Romanceable NPCs with one another?

Keep in mind I’m horribly DRuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuk…

I dont like it. As in, I don’t like that I GET A SAY about said relationship. If 2 npc wanna get together? why do I have a say? make me have horrible flashback, from URANUS where women don’t have any rights and MUST HAVE THE BLESSING FROM A MAN!

Fuck that, don’t pour that shit down my throat…IT SUCK!

Now, if you wanna do this? my Advice as a Drunk is…why not make them already in a relationships…then have the ‘"Up and downs’ of relationships during the Adventure? Why NOT?? HUH???

And I HATE when X is a potential romance and if you don’t romance them they romance Y! FUCK THAt! i rather they go and live their LIVES! Why everyone gotta be married with kids? GOD…come on! give me a break…


There are cases in which I love it: Dorian and Bull in DA:I, for example, during my Seramance. I also liked the Isabela/Fenris fling (even though both are my fave DA:II romances).

Tali/Garrus, though? Never seen it. Don’t want to see it. I’d only ever entertain the idea in the form of a threesome including my Femshep.

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I don’t like the idea, not only for the already mentioned issues but also because in my opinion it doesn’t add anything (talking about a specific type of game with companion ROs, similar to DAO).

There are other ways to make characters seem like they have life outside of MC than spending time on happy couple chatter/arguments of two RO’s player might’ve dated with other MCs. The player doesn’t learn anything new about them that they couldn’t have learned by romancing them, it’s just fluff and maybe one or two arguments (best case scenario, worst case scenario you do learn more about them then you would by romancing them or the relationship is portrayed as much healthier eg. Fenris and Isabella).

Maybe if it’s with a side character NPC that wouldn’t feature in the story as much as a ‘companion’ RO like for example Dorian and Iron Bull.
Then I could see how that could drive a new subplot, especially if that NPC would be opposed to MC or if the RO had to sacrifice something important to MC for their love interest.

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I’ve never been a huge fan of player sexual characters (looking at you DA2) and a such I am 100% fine with RO’s getting their “happy ever after” with other ROs.

I care about all these characters and don’t want them to just be kinda “pushed to the way side” and if they are not going to be loved by the MC, I think its fine for them to pursue other options that can make them happy.

In my own writing these characters are special to me, they all have purposes and dreams and such(whether I am effective at getting that into the writing is another story). To take them and relegate them to merely “MC is all that matters” feels like a disservice to the character that has lived in my head for years.

As for the MC’s (and their position in the story) point of view, I would think MCs would be happy for their friends finding happiness. I understand not everyone plays the same way I would but I think most people, generally, play as good people who like their companions and friends.

Anyway, yeah I’m cool with it, and even have a plan (or an idea) for incorporating it into what I’m working on.


I also like what @Jjcb doing in his game. Ignis character feels more potent because of it.
But if a certain npc is going to persue another option just becuase they are not loved by MC, it weakens their character in my opinion



I think you are right and that’s a perspective that hasn’t been shared in this topic before, that if character A only expresses interest in character B because MC isn’t dating them they still revolve around MC and their decisions. If that’s done to show NPCs don’t revolve around MC, then that method fails.

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Just thought to add my opinion in as a writer, especially one who is debating whether to have ROs romancing each other if the MC doesn’t choose to romance them.

Even though the MC is literally the main character of the story, the other characters aren’t merely just love interests. They have personalities, flaws, complexes and feelings, and not everything in that sense revolves around that main character.

I’ve seen, and been told that if those characters were to romance each other if the MC didn’t romance them, then it’d feel like a canon route—but that scenario could be used for any romance route. Because you’ve decided to romance one RO out of four, then, in that sense, one may mean that the other three routes aren’t the default and the one you picked is.

The whole point of interactive fiction is there are multiple directions the story can go for each reader — it doesn’t make someone else’s reading experience more canon or valid than the other; which is why I don’t think this analogy should be used for whether ROs/NPCs get together or not. There isn’t a default or alternative option.

As an end note, as an author as well, our characters are incredibly thought out and fleshed out for the plot, in the way they interact with others, how they fit into the MC’s world etc. but they’re also thought about as individuals, and if that means that there’s the potential to find romance elsewhere, then I don’t think it’s a terrible thing.


Are they? While I agree with other things you said but this is not entirely true. I want to see the potential romance you talked about from the beginning of the game. I want author to state that yeah these two people are getting closer. That will make them more real.

If it happens after MC persuing others or after RO lockup. It will mean that MC was holding them back or mc was controlling these individuals.

At the end of the day you are an author and you have more knowledge than me. But i wanted share my opinion and I hope I did not come off as rude


I’d think that they have to be thought out as individuals because how would they have a personality? How would they have a backstory? How do they have their own characteristics if they’re not individuals? The majority of those things have absolutely nothing to do with the MC in a story.

It’s completely fine wanting to see said characters have that potential romance, purely because it’d seem forced if that wasn’t a thing.

Once again, I refer back to what I said about if you choose to romance an RO, especially after you’ve flirted with the other available ROs and lock onto their route—wouldn’t the same ‘the MC was holding them back’ or ‘controlling these individuals’ apply? Like I say, interactive fiction is all about having choices—I don’t see anything wrong in characters other than the MC having choice too.

Also, not rude at all! This thread is for opinions and you’re completely free to give your own.


I can’t say I’m too into it, but it doesn’t bother me too much either. It can be really sweet; when my favourite (both as a character and as a love interest) in Mask of the Plague Doctor went unromanced, him and an NPC caught feelings for one another, and I found that particular romance very endearing.

Sometimes when there’s a poly option I feel a bit bad, though, if I have a monogamous romance with just one of them. I can’t shake the feeling that they would be happier if we were three. I don’t take it too seriously, though, but I do get a guilty conscience easily - even when it comes to text, so it seems!

This doesn’t seem right to me. Would you say that if the RO would be single instead of with another character if not romanced, that the MC is holding them back from the wonderfully free life of singlehood (and believe me, there are plenty of people who are better off single than in a relationship) and controlling them? No. In the internal logic of the story’s world, it is simply that counterfactuals exist. If MC does not get with RO, RO gets with RO-2. If MC does not get with RO but RO-2 was closer to MC and sacrificed their life for them earlier, RO remains single, and so on and so forth. Unlike in the real world, we can see these counterfactuals occur simply by playing through the game again, but for every MC, RO and other character in a particular playthrough, that is the only reality they know.

It is true that the player exerts control over the story, the MC and all the ROs and other characters. This control is shared in differing degrees in different areas with the author, and together they have full control of the story’s world (except any parts involving RNG). That’s just what it means for a work to be a work of interactive fiction. The player having control should not be confused with the MC having control.


The author usually starts sowing the seeds for said NPC-NPC romance, only once the player has decided to take the RO(s) out of the equation entirely as potential options.

So there’s no holding anyone back of the sort, since the attraction doesn’t yet exist, and may not even come to pass.

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I don’t have a problem with it, with one caveat: I don’t like it when they seem to be happier together with each other than with me. For example, Dorian and Iron Bull in DAI. They just seem to fit better than either do with my Inquisitor. So it feels like I’m keeping them away from Maximum Happiness if I get involved with either one.

Overall though I think it helps with the verisimilitude of any setting, the characters may only exist for the player to interact with but it shouldn’t feel that way and romantic agency is a good add.


This is my opinion only. I hate it.

  1. It irks me that their romance would be more natural and better than MC romance with the chosen ro (a,b,c and so on)

  2. The romanced ro are harder for MC but when they are paired with other ro? Boom! Insta love + sickening sweet moments for them. Urgh.

  3. Complete 360 attitude changes when the ro are paired with other ro and not the MC. (Sometimes)

  4. The hard to romance ro suddenly in relationship with other unchosen ro, no obstacles + drama + unnecessary angst needed. (Surprised pikachu face)

  5. I hate the role of being a matchmaker, despise them even more so.

In the end if that’s the author decisions, I still respect them. To avoid any heartache I always read the description of any stories and steer my eyes away and move on if I see any of em’ (ro romancing ro).


I always got the impression that Fenris and Isabela was a fling/hookup rather than a committed romance ala Iron Bull/Dorian. I wonder if the emotional commitment makes a difference? Does it feel worse if you witness two of your romanceable companions falling in love?

Earlier on in this thread I was very pro romanceable NPCs getting together. I’m leaning towards it less now as it seems so unpopular, and it’s a lot of work. I still can’t quite get behind the idea that it shouldn’t happen - and it is still going to happen in Royal Affairs because it would take longer to remove at this point - but maybe I’d rather spend the effort writing characters developing a friendship/rivalry or something that’s less contentious. (If characters become best friends if they’re not spending their time romancing the MC, is that as contentious as a romantic attachment?) …

Out of interest, how do people feel as players if romanceable characters have a romantic/fling history with each other, but don’t get rekindle things ingame?


Raise hand :raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed:

That…from experience? often get peoples wanna kill X. Like you know? In Swtor, Lana beniko had a fling with Koth? Peoples killed him just for that lol

Peoples can be territorial, no matter if said fling or romance happen before Jeebus showed up like 40000BC :sweat_smile:

I wouldn’t but at the same time I’m like…why do I have to see that? Unlocked achievement: Envious cause forever Alone

Meaning it’s fine, but it can give the player the Impression ‘‘You want me to see these two canoodling, and they are taking space and time you could have added that scene for my chosen romance instead cause them falling in love in front of me, doesn’t add anything…’’ NPC all over in a game world are supposed to have their own life even if they are programmed to just stand by a merchant all day long. And nobody care who they are and what they do.

So to add them, they have to have a role beyond ‘‘Thse 2 gotta smooche and you gotta watch’’.

As far as I can recall, the only game where you could have a couple in your party and you can barely react is in old BG1 game. Jaheira and Khalid are married and come as a package as companions. (Meaning you must take them both in your party or not at all). (Same with Dynaheir and Minsc). So they have a role bigger that kind over shadow their marriage and it isn’t like in your face…very subtle done.

well yeah.

Like in DA2, wanna romance Aveline…yet she become fast friend with Isabela. You can romance Isabela, yet hit all those Heart Flirt with Aveline while you do her Marriage Quest… :sweat_smile:

The issue is that, at least from my own experience is that at least with Bioware games, they often wrote those things (romance) where the MC is the center of attention. And peoples got addicted to that to the point (Wahh why I cant romance my sister Bethany, she is hot! or the Arishok LOL) (Not me…but you know lol)

So even friendship has to be eclipsed by the main romance.

Just telling you what I saw over the years that’s all.

Thread like this give you something to chew on, but don’t let that change the core of what you wanna write and experiment and challenge yourself writing. I say, do it. Take feedback afterward like you did with ‘Creme de la creme’, and go from there.

Edit: Also btw, a rival-friendship thing has more ‘Use’ than say playing Match maker (at least to me, since I don’t feel right having a say who can date who). In a rival-freindship thing you can like egg someone on or play the moderator or medium or whoever you call it and you can add consequences. Like you egg someone and they do something stupid and it backfire on you and everyone is grounded.

But with romance? What I’m supposed to do? He isn’t good enough for you? Wanna come to my tent? yeah not my thing.


I always understood that the Isabela/Fenris pairing was “Wow, you like to fuck with no strings attached?! I like to fuck with no strings attached!” “Wanna fuck with no strings attached?” “Damn right I do!”

Ugh, no. If you think you shouldn’t do it because it’s a lot of work and you feel the end result isn’t worth the payoff, then don’t, but never base anything on “people were loud on the internet about it”.

Gonna bet you it is, considering that the objection seems to be “I’m not the entirety of this NPC’s relationships, even when I’m not part of this NPC’s relationships”.

I like non-rom’d ROs romming other NPCs, so I guess I’m not intended to answer this.

Non-multiverse conceptions of multiple (different) playthroughs make no sense; if you’re romming different NPCs in the same timespan, those cannot, by definition, take place in the same timeline.

What does the “vn” stand for?


From this thread and a bit of current testing, there seems to be two irreconciliationary(sp) types of readers/players: one that will view any such relationship as canon (author intent aside) and one that will see the different possible relationships as a sort of multiverse.

So far, I do not see a way that these two types of readers can be both satisfied.

I call one group the vn perspective, and the other the non-vn perspective.

I am interested in seeing the answer to this as well, but my expectations are that the above divide would still remain, even with this background element.

It doesn’t have to make sense to you or anyone else for their feelings and opinions to be valid. I am just grateful that earlier in the thread, while trying to understand and gain actionable feedback from this group, they tried to explain their reactions and thoughts.

Romance, to me, is very difficult to get right when writing, so when readers/players make an extended effort to help me understand their feelings and opinions, I am grateful.

As I said, so far, I have not come up with a working solution that satisfies everyone. I am making a lot of effort to try to find a solution to this developmental quandary, but so far, nothing is an acceptable solution to satisfy everyone.


(vn = virtual novel) a genre of interactive fiction that has its focus on the MC in all romance related designs.


This made me chuckle

This did too!

This is probably good to remember!

At the same time I definitely agree with this - it’s very useful to see others’ perspectives and after reading this thread I do understand better where people who are on the “I don’t like ROs romancing each other” side of the spectrum are coming from.

Interestingly, there is a very niche route in Noblesse Oblige where you can lightly matchmake two of the romance options; this came about because of tester feedback, and wasn’t there in the earliest draft. (for those who dislike that sort of thing, it’s opt-in and very easy to avoid)

That aside though, I do think I’ll widen my focus on interpersonal relationships to show characters’ non-romantic relationships with each other, and consider carefully before jumping to “they could romance each other”. Not just because of it not being popular - but because it’s nice to show different kinds of relationships develop onscreen. In Royal Affairs I enjoy Beaumont and Dominique’s friendship, for example. Not only would it be outrageously complicated to try to write them romancing each other because of all the other love polygons in the game, it would also change the nature of that friendship.