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While GMing a Dungeon World session, I had the following (awesome) situation occur:

The players were guests on an NPC woman's boat. The woman had a magical book that the players wanted to have a look at, and they successfully convinced her to hand it over. While it was in the thief's hands, he decided he wanted to take it (because of course he did) and quickly swap it with a book he had. The paladin of the group wanted to draw attention to the thief by loudly shouting "Say Ben, what do you have there?" (Ben being the name of the thief).

This triggered the Interfere move, as the paladin was trying to hinder someone he has a bond with. He rolled and got a 6-, so I said that as the paladin shouted and raised his arm to point at Ben, he knocked over a pot of the boatswoman's supplies which smashed and caused her to become angry with the paladin, actually distracting her from the thief instead!

I'm not sure what GM move that would fall under (possibly 'reveal an unwelcome truth' or 'turn their move back on them') but am pretty happy with how that flows from the fiction.

I then had the thief roll to Defy Danger, as before the paladin chose to interfere, I had interpreted his sleight of hand as Defy Danger, with the danger being the boatswoman noticing the switch.

My question is: Given that in the fiction the boatswoman is now distracted, does the Defy Danger move still trigger for the thief?

Is the roll no longer necessary as she is distracted? Can I give the thief a bonus to his defy danger roll due to the distraction? (I know that DW is against using modifiers for representing difficulty)

Should I have had both the thief and the paladin roll their moves simultaneously, and interpreted the results together?

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    \$\begingroup\$ That is a fantastic action and attempted interference action combo. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Oct 8 '16 at 18:24
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In Dungeon World, the moves must follow from the narration.

In this first case, the thief would need to defy the danger of the boatswoman noticing the burgle. (By the way, an excellent use of the move)

The Pally decides to try to influence the situation (in a negative way). Since he blunders, the DM must choose one of the available moves. This move should be counter to the stated intent of preventing the theft. In particular, the rules state

To choose a move, start by looking at the obvious consequences of the action that triggered it. If you already have an idea, think on it for a second to make sure it fits your agenda and principles and then do it.

Narratively, it could make sense for the woman to be distracted. Distraction is boring, and DM moves exist to make sure things stay interesting. I believe the one you're looking for is offer an opportunity. The opportunity doesn't have to go to the triggering character.

It would be well within the DM's rights to offer the thief an opportunity to swap the books without a Defy Danger. As such, and given the narrative you described, the answer to your question is no, the Defy Danger doesn't trigger.

Note that a failed interfere doesn't always grant success to the opposition. The DM could have chosen use up their resources by taking their time and the opportunity to study the book. Perhaps instead of being distracted, she called in servants to clean up and started politely but firmly showing the party out. The thief could then attempt the swap, but it would remain dangerous and Defy Danger would be called for.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah, yep offer an opportunity definitely fits the reaction I chose. And that nicely provides the justification for the thief not needing to defy danger, as that is the opportunity offered. \$\endgroup\$ – Flipster77 Oct 9 '16 at 0:22
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You handled it wonderfully.

I have often stumbled over how to handle the actual table-handling of Help/Interfere and the move it is affecting — are the rolls simultaneous? are they one then the other? in which order?

The answer is always that they happen in the order that the in-fiction action should have them happen in. Sometimes this means its simultaneous, but in cases like yours the Interfere is very much happening right before the attempt — the Paladin saw the glint in the Thief's eye or something, and tried to head off the switch — so the Interfere being rolled first makes sense.

(The only thing to watch for is that this makes it tempting for the second-rolling player to back out of the roll, if the result of the Interfere doesn't go their way. That will sometimes be fine, when the fiction allows not doing the trigger. If the way the fiction is laid out doesn't make sense to back away from their action though, then the trigger is still triggered by the fiction that they're still doing, and the move should happen regardless.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Good point to watch out for players attempting to back out of rolls if the Interfere goes against them. I think in this case if the Interfere had worked, the the thief would have the choice whether to go ahead or not, as he hasn't actually done it yet. So he could either play it safe, or go ahead with the -2. \$\endgroup\$ – Flipster77 Oct 9 '16 at 0:26

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