Forging Flags and Bonds

Forging Flags and Bonds

Forging Flags and Bonds

In the first session of my new open world campaign yesterday I tried out an idea for forging Flags with Bonds. Here it is in a nutshell:

The concept of Bonds is replaced with a numerical “Bond” resource, which means that any rule that references Bonds in DW still works. When you hit another PC’s Flag during play, you gain +1 Bond with that PC. You can still only have a total number of Bonds equal to the number of Bond slots on your character sheet. If you are at your limit, and want to increase your Bond with one PC, you’ll need to reduce it with a different PC first.

This simulates waxing and waning strengths of relationships during a campaign, especially in a campaign where the cast of characters can rotate in and out. It worked pretty well in the first session. Two PCs hit each other’s respective Flags, and thus had +1 Bond with each other by the time the session was over. They just added it to their sheet in Roll20 in the Bonds area.

13 thoughts on “Forging Flags and Bonds”

  1. Interesting!

    You could take it a step further and go the Hx route from Apocalypse World… make “Bond” a stat (different with each PC, from 0 to +3). Each time you hit another PC’s flag (or maybe once per session), you get +1 to your Bond with that PC. When you would go to +4, instead reset it to +0 and mark XP.

    You might even have everyone choose two different types of flags: one that increases a bond, and one that decreases it.

    Maaybe even have “Bond” by a shared stat, something that’s the same on both character sheets. Like “Ovid and Hawke +2”. When either hits the other’s flag, it increases for both. (And the advantage of going negative would be if you don’t trust them and you’re expecting them to start Interfering with you.)

  2. Thanks Jeremy, to clarify, I am having them maintain a Bond number with each individual PC. But rather than setting a limit of 4 per PC, the limit is based on the playbook slots, and it’s an overall limit, not a per PC limit. So, a PC with 4 bond slots could have 2 Bonds with one PC, and 2 with another, and thus be at their Bond limit. The other extension ideas you mentioned are interesting to consider …

  3. Sure, I totally get what you’re suggesting. I’m just suggesting a push even farther down the road.

    My main concern with capping the total Bond bonus a PC can have is a practical one. Like, extra bookkeeping and decision making, but without a whole lot value.

    (I’m not sure that my suggestion is any better, just playing with the ideas.)

  4. Right, I get what you’re saying about extra book-keeping (which is probably a negative), and decision-making (which I view as a positive). I like how it could simulate the fading of someone from a PCs memory over time:

    Well, I hit The Barbarian’s Flag so I can gain +1 Bond with him, bringing me to 3 Bonds with him since we’ve been adventuring so long together. But I’m already at my 4 Bond limit. The Cleric hasn’t been here the past few sessions, so I guess it makes sense to take -1 Bond with her so I can get the +1 with The Barbarian.

  5. Only if they could fictionally spin that–so yes, but it’d be a lot harder than repeatedly hitting another PC’s flag. I’m not arguing, just wondering about it mechanically. Even +2 is a ton in DW. What if you maxed the number of times a certain flag can be triggered?

  6. Brian Haag I don’t want to introduce too much complexity. Sure, an extreme case of a +4 bonus might be easier to achieve this way, but the ultimate payoff is really only a +1 or -2 for Aid/Interfere, with less risk of outright failure in their Aid/Interfere move. For that, they’re giving up the chance to have Bonds with any other PC. So I don’t see it as much of a problem.

  7. I like the idea that bonds are used up if you aid/interfere, to making hitting flags an ongoing thing you want to do. Perhaps don’t spend all the bonds though – it might work better to drop bonds by one after an aid/interfere roll?

    Bonus points if you can work the hitting of a flag into however you go about aiding or interfering 🙂

  8. Interesting idea, burning a Bond when making the Aid/Interfere roll, but personally, I would make this a possible outcome on a failed Aid/Interfere, instead of always happening (use up their resources).

Comments are closed.