Wicked Stepmother
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Basic Information

The primary role of a Wicked Stepmother is to make life hell for her husband's original children, usually through underhanded scheming or outright abuse of her authority. Often she will have children of her own, which she blatantly favours. Interestingly, in some older narratives, the Step- part of the equation may be omitted, turning the character into an outright Bad Mother - a straight forward corruption of The Mother.

Added hilarity can ensure when the stepmother is similar in age to or younger than her husband's children - for example, a daughter finding her bitter high school rival is now her stepmother… when this happens to sons, the wickedness may extend to incest1.

See Also



Game and Story Use

  • The Wicked Stepmother represents an interesting villain for the PCs to fight - because unlike with more traditional villains, they usually can't kill her off without consequences. After all, she is family. This is true for both the Wicket Stepmother of an NPC which they want to protect for some reason, or if it's the Wicked Stepmother of one of the player characters.
    • Of course, if they think they are subtle enough, they can attempt to kill her without anyone else noticing. But that might cause the PCs to cross the Moral Event Horizon, if they care about that - and even if they don't, such a murder will require very careful planning and execution to pull off without getting noticed.
    • A (usually) better way of dealing with a Wicked Stepmother is to expose her wickedness for all to see. However, this means fighting her in her prime area of expertise - plotting and slandering.
    • That said, quite a lot of original fairytales will include a suitably gruesome death for this character - Snow White's stepmother being killed by being forced into red-hot iron shoes.
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