Speak to me of bonds and getting XP from them, how you handle it,  and, maybe, just maybe, why they were done that…

Speak to me of bonds and getting XP from them, how you handle it,  and, maybe, just maybe, why they were done that…

Speak to me of bonds and getting XP from them, how you handle it,  and, maybe, just maybe, why they were done that way in the first place.

The reason I ask is that as they are written, they’re a confusing way to get experience. Because you resolve that bond – which means you settle it. 

But resolving bonds seem to be mainly there for negative bonds.

To quote from Alexander Hay “It seems to me that having positive bonds are not only useless but actually counter-productive and seem to encourage us vs them thinking. They seem to interfere with the game rather than create useful tension and options. But negative bonds offer an opportunity at resolution. So for instance, as a Kung Fu master, it would seem normal to me to have a rather arrogant and dismissive attitude in regards to others, and that as the adventure progresses, my negative attitudes are proven incorrect. Example: Gorm is brave and strong, but hopelessly foolish and clumsy. Now if Gorm proves to me that he is not hopelessly foolish and clumsy, that bond has been resolved. Is this the way to do it????”

For my 2 cents, it seems transform is a better word to describe it than resolve. How have the events of the session changed the bond – positively or negatively?


11 thoughts on “Speak to me of bonds and getting XP from them, how you handle it,  and, maybe, just maybe, why they were done that…”

  1. Bonds are about finding out what kinds of inter party roleplay the players are interested in seeing. A bond doesn’t resolve because the situation between two character has changed. It resolves because we’ve adressed that aspect of their relationship in game and the players are satisfied with it. For now. So maybe one player has written that his character “shares a wealth of brotherly love” with another character. He gains xp if we get a scene in game that shows this. Resolving the bond doesn’t necesarilly mean that aspect is gone. It just means that its been satisfactorily demonstrated in the fiction. At least thats how I see it. 

  2. I think the end of the session move is so vague on purpose, so the involved players will be the ones to decide whether or not to delete the bond and build a new one. If thinking that way improves your game, go for it, but keep in mind that things are actually simpler (see the very truthful posts by Eric and Josh).

    Also, there are no inherently positive or negative bonds. They tell you how the two of you are bonded, not why (even the ones that seem otherwise!). The fighter could have sworn to protect the wizard just because he was ordered to do so and he actually hates that frikkin witch. The cleric may think of someone he’s a true man of faith only to discover reality is pretty different.

  3. You might want to go back and read the rules on resolving bonds again.

    They are pretty thorough at explaining what “resolve” means, which doesnt much resemble the way you and Alexander ar describing them.

  4. “A bond is resolved when it no longer describes how you relate to that person. That may be because circumstances have changed—Thelian used to have your back but after he abandoned you to the goblins, you’re not so sure. Or it could be because that’s no longer a question—you guided Wesley before and he owed you, but he paid that debt when he saved your life with a well-timed spell. Any time you look at a bond and think ‘that’s not a big factor in how we relate anymore’ the bond is at a good place to resolve.”  – Straight from the book. 

    I think that explains it well. If your bond with the paladin while playing a bard is “this is not my first adventure with Lux”. Once you finish the second adventure I think that would no longer describe your relationship. And turning into something like “Adventuring with Lux is good for my coffers.”  

    You don’t settle the bond, you resolve the bond. It’s the thing that ties you to another character. Bonds are not goals, they are thoughts, feelings, and your history with the people around you.

    So the bonds don’t need to be positive or negative, they are sentence descriptors that describe the relationship between two people. And once the relationship or circumstances change then you resolve. 

    But those are my two cents and I could be wrong.

  5. The only criteria I ask my players to fulfill when they do their bonds is that it must relate their characters feelings towards someone and attach action to it. Once they resolve the action listed I reward them with XP. That’s how I run bonds and my players usually get at least one complete every session. I leave it up to them if they want that bond to be particularly negative or positive because in all likelihood that perception will be challenged or changed by the end of the bond.

  6. I think part of the problem with bonds is that it is difficult to form bonds at the beginning of the game, and the sample bonds are usually hopeless. it seems to me the bonds need to be negative in some way so that they can be resolved or they need to be very specific. Open-ended bonds seem to be impossible to resolve: such as Lloyd has my back.

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