I am still working over the Modern AGE rules, building my random tables, and so on. At the end of the Character Creation chapter is a section on relationships. The example it gives is a player creating a relationship between their character and another character in the group.
These relationships have an Intensity rating, it starts at 1 but could be 2 (the cap at 1st level). Later on, you can increase the Intensity and you get more relationship slots on the 4th, 8th, and so on levels. So you can have relationships with more characters (and NPCs).
The ‘advantage’ of having a relationship is that once per session you can spend your Intensity points in a relationship on a stunt directed towards that person. If you have a relationship with a villain, you could spend the points on a combat stunt against that person. If they are a friendly relationship, you can use the points to spend on stunts to help your friend.
You can use Relationship points to change an NPC attitude unless the GM rules that an NPC will not act in that way.
The problem I have with this is that as soon as you have to rely on GM rulings, these cause me a break my immersion in the game. If the villain in my story is not clearly defined yet, how do I know if they will or wouldn’t behave in a particular way?
Sometimes, who I think is the villain turns out to not be the final villain at all. My stories evolve as I learn more the world. That also means that who I thought was the big bad evil guy may not be that big after all.
This then means, the people that I thought were one way, when I set up the relationships, may not be that way at all. If you understand what I mean.
My second problem is that this feels kind of odd and game mechanically. For example, if I wanted to manipulate a villain into letting me go free, I would normally roll some kind of social skill, and imagine the discussion and either the scathing put down as I fail, or how I got one over on them if I succeeded. But if I can just pull a social stunt out of thin air, for no reason (if there was a reason I would be rolling the ability/focus that supported it) then how or why did it happen?
I accept that I haven’t played the game yet, but I am not sure how to feel about this game mechanic.
It is entirely possible that once in play it will feel perfectly normal and natural and my fears were for nothing. Right now it just seems to be stunts for stunts sake.
I will soon find out.