As part of planning an open table with a rotating cast of players, I came up with the following changes to Bonds. Any feedback welcome.
The original class-determined bond limit (4 by default, 6 for social classes likes Bards, 3 for antsocial classes like Wizards) is no longer the limit of the number of bonds you can have. Instead, it is the limit on the number of bonds you can have with the characters adventuring with you that session.
Bonds are written on cards. All the bonds that your character has with a specific other character should be written on the same card.
Each session, see which other characters are present and select the cards corresponding with whoever is there. Cards for characters who are not present are set aside for the session, and those bonds don’t count against your limit.
If you have fewer bonds than your limit, you may create new bonds on the spot to create retroactive relationships, adding them to new or existing cards. Alternatively, you may leave some slots blank and start adventuring with fewer bonds than your limit, and create new bonds on-the-fly pertaining to the events of the session.
If your number of bonds exceeds your limit, discard cards or strike out bonds to bring the total down to the limit – your character is so excited to be adventuring with Brunhilde that they’re not paying the normal amount of attention to Aldric, or whatever. These discarded cards and struck-out bonds are not actually resolved, and can be reinstated in future sessions.