Skip to main content

All For Love

"If love's a word that you say, then say it, I will listen"
- Start the Machine, Angels and Airwaves

In stories everywhere, we see love being a huge motivating factor for many characters.  Yet in games such as D&D, I've seen it very little.  PC's either have romances with NPC's that don't really go anywhere.  So far in my games, there's little romance between PC characters.  I'm hoping that will change soon (especially when you throw a couple into a game).

How do I incorporate that change?  By thinking about what love actually is, means and how we feel it.

Psychologists will tell us there are many different kinds of love.  I'm not trying to analyze each aspect/difference in a relationship, but just in general.

When we are in love, we feel invincible, especially if the task at hand is related to the one we love.  Slaying a dragon, is easy when it holds our love in its sinister clutches.  With love, we will face any fear, accept any challenge, and go at any lengths for the person we hold so dear.

In 4E game terms, I think this represents a bonus to Will.  Will tends to represent mental fortitude, which could also be called Willpower.  As a DM, if a character was in a situation where their love was driving them, I would give them a +2 bonus to their Will defense, and possibly a +2 bonus to attacks relating to their love.  Think of this representing Peter Parker saving Mary Jane.  He's fighting all out just for her.  Failure is not an option, because if he fails, he loses Mary Jane.

For D&DNext, I would simply assign Advantage.  It's a great game rule with so many possibilities.

Being in love can also be difficult.  I remember watching Disney's The Sword in the Stone as a child and Merlin talking about how love is the most powerful force in the universe, to which Arthur responds with "More powerful than gravity?".  Yes, Arthur, more powerful than gravity.

Love can affect us negatively.  What happens when we lose the person we love, or something horrible has happened to them?  What if they were transformed into a vampire, like Lucy Westenra in Dracula?  Such a thing would have a profound effect upon a character, giving them a -2 penalty to Will and attacks in 4E, or giving them disadvantage in D&DNext.

I think the whole concept is really interesting.  First, involving a love interest brings out a better character story and a deeper roleplaying experience.  Two, I think giving out bonuses to players is a lot of fun, especially if the odds are stacked against them.  That being said, invoking penalties while fighting a vampire, or zombies can be just a moving for a player as their character is too grief wracked to be of much use.  Combat needs to drive story and have a purpose, and a character who can't really fight creates an interesting party conversation all of its own.

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and check me out on Twitter @artificeralf


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

D&DNext and the Despair Deck

"Fear attracts the fearful." - Darth Maul
In May of 2011 (which seems like forever ago), Wizards of the Coast released a 4th Edition supplement entitled The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond.  One of the coolest things to come in the box set was a deck of 30 cards called the Despair Deck.  The deck, to quote from the campaign guide, "represents the unnatural behaviors and neuroses that can come over those who visit the Shadowfell."  I would like to that statement one step farther and say that the deck represents behaviors and neuroses that come over those who visit any place of horror.  Flipping through the deck, the cards are separated into three main categories: Fear, Apathy, and Madness.  Such traits create good roleplaying opportunities, as well as further demonstrating the horrors that adventurers face on a regular basis.

I thought the Despair Deck was a great addition to special encounters and events for D&D, and I've really wanted to c…

Revisiting the Trinket Lord

As I’ve gone back to dive into the options that are 4e D&D, I took another hard look at something near and dear to my heart: my 4e published article, The Trinket Lord. Published in Dungeon 205 (August 2012), it was another article in the Court of Stars series about the Archfey. With GenCon 2017 occurring right now, I figured it's a good time to talk about such things again.  I had always found the Court of Stars articles extremely intriguing and full of adventure hooks, but when I pitched this article, only two existed, The Prince of Frost (Dragon 374) and the Bramble Queen (Dungeon 185).
The Trinket Lord was originally pitched back in April 2012, when WotC accepted article submissions for their Dragon and Dungeon magazines. My contact for the entire process was Greg Bilsland (which was a major “whoa!” moment for me). I consider my relatively short interactions with Greg to have been extremely insightful, as he gave me a good mix of compliments and critiques and helped me im…

A Razorblade Romance

"Into the night, you and I, torn and broken, bleed into the night." - HIM, Into the Night
Towards the end of summer, I went to my third HIM concert.  Since I am a passionate HIM fan (I'm just a passionate fan of things in general), I rocked out in my HIM shirt (from an older concert), and sang/screamed along to all the songs.  I'm pretty sure I made eye contact with Ville Valo, the lead singer.  All in all, it was a great time, and I was glad to be able to scream along to the chorus of "Buried Alive By Love", "Soul on Fire" and "Right Here In My Arms".  They also ended on a high note with "The Funeral of Hearts".