June 29, 2002
Describe two romantic relationships involving a PC you've seen in a game. One should be a romance that worked for the participants and the other should be one that failed, died, or came to an end. What was good and bad about these relationships from the point of view of plot and character development? How did the GM make the romance appealing to the players?

Oh gods, I could go on about this for SUCH a long time. To me, the best plots are based upon the relationships between the characters. As a GM, I usually find that the plots revolve around the relationships in some manner. As a player, I find that relationships tend to bind me more into the plot.

For a failed relationship, there is only one choice. Adrienne and Jerrym, in Which Endureth Forever. Ohmigod.

I love it when a character does something I don’t expect. I mean, there I am, playing her, and she’s just doing things which are happening and coming out of her mouth and I’m sitting back and wondering where the hell she’s getting that from and why the hell she’s doing that. And that’s what happened with Adrienne.

I knew there was something going on in her head. But I didn’t know what was causing her to act the way she was. She was 16 ½, and new to Amber. She’d been Benedict’s protégé in shadow, and upon her arrival in Amber, he had asked Jerrym to continue teaching her. Jerrym wasn’t so thrilled by having this possible daughter of Benedict dropped in his lap, and their relationship went downhill from there.

I think Adrienne and I figured it out about the same time. She’d gone off into shadow to “grow up” because she was tired of being just the kid and not getting all the jokes. So she literally went off to learn more about life, sex, and magic. Hm, I think that’s when shapeshifting got added in as well, or slightly thereafter. She worked with Samuel, and had a wonderful little interlude with him, which other than friendship, meant absolutely nothing. She spent a lot of time centering herself, and figuring herself out. Which was when she realized that she was spending all this time knocking herself out, trying to get Jerrym’s approval. She was horrified to realize that somewhere along the way she’d developed a crush on him.

And it just went downhill from there. In Julia’s blog you can read about Jerrym and Rhiannon – her example of a good relationship. This should say enough about how badly Adrienne’s experience went.

Except that you still have NO idea.

Rhiannon died. Jerrym was in love and Rhiannon was killed by Ardath (Adrienne’s best friend, and the subject of another crush, but that’s a totally different story). But Rhiannon wasn’t totally dead. And over time, as Adrienne realized that her crush on Jerrym had grown into a full-on unrequited love, Adrienne also learned that Rhiannon wasn’t quite dead.

The scariest moment was when she literally offered to die for Rhiannon. She offered to give herself up so that Rhiannon could live. As a shapeshifter, it sounded logical to her, and it would give her Jerrym, in some manner.

Yes, Adrienne is a scary girl. Don’t confuse her with me. I don’t think I could EVER be as messed up as she is. Laughs

Thankfully, Jerrym didn’t accept. And that was the moment when he learned how Adrienne felt. And when he officially rejected her, which gave her a good reason to start to pull out of it and put her head back in working order. They almost became friends after that (and Adrienne finally learned what had attracted her to him in the first place, despite that he never gave her an ounce of encouragement). But then Adrienne fell in love with Stephan, and has done things that many don’t approve of (the story of Adrienne’s life) and that pretty much killed off her fledgling friendship with Jerrym.

After all that, she still wishes him well, and likes Rhiannon (they had a great tea after she came back to life), and wishes his daughter well. But it is most definitely the epitome of the most messed up relationship I have ever played through in a game.

For the best relationship that worked out really well… I had to really think about it. There were Celia and Madoc, from Tony Pi’s Paradox, who were the epitome of The Lovers tarot card. There are Krystol and Jacob from Honor thy Father and Mother at ACUS, who are still sorting out their relationship despite being married and him on the throne of Chaos. It’s a relationship that the players weren’t expecting but the characters just went there. But after all my thought, I came to Eldan and Talis, from The End of the Beginning, run by Felicia Olson.

It was a Chaos based game. When the characters met, Talis was studying the Logrus intensely (and to be Suhuy’s direct apprentice), and was pregnant and married. Eldan was a new student. They struck up a friendship. And Eldan was there when Talis took the Logrus, her husband died, and she birthed the twins (yes, all in one afternoon). Their friendship was cemented as they went through the next several years, going back and forth, and having the most difficult time trusting each other with their hearts. There were proposals of marriage, but Talis was too concerned that Eldan was only marrying her for her daughters’ sake, and not for his own sake. Finally they managed to get it through their heads that it was right, and the dam broke, and they were the perfect couple. It was a great setup to play through, and turned out great.

Now, I’ll admit, Celia and Madoc is right up there too… but that one lost out simply because I know it was engineered. I know that Tony set it up, and tried to put the two of them together (and he called it just right on what I’d do, and Celia and Madoc became the perfect couple… sort of).

Enough babbling. Funny how the failed relationship has so much more to write about than the good one, huh?

Posted by Deb Atwood at June 29, 2002 12:00 AM

Ah, how could I have forgotten Adrienne's offer? Yeah, that works really well as an example of a failed romance, and it did have some plot-impact, too.

Posted by: Julia on June 30, 2002 10:10 PM

I know *I* can't forget it... I think it wins her "most embarassing moment" award hands down. *laughs* What I forgot to do was link the story -- that was one of the few that got written up!

Posted by: D. on June 30, 2002 10:16 PM

I am absolutely not surprised that we get more plot from failed romances than we do from successful ones. That's been my experience as both a player and a GM.

Posted by: Ginger on June 30, 2002 10:56 PM

Well, with successful romances there's just the "put the other half in danger" plotline. Or at least, a lot of them devolve into that, or come from that. With failed romances, depending on how they fail, there're more options, right?

And hey Ginger, since I forgot to say it -- I liked the topic this week. *grins*

Posted by: D. on June 30, 2002 11:20 PM
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