Family Tropes

Basic Information

Family tropes are topical tropes related to the family of the characters in a story.

List of Family Tropes



TV Tropes Wiki entry

Game and Story Use

  • Unfortunately, too many players make their characters orphans, possibly because they suspect that any relatives would experience a messy fate at the hands of the GM just to drive a plot. So saddle them with a number of previously unknown relatives which are extremely embarrassing, until they get the hint.
  • Conversely, do not wantonly kill off any relatives that are already part of a character's backstory. While families can and should serve as a source of drama, killing them off means that that source is gone.
    • This also goes for any other major acts of cruelty against a character's family. I mean, who wants to have relatives even in a game if the only thing they do is depress him?
  • Hey, why are we focusing on the negative here? There are lots of positive things a character's family can provide!
    • A parent or uncle or an older sibling can be a mentor figure for a character.
    • Or an inspiration: Look at Speed Racer's older brother Rex
    • A family member can pass on an important family heirloom; perhaps an object of symbolic or sentimental value, perhaps a MacGuffin of Power.
    • The older brother, the one who Mom constantly reminds you got a real job with the police force instead of wasting his life with all this adventuring stuff, can from time to time be a useful contact providing information and favors.
    • And y'know, sometimes it's just nice to take a break from the adventures to enjoy a nice home-cooked meal.
  • Realistically, in a pre-modern setting a character's relatives should be important assets and the GM should encourage him to exchange favours with them (we call these "adventure hooks") so that they deal with things needing applied violence and the relatives deal with social situations and look after their business whilst they are down the dungeon. In a prolonged, non-murder hobo campaign, PCs should also be expected to want spouses (traditionally something your relatives found for you) and in time create relatives of their own, as well as engaging in appropriate pseudofamily relationships such as squireage.
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