Orphans are such a common part of our inspiring fiction for role playing games that having the people that raised your character present throughout one’s childhood and still alive is almost a rarity. Spiderman, Batman, Superman, the Skywalker twins, Harry Potter, Frodo, the list goes on and on. I have seen this over and over again in roleplaying games. Heck, my wife once played in a Star Wars game where everyone was an orphan in some form or another. If you want to try a similar type of character yet a different take on the idea, we’ve got three suggestions for you.
1) Losing a Child
This is a scenario so terrible that there is no word for one who suffers such a loss in the English language. For the former-parent, trying to recover from the loss of a child can drive one to wander and take out their unresolved issues on those harming others. Obviously, this means your character is older, but older gamers can more easily identify with the loss of a child than a young person losing a parent.
2) Divorce/Divorcing Parents
Instead of losing someone to death, how about the lost of the life that is known. Whether your character is getting divorced or their parents are splitting up, this still represents a significant change in the character’s life that they may not want to be around to see what happens. This has the added bonus of the living family still playing a part in the overall campaign.
3) Fulfilling an Oath for a Lost Loved One
This one being a more serious blog post, I thought I’d end in a positive note. And no, I don’t mean swearing vengeance upon those that killed one’s family. I mean sometimes like, delivering a loved one’s ashes to the top of a particular mountain or carrying a message of forgiveness to someone the person is estranged from. Is your character tasked with being the bearer of an ancient gift to bring peace between different groups, now that the cause of the fighting is now gone? This combines loss with a mission.