When aiding or interfering you roll +BOND.

When a move has you roll+BOND you'll count the number of bonds you have with the character in question and add that to the roll. (DW p.52, "Choose Bonds")

When counting bonds, do you count just the bonds from aider/interferer to target, or do you also count the bonds from target to aider/interferer?

In other words, if A has bond blah blah with B, and B has bond yakkety smackety with A, when A aids B is it roll+1 or roll+2?


The language is specific but understated:

When a move has you roll+BOND you'll count the number of bonds you have with the character in question and add that to the roll.

It doesn't count the number of bonds you have "with each other" or "that the characters share", it's specifically the number of bonds you have with that character, unidirectional.

Like its predecessor Hx (in Apocalypse World), bonds are intentionally asymmetrical. Sometimes you have more strings on them than they have on you, and vice versa.

So when A aids B it's roll+1, not roll+2.

(This hooks into the motivational structure of the game—if you want more +BOND with someone, you have to want to create new bonds with them, thereby motivating you to add to the party's situation and history. Put another way, in in-fiction terms: you have to put work into your side of the relationship, not just ride on whatever they're bringing to the table.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have always taken this to mean the number of active bonds and assumed once a bond is resolved, it no longer counts for these roles, although arguably that strongly affects the relationship between the characters. I know this is almost a second question, but is that how the everyone else uses it? \$\endgroup\$ – glenatron Sep 15 '16 at 11:15
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    \$\begingroup\$ @glenatron Yep, once a bond is resolved, it doesn't "exist" (as a bond) anymore, so doesn't get counted. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Sep 15 '16 at 14:21

I would argue that you roll for the bonds you have with them, not the ones they have with you.

First, all of the other +<something> rolls in the game can be read directly from your character sheet. Why would this be special enough to include something from someone else's?

Second, the bond rules allow you to bond with whomever you wish. Games I've seen have had at most two bonds from one player to another, but there's no rule I've found that prevents more. If you stick with your bonds to them, you're looking at a +1 or +2. If you include reciprocated bonds, that could pretty easily hit +4. Compare that with the +3 cap on any other non-situational roll.

However, in the end I would say the rule book itself doesn't provide a definitive answer on this. The grammar is simply ambiguous, and you should let your table decide.

I'd like to expand a bit on the grammar issue. The actual emphasis in the book is this:

When a move has you roll+BOND you'll count the number of bonds you have with the character in question and add that to the roll.

In my opinion, you could just as easily emphasize this

bonds you have with the character

as this

bonds you have with the character

and get different results. I'd read it as the first, but can't find a compelling grammatical argument against someone who read it the second way.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Your argument that +bond is no different from any other bonus rests on a rhetorical question I don't think should be rhetorical. Bonds are special; they're one of the only ways one player can declare something to be true about another player's character. Given that, and the PbtA's reputation for pushing interesting PC interactions, I think it's reasonable for +bond to have a unique position among bonuses as fuel for that kind of story. Reasonable enough, at least, that I think your answer is weaker for taking the un-special-ness of bonds as a given (both points 1 and 2 rely on that idea). \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Sep 15 '16 at 4:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @BESW For the first part, I disagree that you're generally declaring things about another character. You're declaring how your character perceives another character. If I think you owe me, you may or may not agree. If I think this isn't our first adventure together, I may be mistaken. Thus, interesting PC interactions. For the second, perhaps my presentation is poor. +1 in this system is really quite strong. The only other move I'm aware of that can have a base +X more than three is Carouse, which literally asks how much money you spend. My intent is just to question the statistics. \$\endgroup\$ – Joel Harmon Sep 15 '16 at 11:43

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