My Party has had a bit of trouble wrapping their heads around Bonds, particularly, writing new Bonds. They feel that it’s a bit too much effort on their part. We just use the Bonds that are part of character creation and we’ve come up with the following end of session move:
If you successfully Aided/Interfered with a party member this session, mark XP.
29 thoughts on “My Party has had a bit of trouble wrapping their heads around Bonds, particularly, writing new Bonds.”
Why is it difficult? The players should just think of their interaction with the other characters and write it down. If one character is jealous of what the other got in terms of loot, that can be a Bond!
I don’t personally like the move because it emphasizes trying to make a move just to make a move, but if it works for you, then that’s great!
Coming from a Fate background, I’m used to writing Aspects so Bonds are pretty easy for me. Just think of a sentence to describe your character’s relationship with another character or even an NPC, either how it is or how you want it to be. It could be romantic, it could be a rivalry, it could be a teacher/student relationship… there are lots of possibilities. The point is to encourage interpersonal relationships beyond simply “we go into dungeons and kill stuff together.”
Don’t forget that there are a ton of bond examples in the back of the rule book.
Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to be about a past relationship. In a Dungeon Planet PbP I’m running, one of the PCs said (in the very beginning) that they can’t write all their bonds yet, because they haven’t met the other characters. I said, well, at the start – the four PCs are crash-landing on a planet and your character (native of the planet) sees them for the first time right then and there.
You can essentially make a bond based on the first five-ten seconds of seeing another character too:
__________ looks lost and defenseless; I will help them get acquainted with the world.
__________ seems like a hostile intruder. I will have to watch my back around them.
And I agree with Tom Miskey — it can be anything: romantic, rivalry, relationship, or, like what I described, a “gut feeling” about someone (especially in the case of meeting / seeing the other character but never having any interaction/relationship prior to the start of the story).
Oh, and I believe Jeremy Friesen made a random Bond generator.
P.S. I love how all three of answer: Giovanni Lanza Tom Miskey — considering tonight we’ve got OUR bonds to figure out for the Hangout game. 😀
Ha! That’s really funny, I didn’t realize that until just now.
Yep, I’ve already written a new Bond that fits how my character thinks:
_________ has a secret that I must discover!
Doesn’t matter if you really have a secret (yet), that’s just how he thinks… 🙂
I was bored in a work meeting a while back and wrote up about 4 pages of new bond examples, broken into generic, warrior type, magic type, rogue type, etc. If I could figure out how to share it I’d post it somewhere. Its a Word document currently.
Put it in Google Drive, then share it. I’d love to see them!
Upload it to Google Docs or some other free file server and then post a link. (On Google, be sure to set it to “Share with everyone”)
OK – here’s my attempt to share (sorry, I’m technologically challenged):
It worked! Page 2 seems to be blank though, was that on purpose? The rest shows up fine.
Tom Miskey If you want to be more generous and not put them on the spot, consider: ___ knows my secret. If they ask what your secret is, smile and say, “I don’t know, you tell me.”
Tom Miskey Nope, must be some formatting artifact from Word. Glad it worked though.
“_______ used to bully me, and I won’t take that anymore.” — That’s a a fun one! That’d be especially good for a Number Appearing game.
Really cool list of bonds John Marron Thanks!
Marshall Miller I have a Cleric of Secrets who needs to give secrets to his God to get divine assistance, so someone learning a secret from him doesn’t help him with that. Plus, he’s willing to share a secret he knows, even about himself, but his price is telling him a new secret of equal importance/value.
Bonds can escalate too. I resolved ___ has stood by me in battle and can be trusted completely and replaced it with _____ always has my back in any conflict. It’s a dare. I can resolve it if they always take my side or if they go against me – either way, it’s no longer an open question.
To elaborate. I’ve shown them examples, I’ve given them suggestions, I’ve equated Bonds to mechanics in other games and most of them would rather not do it.
I mean… if they really don’t want to do it, it’s not super-hard to yank it out.
You’ll need to fiddle with the aid/hinder mechanic (roll+what?) and find a way to add ~1 XP each session (maybe one more end of session question?).
Actually, that’s a really good point. If you get rid of bonds, what do you use for Aid/Interfere?
“At the start of each session, ask each player to rank in order who the trust, from highest to lowest. The person they trust the most gets +3-trust with them. Each person down the list gets one less trust.
When you aid or interfere with someone, roll+trust.”
Maybe+wis, something about understanding other people?
Maybe just a flat +0, like death’s door, but that’s boring.
That could certainly work. The trust thing sounds a lot like Hx in Apocalypse World (except Hx+1 vs. Hx-1 is about knowing a character better as opposed to not knowing them as much).
Trust works too.
The question is then more to the players of the group: would they rather rank other players based on how much their characters trusts them? Or how well their characters know each other (still keeping it abstract, like in Apocalypse World, but leaving out actual bonds)?
The +WIS thing about understanding people sounds more like Discern Realities (which is roll+WIS too).
It sounds like Colin has probably tried similar things, but my initial thought for players having problems crafting bonds are to ask them what the PCs think of each other. “So what does Baldrik think about Lilliastre?” “Lilly is an idiot who is going to get us all killed.” “Perfect! Write it down as a bond!” Obviously this won’t help much if everyone is really meh about each others characters.
John Marron Nifty list of example bonds! May I make a copy (attributed to you) and add to the list?
Alan De Smet John Marron You now what would, perhaps, be the best idea? Have one Google Doc that we all share and that anyone can add bonds to. I know I have some I could add to the list as well. 🙂
I’m perfectly happy for people to take and use this list in any way they want, including building on it. I changed the google doc to be shared with anyone, so hopefully that will allow folks to modify it.
The random bond generator that Giovanni Lanza alluded to
I think, in general, beginning groups often take some time to wrap their noggins around bonds and fixing them too early may be a disservice to them. Some ways to motivate them might be connected to how you run your Aid moves. If you let them wait and see what their party members roll before using Aid, that make it more valuable. (Meaning, if their buddy rolls a 6 or a 9, and they can choose then to Aid, they’ll be more likely to do so.) Also, if they don’t write Bonds, it’s a shame their Aid rolls will suck and they lose that chance XP each session.
But, Colin McGinley , if you are happy with your fix, that that’s cool!
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