Who’s your Daddy? (Generating NPC Families)

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I’d come up with some way to figure out not only a NPC’s (or PC)’s father or their entire family. So Happy Father’s Day to all you gaming Dads! You rock!

Long ago and far away there was the “Other Random Character Generation Elements” section in the Moebius Adventures Core Rules book, which detailed a few tables for figuring out how many siblings a character may have and the state of their parents. We’ll start there…

Sibling Rivalry

To determine the number of siblings for a character:

  1. Roll a d6. 1= only child. 2-6 = number of siblings.
  2. For each sibling, roll a d20.

An odd number indicates a brother. Even indicates a sister. The actual number rolled then determines the sibling’s age relative to the character at age 14.

For instance:

  • Roll d6 = 2. Two siblings.
  • Sibling 1. Roll d20 = 7. Brother, 7 years younger.
  • Sibling 2. Roll d20 = 7. Brother, 7 years younger. Twins!

johnny_automatic_the_knight_s_familyHow are the folks?

Next, you can determine if the character’s parents are still together, divorced, or deceased. Roll a d100.

  • 1-20 = Married
  • 21-40 = Divorced
  • 41-60 = Remarried
  • 61-80 = One surviving parent (odd = father, even = mother)
  • 81-100 = No surviving parents

For example, if I roll a 63, the character’s mother has passed away but the father is still alive.

What else?

Let’s look at the character’s relationship with their folks. Roll a d8.

  • 1 = Abandoned
  • 2 = Ran away
  • 3 = Abusive
  • 4 = Happy childhood
  • 5 = Moved a lot
  • 6 = Stable
  • 7 = Kidnapped/stolen
  • 8 = Poor

For our character with the twin younger brothers and surviving father, we roll a d8 to get a 6. A stable childhood. A bit boring perhaps, but still useful to know.

What about the parents’ professions? Another d8 roll…

  • 1 = Agriculture
  • 2 = Business
  • 3 = Creative
  • 4 = Political
  • 5 = Criminal (quick check, odd = in jail, even = out of jail)
  • 6 = Service
  • 7 = Military
  • 8 = Education

Back to our developing character again, a d8 gives us a 1. So our single dad was a farmer or rancher. If we don’t like that, we could roll again and get a 4 – political. Perhaps our father was a farmer with some rather extreme political views and was seeking to start a rebellion against the current regime? That’s interesting.

A quick die roll (even = yes, odd = no) tells us that the twins are behind their father all the way. If the character in this case is a PC, we won’t go further. If it’s a NPC, we’ll roll another quick check to see if the NPC also holds the father’s political views… Odd means no. Interesting. Is the NPC operating against the father and brothers in a developing rebellion?

We could even go further to explore the past of the parents. We could go through the same process for each of them, developing an entire clan with a bit of history, populating generations of families with a few die rolls… Instant family tree!

And this works beautifully across just about any genre or setting. Here are a few more examples:

  • (Only Child/No Surviving Parents/Abandoned/Military) This character grew up in the system and became a product of corporate welfare, unknowingly following in her parents’ footsteps. She thought she was abandoned, but it turns out her mom and dad were killed in a military operation and she was sold into corporate servitude…
  • (Three Siblings – brother, 3 years younger; sister, 6 years older; brother, 13 years younger/Remarried/Moved a lot/Criminal (in jail) & Service) Wow. Ok, so our poor kid has siblings from a few marriages of a deadbeat dad, serving time for his latest criminal escapade. His current step-mother is raising the youngest brother and working as a waitress for tips. This has left this NPC unwilling to trust men in a position of authority but still respecting his most recent mother figure…
  • (Two Siblings – brother, 2 years older; brother, 4 years older/parents still together/happy childhood/father a teacher, mother in business) A normal, happy childhood with a stable family life? Wow! Unusual, but not unheard of in the RPG world. 🙂

Though I wouldn’t want to do this for EVERY character, it would definitely offer some intriguing contrast for those characters I was trying to take a deeper dive with.

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