We're playing Burning Wheel (Gold). About once every two sessions, we run into this problem with Duel of Wits:
- We want the graduated outcomes of Duel of Wits: we'd like to start with two statements of intent, roll some dice, and end up with interesting compromises.
- When we run an actual Duel of Wits, we find ourselves running out of things to say and straining to make our narration fit our moves. Especially after the first two exchanges. (Note that we have tried using Duel of Wits with a smaller body of argument — the "Not a Big Deal" option in the book — and this doesn't quite address our needs.)
- Most of the time, we don't especially enjoy the tactical experience of choosing DoW maneuvers.
So, if not for #1, we'd probably do a straight-up opposed roll and be reasonably happy with the results. We really want a good mechanic for compromises, though.
Your solutions, please
Burning Wheel Gold incorporates an update to the Bloody Versus mechanic, transforming it into a kind of miniature Fight that tends to be resolved in 1-3 rolls. I'm looking for a way to have a Duel-of-Wits-like interaction with a similar level of complexity.
Ideally, I want an approach that covers these bases, to use in our typical big-deal social scenes, while we save the full Duel of Wits for rare special occasions:
- Produces compromises similar to Duel of Wits.
- Involves an average of 2-3 "goes" per side rather than the 5+ we usually see in DoW.
- Features a bit of very simple tactical decision-making, closer to Bloody Versus than Duel of Wits, in order to differentiate it from just mindlessly making a couple of rolls.