|OK Ookla... play it cool...|
OSR games are mostly about exploration, combat, and acquiring treasure. Mostly. And let's be honest. People who enjoy playing Labyrinth Lord are pretty much in it for the adventure, not the realism. And they damn sure aren't there for love.
But it could be loads of fun to inject some romance into the game, right? I mean we joke about it all the time. My players are constantly running these little background arcs in-character in which they have crushes on NPCs and even other PCs. It is usually played up for comedy.
But in the last post I mentioned the Big Nasty Table of Messy Stuff. On that table could be a simple line such as “You are madly in love.”
You get that result, and there's a sub-table. Maybe it has stuff like “In love with noble or princess.” or “Your love interest is a paid killer.” or “You are mad for a wizard but too scared to reveal it.”
I would allow such a player to opt out of the sub-table and choose to be in love with an even scarier person: a fellow PC. By choosing a PC to be in love with they would earn maybe 500 bonus XP. Not a bad thing for a starting character. If you're a thief, you're nearly halfway to level 2 already!
Of course, you gotta check your context. What kind of players do you have? If you're gaming with all kids, it's a crush. Puppy love. “Oooo... you LIKE him.”. If it's all adults it can be more than that. If it's a mix of adults and kids, don't use romance at all. I would substitute something deliberately funny like “You are in love with beer.”
And how might a lovestruck PC act? You could KISS it (keep it simple stupid). When the player acts toward their love interest in a way that seems less than charitable ("Eh, I let her get eaten by the grue while I try to find a way out.") you could require the PC to pass a saving throw vs. Spells. On a failed roll, their actions cannot go against the other character. If they are in trouble, the PC has to help.
Yeah. So now I'm probably going to write some of these ideas up for Black Pudding. And do the Big Nasty Table of Messy Stuff.
This is what happens when I have a week off from work.