The Shapeshifter move states:

You have any innate abilities and weaknesses of the form...

but that:

You still use your normal stats.

One of my players changed into a large crocodile. I gave them a couple of appropriate animal moves ('trap a target in your powerful jaws' and 'shrug off damage with your thick skin'), which worked fine. However, when they triggered the Hack and Slash move, it made no sense to me that they would still do their class's damage. I would have thought that the razor sharp teeth of the animal would be an innate aspect of being a crocodile that would impact on the effectiveness of the druid's ability to do damage...


3 Answers 3

  • There are Advanced Moves, starting with Red of Tooth and Claw, that automatically increase the damage die while Shapeshifted.
  • As GM, you could also give them a temporary move that increases the damage for that form. That’s up to you and your player, whether you want to emphasize creatively changing into a form suitable for dealing damage. In the case of a crocodile, I could see such an increase if both they and the target were in the water, for example. The increase doesn't have to be a larger die. Instead, it could be +2, +1d4, or b[2d6] (best result from rolling d6 twice), etc.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ This is a good answer- DW is very good at handwaving bureaucracy in general. Think of the alternative- do you really want a massive table of every animal and their damage dice? Keeping the damage dice the same and allowing the animal form to aid the fictional positioning is a simple solution that keeps things fun and flowing. \$\endgroup\$
    – glenatron
    Jan 29, 2018 at 11:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nope, I misunderstood something. I was thinking of the Advanced Delving chapter, but you're referring to later Druid Moves. My bad! \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29, 2018 at 17:54

Only a tiger fights like a tiger.

When a druid has Shapeshifted into a tiger and uses Hack and Slash, they aren't fighting like a tiger. They're fighting like a druid who's turned into a tiger. So they deal druid damage, which is 1d6. Various advanced moves like Red of Tooth and Claw and Formshaper improve their baseline combat capabilities, perhaps by bringing their basic mindset closer to that of the animal.

But similarly, it's not burning any hold to Hack and Slash as a tiger, because they're not tapping into any of the tiger instincts. Only animal moves that let the instincts take over actually burn off the hold from Shapeshift. Now, the results of animal moves can look a lot like the results of player moves - one of my fallbacks to handle an animal that attacks ferociously is to deal +1d6 damage and get opened up to an attack - but for all that a player move might align with an animal move, if they don't burn hold, they don't tap into the animal instinct and get no special benefit.

Now, they are the size and shape of a tiger, which means that they may be capable of fighting in melee with things the druid themselves cannot. And the forms a druid can turn into with, say, Thing-Talker or World-Talker may be dangerous to touch in and of themselves. But these are considerations of fictional positioning and aftereffects, rather than raw damage.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that should also hold true for a mouse… \$\endgroup\$
    – edgerunner
    Jan 30, 2018 at 6:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Kind of the other way around there, in that they are not capable of fighting in melee with things the druid themselves can, and they shouldn't be getting the Red of Tooth and Claw line bonuses either. Formshaper would still work, presumably adding big huge nasty teeth if they wanted the damage bonus. \$\endgroup\$
    – Glazius
    Jan 30, 2018 at 13:16

It's counterintuitive to anyone coming from a D&D background (or most other RPGs), but in Dungeon World, the damage die is not at all based on what weapon you're wielding: the Fighter does d10 damage with Hack and Slash regardless of whether they're using their signature weapon or an eating knife, because they're the Fighter, and the Wizard does d4 regardless of whether they're using their customary staff/dagger or a battleaxe, because they're the Wizard and melee combat is not their thing. Likewise, it doesn't matter whether the Druid is "wielding" a huge crocodile maw or a ferret's tiny little fangs, they still do d6.

That said, there are advanced moves (Red of Tooth and Claw, Blood and Thunder) the Druid can take when leveling up, to be more of a melee combatant if that's what being the Druid is coming to mean in your game.


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