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How does reach actually work?

If I am wielding a long spear against a goblin with a dagger ("Staying far out of its reach, I make quick thrusts at the goblin's head!"), do I roll Hack and Slash? Do I simply roll damage? What happens if I roll Hack and Slash and roll an 8?

And if I have a spiked shield (hand weapon) and want to attack a large ogre with a halberd (reach weapon), do I have to Defy Danger to get up close, but then get to hit automatically once I'm close? What about if I had a longsword (close), so our weapons are only 1 range-category different. Would that turn it into a Hack and Slash, or would it be a Defy Danger first to get in range, and then a Hack and Slash to attack?

Here are two example situations I'd like to understand better:

1) Player with reach attacks goblin with hand weapon, using his reach to stay safe.

2) Player with a hand weapon attacks an ogre with a reach weapon, inside of the ogre's effective range.

In example 1, if you have to roll Hack and Slash for that, then that means there is no difference between a reach weapon and a non-reach weapon, so you're ignoring the narrative.

In example 2, if you have to roll Hack and Slash for that, then it means the ogre can attack the player in a way that violates the rules (the rules say that a player with a reach weapon can't use it against an enemy with a hand weapon that manages to get up close). So monsters can violate that rule, but players have to follow it? What?

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Welcome to the site Shepherd's Pie. As a Q&A site, we discourage more than one question per answer, especially if they're not directly related. If you want the second question answered, you should create it as its own separate question. –  wraith808 Apr 25 '13 at 21:33
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Sure, but they're all related to the hack and slash move. –  okeefe Apr 25 '13 at 21:43
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Welcome to RPG.SE Shepard's Pie! Please take a look at the tour when you get a chance. For the record, the comment system is intentionally weak, so that you will edit the question. :-) –  C. Ross Apr 25 '13 at 22:38
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@LitheOhm - It's actually the same manuever, Hack and Slash, but I've removed the bonus question because I agree it's 2 questions about the same move. Of course, my questions about reach are at least 2 different questions as well, so I'm not sure where you'd like to draw the line. –  ShepherdsPie Apr 25 '13 at 22:41
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Noted. This does look a lot more concise, well done. Queries about x maneuver or x rule, specifically, are ruled as one question: ie. "how does reach v. not reach work? Here is an example." This looks great to me. Welcome and thank you for working with us and our format :) –  LitheOhm Apr 25 '13 at 23:21

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If I am wielding a long spear against a goblin with a dagger ("Staying far out of it's reach, I make quick thrusts at the goblin's head!"), do I roll Hack and Slash? Do I simply roll damage? What happens if I roll Hack and Slash and roll an 8?

You roll hack and slash as long as, narratively, it makes sense for the goblin to be at the spear's weapon range. If the goblin is already on top of you, you can't use hack and slash to damage the goblin with the spear.

The 7-9 result, "the enemy makes an attack against you" could be a monster move or a GM move.

Basic Moves: Hack and Slash

The enemy’s counterattack can be any GM move made directly with that creature. A goblin might just attack you back, or they might jam a poisoned needle into your veins. Life’s tough, isn’t it?

Monster Setting 1, Cavern Dwellers: Goblin

  • Charge!
  • Call more goblins
  • Retreat and return with (many) more

Charging you with its dagger could also be reasonable, since "Charge" is a goblin move. The fact that you're trying to stay out of its reach is being compromised by its move and your middling roll. Dealing damage probably isn't appropriate, but the goblin could get inside your spear range (sign of an approaching threat, show off a downside to their equipment).

And if I have a spiked shield (hand weapon) and want to attack a large ogre with a halberd (reach weapon), do I have to Defy Danger to get up close, but then get to hit automatically once I'm close?

It's a defy danger to get close because the danger is an ogre with a reach weapon, without which you can't hack and slash. But, having defied the danger, you still have to make a hack and slash roll if you want to jab the ogre.

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Melee is being used as a noun there to describe being in the middle of a moving, shifting fight. Spearing an opponent that can't fight back isn't "in a melee", so you just deal damage as established then. (I'm paraphrasing Adam and Sage here too, so it's not just my own interpretation.) Hack & Slash was never intended to be "the melee attack move"; it's for a very specific trigger. If there are other dangers than a melee, then you Defy them and then deal damage for free, you don't bend H&S to trigger at times it doesn't normally. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 25 '13 at 22:42
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That interpretation of what "melee" means in Dungeon World was my understanding as well, which is why I was confused by okeefe's answer. –  ShepherdsPie Apr 25 '13 at 22:45
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I assume there's a moving, shifting fight between the Fighter and the goblin with a dagger. The goblin can totally fight back, once it gets closer. But the fighter doesn't just get to beat up the goblin because of superior reach. –  okeefe Apr 25 '13 at 22:46
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@iraserd What does "easier" have to do with anything? If they don't trigger H&S, they don't trigger H&S. If they want to avoid multiple moves, they have to take actions that don't trigger multiple moves. Yes, keeping a goblin at bay with a spear is not safe, because it's not helpless, just kept at a distance. If you want safe, do something else. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 30 at 18:39
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@iraserd Yes, you're missing an important point. If the end point of an action or series of actions is stab the goblin with a spear, futzing around trying to get an "optimal" move or chain of moves is counterproductive. Just stab the goblin. The only reason to hold the goblin at bay is if that's what you want to accomplish in the first place, for some other reason. Like, interrogate it, or keep it from grabbing the jewel without using lethal force, or make it stay still so a friend can take the jewel from its hand, etc. –  SevenSidedDie Aug 30 at 18:59

In Dungeon World, always remember that moves follow the narrative, rather than the other way around.

First, to look a the rules, on p. 324

Weapons have tags to indicate the range at which they are useful. Dungeon World doesn’t inflict penalties or grant bonuses for “optimal range” or the like, but if your weapon says Hand and an enemy is ten yards away, a player would have a hard time justifying using that weapon against him.

So, what does this say towards answering your question? If the player describes his attack and position in terms that utilize the tag, i.e. "Drogon pins the orc in the tines of his spetum, keeping him at bay.", if he succeeds at his roll, i.e. 10+, he does just that, keeping the orc at bay. If you don't roll an unqualified success, i.e. 2-9, then Drogon's execution is a bit off; the GM gets to make a move against Drogon. If Drogon has a spear, and the orc is behind a grate, then he couldn't really hit him with a dagger- but he could poke the spear through the grate and still take out the Orc.

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" if he succeeds at his roll, he does just that, keeping the orc at bay. If you don't roll an unqualified success, then Drogon's execution is a bit off." What does that mean? Does that mean that if Drogan rolls an 8, the goblin hits him? If so, the reach tag made no difference. The grate example... I can see what you're saying, but surely reach is relevant normal combat as well? –  ShepherdsPie Apr 25 '13 at 22:01
    
To clarify my previous comment... it seems like you are saying there is no difference between "I stab at him from well out of his reach" and "I swing my sword at him, hoping to sidestep and avoid his swing". So what you're saying is the narrative doesn't matter. –  ShepherdsPie Apr 25 '13 at 22:15
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@ShepherdsPie "7-9: the enemy makes an attack against you" just means you get to make a GM Move against the player. It doesn't have to be a physical attack. "Put them in a spot" or "call for reinforcements" is equally acceptable as "Do damage as established". Doing damage isn't your only option for a 7-9 Hack and Slash result. Even the GM can't make a move that the fiction disallows, so you have to use that goblin to do a GM move that follows. If bars are in the way you can't deal stabbing damage, so instead have it look behind the PC and shout with joy that the ogre's arrived ("show signs"). –  SevenSidedDie Apr 25 '13 at 22:26
    
@SevenSidedDie - Thanks, that makes sense. I was misreading "you deal your damage and the enemy attacks" as "you deal your damage and the enemy deals his damage". I feel a lot better about this now. –  ShepherdsPie Apr 25 '13 at 22:30
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@SheperdsPie Sweet! Yeah, Adam has said that he wishes they hadn't used the word "attack" in that spot as it has been the cause of a lot of confusion. –  SevenSidedDie Apr 25 '13 at 22:40

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