The Process of Intimacy

The Process of Intimacy

The rules described so far can be used for building relationships or changing attitudes. Although the game roles of these two are different, they are closely linked, and in the real world it would be hard to separate them. Therefore, the same kinds of actions can be used to modify either. So, the personae could use the rules to increase the extent to which a character loves or trusts them, or to build a relationship with that character.

Some parts of the process will, however, be different depending on the game mechanic involved. The most important difference is that a relationship is necessarily mutual, because of the way the game statistic is defined, while an attitude may be entirely one-sided. Indeed, it makes sense to allow actions that create a particular attitude in a group of people. It is certainly possible to build trust with a whole group, and similarly for awe. Love and hope may be a bit more difficult to imagine, but they are far from impossible. A whole group of people might have all four positive attitudes to a charismatic leader, for example.

If the persona has no relationship to the people who develop the attitudes, then the characters’ attitudes tell us nothing about what the persona thinks about them. Indeed, in some cases the persona might not even be aware that the characters exist as individuals. Again, think of the fans of a celebrity. The celebrity takes actions to encourage certain attitudes on the part of the fans, but while she knows that the fans exist as a group, she knows very few individuals among them.

Things are different if the persona is trying to build a relationship. In this case, the relationship is mutual, and the persona must be deeply involved with the character. Because a persona and a character have a single score to measure their relationship, the relationship score tells us nothing about their attitudes to each other. What is more, it seems strange to think that two people could have a very strong relationship, but no strong opinions about each other.

There is a simple way to address both of these points. We can say that a relationship cannot have a higher score than the character’s strongest attitude to the persona. This attitude could be a default attitude, if the relationship is only a weak one. Further, we will say that, by default, the persona has the same attitudes to the character as the character has to the persona. The strength probably does not matter, because attitudes will not be used to decide how personae act.

Normally, this is no problem. Personae will be trying to build mutual relationships of love and trust, because that’s the sort of game that Kannagara is. In some cases, however, things might be different. In particular, a persona might want to convince a character to trust her as a first step in getting him to stop lying all the time. In that case, trusting the character is a bad idea, but the persona needs to build a relationship in order to help. In such cases, a persona can try to build a relationship while having a different attitude.

This should be harder than trying to build a more straightforward relationship, and so should give the player a penalty to the number of dice she rolls or keeps. The penalty might be equal to the strength of the attitude, or maybe to the strength of the relationship. Either makes sense; the more strongly someone feels about the persona, the harder it is to avoid that feeling influencing you. On the other hand, as the relationship becomes strong, it is hard to maintain an asymmetry. This is something to be worked on in playtest, so I will make a final decision later.

Building relationships with characters is an important part of the game, but so is interacting with them more casually. As long as personae and characters do not disagree, no rules are needed for this: the characters just go along with the personae’s suggestions. When there is conflict, however, we need rules for resolving it. That is the next technical mechanical topic, but there is a broader topic I want to discuss first. I don’t think that Kannagara needs a GM.

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