This is called the Drawbridge Exercise and it is a negotiating exercise I did in my summer class, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution. You have no idea how many arguments these in-class exercises started. I did this exercise with my best friend and was surprised that her answers ended up being exactly opposite from mine. Be warned, this might start a fight.
Rules: Read the story first with at least one other person and then follow the directions afterward. Don’t cheat, it ruins the fun and it makes you that person.
“As he left for a visit to his outlying districts, the jealous baron warned his pretty wife:
“Do not leave the castle while I am gone or I will punish you severely when I return!”
But as the hours passed, the young baroness grew lonely, and despite her husband’s warning, decided to visit her lover, who lived in the countryside nearby.
The castle was located on an island in a wide, fast-flowing river with a drawbridge linking the island and the mainland at the narrowest part in the river.
“Surely my husband will not return before dawn,” she thought, and she ordered her servants to lower the drawbridge and leave it down until she returned.
After spending several pleasant hours with her lover, the baroness returned to the drawbridge, only to find it blocked by a madman wildly waving a long, cruel knife. “Do not attempt to cross this bridge, baroness, or I will kill you,” he raved.
Fearing for her life, the baroness returned to her lover and asked him to help.
“Our relationship is only a romantic one,” her said. “I will not help.”
The baroness then sought out a boatman on the river, explained her plight to him and asked him to take her across the river in his boat.
“I will do it, but only if you can pay my fee of five marks.”
“But I have no money with me.” the baroness protested.
“That is too bad. No money, no ride,” the boatman said flatly.
Her fears growing, the baroness ran crying to the home of a friend, and after again explaining the situation, she begged for enough money to pay the boatman his fee.
“If you had not disobeyed your husband, this would not have happened,” the friend said. “I will give you no money.”
With dawn approaching, and her last resource exhausted, the baroness returned to the bridge in desperation, attempted to cross to the castle, and was slain by the madman.”
Directions: Above is a list of all the characters. Using the list above, rank each character according to how responsible he or she was for the baroness’ death. Rank the characters from 1 to 6, with 1 being the most responsible and 6 being the least responsible. Now, work with the other people who also did this exercise and decide together on a rank order for the 6 characters. You must negotiate and explain why you think a character deserves a certain ranking and come to a consensus.
Good luck! Let me know if you want to know what I put.