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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

RollBond nameDescription
1The MentorThey were your mentor and trained you, or vice versa.
2The Partner in CrimeThey helped you obtain something valuable to you and now are also implicated or liable for what was taken.
3The KeyThey are instrumental to your cause and play an important part in it.
4The Good SamaritanThey helped you when you were in dire straits and earned your esteem.
5The ExThey are your ex-lover, estranged family member, or ex-business partner.
6The BlackmailThey know something about you and are keeping it secret because you have something on them, or vice versa.
7The Star-CrossedYou 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.
8The OathThey 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.
9The War BuddyYou both fought in the same war/battle or against the same opponent/beast and share the same glories or loss.
10The ThiefYou stole something from them and they do not and cannot know it.
11The ColleagueYou 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.
12The HuntedYou are both hunted/persecuted by the same people or may be the only survivors of a disaster you weren’t supposed to survive.

Are you sure?