Disarming and other stunts

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Disarming and other stunts
« on: September 08, 2013, 08:19:21 AM »
Not having played DW yet, I'm quite sure how to handle disarming my players' characters (just "use their resources" when appropriate).

But what do you do if the players want to such a thing? Just let 'em "hack'n slash", with the desired outcome instead of damage? "Defy Danger", with the danger being "If you don't get that, right he's got the drop on you"?

I think, in doubt, everything's "defy danger", but I just wanted to ask another opinion or two on this.

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Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2013, 04:43:44 PM »
Player: I disarm him.
GM: what do you mean? What does Garnok the Barbarian do to disarm the goblin archer?
Player: I knock the bow from his hands with my battle axe!
GM: defy danger using strength.

There's definitely danger. If they miss you make  a move. If they roll 7-9, you give them one if the Defy Danger choices. Telling them the goblin launches an arrow at their friend, but they can jump in front of the shot themselves is always a good one.
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: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 11:19:33 AM »
Virtually any "combat maneuver" can easily be handled with Defy Danger. In the game I'm running I think the players do stuff like this even more than Hack & Slash.

Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 05:04:58 PM »
I tend to shy away from using Defy Danger as a standalone catch-all, specifically for combat maneuvers. There are a variety of reasons for this, but the most relevant has to do with the relative investment and downsides of Hack and Slash versus Defy Danger. 

H&S and DD both give partial/complicated success in the 7-9 range, but DD gives you an "escape hatch" option that H&S does not afford. If you roll 7-9 on H&S you will be taking an attack from your opponent. On a 7-9 roll with DD you can choose to abort and not take the worse outcome or hard bargain that the GM has offered for you to succeed. To be fair there are cases where choosing to abort the DD leaves you in pretty bad spot as well, but that's situational outside of the DD.

I tend to think of things like disarm and called shot (the general idea, not the Ranger's move) similarly. Each is a combat maneuver that is a step above its more mundane relatives (i.e. fighting with a sword or shooting an arrow). Unless somebody has gained a specific move for these (through the fiction, or a compendium class, or what-have-you) then I like to model them by augmenting H&S (or Volley) with DD. 

So for a disarm attempt, the player would roll H&S, and assuming at least a partial success could roll DD to convert the general combat success from damage into the disarm. This keeps disarm a tricky maneuver since it requires two rolls, and doesn't let the character skate entirely by choosing to abort a partial success at DD.

All of that being said, I think there are plenty of cases where a standalone DD would work for handling a generic maneuver. Disarm just happens to be one where I think DD alone doesn't do it for me.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 05:09:25 PM by ScottMcG »

Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 06:03:57 PM »
I should probably add that when a player rolls 9 or less I always make a move, not just what the description says. In that way no one is ever "opting out" with a Defy Danger roll to Disarm. Roll an 8 when attepting to disarm, you'll succeed but you're going to get hurt doing it.

Besides, as I read it a "Worse Outcome" (DD, 7-9) could certainly be taking damage.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2013, 06:10:06 PM by RenoGM »

Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2013, 08:14:13 PM »
I should probably add that when a player rolls 9 or less I always make a move, not just what the description says. In that way no one is ever "opting out" with a Defy Danger roll to Disarm. Roll an 8 when attepting to disarm, you'll succeed but you're going to get hurt doing it.

I think that deals with the issue, too. However, if you're going to make an occasional tweak to DD to support disarm then you could also just make a move (basic or otherwise) for it. If you leave DD unmodified (or at least as I understand it - it wouldn't be the first time I've misinterpreted something) then the "easy opt out when things go wrong" is on the table.

Besides, as I read it a "Worse Outcome" (DD, 7-9) could certainly be taking damage.

That definitely could be a worse outcome, but if the danger you are defying is "take some damage" then it's not much of a choice for the DM to offer "take some damage" as an alternative to "take some damage".

In cases where DD is used to avoid a calamity (e.g. a gout of flame erupts toward you, what do you do?) then success in DD is usually avoiding the damage. These are difficult for the player to opt out of. If you choose to opt out of the hard bargain, etc. then you eat the gout of flame.

In cases where DD is used when you are acting in spite of danger (e.g. trying to slip past an ogre's war club to stab her in the face with a dagger), then the results of DD become a little more nuanced.  In this case a DD-DEX might let you engage in H&S. If you rolled a 7-9 on the DD then choosing to let the ogre get in a hit before you're able to engage in H&S is case where it totally makes sense; you can take damage on a partial success but you are still then able to engage in H&S.  It's a tough choice.  These are the situations where "opting out" weakens the downside/stakes for something like disarm. On a partial success the GM offers the hard bargain.  If the player wants to do what they set out to do (in spite of some danger) then they accept the hard bargain; if they don't take the bargain they can opt out and only have to pay the opportunity cost of going nowhere with the action.

This got me thinking concretely about something I've been doing in more detail, and that's always good!

Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2013, 09:38:23 PM »
Ahhhhh... I think I see where I was failing to "pick up what you're putting down".
If I'm following you, the "ugly choice" might be along the lines of: 1) disarm him but suffer damage, or 2) fail to disarm him but suffer no damage. With option #2 being the "opt out", a failure but no real consequence.

I guess why I wasn't following you was because my idea of the "ugly choice" would have probably been along the lines of: 1) you disarm him but suffer damage, or 2) you disarm him but wind up prone at his feet. It just never really occured to me to allow a "simple failure" as an option on a DD 7-9.

Thank you sir. Annother arrow for my quiver of GMing!

Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2013, 10:34:40 PM »
Yeah - pretty much that's it, except you put it much more succinctly than I did.


Ahhhhh... I think I see where I was failing to "pick up what you're putting down".
If I'm following you, the "ugly choice" might be along the lines of: 1) disarm him but suffer damage, or 2) fail to disarm him but suffer no damage. With option #2 being the "opt out", a failure but no real consequence.

I guess why I wasn't following you was because my idea of the "ugly choice" would have probably been along the lines of: 1) you disarm him but suffer damage, or 2) you disarm him but wind up prone at his feet. It just never really occured to me to allow a "simple failure" as an option on a DD 7-9.

Thank you sir. Annother arrow for my quiver of GMing!

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Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2013, 11:22:19 PM »
I would 100% use Defy Danger for a manuever like that (it's literally what Defy is for). I'm confused by the idea that players get to "opt out" somehow. The GM always gets to offer up what happens in the basic rolls. Sometimes that's the hard choice, but it's also the worse outcome. It's your call!

Hack & Slash is only triggered when to melee combatants are trying to hurt each other. Defy Danger is triggered whenever a character is attempting something with clear consequences. Seems the obvious choice to me. You can always deal some damage on a 7-9, as your worse outcome. The player shouldn't fail, though: a 7-9 is a hit, not a miss. Maybe they unbalance their foe instead of disarming. Maybe their foe grabs a smaller backup weapon. But they get something out of their successful roll.

Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2013, 11:59:10 PM »
I would 100% use Defy Danger for a manuever like that (it's literally what Defy is for). I'm confused by the idea that players get to "opt out" somehow. The GM always gets to offer up what happens in the basic rolls. Sometimes that's the hard choice, but it's also the worse outcome. It's your call!

The opt out idea comes from the text for Defy Danger, as well as examples from the same section.

Quote
?On a 7–9, you stumble, hesitate, or flinch: the GM will offer you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice.

and

Quote
GM: Emory, as you climb up the side of the ravine you spy a cultist on a ledge nearby who evokes a frost spell and covers the side of the cliff with ice! If you want to keep climbing, you need to defy danger or you’ll fall.
Emory: No way, I am too tough. I grit my teeth and dig my nails into the wall, climbing one hand at a time. I’m using Con, okay? I got an 8, though...
GM: Hmm, well, I think the only way you can gain any traction, tough guy, is if you use your dagger to pull yourself up the last few feet. It’s going to be lodged in there until you have some time to pull it loose and there’s an angry spellcaster nearby.
Emory: I can always get a new dagger when I get home. Time to finish this climb and that cultist.

So on an 7-9 you can succeed if you accept the complication the GM offers, or you can "opt out". Emory can make the climb if they are willing to spend the dagger. Presumably, if they aren't willing to spend the dagger, they can't continue the climb, but that also doesn't mean they immediately fall.  So in the context of using Defy Danger to disarm, it seems like you can engage in sword play against any enemy, but be in much less danger of receiving an attack from the enemy. And on a 7-9 you can take the partial success, or if you don't like the offer, you can opt out.

Anyway, that's where the "opt out" idea is coming from. I may have it wrong, but it seems pretty consistent with how the moves are written, and supported by examples. I do know that I tend to lean farther away from using Defy Danger as a catch-all than most, though.

Hack & Slash is only triggered when to melee combatants are trying to hurt each other. Defy Danger is triggered whenever a character is attempting something with clear consequences. Seems the obvious choice to me. You can always deal some damage on a 7-9, as your worse outcome. The player shouldn't fail, though: a 7-9 is a hit, not a miss. Maybe they unbalance their foe instead of disarming. Maybe their foe grabs a smaller backup weapon. But they get something out of their successful roll.

I don't get this definition of the trigger for Defy Danger. It seems to me that it is triggered when the GM warns you that there's some danger involved that could complicate or impede your actions. I don't see how the consequences are required to be clear.

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Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2013, 10:14:22 AM »
Huh, that's interesting, I've never seen that interpretation before. Um, there's no real "opting out" unless the GM specifically offers that choice. The GM can offer a worse outcome, hard bargain OR ugly choice. You don't have to give them a chance to back down, not at all. That's probably the most boring option, really, because it leaves the situation unchanged.

Worse outcome just means "some of what you wanted, not all of it," and in no way lets a player back down. You can say "nope, you don't disarm her but you do knock her off balance, take +1forward."
Hard Bargain could be something like "your weapons are tangled, and you can only disarm her if you damage your weapon." Now this situation is what you seem to dislike. So don't do it! Say "your weapons are tangled, and you can disarm her, but you'll either damage your weapon or drop it. Which one do you do?"

Just don't offer a hard bargain that includes backing down.

Anyway, I'd be wary of using Hack&Slash for these kind of stunts because they do not trigger Hack&Slash. It's real
ly for hitting each other: like, if the players rolls a 10+, do they get the +1d6 damage?  It seems weird that you'd feel forced to use the wrong move because you like the consequences better. You can always deal out damage on a 7-9 Defy roll, if that's part of your Worse outcome or Hard Bargain.

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Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2013, 10:29:14 AM »
Also, you're right, my wording was totally unclear. I was trying to say "when there is clearly danger" not "when the danger is clear," good catch.

Basically, Defy Danger really is the catch-all move. It's basically there to call for appropriate stat rolls. If you think it's boring to call for one move over and over, you are probably correct. That's why I never say "defy danger," I just go "oh, you're trying to ______? Roll plus dex." But it's made to handle any situation, don't shy away from applying reasonable consequences to this move: Deal Damage is one of your moves an the GM, you don't need to use H&S to apply reasonable fictional consequences. You can do that easier with Defy.

Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2013, 10:36:17 AM »
That's where I was coming from Scrape.

I felt like opting out is a "non-result" and kind of contrary to the Dungeon World paradigm. It violates the 7-9 being "fundamentally a success but at a price" idea.

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Re: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2013, 11:23:36 AM »
You don't have to give them a chance to back down, not at all. That's probably the most boring option, really, because it leaves the situation unchanged.
I looked for an example of that in Dungeon World and Apocalypse World last night, but didn't find it.
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: Disarming and other stunts
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2013, 12:07:29 PM »
Huh, that's interesting, I've never seen that interpretation before. Um, there's no real "opting out" unless the GM specifically offers that choice. The GM can offer a worse outcome, hard bargain OR ugly choice. You don't have to give them a chance to back down, not at all. That's probably the most boring option, really, because it leaves the situation unchanged.

Worse outcome just means "some of what you wanted, not all of it," and in no way lets a player back down. You can say "nope, you don't disarm her but you do knock her off balance, take +1forward."
Hard Bargain could be something like "your weapons are tangled, and you can only disarm her if you damage your weapon." Now this situation is what you seem to dislike. So don't do it! Say "your weapons are tangled, and you can disarm her, but you'll either damage your weapon or drop it. Which one do you do?"

Just don't offer a hard bargain that includes backing down.

First let me say that I know you have tons more experience with the game than I do, and that I'm not trying to be pointlessly argumentative or pedantic. Without your newbie guide I would have had a much harder time getting the flow of the game.

If I alter the emphasis you gave above, maybe where I'm coming up with this will make more sense.

Quote
The GM can offer a worse outcome, hard bargain OR ugly choice.
to
Quote
The GM can offer a worse outcome, hard bargain OR ugly choice.

Outside of "The Godfather" an offer is something that can be refused. If the GM chooses a worse outcome, it is still offered, according to how the text reads to me. The authors seemed to have taken a great deal of care in choosing the words for the basic moves, so that's why I'm on "offer" like a dog on a bone.

Anyway, I'd be wary of using Hack&Slash for these kind of stunts because they do not trigger Hack&Slash. It's real
ly for hitting each other: like, if the players rolls a 10+, do they get the +1d6 damage?  It seems weird that you'd feel forced to use the wrong move because you like the consequences better. You can always deal out damage on a 7-9 Defy roll, if that's part of your Worse outcome or Hard Bargain.

It seems to me that you're looking to the results encoded in the move text to define should trigger the move, and that seems backwards. The trigger text should stand alone from the results, and a disarm attempt seems to me to fit the trigger text of "When you attack an enemy in melee, roll+Str." It doesn't seem to me to be a force fit to the wrong move at all. Going back to the called shot example, as a "stunt" this is nothing more than an upgrade to a normal swing of a sword.

I don't know that I've seen other folks use Defy Danger *after* another move to upgrade it as I have,rather than the more common case of rolling Defy Danger *prior* to enable a move. There may be something hinky with that.

I do take your point that nothing happening is a not very interesting option that has generally been avoided in the rules. I agree that it isn't very interesting as well, but the potential downside of a partial success is fairly well understood before you roll. If the use of "offer" was unintentional (or just not the way i read it), I can probably live with that.

In the example I quoted above, if Emory doesn't want to leave their dagger behind for whatever reason, what happens? Do they fall, or just remain there until it's time for them to Defy Danger Con to just hang on, or are they compelled to use the dagger because that's the "offer that cannot be refused" that the GM has given them?