Geneology in Dragon Warriors

Written By: Stephen Dove - Nov• 11•13

De Toyne family tree copy

The above handout is something the PCs in my current Legend-based campaign discovered in the archives of Vennforth Abbey. That campaign, dubbed the Jewelspider Chronicles, is about a band of disparate adventurers who are bound by a promise to Ulric the Sorceror. They have been tasked to deliver a ‘gifted’ child to Mrykyn the Necromancer (of ‘The Greatest Prize‘ fame), though one or two of them have already guessed that this is just a pretext; what Ulric really wants is an ‘Elf Horse’ from Mrykyn’s stables that he lost to the Necromancer decades ago in a wager.

What I, as the GM wanted was a medieval ‘road movie’ ala Canterbury Tales or like Karen Maitland’s more recent book ‘Company of Liars‘, and that’s just what I’ve got; I heartily recommend Karen’s book by the way! It’s dripping with the sort of medieval eeriness that I strive for as a DM. The Jewelspider Chronicle actually started life as a Dragon Warriors campaign but now we’ve ported the characters over to LORE RPG, as it seems to model medieval lite gaming better than DW does, especially the magic system.

So what’s special about the above family tree? Well what’s delicious for me as GM is the fact that one of the PCs (Maelee; actually Melais de Toyne) has been in a faerie realm called a Gloaming for thirty years. Meanwhile another (Malvol or Malady de Gard) is a Knight, recently returned from the holy land. So imagine the players’ reaction when they discovered, after nigh on 6 sessions of play, that Maelee is Malvol’s aunt! Malvol was also most surprised to find his Father was still alive (he was thought dead in the same year Malady-Malvol was born) and had remarried into the Montombre Family. You just know this is going to go wrong now don’t you?

It is actually amazing how much mileage I’ve had out of this one simple prop; and that’s not including a suggestion of incest in Malvol’s family that we haven’t ‘discussed’ yet! Ahem!

It tells Melais, for example, that her 90 year old mother is still alive somewhere, and also shows that Tancred de Toyne, who was a life-long friend of both Malvol and another PC; Carroe, was also a blood relative of Maelee. And that said Knight has left a son somewhere who he named after his childhood friend and cousin; Malvol. It’s stuff like that, that can really bind a party together; three of the PCs have now vowed to find and protect the boy! This campaign is almost writing itself.

So I urge you all to get your pencils out and start your next game with a family tree; it really takes the players ‘back to their roots’ and you can spring a surprise or two on them into the bargain.

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  1. […] have written about the amazing use I have had out of heraldic symbols and family trees in my games elsewhere, but I consider them essential; especially in a game involving Knights or those of noble birth. I […]