Friends Like Us

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
—-The Velveteen Rabbit

Set-Up

By default, this game is set in a small village that's been undergoing troubles. Through some unknown magic, people's wishes have been granted. A childless couple has been granted a tiny daughter. A folk hero has returned. A statue has come to life to guard the people. A child's treasured toy has come to life.

These beings are not fully real. Not yet, anyway. They're sustained by the love of the people around them. If they form enough bonds, if enough people love them, they become truly real. However, if no one loves them anymore, they go back to not existing at all.

You are one of these beings. You have to protect the community and help people deal with their problems. As you do, you become more real.

Stats

  • Sturdy: Use sturdy when you do things using your muscles and mass.
  • Courageous: Use Courageous when you do things through courage and grit.
  • Caring: Use Caring when you do things by relating to people or helping them see your point of view.
  • Clever: Use Clever when you do things through trickery and sneakiness.
  • Wise: Use Wise when you do things by knowing facts or figuring out the state of the world.

Playbooks

  • Velveteen: Toy that a child loved that's come to life. Velveteen Rabbit, Toy Story. +1 Caring
  • Jack: Legendary figure; think Robin Hood, Jack the Giant Slayer, Peter Pan. +1 Courageous
  • Changeling: Child wished for by a man or woman. Pinocchio, Tom Thumb, Thumbelina. +1 Clever
  • Golem: Statue brought to life when people desire a protector. Golem of Prague, Frosty the Snowman, various other folk legends. +1 Sturdy
  • Toto: Animal friend. Toto, Cowardly Lion, Reepicheep. +1 Caring.
  • Pest: Goader into action. Crone, Mysterious Old Man You Give Your Lunch To, Diogenes. +1 Wise.

Ideas

Level plays into how many bonds you can have. You don't lose levels when you lose bonds, but it determines the max number of bonds you can have at one time.

When you have a bond with an NPC, you can get specific benefits from them. This may be a bonus to a specific move, or it Sturdy give you a move you couldn't normally have, or even ones that don't exist in the game otherwise. Or you get a benefit for a move without having to roll for it. For example, if you have a bond with the village storyteller, then once per adventure, you can use Spout Lore. Encourage GMs to grab moves from other games when they make NPCs for the players to bond with, as well as give a decent pool of moves and NPCs for them to use if they don't want to make their own.

Sometimes the players have to deal with violent threats like bandits or monsters. However, sometimes they'll deal with things like two neighbors fighting, or a child who's lost in the woods.

When you run out of hit points, you're knocked unconscious or become immobile until you've had a chance to rest. You only die if you have no bonds. You're not dead so long as someone cares about you.

Imperiled
Some moves call for a player to Imperil one of their bonds. This means that something they've done has come at the cost of their relationship with that person. If they don't make the situation right (repairing damages, preventing disaster, replacing what was lost), they must roll their Bond move at the end of the adventure. On 10+, they're forgiven. On a 7-9, the bond is still Imperiled. On a miss, the bond is broken.

Basic Moves

Sway
When you try to convince someone to either change their actions or their views, roll +Caring.

  • On a 10+, you bring them around.
  • On a 7-9, choose one of the following:
  • They will change their mind if you agree to terms of their own.
  • They're convinced, but they don't like being manipulated. Take a -1 penalty on rolls with that person for the rest of the day.
  • They aren't convinced to do or think what you want, but instead choose a third option.

Bolster
When you try to raise someone's spirits and help them recover from a defeat, roll +Caring

  • On a 10+, they recover from any Misfortunes and get +1 going forward.
  • On a 7-9, they recover from one Misfortune, but still suffer its effects during the current scene.

Fool
When you try to trick someone, roll +Clever

  • On a 10+, they're fooled. Take +1 going forward against that person, or give +1 going forward to an ally.
  • On a 7-9, choose one of the following:
  • You tricked them, but they'll distrust you in the future. Take +1 going forward against that person, but then take -1 ongoing against that person for the rest of the day.
  • You fool them, but someone sees you tricking them. The GM will introduce a Complication to the scene.

Into the Fray
When you move into danger, roll +Courageous. On a 10+, you manage to do what you set out to do. On a 7-9, the GM will offer you a worse outcome, hard bargain, or an ugly choice. On a miss, prepare for the worst.

Strike
When you attack an enemy physically, roll +Sturdy.

  • On a 10+, you deal damage to the enemy and avoid their attack.
  • On a 7-9, you deal damage to the enemy, but take an attack from them.

Spot
When you try to discern what's really there, roll +Wise.

  • On a 10+, ask 3 questions from the list below. The GM will answer them honestly.
  • On a 7-9, ask 1 or 3 questions from the list below. If you only ask one, it will be answered honestly. If you ask 3, the GM will only answer two honestly.

Either way, take +1 going forward when acting on the answers.

  • What happened here recently?
  • What is about to happen?
  • What should I be on the lookout for?
  • What here is useful or valuable to me?
  • Who’s really in control here?
  • What here is not what it appears to be

Dodge
When you try to avoid an attack, roll +Wise

  • On a 10+, you avoid the attack and take +1 going forward against the attacker.
  • On a 7-9, you avoid the attack, but end up with a complication

Velveteen

Bond Move:
When you've helped someone solve their problems in the community, roll +Caring.

  • On a 10+, form a new bond with that person (up to your maximum number of bonds).

By the Strength of Their Love
So long as you have at least one bond that isn't Imperiled, roll +Caring instead whenever you would normally roll +Courageous.

Golem

Bond Move:
When you have protected someone from disaster, roll +Sturdy.

  • On a 10+, form a new bond with that person (up to your maximum number of bonds).

Strength of Stone
When you are confronted with a physical obstacle, roll +Sturdy.

  • On a 10+, you move the obstacle aside, living boulders, breaking mighty trees, or bending rivers.
  • On a 7-9, you move the obstacle aside, but choose one of the following:
  • Take 5 damage as you hurt yourself from the strain.
  • Imperil a bond with someone who has been inconvenienced or endangered by your actions.
  • The obstacle is moved temporarily, but it will impede you again when you return. You can only take this if you plan to return.
  • On a miss, pick two.

Jack

Bond Move:
When you defeat a threat to your community, roll +Courageous.

  • On a 10+, form a new bond with that person (up to your maximum number of bonds).

Braggadocio
When you set out to fix a problem for the community, roll +Courageous as you tell everyone how easily you'll solve it.

  • On a 10+, take +1 ongoing until you fail a roll.
  • On a 7-9, pick a bond. Take +1 ongoing until you fail a roll. When you fail the roll, your bond is Imperiled due to your boasting.
  • On a miss, imperil a bond due to your bragging.