05 September 2014

Hana Academy: Relationships

In the introduction to Hana Academy, relationships were discussed as an important part of the game. They represent one of the foundations of the game and an element which underpins many of the core mechanics.

Relationships have a special place in Hana Academy. They are one of the primary sources players draw their power, but also one of their greatest weaknesses. Instead of a pool of skill points, characters start with a pool of relationship points. These are spent on other characters (PCs and NPCs) to define how important the relationship is to the PC. Importance doesn't mean friend; rivals are just as important.

Each of these relationships has a skill associated with it based on what drives the relationship. A relationship with a teammate could be associated with Athletics, while a crush who is in your history class could be Academics. Naturally, the skill gets the rating of the relationship: the more important the relationship, the more the character is driven to excel at the skill. You can only assign each skill once.

The dark side to any relationship is how it can be used against you. Those who are closest to know the easiest ways to hurt us. Our most bitter rivals have a certain knack for always getting the best of us. If they didn't, the rivalry certainly wouldn't be so bitter. Whenever the character you have a relationship with acts against you, they gain a bonus equal to your relationship. This doesn't have to be related to the skill, simply any action at all. This is a one-way street - their importance to you is already represented by the skill itself.

There is some good news to this as well. Those closest to you know how best to help you: they gain it as a bonus when working directly to help you. This typically manifests through creating advantages for you to use. Friends also serve another important purpose: they are the best instruments for revenge.

Since your rivals gain an inherent bonus against you, it is always best to recruit friends. Since your enemies don't necessarily have the same importance to your friends, they can provide significant assistance as you plan the downfall of your continual tormentor. It's always good to have friends. Especially the kind who will help you hide bodies.

As you grow and change, your relationship values wax and wane. The people who were once so important to you drift away, only to be replaced by others. Your best friend may have once been your partner in crime, but now you are more interested in flower arranging together. People change and so will your relationships.

Relationships are found in other pieces of the game as well, such as Aspects, but those will be topics for another entry.