How active should ROs be in romance subplots?

I will like the choice. Even if I will never romance someone who i don’t pursued myself. I am to bossy and I hate being associated with submissive behaviour. Being a girl in Spain you are literally considered Submissive by default. I am tired with real live … No, Mara woman has to wait man asked first. If you ask first people would call you whore and no man would choose a whore like wife. You will end alone… stuff like that not only from my grandma for a bunch of nuns talking about womanhood proper behaviour. And how don’t waste the gift our virginity with unworthy man.

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Hi, I’m gona put my two cents in.
To be honest I get really tired of the MC having to initiate the romance (this happens in almost every game, from CYOA to RPG and general adventure games). When the MC shows no interest, the LI just doesn’t do anything, they don’t flirt nor do they move on. This really annoys me, as if they are incapable of individual thought and only react when the MC is near.

A nice exception would be Tali and Garrus from Mass Effect. If you show no interest in either of them, they form a relationship with each other. It feels very natural too, with the two of them being among your longest serving crew members. In every other case Shepard has to initiate stuff and it gets repetetive after a while. Mars: War Logs and Bound by Flame handle their relationships just fine if you ask me. The romance ends with a kiss and leaves it at that (of course some people were complaining about the lack of sex -_-).

To come back to CoG games, I believe Psy High did a very good job with Alisson’s romance. The two of you grew up as childhood friends so you were already familiar with each other. If I remember correctly it was Allison who confessed to you and kissed you. The MC could reciprocate or turn her down (and she would leave you alone afterwards). I found it to be a very sweet and subtle scene.
The opposite would be the MC’s almost forced attraction to Black Magic in Heroes Rise. I didn’t dislike Black Magic but the game practically pressured me into romancing her, otherwise I would lose reputation and she would get mad. I found that (and the obligatory sex scene) to be quite uncomfortable. Nothing I couldn’t handle but IRL I would’ve pushed that person away a long time ago.

So to sum things up, I think it would be nice if NPC’s showed some initiative rather than just standing around waiting for the MC to notice them. But I am against the obligatory sex scene that most games seem to have, I would like the option to get naked or not, without losing reputation in the process, if possible. I like to banter with a potential LI before it actually goes anywhere (Wakefield from Choice of the Deathless is my favorite in that regard). I think I’ll leave it at that for the moment,

I can keep going for a while longer, but I’ve said the most important things so that’ll have to do.:slight_smile:


That doesn’t always go down well with players! I’ve been wondering if having LIs romance other people is a complete no-no.


I believe that was changed in the later version of Heroes Rise 1. You could tell Black Magic you didn’t want to have sex. (You can also avoid the relationship completely). That said, when the second game comes around, it’s assumed that you are having sex then, and again there’s the obligatory scenes.

I do like Wakefield. :slight_smile:

I think it was @Aly who said that the problem with love interests romancing each other, is that it might be seen as their ‘true romance’ or something, and it might discourage players from pursuing that person? (I can’t seem to find the exact quote.)


Personally I dislike when romanceable companions hook up with each other for reason mentioned above. In part it’s also related to the fact that PC-NPC romance almost always requires for player to show interest to initiate and amost never NPC, but with NPC-NPC it’s not the case for obvious reasons. So it might look like that NPC you like shows active interest in other NPC, but shows interest in PC only in return.

But also I don’t like it, because I rarely have more than one ship with most characters so If I for example want to explore other romance options, I either had to forget about it, stick to one option and never romance anyone else (actually what happens with me in ME, good thing I really like Garrus) or be forced to watch romance subplot I really-really dislike. So If companions have to romance each other I’d rather it was those that aren’t RO’s.

But in general some initiative from NPCs would be nice, at least from some of them.


Well, this is something I’m doing in my game, nevertheless. As I explained in my non-WIP thread, I wanted to increase representation of non-straight relationships, but without making any of my characters non-MC-sexual. I guess this might make people wary of romancing them, which is a shame, as certain variations of their romances are quite… fun. (Also, they don’t show any interest in one another until after it’s too late to begin romancing them, and it begins with one of them asking the MC for relationship help…)

I am thinking of having a potential RO confess, too (other than the one I described in my earlier comments :sweat_smile:), but it’s almost certainly going to be an RO that the player has no interest in, and thus the confession will only result in much embarrassment. :grin: (It should be clear by now that my WIP is an exercise in causing people misery.)


Probably because if two characters always end happily together in canon (unless you interfere by romancing them first) then it kinda feels like you are…intruding. Which is not true in-universe but we as players know that they are “meant to be”.
On the other side of the argument are usually the shippers who like two or more characters but don’t want them with their MC for one reason or another. Which is totally fine.
I kinda commented this topic the other day in the Guenevere thread but to be honest no one paid me much attention. :sweat_smile: (Basically a couple of people wanted Arthur to take Radagund as mistress since they have similar ideals and such.) All other arguments aside, I saw that problematic specially when the author said that we will have plenty of opportunities to start and end things with the ROs. If Arthur or anyone else starts automatically another relationship very much in the middle of the story how are we supposed to still be able to romance them? Because not everybody likes stealing lovers or being forced into an open relationship (or even polyamory). And that’s pretty much what you get.
The only diplomatic solution I see is giving the option of playing Matchmaker but not to make it 100% canon.
But of course the authors are ultimately free to do whatever they want with their stories.


I think the fact that ROs aren’t active in romantic subplots is part of the problem people have with characters hooking up with each other.

I, for instance, don’t really care. But I can imagine other people feeling like they’re getting in the way of true love, or that their RO is only with them because they ‘harassed’ them into it or whatever. I think the vehement dislike people have for character/character romance would be way less if their RO of choice was interested in them first, but once rejected, went onto to more, uh, ‘receptive pastures’.

It’s better for the ego that way, methinks :smirk_cat:


One pairing of ROs that I love out of happy coincidence is Iron Bull/Dorian. They’re my two favorite guys in the game and, honestly, I didn’t really feel (overly) attached to them like I did Garrus or Duke Lyon (from 7kpp.)

@ParrotWatcher That’s a good idea, waiting for the relationship picking stage to be over. There’ve been times where a character I’d been interested in for a romance with MC became a total non-option just because they so much as blushed at another character/RO (unless that blush was platonic or MC-related!) I’m maybe petty.

Ooh, are you gonna use a stat/variable that tracks MC interest? That sounds neat.

I want more active ROs definitely. Maybe this is just me, but everytime there’s a stat that records physical attractiveness, I always hope reactions will change based on how (un)attractive a MC is. 7kpp kinda does that, though most people don’t care what MC looks like, the Matchmaker and one turdy guy do. Also, though, sometimes I kinda cringe when I take the option I need to in order to enter a romance with a character I’d been pushing MC towards. Like, besides RO interest, it’d be cool if there were different ways to flirt…or totally fail at flirting lol, if that’s the type of character you got.

@iris Ego’s so important.


Get your Qunari hands off my mage. :angry:

No; it’s just that beyond a certain point in the story (pretty much exactly where my WIP is now, in fact) most characters become unromanceable, if you haven’t already started the romance (there are a couple of latecomers, and at least one who won’t give up, but otherwise, you missed your chance, sorry :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:).



I’m no Cassanova, but I wonder at some of these ‘flirt’ options. Like… that’s not how it works! If someone ever seriously used one of the iffier lines on me I don’t even know how I’d react. Not favorably like the characters seem to, at the least.

But I do understand that relationships, especially romantic relationships with all that EGO on the line, are very difficult to write. Coding it is a nightmare. So many variables, so many line changes, so many checks and cuts and… ahhhhghhhf.sad.

Ironically, that’s one of the only character/character romances I didn’t approve of, but it had nothing to do with the fact that I’m in love with Dorian. I just thought it was kind of… I hate using the word problematic, because it’s so broad, but it’s all I can think of.

But whatever. Problematic relationships exist in real life, too, so might as well put them in videogames.


I’m doing something similar in the game I’m currently working on.

There’s this theme that crops up in Champion of the Gods, and Waywalker’s University, that kind of inspired me a little. Where you have a lover, (or someone you’re interested in), but they go off to be with their true love soul mate instead.

I was so frustrated in both games that we weren’t allowed to pursue certain romances because of this whole soul mate thing. That in Waywalkers we were forced to just accept it, and couldn’t end up being all love-sick and everything. We’d just to get over it and be happy for them.

There is absolutely no such thing. You will be surprised by the characters that people are interested in.

Jury in Heroes Rise, for instance, written to be disliked by the player. FAIL! Prodigal in Heroes Rise too.

Any character you write to be romanceable will end up being someone’s favourite. It’s the same if you write a character that you expect everyone to love, sometimes people just go “NO! HATE THEM!!!”


Iron Bull’s a catch! :persevere: lol.

Ohh. That’s a fair way to do it. Are latecomers impossible to romance? I’m so interested in this game I know almost nothing about lol.

I know right? Sometimes it’s like… MC needs a SMACK. When did my lil sweetheart/angst ball/whatever turn into a sleaze?

That’s such a good point and I’d hate for people to go through a headache nightmare with coding. Someone who did multiple flirt options was @Aly from 7kpp, but I’m kinda suspicious she’s magic maybe.

Ohh, I’m so curious about why it’s problematic, unless you don’t wanna explain. I can be kinda (tone deaf? blind?) about things, like lore or delicate stuff.

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NPCs can love each other if I’m putting all my eggs in another basket but giving up on me just because I’m moving the story along can give the wrong idea.
Having a game that doesn’t pretend all romance and cultures are monogamous would be nice. I mean without it being for pervs.

This problem doesn’t come up in CYOAs does it?

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For me it depends? Like, I think being approached by ROs is realistic sometimes is realistic in comparison to having MC initiate everything. That being said, it would only make sense for an RO to approach the MC if the MC’s choices/personality line up with what the RO believes is right/likes. I hope that made sense :open_mouth:

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Well, I was actually surprised by how many people like my spoiled, obsessive, jealous, mafiosi’s granddaughter, but she’s got at least one fan. The confession, however, will come from a different character, but I do think there won’t be much desire for it. (At the start, the player can choose to be “close” to one of two characters, either male or female. The confession will come from the other, i.e. the one they didn’t want. :grin: And most players will have probably started dating their actual chosen RO by now…)

Well, one will require you to have been working on them for quite some time before they become “available”.

As I said in a previous post, it is something I’ve been thinking about, but not for my current WIP.

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I’m actually pretty jealous of Aly! She mostly writes dialogue, which is my favorite part of writing, and since it’s a ren’py game she can have the sprites set the tone. If I wasn’t so word-vomity it might be easier. I was thinking of writing my own ren’py game, and I’ve got some of it, but it requires so many more people! …and I’m an art snob with standards larger than her wallet.

That said, she is a wizard at it and I am in awe.

Uhhhh… I feel like someone has said it better than me, somewhere, but I can take a crack at it?

In the beginning conversations between them --when Bull is first starting to flirt with him-- Dorian seems pretty uncomfortable with it. And I sort of get that Dorian is being tsuntsun, but if someone is saying stuff like ‘hey, uh, nu-uh’ and getting angry/flustered than you probably should not do that. So when I compare Dorian and the Inquisitor’s flirting with Dorian and Bull’s… Dorian is much more active with the Inquisitor and actually seems like he’s having fun and with Bull he just seems embarrassed and frustrated.

Also, when you romance Dorian he seems very sensitive about how his sexual relationships are seen? And about just being used for sex? And I realize it’s just the nature of the character dialogues, and there are few ways we could have found out about their relationship outside of them, but I don’t think he’d be very thrilled with the way Bull airs out their sexy laundry?

Lmao, I could go on but this is getting nitpicky. I tend not to have them both in my party at the same time, because the way they talk to each other makes me uncomfortable.


Seeing a wide variety of responses here. This really seems to be one of those situations where you may as well write what you envision and believe would work best for your characters and story, because there will always be people who love it and those who won’t be pleased or for whom it won’t be ideal.

And since we’re talking BioWare…I was so irrationally jealous of Tali if I didn’t romance Garrus (oh wait, I had to watch that on YouTube or other friends’ playthroughs because I ALWAYS ROMANCED GARRUS, lol). But that’s another example where, OMG, Shepard’s initial pick up lines to trigger the romance were the WORST!!! I cringed and gritted my teeth to get through it, since almost all of their other banter was 100% adorable, but yeah. That’s a good example for this topic. Creating romantic nuance and flirtatious interaction in a way that feels natural without falling into problematic territory can be tricky. I do like the bar being set high for RO that are more than set decoration, especially whether or not you pursue that relationship.


Ah, the old reach and flexibility. At least that was an optional line if you didn’t want to romance him. I could never speak to Jacob because Shepard always sounded so flirty and it was completely cringy.

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Just to chip in my two cents, I personally dislike any romance with Iron Bull, whether it be the player character or Dorian. His romance just entirely squicked me. To romance him, you have to agree with him knowing what your character wants which is kind of… disgusting? It’s very 50 Shades of Grey where it seems to confuse abuse with BDSM. There’s no option to refute him. :triumph: