So, Bonds. I’m three sessions into a DW game, and none of my players have chosen to resolve a bond yet. None of them seemed too inspired by the choices at the start of the game. And they rarely choose to roll Aid, so Bonds are kind of just lying there like dead fish in our game. I think they’re not really getting how to make them fun or interesting, and I’m not sure how to explain it.
Do y’all get a lot of action out of Bonds in your games?
Related, in a comment below Marshall Miller wrote about Madness bonds that “You would want to have things that triggered your madness or find ways of acting on your madness in the game because you couldn’t get XP at the end of the session if you didn’t interact with or resolve your madness. If the end of the session comes up and you look back and your madness hasn’t come up, you are neither hurt nor benefit from your madness.” As I read the rules, you only get xp if you resolve a bond, but maybe it would be more interesting if they were like alignments, and you could get xp for just having them come up in play. Do any of you play it that way?
Allowing an xp for each bond might be too much, but maybe one xp if any of your bonds come up would work out.
23 thoughts on “So, Bonds. I’m three sessions into a DW game, and none of my players have chosen to resolve a bond yet. None of…”
I use the bonds to inform the story. So if one character is keeping a secret from another character, the basis of that secret is going to come up. The players can deal with it how they like and it will probably resolve.
Every time someone rolls a 6 or a 9, I ask “Isn’t someone going to help?!” and every time a player complains about another players’ action, I ask “aren’t you going to stop them?!”
Also, yes, look at the Bonds and write them into your Fronts!
If it’s an issue, address it at the table during the session — maybe multiple times. I remind my players that they’re missing out on XP and story fodder if their bonds don’t come into play.
Retroactive Aid?! It would never have occurred to me to allow that. Is that in the rules somewhere, or are you drifting your own game? 🙂
Colin Roald the rules definitely don’t say one way or another. *grin* I’ve always allowed retroactive Aid, so long as it makes sense in the fiction. You can’t help an archer aim after he’s released the shot, but you CAN give that one extra push needed to give a friend the chance to Hack and Slash, for example.
Air Bud clause: no rules against it, so why not?
Nice, I never thought of that either, I’ll be using that next week.
Nothing in the rules says a giraffe can’t play football.
BUT THEY CAN’T! or at least they SHANT!
I love using the Aid / Interfere rules in slow motion. Someone will try something, fail marginally, someone will attempt to help and also fail marginally, so someone ELSE will Aid them in Aiding the original actor. It makes for fun “all this is happening in the span of a breath” action. Then we speed back up, narrate the mess and see where we all come out.
Mostly, it’s a lot of people chaining their health and safety to one person’s roll, getting the whole party in on the action.
and basically useable in AW too 🙂
With bonds, they can be resolved because they are played out or because the relationship has changed but they can also stop being a central question in the relationship. For example, I wrote a bond in a game that “Shrike always has my back.” If Shrike didn’t have my back in coming sessions, then I could resolve it. I see how it is, Shrike! On the other hand, if Shrike always had my back, I could say so and if Shrike agreed that that’s how the relationship stood then I could resolve it. Of course Shrike had my back, why would I doubt him?
The tension is to balance the mechanical benefit of knowing someone really well and working together against the growth represented by XP gains.
Retroactive aids really make sense in things like lifting a gait, you roll a 6 and it budges but doesn’t lift. If someone else runs over and strains with you, you can just get it high enough…
They also totally make sense when you’re PbF/PbP because to do it, do it means it’s done before someone can post their aid.
Play by forum/play by post
Consider also that you could resolve a bond only to replace it with an escalated version of the same bond. You could resolve Mouse would never betray me and replace it with Mouse will always follow my lead. So, even if you want to explore the existing theme of the relationship, you can still resolve a bond.
I played a session on Google+ last night. We forgot to fill out bonds. I had them stop short on their chargens for bonds so that they could describe their characters, then after they described their characters I forgot about the bonds. Doing them at the start of next session may allow my players to better choose bonds that make sense.
I found that my players would refer to bond often for the purposes of reminding themselves how they relate to the rest of the characters and thinking through their actions. We got some good intra-party drama out of this. However though out the four session I think only one (maybe two) got resolved. So I think they made the game better, even if the XP mechanic didn’t come up all that often.
As a side note, while the GM can certainly help with and be inspired by bonds, the responsibility to bring them into play was on the character. Hence the XP incentive to bring them into play.
Colin Roald I can’t see anyone has yet said: you also get XP for failing a roll and with the end of session move.
Tim Franzke while Adam’s Aiding the Aider can make for a sweet mess in Dungeon World, it’s strictly against the rules in Apocalypse World. Page 205, Vincent explicitly says you can’t help a helper or help an interferer, or any such shit. Still might be fun but I thought I’d point that out.
Adrian Scott is right, the group responded to the bonds even though we hardly ever got them resolved.
It was a great mechanic for background and interactions
For example the tank in our group vowed to protect me from danger and boy did I test him on that bond!!
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