Bonds

Bonds

The characters of Conspiracy are often a mix of powerful and powerless, and that's on purpose. In battle, they command the greatest forces humanity can marshal, equipped with the strongest possible weapons. Outside of that, however, they're individuals, perhaps individuals with prodigious skill and ability, but still individuals facing up against incredibly powerful conspiracies, organisations and cabals.

The characters of Conspiracy are also in some way lonely, or isolated, or missing something from their lives- and that something is other people. The reasons why are varied and as unique as the characters themselves.

Both of these problems emerge from each character's sense of isolation. And with all its treachery and scheming, Conspiracy is a game about the inherent danger of trying to place your trust in other people. But it's also a game about why you should do it anyway. It is impossible for anyone in Conspiracy to achieve what they want by themselves. And that manifests in 'Bonds'.

A Bond is a mechanical reflection of a relationship between one of the player characters and another character (the 'Bond'), who may also be a PC. It represents the nature of their relationship, its intensity, and how it can help the player character become who they want to be.

All Bonds are organised into one of four types: Companion Bonds, Asset Bonds, Group Bonds, and Foe Bonds. Each Bond has a broad mechanical effect, and a more specific effect unique to the Bond itself. The nature of this effect reflects the relationship itself.

Furthermore, every Bond has four ranks, starting at 1 and finishing at 4. Each Rank represents how strong the relationship is and how much influence it exerts on the participants- how important it is. Each rank should provide its own kind of effect. Every character may only have one Rank 4 Bond, their single most important Bond.
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The Four Bond Types

Below are listed the four bond types and what they do.

Companion Bond
A Companion Bond represents a strong emotional relationship with another individual. This can be friendship, family or romantic, with the exact nature being more for the player and GM to define. However, each Companion Bond represents an important and personal connection to the character.

  • Companion Bonds each provide a special benefit unique to them. Whenever you Tap a Companion Bond, you also lose 1 Stress.
  • Companion Bonds will usually be willing to assist you during Investigations.
  • If you have a Rank 4 Companion Bond, then you lose 1 Stress and Trauma for free each Long Downtime.
  • If something extremely bad (injury, for example) happens to a Companion Bond, you suffer 1 stress and trauma immediately. If it's a permanent injury, death or worse (eg. A massive betrayal) then you suffer Stress and Trauma equal to the Ranks you have with that Bond.

Asset Bond
An Asset Bond represents a relationship based more around what you can gain from the other rather than an emotional connection. This can be, for example, an information broker, someone who sells you weapons or gear, or even a business that you have a stake in or own.

  • Asset Bonds each have a specific area of focus. For example, information about the criminal underworld, or Weapons and armour. Each rank provides you with an extra area of focus. Whenever you tap this Bond, you get a +1 advantage per rank of the Bond toward acquiring these items.
  • Asset Bonds usually don't assist you directly during Investigations.
  • If you have a Rank 4 Asset Bond, then you can add 4 items relevant to the Bond's areas of expertise to your P-Scale Kit.

Group Bond
A Group Bond represents a membership of a specific group of people, one that you might possibly lead. These might be fans, comrades, or something more desperate and opportunistic.

  • Group Bonds help you by being able to support you during Investigations. You can tap a Group Bond to provide you with allies during Investigations, and are able to support you with a number of Investigations equal to your Bond Rank. The role and nature of these allies depends on the Group's area of focus. You can, in fact, ask Groups to do investigations on your behalf, although you the player still direct them during this.
  • You also count as having the Peer focus with this Group equal to your Bond rank.
  • If you have a Rank 4 Group Bond, then you can select one type of service the Group offers; it's available during any Investigation you conduct.

Foe Bond
A Foe Bond is special- it represents a hostile form of Bond, with someone who wishes to triumph over you in some way. This can be an individual, a group, even an Angel, should an Angel live long enough to form some kind of special relationship with you. Foe Bonds are not Bonds that you yourself want to build up, as each Foe Bond will try and complicate your life.

  • Every Foe Bond will try to interfere with you. How they interfere depends on the Bond, but when they interfere is reliant on the strength of the Bond itself, seen below:
    • Level 1 Foe Bonds can try and interfere with you during Long Downtimes and non-critical investigations, being more a hindrance than a threat.
    • Level 2 Foe Bonds can try and interfere with you during any Downtime, although they won't interfere during critical Short Downtimes.
    • Level 3 Foe Bonds can try and interfere with you during a Crisis or any Downtime. They won't do anything suicidal, but their goal is to inflict significant harm or even death on you. The harm need not be physical- social or mental harm counts.
    • A Level 4 Foe Bond is something of an achievement- they're your most important bond! They can interfere with you whenever, and they tend to go all out. They want to destroy or subjugate you utterly, no matter the cost to themselves.
  • Foes interfering with you are something like a Drawback- whenever a Foe Bond causes problems for you or your team, you regain a spent Fate Point.

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Strengthening or Damaging Bonds

Strengthening a Bond requires a degree of investment of time and energy on your part. The most obvious way to form new Bonds or develop existing ones is to flag building that Bond during Long Downtimes. Depending on the relationship, this might be a roleplay or a full-fledged investigation. You may not necessarily gain a new rank with that Bond, either- these things can take time and are depending on the GM's approval.

However, Bonds can also be increased in other ways- such as during Crises or other major events. Sometimes, the actions you do during a battle or major incident can see you developing a Bond as a side effect.

Bonds can also be damaged, although how depends on the Bond itself. An easy way is attacking or betraying the Bond, or neglecting it if it's an emotional kind of Bond.

  • A 'damaged' Bond deactivates- it provides no effect at all. A damaged Bond can be pushed to far, either losing a rank or being completely destroyed.

Of course, Foe Bonds act differently to the others. They can grow much faster or much slower than the others, and are more of a problem for you to overcome than something you want to foster. This too is an investigation, trying to either negotiate- or completely eliminate, if you're that way inclined- your Foe.
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