are you bringing your shield up and trying to knock him off you?" (Ask questions, use the result)
"I'm getting the fuck out of there"
"Cool, so you're backing up like crazy and this thing is coming at you with its beady yellow eyes and these needle sharp teeth. Roll to Defy Danger with Dex"
"7"
"Okay, so he backs you up against the edge of the chasm. Looks like a nasty drop. You can probably keep the thing off you, but dancing around on the rim like that is going to be dangerous (offer them a difficult choice)...what do you do?"
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

Re: Dodging
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2013, 07:52:23 PM »
It seems like the result of this will be that Players are constantly dodging, diving, twisting around, and so on.  Which is fine.  But there is not always a cliff to a player's back to provide a threat to rolling poorly.

Imagine:

Player and Monster in an open field.
Monster swings at player.
Player says:

1.  I use my shield to block it.
2.  I duck.
3.  I run backwards.
4.  I dodge.
5.  I meet his paw halfway with my axe.

What should be done in each of these situations?  Here are my thoughts.

1.  Shield is part of AC.  Can you also do some kind of Strength "Defy Danger" with it?  I thought players were always using their shield.  That's what the -1 damage is.

2.  Dex Defy Danger, I suppose?

3.  Dex Defy Danger, I suppose?

4.  Dex Defy Danger, I suppose?

5.  Hack & Slash, I suppose?

Some observations: 

A.  All evasive manuevers are Dex Defy Danger. 

B.  The problem is how to resolve 7, 8, 9.  For dodge, what is a 7?  Do they get hit, or not?  Or partially?  If the player rolled a 7, they'd get to hit but then get hit back.  (Sidenote:  do people roll this damage as simultaneous, as a rule?)  So if the player dodges for 7, is it... that they half dodge but then get to attack for free if they want?  No, because they're not attacking, they're dodging.  I guess on a 7 for Hack/Slash, the idea is that monsters are just always attacking back by default, so if you roll 7 they're attacking.  But players have no defaults, they describe.

C.  The problem is also what to do on a 10.  Do they perfectly dodge?  Great.  Now what?

D.  Shields and dodging are treated differently.  Shields are part of armor.  But dodging is an action.  This asymmetry has potential to create problems.

Bottom Line:  At my session, my players never got hurt almost.  THey were always twisting, dodging, etc.  And I respect their descriptions and let them roll.  I say:  X swings.  They say:  I duck.  And there must be some meaningful way of adjudicating this. 

I appreciate that DW is more free-flowing and centered on the story.  But there are also rules.  And the rules must meet the story, sometimes in a similar way over and over.  This is one situation that keeps arising in which the rules don't help drive the story. 

I'm open to changing my mindset, but the example below did not help me (often there are not cliffs around). 

Re: Dodging
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2013, 10:30:43 PM »
Eventually your players are going to roll poorly - and when they do you need to punish (so to speak).

A.) Defy Danger +dex seems perfectly reasonable if all a character is doing is diving out of the way.

B.) On a 7-9 sure they dodge out of the way, but they hit the ground and are now prone - they got away from that immediate threat, but now theyve put themselves in a worse position for later.

C.) Sure, they dodge perfectly - hell even let them hack-and-slash next. This may seem broken to you but if they'd just Hack-and-Slashed to begin with they'd have had the same result but better - negate the attack and deal damage. At least in the way you describe it theyre rolling *twice*. Simple math tells you that the more you roll the more likely you are to mess up especially when there is a move that can do the exact same thing and MORE with a single roll (hack and slash).

D.) I don't see any problem here. Armor is just damage reduction in DW. You don't DO anything with armor, its a passive/static part of your character. Your character "does" dodging, so to speak.

If you're players are saying "I duck/dodge/bob/weave/whatever AND THEN I swing my sword at the monster" Thats really just "Hack and Slash" - not two different moves. Theyre engaging in melee they're just phrasing it in two separate chunks. Just treat it as one.


GM "The orc charges you, battle axe drawn and ready to strike!"
Player: "I side step him to dodge him *AND THEN* I stab him with my sword!"
Thats not two moves, its one. Because DW is a cinematic/narrative combat experience you aren't chalking each and every PHYSICAL action as if its was one single move. Sometimes a "move" is several physical actions coalescing into a move.

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noclue

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Re: Dodging
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2013, 01:53:53 AM »
It seems like the result of this will be that Players are constantly dodging, diving, twisting around, and so on.  Which is fine.
It happens, but not all that often. The Characters always do something, is it always dodging? Not really. Dodging doesn't let you hit the thing. A 10+ means you do it. You've dodged. GM gets to make another move. What do you do now?

Question: In your initial set up, the players see the monster and do something inconsequential. Then the monster attacks and they dodge. Why do that? "You see a group of monsters with big boulders in their hands. They howl and start coming within range. What do you do?" Here, you have made a soft move (Show signs of impending doom). The players better address the fact that armed monsters are within range, or just hit them and have them roll damage. That's your Deal Damage move. There's no dodging. Just damage.

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But there is not always a cliff to a player's back to provide a threat to rolling poorly.
That's true, but there's always a threat. That's the GM's job and superpower.

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Imagine:

Player and Monster in an open field.
Monster swings at player.
Player says:

1.  I use my shield to block it.
2.  I duck.
3.  I run backwards.
4.  I dodge.
5.  I meet his paw halfway with my axe.

What should be done in each of these situations?

My thoughts using your set up.

1. Awesome, you raise your shield and the mighty blow rains down on it. Roll Defy Danger with Strength as the force of the blow threatens to drive you to your knees (put them in a spot). Or roll Defy Danger with Dex or the monster grabs a hold of it and rips it from your grasp (take away their gear). Or, you can deflect the blow but it will sunder your shield (tell them the cost or consequences and ask).

2. Cool, you duck as the scything blow whips out. Defy Danger with Dex is obvious here. But there is also, "You feel the wind whip past as the creatures claws swipe over head. It lets out an unearthly shriek and you feel the full weight of it's massive body as it barrels into you. What do you do now?"

3. I've already given running backwards a go. Here's another version: "Cool, as you start running backwards, the beast turns from you and lunges toward your friend the Bard with a fiendish howl. What do you do?"

4. Yeah, see "I duck" above.

5. Hack and Slash seems right here to me.

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A.  All evasive manuevers are Dex Defy Danger. 
You set up the danger as "you'll be hit if you don't move" so people tend to move. Set up different dangers.
"The beast grabs hold of your shield. What do you do?" 
"You and the beast start sliding down the ravine. What do you do?"
"A passing Wyvern is attracted by your scuffle and swoops in at high speed. What do you do?"
"The beast lands on your back, what do you do?"
"The beast grabs you by the throat and starts to shake you like a rag doll. What do you do?"

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B.  The problem is how to resolve 7, 8, 9.  For dodge, what is a 7?
What does the 7-9 result on a Defy Danger say? It says offer them a hard bargain, worse outcome or difficult choice. So, offer up. "You can totally dodge that spear but you're going to be totally off balance." "You can totally dodge that spear but it's going to knock the sword from your hand and into the underbrush."

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C.  The problem is also what to do on a 10.  Do they perfectly dodge?  Great.  Now what?
Make a move.

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D.  Shields and dodging are treated differently.  Shields are part of armor.  But dodging is an action.  This asymmetry has potential to create problems.
Raising your shield can be treated as part of the fiction. It's fictional positioning for not getting hit, or defending a location or a person. There's no difference in the fiction. Mechanically, if you get hit you have +1 armor for your shield, unless something in the fiction has rendered your shield irrelevant. But I don't see a big problem. If they raise their shield to meet a blow, decide if a move has been triggered and go with it. And whenever they suffer damage that is reduced by armor, reduce it by 1 for the shield.

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Bottom Line:  At my session, my players never got hurt almost.  THey were always twisting, dodging, etc.  And I respect their descriptions and let them roll.  I say:  X swings.  They say:  I duck.  And there must be some meaningful way of adjudicating this. 
Don't swing. Make moves. Separate them. Put them in a spot. Take away there gear. Tell them the consequences and ask. Deal Damage.

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I'm open to changing my mindset, but the example below did not help me (often there are not cliffs around).
So, use what is around.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2013, 02:05:30 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

*

noclue

  • 609
Re: Dodging
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2013, 02:08:40 AM »
Player: "I side step him to dodge him *AND THEN* I stab him with my sword!"
Thats not two moves, its one. Because DW is a cinematic/narrative combat experience you aren't chalking each and every PHYSICAL action as if its was one single move. Sometimes a "move" is several physical actions coalescing into a move.

QFT. That's "Attacking and enemy in melee." Roll Hack and Slash!
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