The Family: Marriages, Siblings & Family Relationships

Multiple Marriages

Not every household is a perfect one, not even among those in which heroes are raised. These circumstances can be applied to those who have raised an illegitimate character as well as the households of characters of legitimate birth.

On a result of 1 or 2 on the roll of a d10, one of the character’s parents is dead or abandoned the family and the remaining parent has remarried.

On the result of 1 through 6 on the roll of another d10 when the dice have indicated this is the case, the mother has passed and the father remarried; 7 to 10 and it is the other way around.

For these circumstances, the player must roll two d5’s. The greater of the two numbers resulting indicates how many marriages the surviving parent has been through, taking his or her children along. The smaller of the numbers resulting indicate the specific marriage to which the character was born.

This variation can be applied to the legitimate and illegitimate character equally.

While described in terms of random dice rolls, any results falling within the range represented by those dice are fair game if the player has notions of his own in this regard for his character’s origins. This is a wrinkle that may be added to the character’s background at the player’s discretion.

Any marriages and resulting children that preceded that from which the character was born will be counted before the PC, effectively pushing him further down in sibling rank.

This variation creates a great tangle of family relationships that can be great fun for the GM to make use of or manipulate for the purposes of the game.

 

Siblings

Roll 2d5 twice to determine size of family and sibling rank.

The larger of the two numbers represents the number of children in the family, total, including the PC himself. The smaller of the two results is the PC’s own place in the order of birth among his siblings, called his “Sibling Rank”.

  • IF the character’s parent has been married more than once as addressed previously, the player should roll 2d5 for each marriage, and only determine sibling rank for the marriage to which the PC himself was born.
  • IF the character is an elf  or a dwarf, the player should roll a d5.
  • IF the character is an elf, all results of family size greater than 3 are read as 3 (GM’s discretion).

This is due to the fact that the longer lived races like the elfs and dwarfs are not as fertile, so larger families are rarely possible, and may actually even be frowned upon in practice as vulgar displays when they do occur. Even the limits of these relatively small numbers are no doubt a matter of public note, and perhaps even some envy.

Roll a d10 to determine the sex of each sibling.

  • A result of 1-6 will indicate the sibling is a sister.
  • A result of 7-10 will indicate the sibling is a brother.
  • IF the character is a dwarf, the siblings are only female on a roll of “1” on the d10 called for above.

As stated previously, these details apply to the family in which the character was raised, only.

  • IF the character comes from a family in which the natural parent has engaged in multiple marriages (as previously described), sibling rank will be determined only for the children of the marriage to which he was born, but any children of previous marriages will be added to the sibling rank in the family in general, pushing him further down the ranks, i.e., a PC who was 3rd born of 5 in the 2nd marriage of the parent by whom he was raised, having had 3 children in the first marriage, would actually be sibling rank 6 in the family at large. The sibling rank in the family at large is the number that is used in determining the character’s starting monies coming from his family.

Families with a lot of children, greater even than the number already allowed, may certainly be allowed for players rolling the maximum number (GM’s discretion). It was common for women in the period of the game to have upwards of 10 or more (14-15) children, though the rigors of childbed were a serious danger to the mother, and the dangers of still birth, birthing complications, accidents, disease, and/or malnutrition all took a high toll in lives. Only two out of every five children lived past the age of five. Of those, only 60% lived to see 20 years of age.

Though the circumstances had changed significantly by the 1800’s, the world was still largely rural and agricultural and the survival rate for children remained roughly the same as in the medieval era. Large families with children numbering 12 or even 15 were not particularly unusual in the countryside. They were more mouths to feed, but at the same time they represented more hands to turn to the work of the farm and supplementing the family income.

  • IF the GM prefers to have smaller family sizes prevail among human, pumathar, dunladdin and irdanni races, he may either reduce the dice rolled to 2d5, or assume that the result doesn’t include the affects of attrition and make mortality checks for the children.

Roll a d10 to determine whether each of the younger children in the family have survived thus far.

A result of 1-6 indicates the child has passed away from one of the many challenges that threaten the young in the medieval period. The roll of a d10 can determine at what age.

A result of 7-10 indicates the child has survived.

  • IF the player of a dwarf or elf character wishes to have a larger family, the GM can always choose to increase the number allowed by one or two, maybe even three, BUT making sure that the player understands that the character’s family name is going to be renowned throughout his people for that fact, and no doubt there are those that envy the fact and may even resent such a vulgar display of inordinate fecundity – presuming the GM is following the race description as written (GM’s discretion). If not, this point is moot.

 

The Family Relationship

The line of inheritance under the medieval law of “Primogeniture” does not include female children in the line of succession to inheritance until after ALL the men in the line and their children have been exhausted, from eldest male to youngest. The head of the family, whether father or eldest surviving son, is always responsible for providing a dower for marriage, entry into a craft (craftsmen’s families only, as applicable) or the cost of taking the veil and entering the Church. When the male line is exhausted, the estate is partitioned and divided equally between the remaining women, referred to as “heiresses” at that point, and their children.

 

2-6. Family Relationship                 

d10

DP’s

Results

1

10

Doting (see “Golden Child”, as follows)

2

5

Kindly Disposed, charitable, generous in small matter, inclined to grant favors when the timing is right and in a good mood

3

3

Sympathetic, will always listen

4

2

Sympathetic, kind, always inclined to be indulgent in small matters, when in a good mood

5-6

0

Just/even-handed, treats PC fairly

7

(+1)

Conservative, slow to forgive, tight-handed even in small matters

8

(+3)

Grudging, biased in favor of other sibling(s)

9

(+6)

Hard-hearted, unsympathetic, rarely will listen

10

(+10)

Blatantly ignored and neglected (see “Black Sheep”, as follows)

Because the demands in training and education required of the heir, the first male child born, are extreme in the period of the game. A PC as the family heir, whether male in a patriarchal society or female in a matriarchal society, without being tied to the duties of the family UNLESS the player agrees that, prior to bringing him/her into active game play, the character has undergone the complete legal process in his native society for surrendering all claim or rights in any and all lands in the estate in favor of the next in line. This is usually done in return for an immediate cash settlement, which is where the character’s beginning monies will come from. The heir must know every corner of the family estate, every silver penny of the family’s worth, every wrinkle in the pursuit of their causes at law in order to properly administer the estate when he comes into it and, until that time, he must be at the parents’ beck and call in executing the business of the estate on their behalf. This ties him down far too well, allowing precious little time for pursuing of his own interests, such as running off on wild adventures.

Of course, the player may be able to convince the GM to let him try and manage the responsibilities of the heir during active play amidst the demands of working with the household officials in over-seeing the work of the fields and livestock, according to the domestic calendar the GM has (Part II.). If he manages to get through an adventure participating fully to his cohorts’ satisfaction and turn a pretty profit, he might just win the approval of his parents and their indulgence should a similar matter come up again. The next heir in line can always be leaned upon the take up the slack for him. The second in line will always be leaned on in any course, especially after the estate passes hands to the heir, as most trustworthy for the position of chief agent, factor or official.

This is where the importance of the relationship with the family comes directly into play.

To determine the character’s relationship with a family member, the player can either choose or roll the d10 indicated on table 2-6.

All results for elfin family members that are greater than 7 for Quick Method characters should be read as 7, so the worst result that can be obtained will be “Conservative, slow to forgive, tight-handed” instead.

A dwarfish female is always granted 1 level of the “Golden Child” (see Special Heritage Traits, as follows) in her family, due to their rarity in their native culture.

The player will have to make a determination for each parent. If illegitimate and the parent has knowledge of the character AND has had contact, this must be determined for him/her, as well. This process should be followed to determine how the PC gets along with each of his siblings, also. It is a good idea to establish this information in regards to any servants living in the household in close attendance on the family, (who does the cooking, who takes care of the horses or other beasts, personal body servants or assistants or secretaries), as well.

If desired, any bad relationships established during character creation may be improved, given sufficient time and effort once play has commenced, especially if the character has the social skills to smooth the way. In the same vein, just because a parent or sibling dotes on the character, doesn’t mean that they can be walked all over or otherwise abused with impunity. Family relations require maintenance just like a Courtier’s contacts.

In the medieval setting of the game, being illegitimate in the eyes of the lower (landbound) class is not that much of a handicap due to its frequency. The only exception is waging of suits at law. No illegitimate citizen can sue any other who is legitimately born. Otherwise, it is only among the commoners and the nobility that the illegitimate status being a barrier preventing inheritance will be an issue, so a parent might consider paying the cost of bridging the legal gap to formally acknowledge a bastard child. In common and upper-class society, the illegitimate character becomes a veritable second-class citizen. Having no claim to land or wealth in either parent’s name, unless there are no other heirs left in any legitimate line following them, the bastard character is deemed worthless in marriage unless he has accumulated a sizable estate of his own first, and even then his status as a bastard may cause much trouble trying to wage any suit at law, as mentioned, so it makes him hazardous to ally with in marriage OR business.

 

Character Option:

Special Family Circumstances

Special Circumstances represent some of the vicissitudes of life that may be afflicting the character’s family when play commences, things that may complicate or add additional concerns and make them more difficult, or perhaps even bring a little happiness.

Character backgrounds may be made a bit more interesting by inserting an occasional random element, at either the player’s or the GM’s option.

With a result of 01 on d100 a special circumstance might be applied to any character for a bit of spice.

On the whole, they are perfect as handles to be worked into adventures, or may be used as the hinge-pin on which an adventure turns, thus hooking a character and his compatriots.

This table is meant to illustrate the possibilities. It is NOT intended to be either definitive or exhaustive. Dice randomly for parents and children equally. If the result indicates a sibling who is married in a case involving the courts or the law, both will be in the same situation, unless the spouse has escaped into hiding or left the realm.

2-7. Special Family Circumstances

d100

Result

1

PC family member is in gaol awaiting execution for a capital crime

2-3

PC family member is in gaol pending fulfillment of terms of sentencing for a felony (fines, forfeitures, + 2d5 bonds of surety)

4-15

PC family member is in gaol awaiting trial for a major crime, pending payment of bail (+ 2d5 bonds of surety)

16-20

PC family member has taken Sanctuary in a nearby church with (4d10) days remaining before he must face charges of felony or capital crime, or be banished from the realm

21-32

PC family member is charged with a serious crime, will be jailed unless bail and (2d5) bonds of surety are found within (3d10) days

33-39

PC family member has lost the judgement in a court case resulting in a financially crippling fines and damages, his wealth and household goods will be distrained within a week and he will be jailed pending payment in full or arrangements being enrolled in the Court of Chancery for the payment of fines and damages

40-46

Family member is charged with a serious crime and has refused to face the courts, for which he has been named “outlaw”, all goods and property forfeit to the Crown or liege-lord, his head is worth 5s. from the local sheriff

47-50

Family member is Grievously Wounded following an assault on the road by Brigands/Highwaymen

51-52

Family member is Mortally wounded or dead following an assault on the road by Brigands/Highwaymen

53-59

Family member is in danger of having his wealth and household goods distrained within a week for taxes and he will be jailed pending payment in full or arrangements enrolled in the Court of Chancery for payment unless (d5) sureties are produced

60-61

Family member is abducted and demand for ransom delivered anonymously through an intermediary

62-64

Married female family member is pregnant, due to deliver in (d5) months, if no females in the immediate family, then a cousin

65-68

PC or immediate family member is asked to stand as godparent to a relative of (slightly) lower social standing

68-71

A socially superior person has expressed romantic interest in the PC or an immediate family member (50/50% attractive or plain looks)

72-73

Female family member has eloped with a man socially and financially beneath her (assumed to be attractive)

74-80

Female family member is pregnant out of wedlock (roll dice for Class and Station of father)

81-86

A married female family member gives birth to a healthy baby within (4d5) days of the commencement of active game play

87-93

Criminal charges for a case at law have been fabricated by a rival family and brought against a character’s family member, roll a result involving the courts, above

94-96

A close friend of the family or a relative outside the nuclear bloodline passes away within (4d5) days of the commencement of active game play, leaving (d5) favored family members a bequest of coin, plate, jewelry, book(s), or furnishings (PC to be included in the determination)

97-98

PC family member does a good turn to a wealthy/influential burgess or local lord for which the family are invited for dinner, where all are given gifts (small, personal, dependent upon how well the family is known and how motivated the wealthy/influential benefactor is, GM’s discretion)

99

PC family member discovers an ancient pagan burial site, unearths a cache of ancient coins, jewelry, and/or plate, or forgotten wartime stash on family property, a neighbor’s property, or in the wilds (king’s or lord’s land)

00

Roll for an additional Circumstance (maximum number allowed is at GM’s discretion)

As noted in the title, these are meant to be SPECIAL. That is why their occurrence is indicated on only a 01 on d100. Families have the capacity to be complicated enough as they, if the player or GM is creative enough without adding this dash of spice in.