RPGaDay2020 Day 7: Couple

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Yesterday in RPGaDay2020 I talked about the living Forest inspired by Tales of the Margreve.

Today the theme is Couple.

I wonder how many games actually have characters in a couple.

I have only had it once, and it was my friend who got me into D&D in the first place. He was playing a magic user, and he decided his character needed a girlfriend, so he started playing an elf as well. We mostly played with just the two of us – him playing this couple and me as DM and also playing a cleric.

But we were teenagers, and his playing of the couple was very simplistic and idealistic. Since he was playing both of them their relationship was always harmonious, and they were always very busy together at night… In one session, where we actually had a group exploring X1 Isle of Dread, the DM (me) said the area of ground they were sleeping on was well sprung…complete with squeaking sounds… But that was really as far as the “couple” went.

Since then I really haven’t had a group where relationships came up, and I have never experienced characters played by separate people becoming a couple. For that matter, I haven’t had two players at my table who are a couple. In fact, romantic connections (even with NPCs) have been completely absent.

I wonder how often it happens around the world. It seems to me to be quite a strange concept for players in a a TTRPG, certainly for two PCs to have a relationship. How would it work? The two players would have to agree they are interested in playing a relationship, and then would have to role-play the relationship. Would they role-play domestic disagreement and misunderstandings? Or would it all be as cartoonish as my friend’s couple? What would they be wanting to get out of it?

A “relationship” from the PHB

On the other hand, I suppose I can see a relationship with an NPC coming up. After all, the DM’s job is to play “the rest of the world”, and would have the NPC’s interests and values, and would be more likely to play the typical misunderstandings and conflicts which come up in a relationship (and I’m speaking with 30 years of experience in a successful long-term relationship here).

Also, a relationship with an NPC could well tie into the campaign story. Maybe the NPC has an ulterior motive for the relationship. Or maybe they could become a hook for campaign stories, pulling the PC into a story.

Have you had inter-character relationships? How did they start? How did work out? Were they between two PCs or between a PC and an NPC? Let me know in the comments.

Come back tomorrow for Day 8, and we’ll look at Shade. Probably a look at my newly arrived Empire of the Ghouls.

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