Draft #3 of my Parley rewrite. Feedback welcome & appreciated!

Draft #3 of my Parley rewrite. Feedback welcome & appreciated!

Draft #3 of my Parley rewrite. Feedback welcome & appreciated!

Originally shared by Jeremy Strandberg

Third Draft: Parley (Revised)

I’m not quite ready to give up on this approach to Parley.

We used draft 2 (https://goo.gl/oyof9n) in play quite a bit in a recent session, one that was very socially-oriented (trying to convince 20 or so enslaved Hillfolk that they freed to settle in Stonetop, and then dealing with the inevitable issues of integration).

The trigger felt much better than standard Parley. Not having to judge whether they had leverage in advance was great.

However, Paul Taliesin’s concerns about the move proved to be correct. The move really didn’t give me as the GM more structure than simply free-forming the interactions. That’s partly because of the fuzzy distinction between the 10+ “reveal what it’ll take” and the 7-9 “make a counter offer” (which many people commented on). But it’s also because the 7-9 result was so damn wide open. It really didn’t structure play like I thought it did.

So, new version: same trigger, same 10+ results, but cut the 7-9 result down to “rebuff but still engaged.”

This gets rid of the overlap between the 7-9 and 10+ results, and it relegates unforeseen complications to the 6- result, which I’m okay with.

The biggest argument I expect to see is that the 7-9 result doesn’t move things forward and results in a stalemate. I guess my counter to that would be that it’s like getting a 10+ to Hack and Slash and not rolling enough damage to drop the foe–you’re still fighting, you’ve reduce their staying power, the situation isn’t resolved. With this case, you’re still talking/arguing, but you’ve ruled out one approach, and can still find one that works.

Anyhow, as always, comments, questions, and thoughts appreciated!


9 thoughts on “Draft #3 of my Parley rewrite. Feedback welcome & appreciated!”

  1. I like the 10+ result. I’m of the mind that a 7-9 is a partial success, though, and this 7-9 sounds like not a success at all, nor failure that at least moves the story forward. It’s the equivalent a rolling an attack that “whiffs” in D&D – nothing happens, so all you can do is keep swinging – and a big part of what I love about DW is that you don’t ever whiff. (At least a non killing blow with Hack and Slash raises the stakes and brings combatants closer to death.)

    If there were a way to say “like 10+, but it’ll cost even more,” I’d be more likely to use the move. Like, if the list the GM chooses from is a list of costs, and a 10+ is “they do it or they will do it if (GM picks one)” and 7-9 is “they’ll do it if (GM picks up to 2).”

  2. I used your second draft in my game the other night and my players really liked it. I didn’t use the second option on a 7-9, though (“they rebuff your attempt but could still be swayed by a different approach”) since it seemed likely to create the sort of RPing I dislike in other games, where I know what the NPC wants and the PCs have to keep guessing as to what that is. Take that option out, though, and it works great.

  3. I think you need a different name for the move. The trigger and explanatory text makes this a much more general purpose “influence” move, rather than a more narrowly defined “parley”. A parley is a negotiation between two sides in a conflict, and your move covers a much wider scope. The original Parely move at least introduced the concept of a promise, which grounded the move into a situation where two parties are negotiating, and both sides are going to get something out of the interaction as a result.

  4. Structurally, I would use it with this slight tweak to preserve the convention of 10+ success and 7-9 partial success:


    When you press or entice an NPC into a course of action, say what you want them to do (or not do) and roll +CHA. On a 10+ they do what you want. On a 7-9 they make additional demands.

  5. Saying “they do what you want” without any further context or qualifier on a 10+ effectively makes it a mind control move. Other forms of this move get around this by vaguely specifying that you need to have “leverage.” I think the point of this move is to get around confusing debates about what counts as “leverage” and just quickly adjudicate what it takes to get a person to do a thing.

    I do think renaming it is a good idea, though, unless you were keeping the name “Parley” to take advantage of other moves that specifically refer back to that one.

  6. I agree with Jason Tocci that you should keep the “or they tell you what you need to do to convince them” on a 10+. That was my players’ favorite part of the move, since they no longer had to guess what the NPC wanted, and they knew straight away whether they could provide it or whether they should move on.

  7. Whelp, that didn’t work.

    We tried it out in our game last night. It ended up being a particularly social/political game and triggered a lot. Like, 8 times? We got to see the gamut, including 10+ where they just did what the PC wanted, a 10+ where I told the PC what it’d take, a few 7-9s (one where the PC then escalated, another where they let it drop), and a couple misses.

    We chatted quite a bit today about how it worked and felt.

    It did end up structuring the conversations and interactions the way I had intended & expected. The 7-9 results generated tension and made the players scramble for different approaches and think about whether or not they wanted to escalate from reason to intimidation (etc.). There was some nice tension that got generated.

    BUT (and this is important), pretty much everyone agreed that the 7-9 results felt like failures, with a little frustration/confusion on where they should or could go next, and whether they’d changed tactics or not.

    The other interesting response was the 10+ where I told them what it’d take… the player who got that result didn’t feel like it was a success at all. I think that’s largely because “what it’ll take” was stuff beyond his control, but that’s a definite (and intentional) possibility of this version of the move.

    So, I’m going to (finally) give up on this approach. I’ve got a 4th version cooking that’s much closer to the AW 2e version of Seduce/Manipulate… I’ll probably throw it together over the weekend for folks to consider.

    (Oh, and everyone who argued against the “rebuff your attempt” 7-9 result and the “reveal what it’ll take” 10+ results… you were right!)

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