A game of OSR+ assumes that at least a few of your PCs know each other going into the game. During session zero, we randomly pair players together and have each pair roll for a bond. A bond is a type of story hook that describes what relationship a PC shares with another PC in their backstory.
The purpose of PC bonds is to foster cooperation among players as early as possible. If you're running a one-shot, PC bonds may not be necessary for your game (perhaps they are strangers tossed into the same scenario and have to figure things out as they go).
Collaborating on Bonds
When a bond is rolled, the player who rolls kicks off the discussion. For example, if a player rolled The Mentor, they would decide whether they are the mentor or if the player with whom they are bonded is the mentor. Once the player who rolled is finished elaborating on what they think the bond means, the player with whom they are bonded picks up the story and contributes from there.
In the spirit of collaborative storytelling, all players involved may not reject any ideas proposed at the table (always think "yes, and"), but they may tweak minor details to suit their agenda. The only exception here would be ideas that limit a player's ability to develop their character. For example, if the player who kicks things off starts by saying "I'm a war criminal and you were my loyal subject who helped me carry out atrocities," the bonded player has every right to push back if that idea straightjackets their PC's morality in a way the bonded player is not comfortable with.
The same goes for the GM, except as the GM you have the wherewithal to say "yes, but" so as to ensure that what's being proposed aligns with the premise.
Bonds Story Hooks
|1||The Mentor||They were your mentor and trained you, or vice versa.|
|2||The Partner in Crime||They helped you obtain something valuable to you and now are also implicated or liable for what was taken.|
|3||The Key||They are instrumental to your cause and play an important part in it.|
|4||The Good Samaritan||They helped you when you were in dire straits and earned your esteem.|
|5||The Ex||They are your ex-lover, estranged family member, or ex-business partner.|
|6||The Blackmail||They know something about you and are keeping it secret because you have something on them, or vice versa.|
|7||The Star-Crossed||You both share a secret or destiny no one else knows that could be calamitous if revealed, or you both experienced the same event that changed you.|
|8||The Oath||They saved your life or came to your aid when you had nothing, and now you are beholden to them out of honor, guilt, devotion, or admiration.|
|9||The War Buddy||You both fought in the same war/battle or against the same opponent/beast and share the same glories or loss.|
|10||The Thief||You stole something from them and they do not and cannot know it.|
|11||The Colleague||You both work for the same person, but maybe you don’t realize it. Are you rivals or collaborators? Either way, it makes more sense to work together for now.|
|12||The Hunted||You are both hunted/persecuted by the same people or may be the only survivors of a disaster you weren’t supposed to survive.|