Whats counts as Leverage?

Whats counts as Leverage?

Whats counts as Leverage?

Hi all,

Great community here. Full of insights and interesting ideas. The Tavern has definitely helped to make Dungeon World a lively and fun game for my group.

The question above was inspired by my conversations with Tim Franzke about Anthony Giovannetti’s DW hacks and how certain moves could be used for Leverage in Parley.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on when and why, as well as your favorite examples from actual play. My hope is to make this thread a resource for GMs and players alike.

And who knows? Maybe we’ll collect the community favorites as a send up for Adam Koebel and Sage LaTorra. 😉


#BasicMovesInPlay #Leverage #Parley

32 thoughts on “Whats counts as Leverage?”

  1. I was running a one-shot for my friend and his sons (ages 12 and 9) and was playing pretty loose with the rules.

    The nine-year-old was a wizard and he was using parley on a local for information, threatening to turn him into a worm if the guy didn’t talk.

    He rolled a 7-9 and the guy called his bluff, so he turned him into a worm and then back again. The guy spilled the beans after that.

  2. The fighter is in melee with a guard and announces that she wants to parry their attacks and then pin them to the wall with her sword. She rolls Hack and Slash, 10+. The bard uses the fighter’s presence as the leverage (threat of violence) and the GM gives him +1 Forward on it.

  3. I like moves that grant you leverage and tell you why you have it. For example:

    Break the News

    When you tell them just how bad off someone is or isn’t, you can use your composure as leverage to Parley.

  4. Matt Horam​ I’d say it’s on the players to offer something or know the leverage in advance. But, if you’re in a spot, you could roll on the 100 instincts list (pp. 390-391) for an inspiration.

  5. Moves like that show how a type of character can reliably leverage situations. For example, a lawyer could reliably use legalese to Parley against non-lawyers/judges or a noble could reliably use their social status to Parley with serfs.

  6. If you don’t have leverage yet, do you mean you can get it based on the result of your move results?

    If you want to use force, I see what you mean that you would Hack&Slash to hurt someone, and now use that as your leverage – but how do you decide how much of a success is enough to gain leverage? What if you get a 10+ and roll 1 damage? What if you roll a 7-9 and take damage as well while dealing your maximum damage? What distinguishes when the leverage is acquired?

  7. It doesn’t have to be mechanical. As long as the narrative supports the leverage logically then they have it. You can modulate how effective it is with the NPC’s reaction or a +/- Forward.

  8. You could have a gun but be unable to fire it. Putting leverage in a move bypasses the fictional positioning normal required to make the subsequent move. It also calls out an unusual source of leverage.

  9. Marshall Miller I really dislike moves that outright say “you can always use __ for leverage.” They impose truths on the fiction that often make no sense. 

    Like a move that lets a lawyer use legalese to parley against non-lawyers/judges… so I can use legalese as leverage against the Joker? I am pretty sure he gives exactly zero frigs about my legalese. And I doubt the ideological, rabble-rousing leader of the peasant revolt cares about a noble’s social status. Giving me moves that say they do, period, robs those characters of their internal consistency.

    I like moves that say “when you use __ as leverage, take +1 to Parley” or “roll +__ to Parley.”  That’s solid. But saying “you can always use scary-looking gun to parley, even against Demogorgon” is pretty lame.

  10. My favorite example of Parley I can remember…

    Bard:  “We’re looking for this guy Valleois. He’s got something of ours. Why don’t you help us find him?”

    Gang Leader: “What’s in it for us?”

    Bard: “Does a finely dressed gentleman like me look like I need Valleois’s pocket change? All we want is the decanter he’s carrying. Everything else that thief has on him is yours.” 

    Gang Leader:   “Yeah, okay. But gimme your boots.”

    Bard: “My boots?”

    Gang Leader: “Fine pair of boots. But nothing special to a well dressed gentleman like you, right?”

  11. Tim Franzke I’m aware of that, but the original post read this way:

    “The question above was inspired by my conversations with +Tim Franzke about +Anthony Giovannetti’s DW hacks and how certain moves could be used for Leverage in Parley.”

    So it seems as though you’re talking about using moves to get leverage. So I ask how would you do that?

  12. Well you have just demonstrated your arcane might with a powerful spell. You clearly have leverage as a master of arcane arts. Same thing with a good Spout Lore. 

  13. Character X, if redefined as a Front, has elements A,B, and C. 

    If the player move to affect A, B or C with their threats / actions, either towards or away from the character’s desired end state, it counts as leverage.

  14. Jeremy Strandberg In the move above (from a physician type cc), you’re using your professional calm and the emotional reaction to your prognosis to get your foot in the door to push for something you want. Normally, you’d need leverage but this move lets you set up a situation wherein you have a different kind of coercive power. When you go to parlay, you don’t need leverage because you already have that in toward getting what you want.

  15. Love the actual play experiences that everyone has contributed so far.

    And I agree with Jeremy Strandberg that always should be used sparingly, if ever.

    As a GM, I’ve enjoyed when my players find something unusual and attempt to offer it as leverage.

    Case in point: my Would-Be-Hero player presenting a vial of his deceased sibling’s blood to the vampiric head of the Academy in the hopes that the dean will find it worthy of being kept in The Cellar (wine in the setting is made from the substance of legends).

    On a 7, however, the best the player could manage from him was an “Eh, when you have the last of the Paladin’s press she will be kept close to heart (for future resurrection). Until then, this chalice here should do well for her.”

  16. This reminds me of the time my group got attacked inside an inn by some bad guys. Property damage and dead bodies later, the proprietor really wanted us to leave…

  17. Jarod Cerf We had a few deaths in the party the last few sessions, as well as some tense encounters that came on the heels of that fight and some other things.

    I’m trying to keep the fictional timeline straight. I think we had one character death following that encounter then we went back to deal with that character’s funeral stuff. That seemed to soften up his feelings toward us, I think, since before this he thought we were pretty cool. On the heels of that we had a dispute arise between two characters and one of them left (likely to assume NPC status in the future) and then another fight happened in the tavern before we left again, partly the consequence of that dispute and partly because things hadn’t been settled with what we were investigating that led to the first character death.

    One of the PCs in the dispute left when we returned to our investigation because he didn’t seem compatible with the group at this point. We found a replacement for him somewhat quickly but we ended up having another character death, so we are heading back to town to deal with that and look for more help.

    I am not solid on what the innkeeper thinks of our group at this point, because all of this has happened over the course of a few days in the fiction. He might be more forgiving because we are on a quest and generally have been okay before this, but I guess we’ll see.

  18. The character who ended up coming back from death rolled a 7-9 and the other two outright failed. Each character got a kind of personalized encounter with Death, developed by the GM. Because of that, the character who survived got off a bit light since he was already sort of Death-aligned in the first place. The Thief got shown to a house with a party inside and given the opportunity to steal from the guests. The Druid got sent to a natural setting where he could shapechange and remain in that form, hunting alongside wild animals.

  19. I don’t know yet because those are the only deaths we’ve had. I think the Death scenes were basically, “You had your life and now it’s over, so let’s have you resign to something that’s thematically appropriate for your character.”

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