In my last session, I ran a scene and I felt like it moved too slowly and was a bit sluggish.

In my last session, I ran a scene and I felt like it moved too slowly and was a bit sluggish.

In my last session, I ran a scene and I felt like it moved too slowly and was a bit sluggish. I’m wondering how could have I use DW principles to keep it more contained, focused and, well, interesting.

The group met with a medusa in a jungle ruin.

She was not hostile but could depending on how the PC interacted with her.

They started discussing with her to gain information on the location of an ancient city. She knew where it was though didn’t want to say just like that.

We roleplayed a bunch and I was keeping an hear open for when Parley would get trigger but it never was.

In the end, she told them the information (although a bit cryptic) but I felt like the scene should have been way more contained. It should have taken maybe 5 minutes at best. I think it almost took 30 min.

How would you have framed this so that players can roleplay a little bit and then trigger the Parley move?

15 thoughts on “In my last session, I ran a scene and I felt like it moved too slowly and was a bit sluggish.”

  1. “She knew where it was though didn’t want to say just like that.”

    Why? Why didn’t she want to give up the info? What did she actually want?

    (I get why you would want her to be coy and make the players work for it. But that only works if she’s got a good reason to hold out, and or something to gain.)

  2. Would a simple “What can you give me if I told you where it’s the macguffin? Not that I’m saying I know that.” solve that, kind of “forcing” the Parley since it seems that was your intention all along?

  3. She was a heir to the throne of that city, thus didn’t want to jeopardize her claims to just anybody. She wanted to make sure the PC were trustworthy and skilled enough to clear the abandoned city of the monsters.

    She ended up launching her minions against them to test them out, which I releaved with a DD – Who’s really in control here to one of the character.

  4. Marcelo Paschoalin I guess it could have! Something like:

    “I know what you’re looking for but I’m just not telling that to anybody. How can you prove me that you’re trustworthy?”

    Then if they’d give me a convincing enough argument, make them roll Parley.

    That would have been indeed much better, much more focussed.

  5. Jeremy Strandberg I think I failed on asking myself that question. It should have been clearer in my mind why she didn’t want to just give them the answer (otherwise no need for a scene, she would have just tell them).

    I might need to write it down in my GM book next time, that way it would force me to crystallize the concept into actual words, making this lot more clear in my own mind.

  6. So here’s the procedural bit of DW. When they say “yo medusa, you got the deets?” then they wait for an answer? That’s looking to you to find out what happens – you get to make a GM move!

    What move did you make when she spoke?

    Reveal an unwelcome truth – “Ah, fleshbags, but you already know the location of the thing. You’ve passed through it to come here!”

    Show signs of an approaching threat – “Hurry, do not mince words, ask what you must ask,” she looks around frantically. “There is something foul about and I dare not stay much longer.”

    Use up their resources – “Oh, your torches are quite nice. It is so dark down here where I am bound. Give them to me and I will tell you”

    Separate them – “I will tell you if you go through those doors and release my chain so I may be free! WAIT! One of you must stay with me”

    Offer an opportunity, with or without cost – “I refuse to tell you where it is. But I will SHOW it to you if you free me”

    etc etc etc

  7. Addramyr Palinor having some detail vis a vis “What does this NPC want?” makes is much, much easier to make moves with that NPC.

    You can write that as an instinct. For example, sounds like your medusa’s instinct is to maintain or improve her hold over the city .

    Then, when the PCs show up, you can think about her reactions with that instinct in mind. How can I use these PCs to maintain or improve my hold over the city?

    If they show up acting like they’re here to kick ass, take names, and kill all monsters, she’s probably going to respond to them as a threat, and either smash them outright or lure them into a trap.

    If they’re like “hey, ma’am, we just want to get in and find X and get out,” then she’d think about how she can use that to improve or maintain her hold. “Sure, I’ll tell you where and how to find it, but i need to kill for me first.”

  8. I think I’m actually using it.

    Is it this one? EDIT: I think the move I’ve come up with is mostly inspired by your move but it’s a bit modified.


    When you press or entice an NPC, say what you want them to do (or not do). If they have reason to resist, roll +CHA.

    On a 10+, they do as you want.

    On a 7-9, the GM chooses 1 or 2 requirements:

    ■ Something they want (a gift, a bribe, info, etc.)

    ■ Force/violence/a credible threat

    ■ Concrete assurance/evidence/corroboration

    ■ Pressure/permission/participation/help from _

    ■ Appeasing or appealing to their ego/honor/emotions/conscience/fears

    ■ A chance to do it safely/freely/discreetly

    ■ A promise/oath/vow

    ■ A convincing deception

    The GM will reveal any requirements in play; satisfy

    them and the NPC will do as you want.

  9. Jeremy Strandberg rereading your move and mine, I think I’ll adjust mine a bit closer to yours.

    Mainly, your 10+ result makes way more sense if you open the opportunity to reveal something they want wheter than just saying: you don’t need anything, they just do as you say

  10. Addramyr Palinor yeah, without that option on the 10+, the move has a tendency to become a mind control power. Or you have ask yourself “is their pressure/enticement sufficient/appropriate?” in which case you’re back to the standard DW’s Parley, but less clear.

  11. The Legacy version of the same move uses one choice on a 10+ or two on a 7-9. Sometimes these choices are already done.

    You’re basically saying what the NPC’s buttons are, and which you need to press.

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