Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Iron Kingdoms RPG: Creating a Family Tree

Recently I've begun an undertaking of colossal proportions: creating a fictional Cygnaran house for an Iron Kingdoms RPG.  This process has become very much akin to creating a family in Pendragon, except I'm certifiably insane, so I decided that instead of just making a current family, I'd go back about four hundred years and start there.  And because I'm really certifiably insane, and because Iron Kingdoms is a feudal society, I decided that most people begin breeding in their late teens to early twenties.  And because I just bought a really sweet Warmachine Cygnaran d6 dice set, I figured I'd use them to generate the family.
The character I made for that Iron Kingdoms game is 18th generation.  18 generations in 400 years.  So I thought I'd share my methods, in case someone else out there wanted to hurt their brain.

Step 1) Begin with some kind of ancestor, choose what year they are born in, and determine their eventual spouse.

I chose to create my ultimate ancestor so that he would be active during the evacuation of the Orgoth forces, in an event called the Scourge.  Therefore, my character's ultimate grandfather was born in AR162.
Once you have chosen this, determine where they marry in the hierarchy of nobility.  Roll 1d6, and consult the table below.
Marriage Roll:
1 - Roll again
2 - Viscount/Viscountess
3 - Earl/Countess
4 - Margrave/Margravine
5 - Marquess/Marchioness
6 - Roll again
If you roll either a 1 or a 6, your ancestor has married either above or below a certain station.  Consult the tables below for each.
Rolled a 1:
1-3 - Knight/Dame
4-5 - Baronet/Dowager Baroness
6 - Baron/Baroness
Rolled a 6:
1-3 - Duke/Duchess
4-5 - Prince/Princess
6 - King/Queen

Step 2) Determine the age at which the selected ancestor first had a child.

To accomplish this, roll 2d6.  If the chosen ancestor is male, add the 2d6 to the age of 20.  If the ancestor is female, add the 2d6 to the age of fifteen.  Dice can ace (a nifty mechanic from Savage Worlds/World of Darkness), so if you roll a six on one or more dice, roll them again.
Not only will this determine when your ancestor first breeds, but also when the next generation possibly begins.  I say possibly, because...

Step 3) Roll for survival for the mother/child.

Roll 1d6 once each for both the mother and child. If you roll a 1 for the mother, she dies in childbirth.  If you roll a 1 for the child, it is born sickly, and you must roll another 1d6 to determine how long it lasts.  This die can also ace, and if it aces enough times that the child reaches at least 15, he or she has overcome their childhood illness and can now bear/produce children of their own.  If you roll a 1 for this survival time, the child is stillborn.

Step 4) More info on child survival roll.

The 1d6 roll for the child's survival also indicates its gender and aptitude.  Consult the table below for information on the results.
Child Survival and Aptitude Roll:
1 - Child is female, but sickly.
2 - Child is male, but sickly.
3 - Child is female, and healthy.
4 - Child is male, and healthy.
5 - Child is female, and superior.
6 - Child is male, and superior.

Step 4b) Determine Superiority of Child

If a superior child is born, it has the potential to accomplish great feats.  In game mechanic terms, this means the child could possibly be a Player Character, and so they need to choose an archetype.  If you so desire, you may choose the archetype for them or roll 2d6 and consult the chart below.
Child Superiorty Roll:
1-3 - The child has been Gifted with the ability to manipulate arcane forces.
4-6 - The child is to be an Intellectual, with a quick wit and discerning mind.5-9 - The child is Mighty, displaying great physical strength and endurance at an early age.
10-12 - The child proves to be Skilled, showing a flair in combat training and great dexterity.

Step 5) Determine successor for family.

In classic medieval settings, only a firstborn male child could be heir.  However, in the Iron Kingdoms, it's not unusual to hear about female heads of households, so simply choose the first surviving heir to determine who will continue the family's line.

Repeat steps 2-5, until you just can't anymore.

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