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Spoiler Warning: This article or section contains spoilers about the fates of major characters in PARTIZAN. If this bothers you, proceed with caution.

Pairing: Broun/Valence
Alternative name(s):
Gender category: Nonbinary
Fandom: Friends at the Table: PARTIZAN
Canonical?: No
Prevalence: Common
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Balence (or Broun/Valence) is a popular ship among fans of Friends at the Table's PARTIZAN season. It pairs two PCs, Kal'mera Broun and Valence, who become close friends during the season.


In canon, Broun and Valence are coworkers-turned-friends who have a close relationship that is very important to both of them. They share a telepathic bond, discovered during a friendly trip to a bathhouse; they trust each other with secrets they would never disclose to anyone else; and they share multiple intimate scenes, including one in which Broun repairs Valence's (robotic) body.

While Broun and Valence's players, Ali Acampora and Andrew Lee Swan, never intended for their characters' relationship to become overtly romantic, the tenor of the relationship was impacted by the fact that Austin Walker (Friends at the Table's GM) actively shipped it.[1]



While some Balence fanworks existed early on,[2] fan interest in the ship spiked in May 2020 following the episode featuring both the robotic-body-repair scene and the bathhouse telepathy scene. As one fan put it:

Balence in PARTIZAN 19 are like. Put your hands inside my body and fix me. Let’s spend time together even though I don’t have friends. I’m the first person to speak to you like this. Our fundamental values clash as always. I get mean. I get sad. We share our deepest desire & fear. I promise you your heart’s desire. I can’t trust it. We go together.


Fans also point to the interplay of the characters' relationship and their differing levels of loyalty to their nascent revolution as a source of ship fodder:

okay valence saying “if you think running for head of millennium break will mean breaking my promise to you, I won’t do it” is going in the balence box.


Mid-way through canon, Valence dies suddenly and unexpectedly. Fans were upset, but did not stop shipping it, and fic writers began to write fix-its[5] and deathfic.[6] During the airing of PARTIZAN's sequel season, PALISADE, it became common for fans to comment that the spectre of Valence was haunting both the narrative and Broun's psyche:

The Vibes in one sentence: What if I was a cynical war criminal fish person and you were a religious idealist gas cloud wolf robot who showed me revolution was worth caring about, and then you died and I was so repressed about it I can't even speak your name anymore—and also we shared a profound psychic bond.


What you like about them: The way things are left unresolved until Valence is dead and Brnine[note 1] is left haunted by their memory.



As far as Friends at the Table ships go, Balence is extremely popular. For example, in Secret Samol, the fandom's annual gift exchange, it was the single most-requested ship in both 2021 and 2022[8] and it tied with Brnine/Gucci for most-requested ship in 2023.[9]

Common Tropes

Creator Response

As noted above, Austin Walker was an early and enthusiastic Balence shipper. He created,[10] and later tweeted a link to,[11] his own Balence fan edit while he was editing an episode in which the characters had a shippy interaction. Broun's player, Ali Acampora—herself a long-time fic-reading fan—reacted to Valence's death with enthusiasm about what it meant for Broun. Her response has resonated with Balence fans, who sometimes quote her comment from the season's post-mortem episode that "Broun and Valence weren't in a relationship, but it doesn't matter for the rest of Broun's life."[12] Responses from other members of the cast of Friends at the Table have also been positive.

Example Fanworks



Other Fannish Resources


  1. ^ During the five-year timeskip between PARTIZAN and PALISADE, Broun canonically changes their name to Kalvin Brnine.


  1. ^ In PARTIZAN's post-mortem episode, Ali said, "I think the thing that became difficult was that, um, the biggest Valence/Broun shipper on the podcast was Austin Walker? ... Whenever they were together on screen, [Austin] would be like, 'Yeah, I’m into this, because I ship them.' And me and Dre would be like, 'Yeah. We get it. It’s sexy and it’s good.'"
  2. ^ e.g., just to relax by angstandcaffeine, the first Balence fic posted to AO3.
  3. ^ Post by clementineskesh, Tumblr. Jan 16, 2023. (Accessed Oct 20, 2023) (Archived-Oct 20, 2023)
  4. ^ Post by garden-ghoul, Tumblr. Jul 16, 2023. (Accessed Oct 20, 2023) (Archived-Oct 20, 2023)
  5. ^ e.g., i'll still wait for your call by kismetNemesis; Digging in Your Heels by theorangewitch
  6. ^ e.g., and then, it is time to go by moonbeatblues; Loving Gaze by theorangewitch
  7. ^ Mini Ship Manifesto posted by anonymous user on Fail-Fandomanon (Jan 15, 2024). (archive link)
  8. ^ @secretsamol (Dec 4, 2022): Pickman and Balence hold their titles as most requested character and most requested ship two years in a row! (Tweet). (archive link)
  9. ^ Post by secret-samol (Nov 13, 2023). Tumblr. (archive link)
  10. ^ @austin_walker (Jul 23, 2020). Ali should never let me edit a @Friends_Table ep because I almost put a Taking Back Sunday song under this one scene, and that would've got us all the way sued. (It would've been worth it) (Tweet) (archived version)
  11. ^ @Friends_Table (Jul 24, 2020). pzn 28 spoilers (please don't sue us) (Tweet) (archived version)
  12. ^ Again in PARTIZAN's post-mortem episode, Ali said: "But then I was like, oh my god, I’m going to play Broun for the rest of my life. I’m gonna have Broun in the greatest game ever, this is gonna be great. ... Just, like, the idea of playing Broun, like, post-losing Valence is the, like... Broun and Valence weren’t in a relationship, but it doesn’t matter for the rest of Broun’s life. Because it’s me sitting there being like, That cake looks delicious, and I am also tasting it while viewing it." She also agreed with fellow player Janine Hawkins that her response was one of a "long-time fanfiction-y shipper person."
  13. ^ Post by zroem (Aug 5, 2020). Tumblr. (Archived 2022-08-04)
  14. ^ Post by ahcoffeebeans (Jul 22, 2023). Tumblr. (Archived 2023-10-23)
  15. ^ Post by wereshrew-admirer (Jul 30, 2023). Tumblr. (Archived 2023-10-23)
  16. ^ Post by seafleece (Jun 15, 2023). Tumblr. (archive link)