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Basic Information

A parent is a father or mother; one who sires or gives birth to and/or nurtures and raises an offspring.

See Also



Game and Story Use

  • Too many players make their characters into orphans to avoid having to deal with parental figures in their lives. Try to discourage that, as parents are ready-made NPCs who can be a great source of drama for a campaign.
    • But don't arbitrarily kill them off or be needlessly cruel to them, or else it will only discourage players from bothering with them in the future.
  • In futuristic settings where reproduction is no longer restricted to the traditional ways, parental relationships can become much more complicated. Multiple gene donors, same-sex reproduction, AI guardians, and so forth - exploit these for all they are worth.
    • Similar issues might arise in fantasy games with an especially mythical flavor.
    • Alternative cultures or species might well play a part as well - there are historical human societies, for example, where a man would be raised by his mother and her brothers, with his paternity being of limited relevance. Other cultural artefacts such as polygamous marriage or a deliberate tradition of fostering might make genetic and de facto parenting very different things.
      • Fostering could be anything from a boy being sent almost straight from his wet-nurse to become a page (possibly a slight exaggeration, but considering pages could start very young…) or being given up as a hostage (or at least guestage) in their early years, to a Soviet style dystopia where children are taken from their families and raised by the State.
      • Polygamy could mean multiple members of either of both genders in a marriage - even in the latter case they probably know who the genetic parents are (or at least who the mother is and have a good idea of the father), but it may well not matter day to day.
  • NPC parents can be good sources of legacies; whether genetic, (inherited powers), heirlooms, (Inigo Montoya's sword), or simply passed-on wisdom, ("Like my ol' Pappy used to say…")
  • Some systems have this as an important part of character generation - your parent's profession and social status probably should have a bearing on your initial position as a PC: growing up as a rural peasant, a wilderness barbarian or a member of an urban academic class should lead to very different initial skill sets. This sort of generation system should probably also allow radical breaks from your heritage, but these may come with their own costs.
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