A second draft a revised Parley for #Stonetop. Comments and questions appreciated!

A second draft a revised Parley for #Stonetop. Comments and questions appreciated!

A second draft a revised Parley for #Stonetop. Comments and questions appreciated!

Originally shared by Jeremy Strandberg

Second Draft: Parley (Revised)

Here’s an attempt to tighten up both the trigger and the language, and to make the 7-9 results more interesting. Also added examples.

A lot of my thinking on this was inspired by the essay “Improvising Dialogue Sequences” by Robin Laws (in Unframed). It talks about how in movies and books, sharp dialogue scenes involve a petitioner and a granter. The petitioner uses a tactic (like pleading, threatening, appealing to reason, etc.) to get something from the granter. The granter then uses tactics to resist or rebuff the request, and they continue until it gets stale or there’s a definitive outcome.

As always, questions and feedback appreciated!


16 thoughts on “A second draft a revised Parley for #Stonetop. Comments and questions appreciated!”

  1. I’m super glad you are doing this. Should things like bluffing or convincing be included in this? I think your previous language talked about affecting thought or action and now this one is just action? I suppose changing their mind could be considered an action…

  2. Will D yeah, the first iteration was way more open-ended on the trigger: “When you endeavor to change an NPC’s mind, say what you want from them and roll…”

    This version narrows it down a lot more, making it less of a Jedi Mind Trick (I hope) and more of a “provocation” move. It’s less about feelings and more about action, definitely.

    Regarding convincing: Most of the time, you’re trying to convince someone to actually do something, even if it’s a simple or vague action like “forgive me” or “admit that I’m right” or “promise that you won’t _.”

    There’s definitely a grey area, though, right? Like, in the second example, Blodwyn wants to get the girl to trust her and start talking. And in the end, the girl starts talking, but it’s still kinda wary. Blodwyn got the action she wanted but the trust will probably have to be built over time.

    As for bluffing: I think it’s the same as with the original Parley. You can bluff all you want, but unless you’re using that bluff to press or entice someone into action, it’s not Parley. And if you do bluff or lie or pretend (either to trigger Parley or to meet the requirement that the GM reveals), then that’s maybe going to trigger Defy Danger with CHA.

  3. I guess what I’m thinking of is pressing someone into INaction. Like “don’t raise the alarm, we are just service personnel”. But that is still a course of action, so I think it works. The trigger really is much improved.

    Also, I’ve seen you drop a ton of Stonetop material over time – is there a place where it is all collected? And are there or are there going to be classes?

  4. I’m digging this, but I feel like there’s something confusing in the “reveal what it’ll take” and “they make a demand” wording. You try to explain it in the text and it certainly helps, but it’s not fully there for me.

    Talking this out: the 10+ response is an “open response” – it is inviting an negotiating. “I have no use for gold, but if you had some whiskey…”. The 7-9 response is a “closed response” – an ultimatum with no chance to change the results. “Twenty gold? Pfah, make it sixty or get out”

    I dunno how to improve the wording, though. Open/closed isn’t super obvious to most people

  5. Aaron Griffin yeah, it’s definitely a subtle distinction. There’s a lot about this draft that’s subtle… which I quite like. But I also don’t want people to be confused.

    The original wording on the 7-9 result was “They make a counter-offer, and probably not a favorable one.” I feel like that got the idea across better (they’re putting you on the spot, asking for something you don’t want to give). But the “counter-offer” and “terms” language isn’t as broadly applicable as I’d like.

    Hmm. Maybe is just need to say it, right? So like:

    On a 7-9, they… (GM picks 1):

    * Demand something from you first (something you probably won’t like)

  6. I like that, but is it “first” or is it “instead”? I feel like it’d never be “oh I’ll do it for 20 gold but first you have to pay me 60 gold”

  7. The “first” is there to indicate that the demand needs to be met before the do it, whatever “it” is.

    And “it” isn’t “doing it for 20 gp,” it’s “doing it.” The 20 gp is just the way you were pressing/enticing them into doing it.

    “Hey man, I’ll give you 20 gold to put on this chicken hat and run screaming through the courtyard.” (rolls Parley, gets a 7-9).

    “Make it 60 gold.”

    “How about 40?”

    “Screw you, 60 gold or piss off.”

  8. I think making the move about a specific action or deal, rather than changing the target’s attitude, is the right way to go.

    I read an interesting discussion about the Diplomacy skill in D&D, talking about how making it a skill to change others’ attitudes was a mistake, because it was so open-ended and often didn’t make much sense (“feel… my opinions… inexplicably changing!”). Much better for the action to revolve around a specific deal or offer, and for people’s opinions of others to evolve from their interactions. You might fast-talk a merchant into a deal that majorly favours you with a fantastic roll, but they’ll probably resent it afterwards.

    Another discussion I saw was this one, which was actually about social interactions in Dungeon World: rpg.stackexchange.com – How to ask nicely in Dungeon World

    The selected answer’s position is that if someone makes a request of an NPC and the (original) Parlay move doesn’t trigger, then the players are looking to the GM to see what happens, so the GM should make a move. They give some nice examples of ways that the various GM moves could be used in the context of a player just asking for something.

  9. I like your change: “Demand something from you first (something you probably won’t like).” It distinguishes the 7-9 from the 10+ result. The 10+ still is a bit more nebulous than I care for though. Its tough to figure out what could be better, but may more like, “They express some reasonable conditions that need to be met before they’ll do it.”

  10. I think it’s a marked improvement over the standard Parlay move. Some thoughts:

    – like others have mentioned, the “reveal what it’ll take” on a 10+ and the “demand something first” on a 7-9 feel too similar to me.

    – The 7-9 option of “rebuff but could still be swayed” could be eliminated, to trim the move down, IMO.

    I feel the 10+ should just be an outright success, with the trigger modified to only go off when the PC makes an offer or threat that could conceivably outright convince the NPC. The 7-9 results could then be reserved for a success with complication, like an additional demand, or unforeseen negative consequences.

  11. Dion Kurczek but if you changed the wording to only trigger when the PC makes a convincing offer/threat, then you’re back to the GM having to make that call before the dice are rolled, which was one of the things that Jeremy was trying to avoid.

    I think the wording of the 10+ “They reveal what it’ll take” implies that it’s inadvertent, which makes it quite distinct from the 7-9 “They demand something first”.

    One is the GM saying “They all keep looking at Silas the Smith to see how he’s reacting – you reckon they’ll go along with your plan if you can convince him”, while the other is “They demand that you arrange for guards to protect the harvest before they’ll consider leaving with you” or whatever. That feels quite different to me in practice.

  12. Robert Rendell I see it like Hack and Slash, where the GM has to make the call as to whether the move triggers before the dice are rolled. That’s part of the GM’s job. I guess I don’t see the 10+ option and the 7-9 option as distinct as you do. I’d like to see the revision follow the spirit of the core moves, where a 10+ is basically an outright success.

  13. 10+ being an outright success makes this into a Jedi mind trick move, I think. Especially with a high CHA, it is nearly mind control. Getting to learn what it will take can be considered an outright success to a more challenging parley

  14. Will D It’s not mind control because the GM will use their judgment to trigger the move only when there is a reasonable chance of success. Take an extreme case. If a PC went up to the king and said, “here’s a delicious roast turkey leg, you can have it if you abdicate your throne.” No GM would trigger Parley for this enticement. So GM judgment is implicit in the move (I might tweak the trigger to make it explicit). Given that, it seems odd and incongruous to push this wishy washy pseudo success into the 10+ result. One thing is clear about the PBTA engine, a 10+ is a success, and I don’t see a reason to fiddle with that.

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