Second Draft: Parley (Revised)

Second Draft: Parley (Revised)

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!

(Edit: original draft is here:

18 thoughts on “Second Draft: Parley (Revised)”

  1. “Press or entice” is a nice revision on the trigger.

    I understand the distinction you’re trying to draw between “reveal/demand,” but it feels hard to communicate correctly. Like, the GM may know that the 7-9 result would have been harsher than the 10+, or vice versa, but theres no way for the players to perceive the distinction.

    It seems like the core distinction is something like,

    10+, they do it or offer you a good deal for it,

    7-9, they offer a worse deal or press you for a better offer.

  2. I really like the first paragraph after the move, the definition of what Parleying is! I think exchanging “put pressure” in for “leverage” was a good move. The other thing that I love here is the What Will it Take sidebar. Having those ideas out there for the MC is really useful–that you have 8 of them, so that an MC can cast a d8 if she wants, is a great idea too.

    Laws’s essay is a great one to draw from here. Well done!

  3. I like the explanations, especially the last paragraph of “what will it take?” Though I’m not quite as sure on the fourth example. Could you elaborate on what you chose for the 7-9 result? I can see why you would roll a second time (it’s a new strategy), but if they got rebuffed, then you should tell them what it will take.

  4. Peter J on the fourth example, the GM chose “they rebuff your attempt, but could still be swayed by a different approach.” Nothing in that option says that the GM should tell the player what that different approach might be, and explanatory paragraph (2nd column, 2nd paragraph), indicates that it’s on you to come up with the alternative.

    That’s why the second appeal to fear/safety fails without a roll, but why the emotional “Then… then I’ll stop you!” triggers another attempt. It’s a different approach.

    By contrast, if Caradoc had gotten a 10+, the GM could have revealed right away (after Rheinal’s speech about the Wood always being dangerous) what would convince Rheinal.

    And at that point, I might have actually chosen “appealing to his emotions” and told Caradoc “You can tell that he won’t be swayed by fear, but he seems really touched by your concern. If you tell him just how much he means to you, and how scared you are of losing him, that’d get him to stay.” And then Caradoc’s got to choose whether he’s willing to put his feelings about Rheinal out in the open, or let Rheinal go off into danger. If Caradoc opens up, it’d work, no roll required. If he let him go, I’d probably have made a (much) softer move.

    (Or not… letting him go into the Wood could have been a golden opportunity, depending on my prep.)

  5. Jason D’Angelo I didn’t even notice there were 8 bullets. That’s just what fit (and so what I condensed it down into).

    Dirk Detweiler Leichty by “hard to communicate clearly,” do you mean it’s hard for the GM to communicate it to the players? Given that the GM is making the choice in either case, does that matter? Or are you more concerned about the GM not having the right guidance?

  6. I think there is some really good stuff here. I’m still pondering the “they refuse, but you can try again” option. It seems… potentially difficult, and doesn’t indicate a specific NPC action.

    I’d like to see it say something about what the NPC does, or what the PC must do. Perhaps even something like, “You’ll have to try something more underhanded or more extreme” would do, I’m not sure.

  7. Gerard Snow the Thrall is on the backburner for now. I’ve got lots of ideas for it, but I’m still rolling around how I could possibly make them all fit! (Also, yeah… that was a bit of a gut-punch of a move on Caradoc, right?)

  8. Paul Taliesin Interesting. I’m not sure I want to be that prescriptive. Like, they might rebuff your blustery intimidation but then be swayed by your honest appeal for their help.

    What about this instead? Does it help clarify the NPC response?

    On a 7-9, they… (GM picks 1):

    * …

    * Rebuff your attempt but remain engaged; they could be swayed by a different approach

    * …

  9. That point hits at what I wanted to bring up before; whether or not it should take two rolls for the same situation. The 7-9 result can suggest a different approach that /will/ work, if the character is willing to go there. It’s an iteration of “tell them the consequences and then ask”

  10. (I think the problem with that is that it overlaps with the 10+ option.)

    Jeremy Strandberg:

    I hear where you’re going with this, but at some point “GM, you can choose to offer them something or ask them to try again or you can say they agree” starts to help us very little compared to just freeform roleplay. (And I question the usefulness of any rules which don’t add anything to what we can already accomplish freeform.)

    I do like the idea of “They’re not won over, but you’ve got their full attention now” as a rephrase of this.

    The idea of having to somehow escalate the exchange is much more fitting dramatically, though. You hardly ever see fictional negotiations which go like, “I’m threatening you and offering myself to you! No, you refuse? Uh, how about I just give you $20?” “Yeah, ok.”

    I think if you’re switching approaches entirely, it would be easy to interpret that as a form of escalation – we can’t really compare intimidation and an honest appeal quantitatively, so it would be totally legit for a group to say, “Hey, yeah that feels right – in this situation, honesty is more powerful than intimidation.”

    But I’m just thinking out loud! I don’t have an answer in mind.

  11. First thought: Perhaps put the press (threaten, encourage, demand, implore, beg, ect) or entice (seduce, encourage, demand, ect.) Into the moves text.

    I feel that the extra lines to inform the players is worthwhile.

  12. Paul Taliesin “GM, you can choose to offer them something or ask them to try again or you can say they agree” starts to help us very little compared to just freeform roleplay.

    I disagree! If we’re doing this via freeform play, we’re just talking until the conversation peters out, or I (GM) decide that the NPC caves, or I (the GM) respond in such a way that shuts the player down (for whatever reason). But we’re relying on our social/acting/improv skills to decide when that happens.

    These three 7-9 results serve to prompt the GM to pick the one that makes the most sense right now. Does this NPC want something and take an opportunity to press for it? Do they shut down this line of attack but remain open to others? Do they go along with it but something goes wrong? The move structures the conversation so that it keeps changing and moving towards a find resolution.

  13. Also: You hardly ever see fictional negotiations which go like, “I’m threatening you and offering myself to you! No, you refuse? Uh, how about I just give you $20?” “Yeah, ok.”

    Right, and this wouldn’t do that. It’d go like:

    1) You threaten them into staying, get a 7-9. They’re unimpressed by your threats, maybe start shouting back, but they’re still here. (Future threats won’t work.)

    2) You try grabbing them and kissing them, hoping this is all sexual tension. You get a 7-9 again, they break the kiss off and push you away, start asking what the hell are you thinking? (Seduction won’t do it either.)

    3) Fine, you pull some coin out and offer it to them, and this time I get a 10+. No way is that gonna work, but they reveal what would. “He looks at you with these sad eyes, and you can see that he’s never going to listen to you, or look at you, the way that he looks and listens to Magbyn. He’d listen to her, though. You’re sure of it; if she asked him to stay, he would.”

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