In Dungeon World, if the GM describes a hazard and a player disregards it should that trigger the Defy Danger move or be considered a Golden Opportunity that triggers a GM move?

For example:

GM: The swamp beast lurches out of the mist, a massive twisted hulk with a tangle of grasping, strangling tentacles reaching out to towards anything within reach. What do you do?

Fighter: I run up and hit it with my sword.

Surely that isn't a simple Hack & Slash. But should it trigger a GM move or a Defy Danger move?

Would it change the answer if the Swamp Beast had the Reach tag but the Fighter's sword only had the Close tag?


There are a number of things the Fighter could have said that would help clarify this. "I dodge past the tentacles to hit it with my sword" or "I force my way through the tentacles to attack with my sword" or "I hack at the tentacles with my sword" or something like that would help a great deal. But just ignoring the threat the GM described altogether - I'm not sure how to deal with that.

The GM could prompt the Fighter to clarify what they're doing. But the GM !!just described the tentacles!! and was clear about the threat they posed.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you explain how your example is "disregarding the hazard"? The player seems intent on confronting the the hazard directly. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Oct 20 at 9:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ The trigger for Defy Danger is "When you act despite an imminent threat or suffer a calamity ..." The danger here is the mass of grasping tentacles. The fighter, despite these grasping, strangling tentacles, is going to swing at the Swamp Beast. \$\endgroup\$ – mcwyrm Oct 20 at 10:19
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    \$\begingroup\$ Hm. I think this question would be better with a more obvious example, because there's a lot of argument to be had between player and GM here about things like "well obviously I meant to dodge its attacks" or "oh I didn't realize the tentacles were that long that it's a problem just to get in slashing range" . \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Oct 20 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ Feel free to edit it, if you like, or outline a better example in an answer. \$\endgroup\$ – mcwyrm Oct 20 at 10:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ Grr. Possible duplicate: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/124229/… \$\endgroup\$ – mcwyrm Oct 20 at 10:40

The GM could prompt the Fighter to clarify what they're doing. But the GM !!just described the tentacles!! and was clear about the threat they posed.

Was the GM clear?

A common problem in Theatre of the Mind is where one person thinks they are being clear, but their words are actually open to some interpretation.

The GM and the player might have very different ideas of just how threatening those tentacles are.

reaching out to towards anything within reach

Quickly? Slowly? Just what is their reach anyway, are they a meter long or ten?

And if the character charges forward and gets caught in the tentacles, without even trying to mitigate or win a beneficial side effect then is that in keeping with:

Be a fan of the characters

This sounds like time to:

Tell them the requirements or consequences and ask

So the GM might respond with:

Those tentacles are moving pretty quickly, it's clear that if you charge straight at the main mass of the creature then they are going to grab you before you get there. Are you going to let them, or will you do something about it?

… and then maybe they'll chop their way through, or dodge past them, or just let themselves be wrapped up and try to power through with brute strength.

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