Monday, April 18, 2011

O is for Orphan

Welcome to the Tower of the Archmage’s April A to Z Challenge!

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “O” the number “15” and the support of readers like you.

Thank you.



I’ve been all over with this letter. The obvious choice is OSR, but I bet it’ll take more than one hand to count those posts today. Otyugh will also probably be a popular choice, as will orc and owlbear.

What I’ve settled on for today’s letter is Orphan. So many players choose for their characters to be orphans, usually in an attempt to keep the DM from using their character’s family against them. This misguided act can frustrate a Dungeon Master, especially as they try to inject some role playing into their games.

In the future, whenever a player describes their character as an orphan, roll a 1d30 on the following Orphan Background Chart.

1. You’re actually a runaway because your family didn’t approve of the “adventurer lifestyle”
2. You’re actually a runaway, and your family is looking for you!
3. You’re actually a runaway, and creditors are looking for you! +50% starting gold
4. Your parents died when you were very young. You don’t remember them, and you were adopted into a wonderful loving family.
5. Your parents died when you were very young. You don’t remember them, and you were adopted into a horrid family.
6. Your parents died when you were very young. You don’t remember them, and you grew up in an orphanage.
7. Your parents died when you were very young. You don’t remember them, and you grew up on the streets/in the wild
8. Your parents died when you were very young. You don’t remember them, and you grew up at a temple
9. Your parents died when you were a child. Your kind aunt/uncle raised you and your 1d4-1 siblings. +2d6 starting gold
10. Your parents died when you were a child. Your cruel aunt/uncle raised you and your 1d4-1 siblings. -10% starting gold
11. Your parents died when you were a child. The temple took you and your 1d4-1 siblings in.
12. Your parents died when you were a child. You grew up in an orphanage with your 1d4-1 siblings.
13. Your parents died when you were a child. You grew up on the streets/in the wild taking care of your 1d3-1 siblings. -10% starting gold per sibling
14. Your parents died while you were a teen. They left you the farm/store. It’s not doing so well now. You have 1d4 siblings, one of which is able to take care of the farm/store. -2d4 starting gold.
15. Your parents died while you were a teen. They left you the farm/store. It’s doing fine, but you hate it. One of your 1d4 siblings is able to take care of it. +2d6 starting gold
16. Your parents died while you were a teen. They were jerks and poor to boot. You and your 1d3 siblings have been scrapping by. -1d6 starting gold per sibling
17. Your parents died while you were a teen. They were jerks but pretty well off. You and your 1d4 siblings have been living off of what was left to you, but it’s running out.
18. Your parents were killed when you were very young. You survived by being hidden during the attack, and you were rescued by a neighbor and raised as their own.
19. Your parents were killed when you were very young, and you were taken by their killer and raised as his own. You just discovered this, and have run away, taking a minor magic item (DM’s choice) with you.
20. Your parents were killed when you were a child. You and your 1d2 siblings were enslaved by the killer. Now you’ve all escaped!
21. Your parents were killed when you were a child. You and your 1d3 siblings were enslaved by the killer. You’ve just killed him, freeing yourself and your siblings.
22. Your parents were killed when you were a teen. The killer was caught right away by the local law, and justice was swift. You still have to take care of your 1d4 siblings.
23. Your immediate family was killed when you were a teen. They caught the killer a year later. You were there when he was hanged.
24. Your parents were killed when you were a teen during a raid on your settlement. You and 1d3-1 siblings survived.
25. Your immediate family was killed when you were a teen during a raid on your settlement. You were visiting your uncle/aunt.
26. Your parents were killed when you were a teen by someone untouchable. You were left in charge of +1d4*50 starting gold
27. You were captured and enslaved as a child. You have no idea what happened to your family. Your owner recently converted, and freed you.
28. You and your family were captured and enslaved when you were a teen. You’ve recently escaped, but you don’t know what happened to the rest of your family.
29. The fire wiped out your entire family. Only you survived, having been trapped down in the root cellar during the fire (you were being punished). -2 to Charisma due to burn scars, 4d12*10 starting gold.
30. Ok, fine. Your character’s entire family, the rest of the village, and everyone who has ever met you was wiped out by pirates/orcs/space aliens/whatever. You saw it all, and it was very traumatic/life altering/etc. Congratulations, you’re all alone in the world.

The death of your parents is presumed to be either an accident or due to natural causes unless otherwise noted.

3 comments:

  1. Awesome. Now I actually want some of my players to be orphaned, just so I get to use the background opportunities on this table.

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  2. I often have orphaned characters, for exactly that reason :) Like the table, I can see myself using it in my game. I choose a different letter O post too; and am now stuck on what to do for Q.

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  3. D'oh! http://mythopoeicrambling.blogspot.com/2011/04/o-is-for-orphan.html

    Great table, Archmage!

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