Approval in the Dragon Age RPG by Kot

Basics

If a player wishes to track relationship status with another PC or an NPC, have them tell you that they’d like to track their relationship, and have them make it known whether this is friendship or rivalry, and whether or not the relationship is romantic.

Make a note somewhere about this relationship, what type of relationship it is, and treat it like a kind of advanced test. When the PC gives a gift or does a favor or insults this PC/NPC, have them make an Approval Test with a relevant focus. Success improves the subject’s Approval by the Dragon Die’s result.

This test should be based on the personality of the PC/NPC in question, and should be plausible given the type of relation the PC wishes to pursue. The relationship starts at the level of Neutral. This will increase to Ally/Competition, Warm/Cold, and finally to Friend/Rival.

Progressing the Relationship

When a PC wants to progress the relationship with the subject, have them make an Approval Test. Normally, the TN should be 11, but this can be adjusted higher or lower based on the personality or history of the person being spoken to, or the current situation. This test may be attempted once per day, and the progress of the test (the numbers rolled on the Dragon Die) should be noted and kept track of by either the player or the GM. When a threshold is reached (see below), the relationship progresses to the next level, with higher thresholds placing the PC and the subject in a higher relationship level.

When you reach an new level, the test begins again at 0. You must build the threshold of the advanced test to the numbers below:

Relationship Thresholds
0: Neutral
10: Ally/Competition
25: Warm/Cold
40: Friend/Rival

When the level of the relationship increases, increase the TN by 2 for all future tests. These increases will be cumulative. So an Ally is a TN 13 to improve on, and a Cold rival would require a TN 15 test to improve.

If the relationship is romantic, and the player rolls doubles on their Approval Test, and selects the Flirt Stunt, the Approval increase doubles.

For non-romantic relationships, at the GM’s option, other stunts could have similar effects, but they should cost at least 3-5 SP to perform. A good friend would respond well to the Jest stunt, while a strong rival might gain extra enmity from the Enrage stunt.

The above thresholds assume that the campaign is a longer adventure where the PCs will have moderate interaction with their subjects. They can be lowered for shorter campaigns if needed. They can also be lowered if the PCs will not have regular contact with the subjects of their relationships or if the PCs intend to be juggling multiple relationships in the same campaign.

If the subject of the relationship is someone that the PC already knows well, they can start at the first threshold. They do not gain the bonus XP listed below if they begin play this way.

Add Personality

It could be wise/fun to come up with a list of tests that would advance this relationship more easily or slowly. Here are some examples:

Friendship: If this person responds well to honesty or kindness, then Communication (Persuasion) would be a wise choice. If this person happens to be confident sexually, they may appreciate Communication (Seduction). If this person is bookish and is impressed with knowledge or likes talking shop with scholars, then a Cunning (Arcane/Cultural/Engineering/Historical/Military/Natural/Research/Religious Lore) test may be appropriate. If this person likes poems, you could present them with a poem and a Cunning (Writing) test, or a Dexterity (Calligraphy) test. If they like talking magic, make a Magic test with a relevant school focus. If they like to be understood, try PErception (Empathy). Maybe they also appreciate being inspired with Willpower (Courage, Faith, Morale, or Self-Discipline).

Rivalry: The most obvious choice of test for a rivalry would likely be Strength (Intimidation). But just as above, the tests could be widely varied from person to person. Perhaps the person is a mage, and might be put off by Willpower (Faith) tests. Perhaps the NPc is protective of their things, and would be bother by a Dexterity (Legerdemain) test. If the person dislikes alcohol then a Constitution (Drinking) test would put them on the defensive. If you really want to insult their intelligence (and possibly make some great banter) a Communication (Animal Handling) test could be used. Communication (Performance) tests could be used for those NPC/PCs who like their peace and quiet. Setting simple traps near their things with Dexterity (Traps) (nothing deadly, just things like snares or tripwires) could really annoy them. If the PC/NPC really doesn’t like having his problems analyzed, drag them out in the open with Perception (Empathy)

Optional Additions:

There could also be other way to improve this relationship. Here are a few other optional ways to improve relations with friends/rivals:

  • All relations begin with a score equal to the PC’s Communication stat.
  • Every level that the PC gains while traveling with the subject increases their relationship score by 1.
  • When a PC makes a romance test, add up to +3 to the Dragon Die result if the gesture was particularly meaningful/hurtful.
  • A relationship can be progressed once per day with gifts or words, but may be increased additional times in the same day every time the PC performs actions that are relevant to the PC/NPC’s backstory or current plot (like finding their missing brother, or locating relics of cultural significance to the subject)

Losing Touch

Performing acts that a PC/NPC disagrees with or seriously disagrees with/cause them to lose respect for you will likely reduce the relationship score. How much the score decreases by can depend on the offense against the subject. The offense could decrease the score by as little as 1 for simple offenses, and by as much as 10 for greater disapproval.

Changing the Relationship Type

Finally, if a PC wants to change a relationship from Friendly to Rivalry or vice-versa, have the PC make a relevant test as if they were attempting to improve the relationship of the opposite time than the current relationship (make a friendly gesture to a rival or a insulting remark to a friend). The TN of this test should be the current TN +4, and success means that the PC/NPc switches relationship types, but they go down to one relationship level lower than they were before (a relationship of Fellowship would change to Competition, for example).

Benefits:

  • If a PC increases a relationship to a level of Ally/Competition for the first time with a specific NPC, give the party 100XP each.
    • If this is the first Ally/Competition relation level in the campaign for a specific PC, give the party another 200XP each.
  • If a PC increases a relationship to a level of Warm/Cold for the first time with a specific NPC, give the party 200XP each.
    • If this is for the first time in a campaign, the party should gain another 300XP each.
  • If a PC increases a relationship to a level of Friend/Rival for the first time with a specific NPC, give the party 300XP each.
    • If this is for the first time in a campaign, the party should gain another 500XP each.
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