Before I write up the section on Birth Rank and Age in Mythus I thought we’d have a look at the matter of families in RPGs
The Importance of Family
When playing an RPG there are times when a player would much rather not have to bother with complications such as family. Here he’s trying to play a rough tough loner type who doesn’t need to be saddled with kinfolk and the like. Likely he’s thinking of a lone-wolf type character, such as Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name from the old spaghetti westerns or some like character. There’s a problem with that.
First, lone wolves are not really all that common. We all have relatives somewhere, and we may just run across them from time to time. And even if we are currently a lone wolf, our parents and siblings at the least had an impact on us.
Our personality, our skills, our nature come largely from our relatives, and not always our parents. Our birth rank also plays a part, for the first born is often quite different from the second born.
But most importantly, the big advantage having a family gives the player is, enemies and allies. His brother could be assistance against the big bad. His sister could be the big bad. And Dad could be backing his sister because she is his daughter. To make matters even worse there could be times when the player’s character could be required to take his sister’s side in a matter; sometimes when she’s in the right, sometimes because his sociey demands it of him, and sometimes because he really has no choice.
And a family—when you’re on good terms with them—can be a resource. You could borrow Dad’s horse, use Uncle Ned’s heirloom magical wand, most anything. Keeping in mind that they could ask favors of you. For that is what patrons are for, to provide assistance while at the same time getting you into trouble.
And having kin gives you a certain reputation, for most folks are going to know about your family and by rather reluctant to get on your bad side. Or, they may decide that they could use you against your relatives. Having a family can get complicated.
For players and GMs it’s, take advantage of a character’s family. Have fun with it. Aunt Sally could get her nephew out of trouble, just so she can enlist the young man’s help in stealing the local duke’s Wand of the Latter Three, which is rumored to weld together living flesh at a touch. Or he and his friends could be given the task of leading Dad and his friends from his brother’s escape route and they had for a land where the two boys can live happily and peacefully as husband and wife.
And should the character’s be burdened by lots of gold and treasure, there’s nothing like a family for disposing of it in one manner or another.
So give them families, give them trouble and strive, for roses have thorns and a bed of roses aren’t exactly comfortable to sleep on.