Wednesday, November 09, 2011

draft Wessex romance rules

These mechanics are based on Emmet F. Milestone's "Kirk on Karit 2" for Star Trek: Adventure Gaming in the Final Frontier, originally published in Different Worlds #4.  You can read the original rules here.


When characters of appropriate gender and orientation encounter each other for the first time a Romance Roll must be made for each of them. Romance Rolls are made in accordance with the following procedure:

1. Romance Rolls are made in order of the character's Charisma scores, with the most Charismatic character rolling first. In the event of a tie, Wisdom is used as a tie breaker, but with the less wise character going first.

2. A potential beloved is identified. Generally this will be another character present of appropriate gender and age. Characters with higher Charisma scores will be favored. The player of the character identified then rolls 4d6, which is adjusted by their Wisdom modifier. If the sum obtained is less than the Charisma of the potential beloved, the character identified in step 1 is smitten, i.e. you are trying to roll high to save versus emotional complication. 

3.  Whether a  Romance Roll results in physical lust, tender affection, dumbass puppy love, Princess Bride-style True Love, etc. is up to the player, as is what their PC will do about it.

4. The DM may modify or disallow Romance Rolls based upon the species of either party. Halflings and humans might fall only in love with a 5d6 roll, for instance. And then there’s that whole mess about dwarven women and beards...

5. A character will not fall in love with more than one character during the course of a single session.

6. Once any character has already fallen in love, the DM rolls 1d6. A result of 3+ indicates that no more characters will fall in love during the scenario, except as the result of a successful wooing. Wooing uses the normal NPC reaction charts, modified by myriad factors including such things as social class, needing a bath, gifts offered, etc.
These rules are obviously incomplete.  Their main function is to get PCs into trouble, and I believe they may be sufficient to get that ball rolling.


  1. While I'm not personally a fan of any kind of "roll dice to determine your feelings" type mechanic, these look like they'd be fun in the context of that kind of play.

    I think the closest thing I can take would be a CoC SAN check, but the implication for most of those is that there's something otherworldly going on, which makes it okay somehow :)

    I do love romantic complications in games, though, and don't consider it a complete campaign without them, really.

  2. Anonymous9:50 PM

    This is neat.

    I miss updates on your starship game, though.

  3. I hope to get back to the starship game in a day or two.

  4. I think that procedure #3 pretty well takes care of any misgivings that I might have vis-a-vis SJR's concern about rolling dice to determine feelings. It gives players a wide enough range of choice that nobody's role-play style should be cramped by it. And the mechanics reduce the chance that someone will RP another my-guy-is-too-jaded-to-have-any-emotions type of character. I hate those guys (those PCs, not the players.)

    Very slightly off-topic: I've never played the game myself, but I understand that Pendragon heavily utilizes a "random roll determines the direction of your role-play" type mechanic.

    verification word: sycent, ESPers' cant term for the condition of being an ESPer or having ESPer potential.

  5. I think it’s a great idea to have rolls that determine a “get feeling” and then leaving it up to the player how the character will react to that.

  6. @L. Beau - Pendragon's traits don't so much determine a character's behavior as describe tendencies. If I remember right, the player sets the values of each antithetical pair to show how chaste/lusty, lazy/energetic the character is & so on. Then when an opportunity to act in accordance with a trait, you make a check to see whether the PC can resist the inclination.

    Verification word: neuresse. A word describing finesse use of psychic powers.

  7. L. Beau: Is the presumption that I didn't read as far as procedure #3? :) I read the whole thing, honest.

  8. I could’ve sworn I’d typed “gut feeling”.

    (Verification word: goullize)

  9. I'm not big on making this specifically applicable to only "Romance" - it seems like if you're going to have a system for this kind of thing then why not make it a Reaction Roll and expand the possibiities to Hate, Respect, etc. Lots of opportunity for some crunchy little sub tables like this. Modify for gender, orientation, age, race/ nationality, and social status with Romance as one possible result.

  10. SJR,, no, I was just saying that I didn't find the premise as bothersome as did (although you wrote that the rules would be fun in context. My comment was a more a mild disagreement with your comment than a critique of it.

  11. That's fun - I love having romance in my games.

    Reminds me of my discovery over the weekend. On a whim I was rooting through my old game collection and decided to skim through my copy of HarnMaster Gold (which I'll probably never ever actually run). I stumbled across the part of Character Development rules which detail two characters' chances of getting pregnant. It actually sounded kind of interesting, though I thought that the chances of actually achieving pregnancy seemed ridiculously low.

    Now, of course, I'm wishing I could run a campaign long enough that the possibility could crop up, just so I can use some modified version of those rules...