HomeBrew Bonds

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Variant Rules for Bonds and Relationships

Bonds with others become more dynamic, each bond has a strength from 0 to 6 + your characters Charisma Mod. That value represents how strong the relationship is. Most bonds start weak or healthy (1-4), no reason to distrust or hate you, but not extremely trusting either. A bond can be more than just one person, it can be an organization or group, depending on the needed level of granularity. If you have a bond with a group and someone inside that group, use the more specific bond, so in this case the bond with the person is used instead of the bond with the group.

Not every relationship needs to be a bond, but your strongest and most important connections likely should.

Bond Strengths

Bonds can be classified by their current value.
0: Lost.
1-2: Weak.
3-4: Healthy.
5-6: Strong.
7-8: Deep.
9-10: Unshakable.

Example Bonds

There’s a wide variety of bonds you can have, each has their own possible effects and usages, as well as roleplaying potential.
Significant Other: Dating or married, having someone you trust and share your life with can be a strong bond.
Animal Companion: A pet or stalwart animal companion. These can not be familiars, animal companions, or summons, they must be an animal not associated with a spell or class feature.
Family: Parents, grand parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc…
Friend: A well known acquaintance with some built up history.
Co-Worker: From a fellow Fisherman to a constant adventuring companion, your work draws you together.
Respected: Someone who respects you for a specific reason, these bonds can range from professional respect for your abilities to a fanatic worship of your capabilities.
Organization: An adventuring party, group of hunters, or maybe a secret organization, the group as a whole has opinions, including opinions of you.
Religious: A friend in faith or perhaps a cleric or local shrine keeper.

Gaining Bonds

There are three primary ways to gain bonds.
Backstory: During character creation you may create NPC’s that your character knows, bond strength depends completely on your relationship with them, perhaps you have a rocky relationship with your parents, maybe start at strength 1 or 2. Love interest, married, or your best friend? Those could start anywhere from 3 to 6 + charisma mod.
Story: Sometimes the DM will introduce NPC’s to the game which you feel you have a bond with, Simply ask the DM if you can form a bond with this character, these bonds start at default strength unless told otherwise.
Downtime: Outside of the normal purview of the game, you can spend ten days of downtime creating a new bond that will start at default strength.

Default Bond Strength: Default bond strength is equal to your Charisma mod, minimum of 1.

Gaining a new Bond: Anytime you add a new bond to your character sheet, remove one strength from every other bond. This represents your new need to further split your time and attention, and also represents the decay of bonds over time if they’re not maintained.

Adding Existing Bonds: Using the Variant Bond Rules might come in the middle of a campaign, and players will already have bonds with characters in game. Treat these like adding bonds via Backstory with one exception, you’re limited to adding 3 + Charisma mod bonds, you may have your Charisma mod worth of bonds start at or above 3 strength, all others must start at or below 3 strength.

Number of Bonds

While there is no limit to the number of bonds a character can have, the more a person has the harder they are to maintain and strengthen. As every new bond you add, takes one strength from every other bond you have, it becomes harder and harder to maintain more and more bonds.

Using Bonds

Bonds are mostly for roleplaying, but they have some mechanical benefits as well.
Asking a Favor: Minor favors aside, asking for something puts strain on a relationship. At the cost of decreasing a bonds strength, a favor can be asked of them. Bond strength loss usually stays close to 1 one 2 strength, however big favors or uncharacteristic actions can cause more strength to be lost. Asking someone to help you kill someone else and not ask questions does some serious damage to a bond. You can also Burn a Bond doing this, if the favor will lower the bond strength to zero the bond will cut ties after the favor.
Relaxing Downtime: Spending time with a bond doesn’t always strengthen in, if you’re going through a hard time, every five days spent with a bond gives you the bond’s strength worth of stability back (If your playing with Alternate Sanity rules).
Enhanced Training: A specific favor is to ask for specific training from a bond. Bond doubles the value of your downtime when it comes to training for ten days (Ten days of downtime translates to twenty days of training), at the cost of decreasing the bond strength by 1. The bond must already be trained in what your character is training for.

Strengthening Bonds

Improving a relationship with someone just takes time, You may spend free time to give yourself a chance to improve a bonds strength. Bonds may also strengthen from a characters roleplaying interactions with them, a successful fight with just you and your bond against some foes, or a date that went well could be worth a point. Those increases will likely be limited to once a day, but there are always extenuating circumstances, like saving someones life at great personal risk, or being there when a character faces something deeply personal and standing by their side.

Bond Maximum strength: 6 + Charisma Mod.
Spend Downtime: After five downtime days are spent with the bond, make a Charisma DC 10 check.
Success: the bond gains 1 strength.
Critical Failure: Bond loses 1 strength.

Weakening Bonds

Bonds decrease in a number of ways. Anytime you add a new bond, all your old bonds decrease in strength by one, from a mixture of time constrains and time passed. Bonds may also decrease during play, after a scene plays out, if the DM determines that the bond was hurt by what happened within, the bond will decrease in strength anywhere from a single point up to a full loss of the bond, dependent on the severity of the damage. There’s no formula for this, just guide lines. A simple bad experience will likely result in only a single point loss, while revealing you’ve only been dating someone for a chance to speak with their noble parents is going to cost you upwards of eight points.

Losing a Bond

Once a bond hit’s 0 it’s considered lost, remove it from your character sheet. To regain the bond you’ll need to spend the time to reacquire the bond (ten downtime days), the same negative side effects to other bonds occur, except the bond reforms at strength 1 despite your charisma mod, as the previous experience still taints this bond.

HomeBrew Bonds

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