log in or register to remove this ad

 

D&D General Your Characters' Families

cbwjm

Hero
I don't think I've ever really worried about family for my characters. For the game i run, however, I've made use of the players' family.

A dragonborn was one of the youngest of 7 so I created his entire family and put them in the game.

Another's family was the wizard that repaired his warforged character. She still lives but is currently in hiding and probably on the lookout out for another scroll with the clone spell.

Another's family was the travelling halfling carnival and the last has a human brother that they've just found out is organising an expedition to the frozen north. The player also just found out that her character has a brother. No real background for her character which let me do what I liked with it.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Richards

Legend
I've done similar when I DM. The first campaign I ran for our current group had a PC named, no kidding, "Cal Trop." He gave me no particular family background, so I made one up for him, including a goatherder brother named "Trip Trop" and a bard sister named "Yvonne 'Von' Trop." (And then I photoshopped the player's head onto all three of them to give him a visual representation of his family.)

More recently, my son's gnome fighter had a cousin with whom he was involved in a long-term, back-and-forth prank war. In the same campaign, one player gave me an extensive list of his PC's siblings and thus a younger brother became a love interest for another player's PC, a younger sister was a notable plot hook that got them involved in a pair of bored demons, and a third sister ended up being the party's NPC healer when their NPC cleric got permanently killed. (Ironically, she stuck around longer than the player's PC, as he bowed out of the campaign towards the end when he moved out of town.) And our female player ran the half-sister of her PC from the previous campaign.

Johnathan
 

My chars' backstories are always the same:
3rd son with loving parents leaves the family farm to seek his fame and fortune. The End.

That is all any char ever needs. The game is not about any one char's backstory, but about the storyines the DM presents the group, and what the players do with those storylines going forward.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I've done similar when I DM. The first campaign I ran for our current group had a PC named, no kidding, "Cal Trop."

In our rather deadly 3.5 (at least at start) campaign, a player created a half-orc just named Grad, who quickly died, and then his half-brother Grod, who promptly died too. He then dropped the concept, but as a DM I picked on that because of silly french jokes, I named the family "Ubid", and then created three further NPCs who came to the unknown shores where the campaign was taking place in search of their half-brothers. They were named Tad, Moud and Pud, and become really loved and a fixture of the campaign, so the Ubid family lived on.

For those not really catching that particular brand of french "humour":
  • Grad Ubid: Gras du bide (Fat belly)
  • Grod Ubid: Gros du bide (Big belly)
  • Tad Ubid: T'as du bide (You have quite a belly on you, my friend)
  • Moud Ubid: Mou du bide (Your big fat belly is soft, my dear friend)
  • Pud Ubid: Pue du bide (And in addition, your big fat soft belly smells...)
Does this count as family ?
 


Stormonu

Legend
I've used families at different levels before in my games.

Son Le from a 1E game; he had been exiled from his family, but eventually returned to stop a plot against them. For his actions, he became the Emperor's champion and his family became powerful members of the court.

Mordor Darrow, from the same game; against his parents wishes he joined the Knights of the South and became a Paladin, forsaking his baronial inheritance. His father never forgave him for it, as he was the only son. The last time they interacted, Mordor had been called back to defend his homeland from an invading force; Mordor joined the defending forces under his father's control, and there was quite a bit of tension between the two, but in the end his father came to understand Mordor's point of view, and they parted somewhat amicably.

Roflon Goodfellow, again from the same game; a halfling who took up thievery to get out from under his domineering parents. Only to be hunted down by his mother who insisted on him returning home. Only by eventually acquiring a barony (actually the Darrow barony...) was he able to get her off his back.

...and many other tales, both good and bad.
 

pming

Legend
Hiya!
Lately, only my Players PC's (I don't get to "Play as a Player" much, which is ok...I prefer to DM) have families and histories. Then again, we play a lot of 1e/Hackmaster 4th, where your characters family and family friends/enemies/grudges is actually a part of the game and has mechanical impacts, so there is that.

I just started in a long time friends campaign of Warhammer 4th Edition (online, using Tabletop Simulator); we started the Wednesday before last (I was sick last Wed), and my Character is an "aspiring archer" and he has a wife but no kids. She's a head cook on a riverboat that sails up/down the Reikland. They are in love, but because of her job, she is away from him often, typically for weeks. They have no kids, and I haven't really thought about much other than "They are in love, loyal to each other, and are both trying to get enough money together that they can build a safe, happy home and start a family. She'll cook, he'll provide the cooking ingredients, their kids will do all the hard labour....I mean, it IS Warhammer, after all!" ;) So his (and her) motivation and goal is the same; make money to buy a house and start a family.

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Oh yeah, family is a big deal in my PCs and the games I run, and my main other DM in the group is the same way.

My wife’s Vryloka Paladin’s family was the focus of an adventure, and comes into the campaign often in different ways. Her sister is a foil for her, and is becoming pretty scary in her own right.

My wife also has a PC who is married with 4 kids. She’s a Goliath Ranger/Druid Folk Hero, and she looks forward to someday returning to her family when the job is done and the Lich is killed for good. S
 

How have your characters' families impacted your campaigns?
I played in a campaign that had one DM request as we created our backstory: "Someone dear to you has had to vanish."

It was clever and set many things in the campaign into motion.

My character, a human fighter, Hatch (Rye Sterger) was a logger. A frontiersman with a wife and twin daughters. He came back to find his wife dead and the daughters missing. We adventured, following clues to the missing people, and by 9th level, he found one of his daughter's remains. He raged for an entire level, attacking things with reckless abandons, a strategy different than his usual, two hatchet throwing and movement based tactics. At tenth level, he found his other daughter, alive. Along with an orphan boy.

I had him take the kids and leave. Never to return. He quit the campaign. We were halfway through, but in my character's head, why should any of it matter. He is a tenth level fighter. He is going to go off into the frontier and guard his daughter and his newly adopted son.

So, I would say the addition of family completely changed how I played this character.

Btw, I joined the campaign with a new character. A dwarf named Tankard Brassballs. (They needed a fighter. ;) )
 

toucanbuzz

Legend
I don't make use of families unless the Players make use of families.

I encourage my players to help make the game world move along. Rather than the DM declaring "your sister is visiting," I want the Player to declare it as they're having some downtime. However, it is also my experience some gamers are fearful they'll be "domineering" by taking the spotlight.

I also try to avoid screwing with their families (e.g. kidnapping them, monsters killing them, the usual) and treat it like messing with someone's background on their character sheet. Unless the player makes it a part of the narrative, I don't change their backgrounds.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Reading these made me think of one of my first PCs.

A wizard, he had been born, raised and trained by his mother for the sole purpose of being ritually sacrificed in a ritual that would give her immortality. Oh, and he is an atheist who doesn't believe in the soul or eternal life

They both became NPCs when my PC gained very long life and mommy dearest became a lich and a main BBEG for several campaigns. I just resolved the conflict in my previous campaign.

So I guess I've always liked having family entanglements.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
For those not really catching that particular brand of french "humour":
  • Grad Ubid: Gras du bide (Fat belly)
  • Grod Ubid: Gros du bide (Big belly)
  • Tad Ubid: T'as du bide (You have quite a belly on you, my friend)
  • Moud Ubid: Mou du bide (Your big fat belly is soft, my dear friend)
  • Pud Ubid: Pue du bide (And in addition, your big fat soft belly smells...)
Does this count as family ?
Two thoughts:

1) Paul Atriedes‘ Fremen name must be HILARIOUS in France.

2) in the super spy/action hero spoof comic book series, The Trouble With Girls, the main character’s sidekick is named Apache Dick. Over the course of the series, we are introduced to many members of the Dick family.
 
Last edited:

Lyxen

Great Old One
Two thoughts:

1) Paul Atriedes‘ Fremen name must be HILARIOUS in France.

It's different enough that I don't think it creates a problem, but you are right, it's still similar.

2) in the super spy spoof comic book series, The Trouble With Girls, the main character’s sidekick is named Apache Dick. Over the course of the series, we are introduced to many members of the Dick family.

I'll have to look into this, for reasons...
 


guachi

Adventurer
I routinely try for the blandest, most normal family background possible. My parents have normal vocations (often farmer). They are still alive. They were good parents. My siblings are also all still alive. None of them have dark secrets.
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Usually family doesn't impact my PCs much. But I've played a drow rogue in a homebrew world with a twin sister who was a priestess of Eilistraee, and after being imprisoned in a magic lamp for a while (time was extremely slow within), he set out to find his possibly-still-alive sibling who was, despite being his twin, over two centuries older than him...

That, and the death by self-sacrifice of his new friend made him stop adventuring. So yeah, family did have an impact.
 

Adamant

Explorer
I primarily play Adventurer's League, where backgrounds don't come into play much, but I try to make my characters have a good reason for leading an adventurer's life. I would say about half to two thirds of my 70+ characters have living parents, but those that don't still have ties. My oldest surviving character is your standard street urchin orphan, but she has bonds with the other children she banded with to survive as well as with an old harper woman who taught her and brought her into the organization. Another character still has parents alive, and started adventuring because he developed clerical powers and their closest temple was already in good hands with plenty of other clerics and regular priests. A third character, who is also the one that had her backstory come out in play the most, was a halfling rogue who was part of a full run of Princes of the Apocalypse.

It was sheer coincidence that the character and campaign matched up so well. Bree Littlefoot had already been created and had been sitting for a while (my hobby is creating characters and I always have more than I can play), and after a partial run of Lost Mines of Phandelver (where she came in halfway but still hit level 5 by the end) the dm decided to continue the campaign with a different hardcover. I was originally planning to switch characters to a different level 5 that I had sitting around, but when he chose Princes of the Apocalypse I decided that Bree was perfect. She was from Red Larch, and her parents still lived there, but Bree had insatiable curiosity and left home as soon as she was old enough to be an adventurer. Even before that she had been exploring the nearby dwarven ruins, where she had had a run in with the cult of the Howling Hatred and narrowly escaped thanks to stealing a balloon pack (with instructions on it!). Since Princes of the Apocalypse starts in Red Larch, Bree came back home, discovered that the water cult had been trying to track her down by threatening her parents, and got involved in the story that way. She dealt with the threat to her family pretty quickly, surprising her companions with how vicious she was when people she loved were threatened, and eventually finished the campaign and saved Red Larch and her family.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top