As we count down to our release of the Han Cluster Jumpstart in a few weeks, we’ll be releasing a series of short articles to help introduce you to the setting. This time, we want to present one of the things that makes the Han Cluster setting different from many other tabletop RPG games: X-Bonding.
You’ve no doubt heard us talk about the Nex… a lot. But what is it? And why does it matter? In short, the Nex (short for the Nexus) is an adjacent dimension to reality that revealed itself to humanity shortly after they arrived in the Han Cluster. Unlocking it has changed the way humans and (and the sapient machines they created) connect with the world and each other. X-Bonding is one of the most powerful ways this connection manifests.
Hero groups in the Han Cluster all start, or quickly become, X-Bonded together. In game, an X-Bond is formed when one or more people share an experience of extreme stress or deep emotional connection. From that moment on, they are bound together in two important ways.
Those who are X-Bonded together can telepathically communicate with each other, no matter the distance or obstacles between them. This means X-Bonded mates can communicate from across a room, or across planets, and they do it without any delay, taking only the time needed to converse normally.
X-Bonded mates may also Ghost Travel, or instantly send their X-Ghost to a person they are bonded with, again no matter the distance or obstacles between them. We’ll talk more about X-Ghosts in a future article. Suffice it to say this ability grants X-Bonded pairs and groups the ability to directly participate in encounters involving any of them, no matter where their physical bodies may be.
Out of Game
What this means, out of game, is that X-Bonding among the heroes encourages free and unrestricted communication at the game table between players. Each character can directly communicate their thoughts, troubles, and conundrums, allowing the others to offer their own thoughts and solutions whether they are physically present or not. More than that, it allows them to travel to their friends in semi-corporeal form and directly participate in the action in surprisingly effective ways (again more on this in future articles). This presents a whole new way of playing a table top roleplaying game, and offers both fresh takes on solving traditional adventures, and the possibility for entirely new kinds of adventures altogether.
A Practical Demonstration
In the upcoming Jumpstart adventure, “Reunification,” X-Bonding and the abilities it unlocks, are front and center, as the heroes race to solve a Cluster-wide crisis in a way only their X-Bond can empower them to. X-Bonding is just one of many ideas that are baked into the Han Cluster setting, both narratively and mechanically, that support its central theme of discovering connection. We’ll discuss more of these facets in future articles, but in case you think all is rosy and perfect in the world, rest assured, there remains plenty of need for heroes. We’ll talk more about that too…
Until next time…