5 Ways to Use the PCs' Families in the Game, and then 2 more...

You can use the characters' family, you know. Family is a wonderful thing for stories, as it can bring reasons to go adventuring, allies, villains, unique situations and scenes, and moments such as "I'm you father!" So, why don't we use it more in our games? I don't know, actually, but it's a thing that must be changed. Family means bonds and connections to the world, and as such should be created and encouraged. 
The best way to encourage this, at least to my belief, is by using these bonds in the game to advance the plot and to create drama... Anyway, here are 5 ways to use the PCs' families in the game:
  1. A family member has been kidnapped. The most dreaded and cliche way to use it, but it's still a useful way to get the PCs on the adventure, once in a while. The characters have to rescue the fighter's brother from the dragon cave is a sure way to get the PCs on their way.
  2. A family member has useful information. Maybe the mother of one of the characters is the most famous researcher of ancient dark medicine? Maybe the wizard's brother is a commando fighter? Maybe the cousin of the general is the prime minister of Great Britain?
  3. An important family event. The sister is getting married, the cousin is celebrating his first child's birth, the uncle is receiving a grand prize, or even the mother is getting a nobility title... A scene like that can be the basis for an entire session or even as the starting point for a murder mystery (the groom was murdered a few minutes ago, for example).
  4. A family member is the villain. Robert is the vampire lord, Mellisa is the head of an organised crime family, Cousin Mordechay is the genius who created the grand Vaporizer and Sister Beatrix is the new Darth Vader. A family member that is the main villain can bring both a dramatic peak to the game and a huge conflict. It also enables you to bring the infamous line "[insert name of a character here], I'm your father..."
  5. A mentor for the character. A family member who is also a mentor for the characters can make things even closer and more emotional. A 2 for one deal...
And what do we do if the family members are all dead? 2 ways to deal with it:
  • The body of one of the family members is being controlled by the villain and it draws chaos and havoc in the city...
  • Let the character deal with the loss.
Either way, huge amounts of drama can be created by this.
How about you? How do you use the PCs' families in the games?

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