Agents of STRIKE
Bonds represent who and what is important to your character, have a brief description to define the current state of the relationship, and have a value next to them to show the nature of the relationship.
The GM may mandate specific Bonds that you always start with, usually ones directly related to the campaign.
The number of Bond points you start with is equal to the number of player characters at the time of character creation besides yourself, plus any additional Bond points you get from your Limitations. This total starting value also determines your Bond Threshold, which is the total number of Bonds you may have at any given time (certain Bonds, such as specific ones you gain from your Origin or Drive, do not count against your Bond Threshold. They are noted as such).
You start with one Bond for each other player character in the campaign when you create your character. This Bond starts at 0 if the person is a total stranger to you, but can be improved by spending Bond points to establish a preexisting relationship between you.
For example, a newly created player character in a party with 4 other players starts with 4 Bond points. If that same character also has a Limitation of “frequently difficult fitting in with others”, they gain an additional 5 Bond points. This gives them 9 total Bond points, and a Bond Threshold of 9. Assuming they know the rest of their party, they might spend 1 point each on Bonds with those player characters. The remaining 5 are their choice on how to spend. They can increase the Bonds with the other player characters, or add additional Bonds (up to a total of 9 Bonds at any given time) for their relationships with NPCs, organizations, and so on.
Bonds are descriptions of the important relationships your character has with other characters or institutions in the game. First, write down your Bonds with the other player characters to explain why you work together, why you’re a team and either the nature of your relationship with that character or what you think of them. Each Bond you establish should have a sentence next to it to describe your relationship with that person or agency.
The higher a Bond score, the closer you are with that person or group or concept. A Bond with a score of 0 means your relationship with them barely exists or isn’t really established. A Bond with a negative score is toxic, dangerous, or otherwise uncomfortable or unhealthy for your character.
Bond scores are not equal. A character can have a negative Bond score with a character who has a positive one with them. This represents a one-sided, usually toxic relationship or at the very least a serious miscommunication in how they feel about each other.
Bonds can add bonuses to specific actions, and they can also be Burned.
You can intentionally start with Bonds with negative scores, to represent hated enemies, organizations that are actively pursuing you, or other people or ideas you have an acrimonious relationship with. This grants you bonus Bond points equal to the negative Bond score (So having a Bond at -2 grants 2 extra points to be spent elsewhere). These negative Bonds still count against your Bond Threshold, so there’s only so many you can take. In general, you should avoid starting with more than one or two negative Bonds, and they shouldn’t generally exceed -3 each.
Some Moves or results indicate that you should add a Bond. If this Bond is one you already have, you can increase it by 1. If you don’t already have that Bond, you can add it to your character provided it doesn’t exceed their Bond Threshold for the number of Bonds they can have. If you already are at your maximum for your Bond Threshold, your life is simply too complicated to add another friend, rival, ally, or nemesis.
Bonds that are at 0 (neither positive nor negative) can sometimes be dropped from your character without Burning them. You lose touch with people or move on with your life. This will allow you to add new Bonds if you’re at or near your Bond Threshold. Some Bonds are not optional to drop (such as those of other player characters). Ask your GM before you drop a Bond that has a score of 0.
Burning a Bond
When you burn a Bond you’re guaranteeing you succeed on a roll and your character does what they set out to. You can choose to Burn a Bond with any of the characters or institutions on your character sheet, including mandatory ones dictated by the campaign. Some Bonds can’t be Burned, and are noted as such when they come up.
When you Burn a Bond, you lower that specific Bond by 1. If you do, it affects your next roll. A 6 or less is treated as a 7-9. A 7-9 is treated as a 10+. A 10+ is treated as a 12+, even if very few Moves have a result for 12+. Burning a Bond does not decrease your Bond Threshold. You can Burn Bonds into the negatives if you so choose, although the repercussions for doing so may be severe.
Burning a Bond should represent in some way negatively altering your relationship with that person or group or idea as part of your move. Sometimes it’s immediate, and the impact that has is obvious. A character who has a Bond of “The City” and Burns a Bond to make an attack against an enemy may inflict a great deal of collateral damage in the doing, negatively impacting the attitude of citizens towards him. The same character Burning the same Bond to succeed on a move to deceive an enemy in a tense confrontation might not have a direct, obvious impact, but word gets around of their deception and it lessens his heroic image.
Bonds with other player characters can also be Burned if you so desire. When Bonds are Burned with other player characters, it is up to the players involved to talk about what either happens in that moment in the campaign, or to come up with a scene later that shows how their relationship is weakening. In general, Burning a Bond should always be justifiable, even if there isn’t a direct correlation between what you are trying to succeed at and who you are Burning a Bond with, if you can’t establish some way the action you’re taking will negatively impact that relationship then you probably can’t Burn that specific Bond.