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I've been playing as a character in a dungeon-world campaign. About once per session in this campaign the world "resets". Our players return to the starting tavern, our inventories, health and memories are also set back to their state at the start of the campaign. There are some exceptions, sometimes a character will remember something, sometimes a item will persist, however my character has never had this happen to them. Their stuff has always been reset perfectly.

This resetting has caused an issue with dungeon-worlds bonds. If characters forget nearly everything it feels weird to have specific bonds with people I haven't even met yet. For example in one session, we were interrogating some people we had captured on suspicion of a murder, after we had gotten all the information they had, one of the other characters executed them and threw their dismembered remains in a ditch. I wrote the bond:

Vina takes death lightly. Better to not upset them.

However after the reset my character was no longer aware of the fact that Vina brutally murdered unarmed prisoners and the bond kindof didn't make much sense.

Should I wipe the bonds away at a reset? Should I modify the bonds in some way? How can I handle bonds when my memory keeps getting wiped?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just to check - are you a player or the GM in the game? \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Oct 15 '18 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Wibbs A player \$\endgroup\$ – Wheat Wizard Oct 15 '18 at 20:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I thought that Vina's player asked whether the PCs keep their memories during resets and I (the GM) told her it was up to the players to decide that. Maybe you weren't there for that conversation. Regardless, by now (the third iteration) you probably know at least something about what happened in the previous iterations. \$\endgroup\$ – Epiglottal Axolotl Oct 15 '18 at 20:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure you want a 100% reset? Having these echoes of old memories encapsulated as Bonds sounds pretty interesting! It could be as soon as they meet someone they have a bond with, they feel that way about them and don't know why. \$\endgroup\$ – okeefe Oct 15 '18 at 21:10
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Your character gets addressed, but you're still a player.

It feels like you've narrated yourself into a corner here. You've got a DM who is routinely resetting you to the way you were at character creation, but is not resetting bonds, and you're deciding on your own that you should reset yours.

You, the player, still remember everything that's happened. You, the player, haven't been told that you, as a player, should pretend to forget. This is not an accident.

But if you want some plot spackle, here's an overview of the things bonds mean in Dungeon World, and how you can deal with them.

The more bonds you have with someone, the easier it is for you to aid or interfere with them. There is no specified "why" or "how" for this, and there seldom ever is for any move in Dungeon World. People are left to come up with an explanation that makes sense in their campaign setting. And it is pretty weird to think about Aid or Interfere as one of the moves you need to do this kind of ad-lib for, but nothing's stopping you. So, it's easier for your character to aid or interfere with certain complete strangers than it is for most complete strangers. How do they explain that? Well, they can't. But that doesn't stop it from being true. Surely there are many other things in the world your character can't explain. How do they deal with those?

Bonds represent a shared past, with hints toward the future. Going forward, it's good for the GM to incorporate the destiny Wizzrobe foresaw, the danger Leafwillow heard about, the con Shanksworth has running. But that's the GM's responsibility, not yours. Obviously in the past there's also the secret rite Leafwillow shared, the thing Shanskworth stole, and the secret Wizzrobe wants to hear, and that is more your responsibility to remember and elaborate - and if you decide you don't remember it, well, that's that.

At end of session, you can resolve one of your bonds to mark XP and replace it with a new one. I can't say for certain what your GM and fellow players are going to accept as a "resolution" of a bond you don't remember, but "here is what I currently think of this person I feel drawn to for no reason I understand" strikes me as a fairly sound resolution.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Just a clarification as the GM: when I originally planned this campaign, I was going to have the PCs reset to how they were at character creation, but I decided to let them keep their levels, stats, and moves, since even though their physical bodies are resetting, they still are growing and changing mentally even while they undergo a "Groundhog Day" situation. The only things on their character sheets that get reset are their inventories and their current HP. \$\endgroup\$ – Epiglottal Axolotl Oct 16 '18 at 2:33
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Different groups utilise bonds to different extents, and I know some games where they're pretty much ignored with minimal impact on the way the game plays, so one option would be to get rid of them altogether.

However, Dungeon World is a heavily collaborative game, and relies a lot on the discussion that takes place at the table to define what happens in the world. The dilemma you are facing sounds exactly like the kind of thing that you should thrash out as a group, particularly as it sounds like you won't be the only player with this issue.

The GM might already have an idea about how things should work. If not, talking it through with the group as a whole and coming up with a consensus ensures buy in from everyone.

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