relationship maps

Something I realized while tinkering on Monday (which is actually today — I’m writing this on Monday and scheduling it for later so it looks like I spread this shit out; sorry if your illusion is damaged) is that the BOND mechanism in Soft Horizon makes relationship maps.

So a BOND is a phrase describing a connection between your character and another entity. But it generalizes: the entity can also have a BOND with you, even if it’s not a character. So you can have a BOND with another character or with your organization or with a community. And conversely these things can all have BONDS with you.

Now in play you can bring out a BOND and add its die to your pool if it’s relevant. So if you can work the fact that you’re the navigator for your company (BOND: I’m the company’s navigator) then you get the die. But this is bi-directional, so if the company has a BOND with you, you can drag it in as a helping die.

So because it’s bi-directional we don’t need to show it with a source and a destination. We can in fact just use it to connect two entities. In other words, in a graph of entities, BONDS are the connecting arcs.

bonds as relationships
See, I told you so.

So does this actually do anything for you? Yes!

As a play aid this is actually pretty damned powerful. One problem with sticking aspects BONDS and SCARS on everything is it’s easy to lose track. You need to have everyone elses character sheet handy and you need a card or a doc entry for the community, your organization, and anything else that seems important enough to get representation. But surfing through these things is a pain in the ass and slows down conflict resolution.

But a map like this shows you at a glance who can help and how.

It also supplies cues for the story to bring it in! If you want to bring in a second order BOND (like, say a BOND that your organization has with another entity) it’s clear that your story needs to be about both of those entities. This opens up a good question–just how deep can you go? Third order BONDS? Fourth? Any? I’m inclined to say any just as long as you’re prepared to invent that story.

No, I haven’t dragged it into play so I’m being a bit of a hypocrite here. But I’m sure it’s useful. It’s a little suspicious that I have a good time drawing them. But no, that’s a distraction, it’s useful. Totally.

Is it? Play with it and tell me.

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