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PC parents

If I ever GM an RPG of my own, I think I'll ask the players to give some indication of their parentage or how they were raised. Doesn't have to be detailed, maybe not even named, but something about where they're from and who raised them. Everyone has parents, or some substitute, after all, rather than springing out of the mists. And no amnesia card allowed.

(This is partially stimulated by Nanoha A's, my biggest gripe regarding which is the total lack of explanation of how Hayate is living alone as a 9 year old. If parents died recently they're never mentioned, if they died when she was a baby... who raised her and taught her stuff?)

But then I wonder, would I be being hypocritical? Have I done this for my own PCs? Answer seems to be "I didn't, but now I do." And I'll chronologically list my PC backgrounds. If you find that boring, which is understandable, you've been warned.



* Very first PC, a Masquerade Vampire who was basically "me": no.
* "Aragorn", a super competent Shadowrun PC: no.
* "Sebastian Carter" in some LARP, was actually the Biblical Cain, so yes by default. (I'd also posited that Lovecraft's Randolph Carter was a recent descendant.)
* some Amber PC: yes. I don't remember which Prince was his father, maybe Caine, but family is important in Amber.
* Dmitri, Varich spymaster: no. Though I don't know how family applies to Changeling: the Dreaming Sidhe.
* Nigel Rogers, evil nocker grump: no.
* Sebastian Carter, open-minded Void Engineer: no.
* Blue Oak/The Healing Sun, Solar Exalt: maaaybe? I did put some thought into his origins, but maybe more into an ex-wife than family. Don't remember.
* some Lunar Exalt: no. My only thought was how to justify his being a tree octopus tentacle Lunar with all the shapes.

* Claudius, Ars Magica Tytalus: yes. Unnamed, but peasant family, which informed his choice of spells.
* Other Ars Magica PCs at the time: no.
* The Light Toiling in Darkness, Abyssal Exalt: yes. Didn't name them, but he was from a merchant family somewhere, and they got enslaved, and he "mercy" killed them because Abyssals.
* Alphonse, warforged magus: yes/no. Warforged don't have parents, they're made, and I don't remember how they're educated. I did have him as an experimental model out of Aundair.

After this point I started raiding anime for my characters.

* Maritari, kalashtar psion, after Bodacious Space Pirates. Quite detailed background as I interpreted what kalashtar are like, especially the ones living in Sharn, and she has named mother and friend/cousin (Rikatari, Misatari), with distinct personalities of their own. Misa was in her intro scene, and even ended up helping out -- I'd specified she was a healer, and we ended up with a wounded NPC to stabilize...
* Yona Piper: orphan (after her village was destroyed by monsters) raised by the Juggler's Guild, aka bard organization in that setting. Didn't name specific people, but it's something.
* Yona Magdadottir: The PCs were basically village gofers, and she was living with her mother Magda, who I wrote into her intro scene.
* Yona of the Dawn Caste: I didn't name them, but I figured that the background of the original Yona of the Dawn -- princess usurped by someone better qualified -- fit Exalted perfectly. I didn't pin down where it was, but I don't think the game itself was that geographically specific.
* Faith Redeye, a greatly altered expy of Fate Testarossa: from a peasant family outside Nice; I put more effort into her abusive Order mater Precia of Torino, and the Quaesitor who rescured her, Lindy Verdi.
** Other PCs: varied; my companion was vague, though from a location and related to another PC; Faith's ward was more detailed and a cousin; Rachel was a Jewish grog from Beziers, where many Jews were killed in 1209.
* Haya Mipaq, Twilight Solar, expy of Hayate Yagami: didn't name her parents, but specified them as a Haltan noblewoman and a Haslanti merchant, who had Haya in Halta's northern city.
* Shira, Ryuutama healer: raised in town by her grandparents, just like Akagami no Shirayukihime.
* Diane, roguelike wizard in Dungeon World game, inspired by Diane of El Goonish Shive: some vague notion of a town background, and the wizard who taught her before disappearing. We've never seen the parents of the original Diane, so I lacked something to steal.
* Rinzen, some Pathfinder "Indian" elf: no.



So if you bother reading all that... the answer is yes, I do do it more, though the increase hasn't been monotonic. Kind of depends on my inspiration and the nature of the game: some inspire or require more effort than others. In particular I've gotten pretty pessimistic about the lifespan of a random play-by-post (PbP) game, and am not inclined to put too much effort into them. The Yona characters were earlier... though I also like adapting Yona to various settings. Might help that the original character is "medieval", unlike Hayate or Diane.

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Damien Sullivan
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