The Speed of Introducing ROs

Hey everyone, first post to these forums because I’ve finally reached a wall that I’m not finding the resources to fix. I’d really appreciate some input on this or some general resources that I may have not found!

First, for some very loose context, I’ll say that this story’s plot is basically “intercontinental road trip with a bunch of bougie strangers to save yourself from being destroyed by profane forces”.

For this story, I had initially planned on giving the player the option to meet a max of 2/4 ROs pretty quickly, then having all four grouped after an early plot milestone. I thought that this might be a good way to equalize the amount of time that each RO can get, and it would play into the RPG-esque “everyone is forced to work/grow together through the PC” vibe I was aiming for. I’m now kind of starting to doubt how this will read. My worry is that it will come off as too gamey, too convenient, maybe even overwhelming, and break some level of engagement.

I could alternatively find a way to introduce the ROs more slowly. In this case, I’d still offer the option to briefly meet 2/4 ROs early, but I’d probably have it play out afterwards as a gradual acquisition of allies. It might be a bit more natural and not result in overwhelming the player. But this would necessarily take more time (both from me writing and from someone playing), so I’m worried about dragging the story out, slowing things down in a detrimental way, and downplaying the relative urgency that the PC is feeling.

So, as far as RO involvement goes, do you have a preference for the speed of introduction? Hell, do you like having ROs interact with both each other and your PC? Am I just overthinking things for no reason?


I don’t really have a preference for how soon I meet an RO, but I do definitely have a preference for the speed at which they are confirmed as an RO.

I really dislike getting ‘pick if you are interested in this person’ choices when all of the RO’s haven’t been introduced yet. I don’t know if I’m okay with those 4th-wall breaking ‘lock in your RO’ choice pages, but I feel like with those at least I’ve had some time with each RO to determine if I like them.

Now, for interacting with each other? Hell, yes.

I don’t like when characters feel cordoned off to their own little time-out area for interaction. Others reacting positively or negatively to flirting outside of the MC and RO make it feel like something is actually developing, especially if romance is a big focus in the story.


I think you are either worrying too much or looking the problem from the wrong angle.

  1. Don’t ask yourself “too soon?”, “too many at the time?”, “too slow?”, “too late?” ecc.

  2. Ask yourself: “Does this feel natural?” “Is it belivable?” “Do the characters act of their own personality?”

  3. Remember that even in the best story there will be something off. Like the “Eleventh hour ranger” “the underdeveloped late party member” “we are friends only when the protagonist is around” “the friends who never go out togheter” ecc. Sometimes theese tropes are inevitable and sometimes are sympthome of bad writing, but that’s up to you.

  4. Remember that even best sellers, nobel awards, licterature classics and sacred cows are not completly flawless


@BourbonDingo & @Rinnegato are right and I agree with 'em.

If you’re looking for a organic pace with the RO, take easy and with calm, and a problem to remark too is doing the exact ooposite, which is romance them almost immediately, who is connected with one time chance the first RO they show you and if you didn’t, you have to start a new game.

As just as a extra, there’s the ones with hyperactive libido who wants to bed us at first sight and throw the romance, but the MC had the choice of want more, and/or this person starts to feel warm feelings and deeply inside wants to express in a way they never did before, it can also feel conflicted with those feeling though and can offer an interesting character development.


Like @Rinnegato said, I think the main question is whether it feels natural or not.

I’m more of a character-driven writer (and reader, for that matter), so as long as the characters are true to themselves and their behavior reflects who they are (rather than being changed to force plot), whatever is thrown at them by fate (aka, their god, the writer) is fine with me. So I see no problem with this as long as it follows that one rule.

The main things I would ask are:

  1. Do the two characters the MC meets already know each other? If they do, it makes more sense if they’re in the same place at the same time.
  2. Is the place where the MC meets the two possible ROs somewhere the ROs would actually go? (example: having a highly athletic, high-energy NPC meet the MC at a bingo game would make me ask wtf is going on–not to say it couldn’t work, but it damned well better be explained why the NPC would be doing that).
  3. Will it be based on a choice? Something like this would really work well if the MC makes a choice between going between 1-4 locations or staying home (which means they don’t meet the ROs yet). Where the MC goes affects who they meet, and each location fits to who the NPC is. In that case, it makes total sense and would be really cool. (MC could also choose to go somewhere they would never go via a “it’s not really a place that fits me, but I’m curious about going to…” and then it could be used to affect not only who they meet but give them some personality stats).

Anyway, that’s just my opinion. Take it as you will.

Edited to add another possibility that could be hilarious:
Give the MC an option to have a one-night stand with the RO, thinking they’d never see them again. Then they see them on the road trip and could be like, “oh shit!”


That sounds fun as hell. I’m in.

Anyway, what I’m doing right now is introducing all of the characters right off the bat and playing into that feeling of “I don’t know any of these people yet and I don’t know what to think of them.” Over the next several thousand words, the MC interacts with them in a few different contexts and is given a few prompts to reconsider their impressions of them. Also, each chapter focuses on one particular character, so even if you don’t think you know a character that well, you’ll get to know them better later on.

This is pretty close to my own experiences of joining new groups and having to meet a whole bunch of new people really quickly. You get a strong first impression, which can be overwhelming especially with big groups, and you have trouble keeping track of everyone, and then your first impressions are either reinforced or subverted as you get to know each group member better, forcing you to revise your understanding of them (or just remind yourself of who they are, if you’re having a lot of trouble remembering). Over time you settle into a fairly reasonable impression of everyone overall, with a few people you gravitate towards.