Relationships and Romance

Relationships & Romance

Friendships and Rivalries

If a player wishes to track relationship status with an NPC, have them tell you that they’d like to track their relationship and declare if this relationship is a Friendship or Rivalry. The player and GM should make a note somewhere about this relationship, what kind of relationship, and treat it like a kind of advanced test. This test should be based on the personality of the NPC in question, and should be plausible given the type of relationship the player wishes to pursue (this will be discussed more in the following sections). The relationship starts at the level of Acquaintance, and will increase as the player character continues to interact with the NPC (though a GM might choose to rule that it starts higher due to the personality of or history with the NPC). When you reach a new level, you start a new advanced test and work towards the next levels Threshold as detailed.

Relationship Levels

Level Threshold
Acquaintance 0
Companion / Competitor 10
Friend / Rival 15
Partner / Nemesis 20

When a player makes a test to progress the relationship the TN should normally be 11 at the Acquaintance level, but this can be adjusted higher or lower based on the additional details and circumstances. This test may be attempted once per day, and the progress of the test (the numbers rolled on the Dragon Die) should be noted and kept track of. When the Threshold for the next level is reached the relationship progresses and provides the associated benefits that come with the deepened connection. At each new level of the relationship increase the TN by 2 for all future tests, this is representative of the increased effort needed to advance the relationship further. These increases will be cumulative.

Improvement Methods

As previously mentioned, a player may make an attempt once per day (if applicable) to try and progress the relationship. The type of test used for this can vary greatly though. For the NPC that the player wishes to build a relationship with, it could be wise/fun to come up with a list of tests that would advance the relationship. Some examples are provided, but GMs and players are encouraged to use their imaginations and creativity. There are other ways to interact with a relationship. These additional methods are also detailed, and should be taken into consideration by GMs when a player character is interacting with an NPC they have a relationship with. The additional bookkeeping is minimal, and it is simply adding an additional dynamic to some social interactions over the game in most cases. In the more extreme instances it can become the source of entire plots (though remembering to factor these in will typically be a bit easier).

Other Improvement Methods
On each new level the success progression begins with a score equal to the PC’s Communication stat, you always start at 0 on initiating the relationship (Acquaintance).
Every level that the PC gains while traveling with the NPC increases the relationship progress by +1.
When a PC makes a relationship test, add up to +3 if the gesture was particularly meaningful/hurtful.
Every time the PC performs actions that are relevant to the NPC’s backstory or current plot (like finding their missing brother). It is recommended to provide from as little as +1 to as much as +3 to the relationship progress in these cases.
Performing acts that a NPC disagrees with will reduce the success progress or relationship level if at 0 progress. The offense should decrease the score by as little as -1 and by as much as -3.
If a PC wants to change a relationship from Friendship to Rivalry or vice-versa, have the PC make a relevant test as if they were attempting to improve the relationship of the new type (make a friendly gesture to a rival or insulting remark to a friend). The TN of this test will be the current TN +4, success means that the NPC switches relationship types. They go down to one relationship level as well (a relationship of Friend would change to Competitor, for example).


Affective Relationships

Relationships may be tricky to build, but they do have their perks. The PC and NPC will both receive benefits from the ongoing relationship. The details on these benefits are as follows.

Relationship Benefits

Level Benefit
Companion / Competitor If a PC gains the level of Companion/Competitor for
the first time with a specific NPC, give them 100XP.
The NPC will also get Minor Inspiration while with
the PC and gain a +1 to all actions. If on the
Friendship path, the NPC can be persuaded to travel
with the PC for a single Adventure with a successful
Communication (Persuasion) test
with a standard TN of 13.
If on the Rivalry path, can goad the NPC to
compete against you on a single Adventure with a
successful Communication (Deception)
test with a standard TN of 13.
Friend / Rival If a PC gains the level of Friend/Rival for the first time
with a specific NPC, give them 200XP. The NPC will
also get Moderate Inspiration while with the PC and
gain a +2 to all actions (this replaces the bonus from
the previous relationship level). If on the Friendship
path, the NPC can be persuaded to travel with the PC
for a single Adventure with a successful
Communication (Persuasion) test
with a standard TN of 11.
If on the Rivalry path, can goad the NPC to
compete against you on a single Adventure with a
successful Communication (Deception)
test with a standard TN of 11.
Partner / Nemesis If a PC gains the level of Partner/Nemesis for the first
time with a specific NPC, give them 300XP. The NPC
also gets Major Inspiration while with the PC and
gains a +3 to all actions (this replaces the bonus from
the previous relationship level). If on the Friendship
path, the NPC can now be persuaded to travel with the
PC for a single Adventure with a successful
Communication (Persuasion) test with
a TN of 9.
If on the Rivalry path, can goad the NPC to compete
against you on a single Adventure with a successful
Communication (Deception) test
with a TN of 9.

Romances

Romances work in conjunction to a relationship, when a player wants to initiate a romance they must utilize the Flirt Stunt. If no relationship existed with the NPC when the Flirt Stunt was used then the player character must start a relationship with them at that time as well. A successful use of the Flirt Stunt will make the subject NPC switch on their romance tracker (and relationship tracker if one did not already exist) and start at the level of Enamored in the romance.

The romance will build by cumulating successful attempts at the Flirt Stunt. This progress can come through the continued use of the Flirt Stunt on successful relationship tests, but it can also come from Flirt Stunt uses on other types of social tests with the NPC. The romance can be initiated with a Friendship or Rivalry; however a romance with a Rivalry may not progress past the level of Lustful at any relationship level, and an Associates level relationship may not progress beyond the level of Enamored (if a relationship changes in a way that causes the romance to be higher than it should be then the romance will immediately dropped to the highest appropriate level).

Romance Levels

Level Threshold
Enamored 1
Lustful 2
Committed 3

Of Lust and Love

The effects that a romance can provide are mostly for roleplaying and plot purposes, and will dictate what kind of seedy behavior a PC can engage in with an NPC. Additionally it can help dictate what kind of direction the PC wants things to play out in the overall relationship. It should be noted that some NPCs will not require romance in order to get access to some seedy behavior (like prostitutes), but that is not strictly what a romance gauges either. The effects of a romance are as follows.

Relationship Benefits

Level Benefit
Enamored The NPC will not be ready to go to bed with the PC,
but they would be inclined to slip a discrete kiss from
time to time with a successful Communication
(Seduction)
test with a TN of 11. The NPC will not be
bothered by other romances or seedy behavior the PC
engages in should they become aware of them. The
PC will gain a +1 bonus on all social interactions with
the NPC.
Lustful The NPC is willing to go to bed with the PC for a bit of
fun if the situation and venue allow for it with a
successful Communication (Seduction)
test with a TN of 9. A more inappropriate venue or situation is
sometimes possible – at GM discretion – with a TN of
13. The NPC will not be bothered by other romances
the PC engages in at an Enamored level, but may end
the romance due to other romances of Lustful or
Committed level or other seedy behavior the PC
engages in if they become aware of them depending
on their personality. The PC will gain a +2 bonus on
all social interactions with the NPC (this replaces the
bonus from the previous level).
Committed The NPC is ready to be wed to the PC or intentionally
procreate with them. The NPC will be bothered by
any other romances or seedy behavior the PC engages
in, and may end the romance if they become aware of
them depending on their personality. The PC will gain
a +3 bonus on all social interactions with the NPC (this
replaces the bonus from the previous level).

Ending Romances

When romances end it can be either Smooth or Ugly. To end a Romance and PC has a few options that will have corresponding results on their relationship with the NPC. The details of how this works mechanically are provided. How this actually unfolds in the story is another matter altogether.

Ending Romances
At any time a PC can willing choose to end a romance. By doing this, they may also choose to end the romance either Smooth or Ugly. If a romance ends due to another romance or seedy behavior, it ends Ugly.
A Smooth ending to a romance allows the relationship to stay intact, but one level lower.
An Ugly ending to a romance will reset the relationship back to Acquaintance level, the PC may also choose to reset the relationship path at this time as well.


Relationships and Romance

Dragon Age: Shadows of Blood GameDesignerDM