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In Dungeon World, one of the classes is called the Immolator. It has a signature move called "Burning Brand". Its description follows:

When you conjure a weapon of pure flame, roll+CON. On a 10+ choose two of the following tags, on a 7-9 choose one. You may treat your INT as your STR or DEX in regards to making attacks with this weapon. The weapon always begins with the fiery, touch, dangerous, and 3 uses tags. Each attack with the weapon consumes one use.

  • hand
  • thrown, near
  • +1 damage
  • remove the dangerous tag

This makes sense other than the default touch tag. What on earth does that mean? Do you have to touch the weapon before using it (that seems to be true of about any weapon)? Does the weapon have to spend some time making contact with a foe beyond a normal strike to deal damage? What could it possibly mean?

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The SRD's equipment section lists the following among the "General Equipment Tags":

Touch: It’s used by touching it to the target’s skin.

It means that you won't damage the target if it has no exposed skin. A fully-armoured juggernaut would take no damage from such a weapon, for exameple, unless you find a way to bypass the armour. It's unclear whether it'd work on targets without skin - such as skeletons or golems - but I'd personally rule it as their most prevalent surface - bones, for example - counting as skin for the purpose of the tag.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Aha! That makes sense. Now I wonder what happens to the weapon if neither the hand nor the near tags are chosen but I suppose that fits in another question. \$\endgroup\$ – BlackVegetable Jan 24 '17 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BlackVegetable That'd probably just be a ball (or something similar) of flame you lob at the target. \$\endgroup\$ – Urist McDorf Jan 24 '17 at 15:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @UristMcDorf Not quite. But that would be a good new question; it's an odd/inobvious case. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jan 24 '17 at 15:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ >Now I wonder what happens to the weapon if neither the hand nor the near tags are chosen? Then its only Range is Touch. If you choose add a Hand tag, then its ranges are Touch and Hand \$\endgroup\$ – Slow Dog Jan 24 '17 at 16:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, derp. I'm stupid. \$\endgroup\$ – Urist McDorf Jan 24 '17 at 16:02
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Touch is a general equipment tag.

Touch: It’s used by touching it to the target’s skin.

It just means that to affect someone, it needs to contact bare skin. Like most tags, it directly affects what fictional circumstances are necessary or appropriate for it to affect the narrative, and in turn, have a chance of triggering moves, and which it might trigger.

For example, attacking an armoured knight using a Burning Brand won't trigger Hack & Slash, because this weapon is not dangerous to someone with no exposed skin.

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The answer is found in the weapon tag descriptions.

The tag description says:

Touch: It’s used by touching it to the target’s skin.

So, rather than swinging it at your target like a sword, an attack with it needs to touch its target's skin to succeed. You still roll as normal for Hack and slash.

This is similar in concept to a D&D "touch attack" spell, but with obvious differences due to the vast differences between the systems.

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