Dating Mechanics v1.4

Dating Mechanics

Welcome to the high-stakes world of dating.

In the Goddess’ Repose campaign, the outcome  of a date could mean success or failure for the entire party in their quest. In order to form a loving relationship with another character, you must successfully complete a number of dates, and win their heart with charm and confidence.

The Basics

As A General Rule…

Things like gender and race do not affect dating in this world. In theory, anyone can date anyone. For the most part, NPCs will show no preference towards characters of any particular persuasion. The choices a player makes to determine whether or not a character wants to date them will be made during roleplaying, not during character creation. That is not to say it will be easy for a character to date any NPC. It may take insight and determination on their part, and of course, as with all activities, they run the risk of failure.

Keep it PG

This system is not designed to portray interactions of an adult nature, and neither is your DM. You can still say swears though.

Player Participation

Dating is typically an activity which involves only one player at a time, but that is no reason for everyone else at the table to take a nap. They are encouraged to give the DM suggestions for NPC reactions, chance encounters, and random acts of fate that might occur over the course of the Date Nite. This gives the players the chance to influence the world, and takes some of the burden of improvisation off of the DM. The DM ultimately decides which suggestions to use or ignore, unless the player creates an event using the Randomness rules.

Date Checks

In order to successfully complete a date, a player must earn Affection Points (AP) by rolling successful Date checks. Whenever the player attempts an action on a date to win their date’s favor, they must make a Date check. A Date check is typically a Charisma check, plus the player’s proficiency bonus. However, if the DM sees fit, they might instead have the player roll a different skill or ability check in place of a Date check. The DM may choose to grant the player Advantage or Disadvantage on their date check, depending on how appropriate, inspired, or in character the attempted action is.

AP Categories

An NPC has three AP categories, all of which must be filled in order for the date to be successful. Those categories are Charm (CHP), Thoughtfulness (THP), and Compatibility (COP). When the player rolls their date check, the DM decides which category the roll will apply to, based on the nature of the action, as described below.

Charm: The player’s overall likability and personality. A friendly demeanor, a good fashion sense, and a sense of humor will all benefit a player’s charm. The following actions are all considered Charm checks:

  • Talking about oneself and one’s accomplishments.
  • Dressing up, attending to one’s physical appearance and hygiene
  • Holding hands, hugging, and kissing
  • Making jokes, or telling funny stories
  • Performing heroic or selfless deeds
  • Showing off one’s physique, talents, or physical prowess

Thoughtfulness: Empathy and generosity. While a player’s charm is determined by their outlook and presentation, their thoughtfulness is reflected in the gifts, advice, and kindnesses they present. Putting your date’s needs ahead of your own is a sure way to earn THP during a date. The following actions are all considered Thoughtfulness checks:

  • Asking about or affirming the date’s thoughts and opinions
  • Giving gifts to the date
  • Expressing empathy and emotional support for the date
  • Noticing and complimenting the date
  • Holding doors, and other such polite gestures

Compatibility: A highly subjective category, where the positive and negative qualities of the player are defined by whomever they are dating. Do they like confidence or humbleness? Humor or earnestness? Grandeur or thriftiness? Compatibility may be hard to earn, unless the player takes the time to learn about their date’s preferences, potentially through conversation or trial and error. One may also gain Compatibility by demonstrating that they are “relationship material”. The following actions are all considered Compatibility checks:

  • Discussing thoughts and feelings towards specific subjects
  • Acting in accordance with the date’s particular feelings and preferences
  • Confessions of love and endearment
  • Demonstrating emotional maturity.

Magnitude

At the start of each date, the player has 0 points in all three categories. The number of points a player gains or loses per Date check is dependant on their Charisma modifier and the Magnitude of their action. Like Category, Magnitude is somewiat subjective, and is ultimately determined by the DM based on the following criteria. There are three levels of Magnitude:

Casual (1d6): Casual actions include polite comments, minor physical contact, small tokens of affection, mild reactions to events, and other such commonplace gestures. The DC to successfully complete a casual action is 3 + the target’s Proficiency + CHA modifier.

Moderate (3d6): Moderate actions include comments during small talk, more intimate physical contact, moderately expensive gifts, moderate reactions to events, and other such exceptional gestures. The DC to successfully complete a moderate action is 8 + the target’s Proficiency + CHA modifier.

Grand (5d6): Grand actions include revealing deep, personal truths, lingering or spontaneous physical contact, expensive or highly personal gifts and arrangements, extreme reactions to events, and other such risky or extraordinary gestures. The DC to successfully complete a grand action is 13 + the target’s Proficiency + CHA modifier.

On a successful date check, the player rolls the indicated dice, and adds their Charisma modifier (or subtracts their Charisma penalty, the minimum roll is 1). They gain the resulting number of AP. On a failed date check, the player rolls the indicated dice, and adds their Charisma penalty, if applicable. They lose the resulting number of AP.

Strikes and Success

A Strike occurs when a character fails a date check in an AP category that has 0 points. If a character gains three strikes, they have failed the date. The rest of the evening will probably be spent in tense, awkward silence, or the target may leave the date altogether. Filling a single AP category removes one strike for the player, and filling all three categories automatically ends the date successfully. The rest of the night goes swimmingly.

Party Fouls

If a player’s action is so thoughtless that it could only be construed as offensive, the DM may declare that it is a Party Foul. A Party Foul does not allow the player to gain AP on a successful roll. They may only avoid offending the target, and still stand to lose AP on a failure. Party fouls are usually rolled with disadvantage, unless the offense is very slight.

The Date Nite

The Phases

A date night happens in a number of phases which can be broken down into four categories, Preparation, Traversal, Activity, and Aftermath. Each phase has different possible events for the player to contend with. Preparation and Aftermath are always the first and last phases, respectively, but multiple Traversal and Activity phases can occur in any order combination,

Progress

Each Phase of the date has an Advancement value. Once the player makes a number of date checks equal to the Advancement value of the current Phase, the Phase is over, and the next one begins.

Escalation

Escalation is a measure of the intensity of the events going on. For example, if the date asks a question, and the escalation is low, the question will be casual, and if the escalation is high, the question will be revealing and intimate. Higher escalation generally demands action from the player that are greater in magnitude. If the event happens to be a lull for the character to act, than a high escalation will mean that the date will expect a grander action from the player. The player might get a sense that the date has an intense curiosity, or is getting a little bored with small talk on such events with high escalation.

Escalation is determined individually for each progress point. To determine Escalation, roll 1d4, and apply the Floating Modifier. The Floating Modifier starts at +2 at the beginning of every date, and may be adjusted at various times over the course of the Date. At the end of every Phase, the DM rolls 1d6. On the result of 1-2, the Floating Modifier is reduced by 1, on the result of 3-4 it remains the same, and on the result of 5-6 it increases by 1. All changes to the Floating Modifier are cumulative. This represents the gradual shift in mood during the course of the date nite.

Escalation
Value Magnitude Description
0 or less Casual Inconsequential or hypothetical matters
1-3 Casual Minor everyday matters
4-6 Moderate Significant matters
7-8 Grand Important or deeply personal matters
9 or more Grand Life or death matters

If the event happens to be a lull for the character to act, than a high escalation will mean that the date will expect a grander action from the player. The player might get a sense that the date has an intense curiosity, or is getting a little bored with small talk on such events with high escalation.

Controlling the Progression of Events

While the conversational and circumstantial implications of Escalation are up to the DM to subjectively decide, there are concrete benefits associated with Escalation-appropriate behaviors.

If the magnitude of the player’s action aligns with the Escalation value, and they succeed on the date check, they earn a Positive Escalation Marker (PEM). When the player earns three PEMs, they must choose whether to Advance, Delay or Proceed. They may also choose to increase or reduce the Floating Modifier by 1. The player immediately loses their PEMs, and starts again from zero. PEMs cannot be saved, and the player must choose one of the following options as soon as the third PEM is earned.

Advance: The player skips all subsequent Date checks for the current Phase, and immediately advances to the next one.
Delay: All Date checks counted towards the advancement towards the next Phase are removed, so the player must make additional Date checks before advancing to the next Progress Point.
Proceed: The player continues to make Date checks as normal.

Randomness

Sometimes, things just don’t go as planned, even for the DM. Randomness is a factor by which players not participating in the current date can join in and influence events. At any time during the date, a non-active player may roll on the Randomness Table below. That player also simultaneously rolls for Escalation, using the current Floating Modifier for the date. Based on the random event and Escalation rolled, that player then describes the random event however they see fit. The DM can give guidance or descriptions as to how these Random events might play out. While responding to Random events, any date checks that the active player makes do not count towards the Advancement of the current phase.

The maximum number of random events that can occur during a given phase of the date is given after the Phase name in the Date Phase Tables. Sometimes it is a fixed value, and is sometimes determined by a die roll. Once that number of Random events is reached, players cannot introduce any more.

The first time a player succeeds or fails a Date check made in response to a random event, the Floating Escalation Modifier may be adjusted. If the Date check is successful, the player chooses whether to increase the Modifier by 1, decrease it by 1, or keep it at the current value. If the Date check is a failure, the DM rolls a d6. On a result of a 1-2, the Modifier decreases by 1; on a result of 3-4 the Modifier is unchanged; and on a result of 5-6, the Modifier increases by 1.

After a Random event is rolled and subsequently played out, the DM may choose to either Favor or Forsake the next Random event they roll during the current date. This decision is typically dependant on whether the DM though the Previous Random event was appropriate, interesting, or well thought out. When rolling a random event with Favor, the player rolls twice on the Random Events Table, and picks which result they use. When rolling with Forsake, they roll twice, and the DM picks which result they must use.

When two players wish to enact a random event at the same time, they both must make unmodified d20 rolls. Whoever gets the higher result may subsequently roll and determine the random event. A player with Favor may choose to expend it to automatically succeed on this roll. If the two players both roll the same result, or both expend Favor, then they both roll random events, which occur simultaneously. This is still only treated once towards the limit of Random events in this phase.

d20 Random Event
1 Mishap! Something unfortunate or dangerous happens.
2 An NPC approaches the characters (DM’s choice).
3 An NPC approaches the characters (player’s choice).
4 Conflict! A fight breaks out nearby.
5 Mystery! Something inexplicable happens.
6 Performance! A staged or rehearsed performance happens nearby.
7 Crime! Something illegal happens nearby.
8 Awkward! Something happens that creates discomfort.
9 Magic! A spell is cast, or an arcane effect occurs.
10 Something peaceful happens (reduce Floating Modifier by 1).
11 Something intense happens (increase Floating Modifier by 1).
12 Something emotional happens (roll to adjust Floating Modifier).
13 Shocking! Something unexpected is revealed.
14 Prank! A practical joke is played.
15 Mob! A large number of people enter the scene.
16 Exodus! A large number of people leave the scene.
17 Deus Ex! Some form of divine intervention occurs. (Gods are not likely to actually show up on any escalation result less than a 10)
18 Momentous! A once-in-a-lifetime event occurs.
19 Fortune! Something lucky or favorable happens.
20 Roll again twice.

 

Date Phases

Preparation Phase
Advancement 5, Randomness 0
This is the time before the date begins proper. Before the prospective lovers even say hello to each other they both have to get ready. Preparations might include dressing up, arranging for transportation, buying gifts, cleaning their apartment, etc. This is a good opportunity for players to get a positive score off the bat, and insulate themselves against early strikes. Failing a date check in an AP category with 0 points does not earn a strike during this phase, however, rolling a natural 1 still earns a strike as normal.

Traversal Phase
Advancement 3, Randomness 1
Are you in a place? Do you want to go to another place? Then it’s time for a Traversal phase to occur. Traversal phases take place whenever the characters engaged in a date change locales, either by walking, taking a carriage, or any other means of transport. Traversal phases primarily feature light conversation, although occasional random encounters and obstacles may occur.

Activity Phase
The meat of the date night. Whatever the main activity the player has planned will play out, with a series of random events and encounters. This is where the player will really get the chance to sink or swim, as the bulk of their actions will be judged during this phase. The Advancement and Randomness values are dependant on the nature and location of the activity.

Dinner: Advancement 7, Randomness 1d4
A staple of the modern Date Nite. The player and their date go to a restaurant, order food, and converse on any topics which happen to come up. During a date, the characters will be visited frequently by servers, but are not likely to have any major interactions with anyone in the locale.

Show: Advancement 5, Randomness 1
A safe and reliable date is the Show, an event where the player and their partner watch a play, musical performance, tournament, or athletic event. Depending on the locale, talking may not be much encouraged, and may be limited to simple reactions to the entertainment.

Night In: Advancement 2d4, Randomness 1d6
It’s time to unleash your inner host/houseguest. It is up to the participants of the date to determine the events and activities of the night in. Do you play a boardgame? Cook and eat a meal? Share old stories over a bottle of wine? Or maybe just argue about the rules of a boardgame without actually playing?

Aftermath Phase
Advancement 2, Randomness 1
There it is. The date is over. Will you depart with a friendly goodbye, or stay and converse late into the night? Again, no events are rolled during this phase, but the player may have one last chance to leave a good impression on the date if they decide to take any actions before they end the night.

Rapport and Rewards

After completing a date with the target, you roll to determine your Rapport. Rapport is a cumulative figure which represents your growing and developing relationship with your date. The date’s Maximum Rapport is determined by adding the maximum value for all three of their AP categories together and dividing by 3. At the end of every date, the player rolls Rapport based on their degree of success. Keep a running total of the date’s Rapport score. When their Rapport score equals or exceeds their Rapport Maximum, the date gains a level, and their Rapport score is reset to 0.

The player’s degree of success during a date depends on how many AP categories they can fill, and whether or not they “strike out”. An AP category is full when the AP a character gains matches or exceeds the target’s maximum value. Any date may have the following outcomes:

Failure: The player gained three strikes during the date, and effectively ruined the evening. There is little chance that the target will ever want to date them again anytime soon. The player earn no experience from completing the date, although the DM may choose to award them XP for roleplaying. The player does not add anything to the date’s Rapport score.

Unfulfilled: The player didn’t strike out, but they didn’t fill any categories either. The target will only date the player again if they have nothing else to do, and even then, they may put off the date for as long as they can. The player earns one-third of the experience indicated by their date’s LC. The player rolls 1d6 and adds their Charisma modifier, and adds that number to their date’s Rapport score.

Partially Fulfilled: The player filled one or two AP categories. The target will be willing to date again, barring extreme circumstances. The player earns one-half of the experience indicated by their date’s LC. The player rolls 3d6 and adds their Charisma modifier, and adds that number to their date’s Rapport score.

Success: The player filled all three categories. The date was a success. The target will be eager to date again, and will even go out of their way to clear their schedules. The player earns the number of experience indicated by their date’s LC. The player rolls 5d6 and adds their Charisma modifier, and adds that number to their date’s Rapport score.

Group Dates

Coming soon

Friendship Dates

Also called hangouts, Friendship Dates are not meant to build feeling of romantic love, but rather, to strengthen the bonds of friendship. Hangouts follow the same structure and rules of dates, with a few notable exceptions. First, hangouts start with a floating escalation modifier of 0. The stakes are lower and the atmosphere is much more relaxed than it would be on a date. Second, the player has the option of skipping the approach and retreat phases. Instead of traveling together, it is more common for friends to simply meet up at the intended destination. Third, the player only needs to fill the Compatibility AP category. Friends don’t have to try as hard to impress each other than new lovers, and generally don’t expect to receive such displays of affection. They just have to get along well.

A creature’s challenge is considered to be three levels lower than normal during a challenge date for the purposes of gaining experience.

Upon completing a hangout, the rapport you earn with your roll is halved.

Example

Coming soon

Adventure Dates

Adventure dates are a different kind of dating experience for adventurers and NPCs who want to introduce a little more excitement danger into their romantic lives. On an adventure date, there are no maps and no random encounters. Instead, a scripted series of encounters occur, including puzzles, monsters, and traps. Each encounter has an assigned magnitude, so if the player successfully overcomes the encounter, they roll the appropriate AP dice, which are applied to all three categories. There will also be stretches of uninterrupted walking, which function as Traversal phases.

Puzzles will include traditional door locks, but will also feature encoded signs and symbols, pointing the correct way through the labyrinth.

Monster encounters should be resolved nonviolently. Most times, a monster will want something specific, such as food, peace and quiet, answers to a riddle, an entertaining performance, or simple solitude.

Torsoland is very scenic, with stunning crystal caverns, lush underground forests, and rivers with luminescent fish and fireflies. Certain locations may grant automatic AP increases.

Here are some additional rules regarding adventure dates:

  • Randomness rules do not apply during the Adventure phase.
  • Instead of Transition and Activity phases, the Adventure Date follows as series of encounters and conversations specific to each adventure.
  • Players may earn AP in all categories by completing challenges, which may or may not involve ability checks.
  • If you fail to complete a challenge in a way that significantly hinders your progress, you automatically earn one strike, in addition to any you may receive normally.
  • If your significant other falls to 0 hp, you receive a grand failure in all categories, and the date is over. When they recover from unconsciousness (if they recover), they will want to abandon the quest and go home.
  • If you kill an intelligent monster, you fail the current challenge, automatically earn two strikes, and the date is over. Most NPCs can’t stomach that kind of violence, and will insist on returning home. There may also be legal repercussions for your actions.
  • If a date ends prematurely, success or failure is determined by the number of AP categories filled. Keep in mind that any failure that results in a premature end will also cause your AP scores to suffer, and can remove points from any AP categories you may have filled.
  • Completing your quest automatically counts as a grand success in all AP categories.