What rules are out there to replace Bonds? They don’t really work for us and I want to try something new out.

What rules are out there to replace Bonds? They don’t really work for us and I want to try something new out.

What rules are out there to replace Bonds? They don’t really work for us and I want to try something new out.

I seem to recall a semi-recent thread about this very topic but I can’t seem to find it with the search function nor with google. Any help would be appreciated.

16 thoughts on “What rules are out there to replace Bonds? They don’t really work for us and I want to try something new out.”

  1. Matt, out of curiosity, could you explain why bonds don’t work for your group?  I’m getting ready to play on Friday for the first time and I’d like as much ammunition as possible.  Thanks.

  2. Just Checking, but your players know that they can rewrite their bonds right? It’s all about establishing how your char feels about another char and what you are going to do about it.

    That said, I don’t know where that discussion can be found, but I do remember it! So, unless you players want to rewrite, I’m of no use to you. 

    You are welcome 🙂

  3. A thing I’m trying in a game with three players: the world is a city, so I’m allowing them to write bonds with the city. It creates more dynamics to play with.

    Also (it’s the theory anyway), it defines the city as a character – if a hero hates it, it will hate them back. If it’s a mother to another, it’ll provide shelter in times of need, etc.

    Not sure that’ll help, Matt Miller – I also have trouble grasping bonds and I try to experiment =)

  4. Adam: You are right. I wasn’t being proactive about doing anything about the bonds myself, I left it up to the players to bring them up. I should probably give bonds another try.

    Matt: You know, I think they forgot about bonds entirely. I need to focus on reminding myself and my players about the bonds mid-game and, as Adam suggested, make sure to question the players when a bond seems relevant or can be made relevant.

    Still, even if they work out… I’m still interested in what folks have to modify or replace those rules.

  5. I have considered replacing Bonds with Keys. Keys were introduced in The Shadow of Yesterday RPG, and work pretty much the same way that alignments do in DW, but have multiple levels of effect and you can replace them periodically. See TSOY rules at http://files.crngames.com/cc/tsoy/book1–rulebook.html#id5


    Key of Faith

    Your character has a strong religious belief that guides him. Gain 1 XP every time he defends his faith to others. Gain 2 XP whenever this character converts someone to his faith. Gain 5 XP whenever this character defends his faith even though it brings him great harm. Buyoff: Your character renounces his beliefs.

    Key of Bloodlust

    Your character enjoys overpowering others in combat. Gain 1 XP every time your character defeats someone in battle. Gain 3 XP for defeating someone equal to or more powerful than your character (equal or higher combat skill.) Buyoff: Be defeated in battle.

    Key of Glittering Gold

    Your character loves wealth. Gain 1 XP every time you make a deal that favors you in wealth. Gain 2 XP every time you finish an adventure with more wealth than you started with. Gain 5 XP every time you double your wealth. Buyoff: Give away everything you own except what you can carry lightly.

    In TSOY characters may have 1-5 keys. Buying off a key earns 10 XP and you replace it with a new one.

    For DW I would reduce the XP awards, 5 or 10 XP is too much. Maybe 1/2/3 XP, and it is only awarded at the end of the session not every time you do it. Basically how DW alignment works. Buyoff is 5 XP, select a new key, and you can never take this key again. (Buying it off should be a life changing event)

    Since keys provide more than 1 XP, you could also get rid of “marking XP for a failure”.

  6. A big thing to remember, especially with fewer players, is that you can write bonds with NPC’s. You could experiment with locations like Eric Nieudan or events “I will put a stop to ___ because I am epileptic” (answer: 4th of July). The heart of any bond is that a character feels very strongly about something and feels invested or passionately enough about it to get involved.

    I started a conversation a while back asking what could be used in place of Race. It didn’t go very far but was this (http://bit.ly/1kEVOCv) what you were looking for? It includes a links for Goals (http://bit.ly/1iDFVdO) which were derived by Joe Banner, though I believe they’re meant to replace bonds. There was a similar discussion to this about bonds by +Colin Roald (http://bit.ly/1j9Kpcd).

  7. I’d love to see a quick write-up for that Adam Koebel =P

    I think the point of keys is that they can be many different things, like goals or bonds or drives. The average description given to alignment doesn’t really lead to much roleplaying opportunity. Then again, a short one liner to reflect an entire alignment is likely the issue there, not the concept itself.

    Mike Harvey I really like keys! Thank you for sharing those rules. I may just give them a go =D

  8. Before anyone starts ripping out Bonds and replacing them, consider what they do for the game.  Bonds are there to create that “party cohesion” element. They’re there to make the players stop and think about how they interact with each other and how that changes their party dynamic. Replacing them with something more solipsistic, like Goal, says something different about the game – it says that cohesion and “party” isn’t as important and that personal goals are. That the characters have their own specific agendas.

    Also, you’d lose the Aid / Interfere move or need to base it on something else.

  9. I wasn’t the only one to do so, but I made a post about replacing/supplementing bonds with goals about a month ago (that might be the one you’ve seen). A month later, we (about 3-5 of us) are using bonds more than we did then alongside Burning Wheel-style goals pretty much as Adam Koebel wrote above. In retrospect, I wouldn’t remove bonds entirely – it can take a few sessions for you and the players to bring them up in play. When I’ve played with only 1 PC, I had them make bonds with their hirelings instead which worked pretty well.

  10. In my Ars Magica hack I pretty much lifted the Hx system from Apocalypse World.

    I really liked Bonds from DW, but my players respond better to incremental advancement so I tweaked the rules a bit.

    – Players initially assign Bonds from -1 to +2 during character creation.

    – The primary way to increase a Bond is during the End of Session, but I’ve also written it into several moves and made allowances for purely descriptive increases as well.

    – Any time you would increase a Bond to +5, don’t. Instead, reset the Bond to 0 and mark XP.

    This event reflects the fact that people change over time, and so do your perceptions of them – especially at the moment when you thought you had them figured out.

  11. Lots of good stuff here, thanks everyone. 🙂

    I hadn’t thought about writing bonds with NPCs/locations/objects but that is something I’ll have to try out. I don’t want to lose party cohesion but it seems like less of an issue with two people, obviously. That said, I do intend to expand the group eventually, hopefully, maybe if I can peel people away from Pathfinder long enough to play something new.

    I actually really like keys. I might have to experiment with those some day. I especially like the buy off triggers.

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