Defy Danger

When you act despite an imminent threat or suffer a calamity, say how you deal with it and roll. If you do it

  • by powering through, +Str
  • by getting out of the way or acting fast, +Dex
  • by enduring, +Con
  • with quick thinking, +Int
  • through mental fortitude, +Wis
  • using charm and social grace, +Cha

✴On a 10+, you do what you set out to, the threat doesn’t come to bear. ✴On a 7–9, you stumble, hesitate, or flinch: the GM will offer you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or ugly choice.

You defy danger when you do something in the face of impending peril. This may seem like a catch-all. It is! Defy danger is for those times when it seems like you clearly should be rolling but no other move applies.

Defy danger also applies when you make another move despite danger not covered by that move. For example, hack and slash assumes that’s you’re trading blows in battle—you don’t need to defy danger because of the monster you’re fighting unless there’s some specific danger that wouldn’t be part of your normal attack. On the other hand, if you’re trying to hack and slash while spikes shoot from hidden traps in the walls, those spikes are a whole different danger.

Danger, here, is anything that requires resilience, concentration, or poise. This move will usually be called for by the GM. She’ll tell you what the danger is as you make the move. Something like “You’ll have to defy danger first. The danger is the steep and icy floor you’re running across. If you can keep your footing, you can make it to the door before the necromancer’s magic gets you.”

Which stat applies depends on what action you take and your action has to trigger the move. That means you can’t defy danger from a steep and icy floor with a charming smile just so you can use Cha, since charmingly smiling at the icy floor does nothing to it. On the other hand, making a huge leap over the ice would be Str, placing your feet carefully would be Dex, and so on. Make the move to get the results.

GM: Emory, as you climb up the side of the ravine you spy a cultist on a ledge nearby who evokes a frost spell and covers the side of the cliff with ice! If you want to keep climbing, you need to defy danger or you’ll fall.

Emory: No way, I am too tough. I grit my teeth and dig my nails into the wall, climbing one hand at a time. I’m using Con, okay? I got an 8, though

GM: Hmm, well, I think the only way you can gain any traction, tough guy, is if you use your dagger to pull yourself up the last few feet. It’s going to be lodged in there until you have some time to pull it loose and there’s an angry spellcaster nearby.

Emory: I can always get a new dagger when I get home. Time to finish this climb and that cultist.

GM: The athach is swinging his burly third arm down at you, knobby fingers gripping a broken branch. What are you doing, Valeria?

Valeria: So he wants to fight, huh? Let’s do it. I hack and slash him, swinging my sword at his legs.

GM: Now hold on there, champ. He’s already got you at a disadvantage. You can jump into the fray but you’ll take that club head on unless you defy danger first.

Valeria: Pfft, he’s no match for Valeria the Red! I leap aside like a leaf in the wind, then I start hacking and slashing.

GM: Defy danger with your Dex, please and thank you.

Octavia: I’ve had enough of this ogre, I’m going to drop my shield and swing my hammer in both hands. Hack and slash, right?

GM: You drop your shield? That’s a bad idea–now you have to defy danger because the ogre is going to bash you.

Octavia: Are you sure? Isn’t that what hack and slash is? Trading blows and stuff?

GM: Yes, duh, of course. I need another cup of coffee–hack and slash it is, make your move!