When the PC holds a shield in his left hand, and is hit by an enemy attacking from the right, does the shield still add to the PCs armor?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't run DW in a heavy simulationist style, its cinematic, go with it, Characters should look cool, get to use their abilities and gear to the fullest. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 7, 2014 at 12:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Joahua Sort of. If there's a reason that the shield's position is already on-screen ("a miss! your shield bash goes wide and leaves you open…") then honouring that is the GM's job. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 7, 2014 at 14:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ I recommend again that you read the Dungeon World Guide. Then, read the GM section of Dungeon World again. Your questions indicate that you are coming from the wrong direction - you think DW should make fiction out of the mechanics. But DW is predicated on Fiction First - what happens in the story you are telling together at the table will sometimes engage the mechanics, which then feed their results back into that story. Always consult the fiction first, then see if the rules engage. \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Oct 7, 2014 at 15:28

2 Answers 2


In general, I'd give the PC the use of the shield - "the orc charges you from the right, and you instinctively twist to get your shield up as he swings his hammer". This is because there's nothing explicit in the rules about the shield being dependent on positioning.

If earlier action gave the character a negative consequence (like establishing weakness, fatigue, or disability), or allowed you to make a GM move then sure, you could say "you're off balance and won't be able to bring the shield to bear against the orcs coming at you from the right."


As with a lot of the questions you're asking about Dungeon World, the answer here is 'it does if it makes sense within the fiction you have established so far'. A definitive yes or no is impossible, because it depends so much on the individual circumstances within whatever scene the question is being asked about.

So, you need to ask yourself - does it make sense in this particular scene and these circumstances for the shield the character is carrying to add to the armour of the character, making them more difficult to harm? If the answer is yes, then the shield should add to the character's armour. If no, it shouldn't.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So in other words it´s up to the GM to make his consistent ruleset that toe players feel they can trust, and to some degree, predict. \$\endgroup\$
    – Zsolt
    Oct 7, 2014 at 10:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Zsolt no. There is no ruleset to 'make' . Whatever is established in the fiction is what makes sense and thus is what the rules are. If playerd and the gm disagree about a situation in the fiction, it should be disxussed in the group what makes sense and what should happen \$\endgroup\$
    – iraserd
    Oct 7, 2014 at 11:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zsolt you might want to give this - apocalypse-world.com/forums/index.php?topic=4996.0 a glance if you haven't already seen it \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Oct 7, 2014 at 11:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Phil can you also link him the dungeon world guide and the google plus tavern. I think those will help zolt greatly. I am on the phone right now so i cant \$\endgroup\$
    – iraserd
    Oct 7, 2014 at 11:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Zsolt it should also be noted that hack and slash is usually regarded as "a series of exchanged blows in melee combat" and thus during a general hack and slash 7-9 i always take into account a shield. On a 6- i might not, maybe it is knocked from the pcs hands \$\endgroup\$
    – iraserd
    Oct 7, 2014 at 11:16

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