Saturday, 18 September 2021

Marriage, Heirs, and Children Education

Almost a year ago I was in a brainstorming session over how to best handle families and heirs for domain level play, which resulted, among others, in this post by one of the awesome lads involved.
I too was toying with some possible mechanics on the subject, but a terrible inspiration-drought, combined with real life being the usual bitch, caused my initial draft to lie in a folder catching digital dust until recently.

So here's my take on how to get your Character married, have children, and raise a proper heir for the domain.

Any adult character can decide to marry.

Courtship can be initiated towards any valid target at any valid time.
The initiator may try to ease their target's heart by offering expensive gifts, such as jewelry, charming pets, exotic flowers, exquisite food, battle trophies, and lavish spectacle.

A 2d4 + the initiator's Charisma Modifier is rolled to decide if the courtship is accepted, with a +1 bonus for every HD*1000gp spent in gifts, with HD being the Hit Dice of the courtship's target (10gp for Normal Humans), for a maximum bonus of +2 from gifts.

2 or less - Mockery: the initiator messes up badly becoming the laughing stock of the region, and can't attempt any courtship for a year.
3-5 - Refusal: the courtship is refused, and the same target can't be courted again for a year.
6-8 - Courtship: the initiator made a good impression and courtship begins.
9 or more - True Chivalry: the initiator made an excellent impression and courtship begins, +1 to Proposal.


After a month of courtship, the initiator may propose.

Again a roll of 2d4 + the initiator's Charisma Modifier is made, and again gifts can be used to ease the target's feelings, with a +1 bonus for every HD*1000gp spent in gifts, with HD being the Hit Dice of the courtship's target (10gp for Normal Humans), for a maximum bonus of +2 from gifts.


2 or less - Refusal: the target is offended and refuses, ending the Courtship.
3-5 - Courtly Love: the target neither refuses nor accepts, and Courtship continues.
6-8 - Acceptance: the target accepts the proposal, +1 to Wedlock Happiness.
9 or more - A dream come true: the target accepts the proposal, overjoyed, +2 to Wedlock Happiness.

Saint Nicholas provides the Dowry for three poor virgins,
Cornelis de Vos


Dowry is usually paid by the family of the spouse who joins the other spouse's family household (i.e. if the marriage is patrilineal, the bride's family will pay, if the marriage is matrilineal, the groom's family will pay).
If both spouses decide to start their own household or cadet branch, then both families pay a Dowry to the newlywed.
Dowry generally consists of household furniture and tools of trade, but can also include livestock, property, land, or household staff, especially among the wealthy.
In case of a divorce, the Dowry is returned together with the divorced spouse to the family who paid it, to ensure the economical well-being of the divorced spouse.

The necessary Dowry is calculated as HDd10 * 100gp, with HD being the Hit Dice of the spouse leaving their family (or 1d10*10gp for Normal Humans).
It is possible to choose to pay the maximum possible Dowry to ensure a stable marriage, giving +1 to Wedlock Happiness

It is seen as a mark of pride to provide the dowry to a spouse whose family is not able to provide it by themselves: paying a dowry for someone else gives the patron a +1 bonus to all reaction rolls in the area for a year.

Wedlock Happiness, Marriage Crisis and Divorce


Wedlock Happiness represents the stability of the marriage, and influences the outcome of Marriage Crisis.
Wedlock Happiness increases by 1 for every 10 years without a Marriage Crisis.

A Marriage Crisis happens whenever something that could endanger the marriage happens: absence from the spouse for over a year, infidelity, death of a child, a spouse nearly dying (or dying and being resurrected), and more.

The outcome of a Marriage Crisis is determined by rolling 2d4+Wedlock Happiness.
2 or less - Divorce: the marriage ends abruptly and badly, and the spouse leaves, possibly taking any child not of age with them; both spouses get a -2 to all reaction rolls when interacting with people in the area.
3-4: Disfunctional Marriage: the marriage does not work and everyone can see it; -2 to Wedlock Happiness.
5-6: Disagreement: the spouses are not able to find an agreement; -1 to Wedlock Happiness.
7-8: Reconciliation: the spouses are able to find an agreement; the Marriage Crisis is averted.
9: Loving reconciliation: the spouses are able to find an agrement and love is rekindled; the Marriage Crisis is averted, +1 to Wedlock Happiness.

Die Hoffnung, Gustav Klimt
Conception and Pregnancy

A healthy, well-fed, non-adventuring human has a 1-in-4 chance each day to be fertile. Dwarfs and elfs are fertile 1-in-6 times, hobbits 1-in-3.
Adventurers put their bodies and minds under great stress, so while adventuring the chanches are 1-in-6 for humans, 1-in-8 for elfs/dwarfs, and 1-in-4 for hobbits. Not adventuring for 6 months is enough to recover from the adventuring stress.
Lamb intestine condoms and herbal teas drop the chance of pregnancy for the user to 1 in 20.

For each night the spouses spend together, the referee rolls the appropriate dice: on two 1s, conception happened.

Pregnancy lasts for 9 months and is divided into 3 trimesters (dwarfs and elfs have longer pregnancies lasting 12 months, divided into 3 quadrimesters).

1st Trimester - During the first phase of the pregnancy a person may experience nausea, fatigue and dizziness: the dexterity score is temporarily reduced by 1. At this time it is possible to interrupt the pregnancy with the use of herbal teas.
Taking over 3/4 total HP in damage during this phase has a 2-in-6 chance to end the pregnancy.

There comes Papa, by Raja Ravi Varma

2nd Trimester - In the second phase of pregnancy, the symptoms are less severe, and others will be more careful when dealing with the mother-to-be, who gets a temporary +1 to reaction rolls. However, the bulk of the pregnancy counts as a light encumbrance. Attempting to interrupt the pregnancy at this time is risky, and if done a save vs Death must be made: on a success, the pregnancy continues and 1d6 damage is suffered; on a failure, the pregnancy ends and 1d6 damage is suffered. Taking over 1/2 total HP in damage during this phase has a 2-in-6 chance to end the pregnancy.

3rd Trimester - The last period of pregnancy is the most intensive: the mother-to-be counts as medium encumbered and suffers a -1 to dexterity until the end of the pregnancy, but retains the +1 to reaction rolls until delivery. Any attempt to interrupt the pregnancy at this point is extremely dangerous, and a save vs Death must be made: on a success, the gestant dies; on a failure, the pregnancy ends and 2d6 damage are suffered. Taking over 1/4 total HP in damage during this phase has a 2-in-6 chance to end the pregnancy.

At the end of the pregnancy, a child is born: 1-3 on a d6 means it's a girl, 4-6 a boy.
There's a 1% chance that a pregnancy produces twins.
Soon after birth, a newborn is hallowed and their birth sign is determined.

Child Education

Children can be either educated by a parent or relative, in which case they have a 3-in-6 chance of becoming the same class of their educator instead of normal human, they can be sent into apprenticeship, where they have only a 1-in-6 chance to gain a class but learn a trade, or they can be tutored by a learned scolar, in which case their future class depends on the kind and length of their education.

A child raised by a generic educator rolls 3d6 for their ability scores, and their education is considered complete at 15 years of age. If they gain a class, their main attribute becomes 9 if it is lower than that, and they will start at level 1.

Geography Lesson, by Eleuterio Pagliano
Children tutored by skilled teacher roll 4d4, and their scores may improve during education! Their education usually starts at age 8 and proceeds up to the age of 16. At the end of their education, their main attribute becomes 13 if it is lower than that, while their level depends on how successful their education was.

In both cases, ability scores are rolled at the end of the education, then eventual bonuses are added, and them they are adjusted.

There are 4 types of education: Martial, Skill, Spiritual and Arcane. For each area there's 3 different kinds of educators.
For a name-level character who established a keep or base of some sort, there is a 1-in-6 chance each season that a random learned individual will offer their service.
It is also possible to search for an educator in one field of education once per season: a d12 is rolled, and if the result is lower than the HD of the searcher, a random educator in that field is found.
Both if the educator was searched for or presented themself, a reaction roll is necessary to employ them.

Each field of education has a main attribute that might raise with time and luck.
Each educator has a monthly cost, a special ability they will teach their warden, and a secondary attribute they may improve.

  • Martial Educators - Class: Fighter - Main attribute: Strength
    1. Huntmaster - Monthly Cost: 500gp - Perk: +1 to track, hunt and forage - Secondary attribute: Dexterity
    2. Marshal - Monthly Cost: 750 - Perk: +1 to hierling morale - Secondary attribute: Charisma
    3. Engineer - Monthly Cost: 1000 - Perk: +1 to find secret doors - Secondary attribute: Constitution 
  • Skill Educators - Class: Thief - Main attribute: Dexterity
    1. Treasurer - Monthly Cost: 500gp - Perk: 3-in-6 to correctly apprise treasure - Secondary attribute: Charisma
    2. Saboteur - Monthly Cost: 750gp - Perk: +1 to disable traps - Secondary attribute: Constitution
    3. Spymaster - Monthly Cost: 1000gp - Perk: +1 to move silently and hear - Secondary attribute: Intelligence
  • Spiritual Educators - Class: Cleric - Main attribute: Wisdom
    1. Ascetic - Monthly Cost: 250gp - Perk: halved need for food, water and sleep - Secondary attribute: Constitution
    2. Chaplain - Monthly Cost: 500gp - Perk: create 1d2 Holy Water once a week - Secondary attribute: Charisma
    3. Mystic - Monthly Cost: 1250gp - Perk: +2 languages - Secondary attribute: Strength
  •  Arcane Educators - Class: Magic-User - Main attribute: Intelligence
    1. Sage - Monthly Cost: 500gp - Perk: gain 1d3 rumors monthly  - Secondary attribute: Wisdom
    2. Völva - Monthly Cost: 750gp - Perk: prophetic visions once a month - Secondary attribute: Charisma
    3. Alchemist - Monthly Cost: 1500gp - Perk: create 1d2 Acid once a week - Secondary attribute: Constitution

Every year that a child is tutored, there is a chance to improve (or lower) the attributes of the child, determined by a 2d6 roll:

2 - An insolent rascal: The educator leaves, covered in dung, pitch and feathers; all successive educators will know of the accident and get a -1 to their employment roll
3 - A dull child: The child does not learn, and their main attribute lowers by 1
4-5 - The cost of knowledge: Education continues, but learning materials must be financed, doubling the educators cost for a year
6-8 - A decent student: The education continues
9-10 - A smart student: The education continues with good results, raising the child's main attribute by 1
11-12 - A brilliant student: The education continues with excellent results, raising the child's main and secondary attribute by 2 and 1, respectively.

For every 2 years of uninterrupted and successful tutoring (6+ on the roll), the child will gain a level upon completion of the education.

Graduation, by Dendrono


  1. I don't know if I will ever need or use family rules that are this elaborate, but the world is better off now that they exist somewhere. Solid work.

    1. Thanks, I really appreciate your words.
      I'll be honest, I'm quite inspired on this topic and I will probably expand this article on some points.
      But obviously, this is all a bunch of optional rules that can be swapped and matched however one desires and feels appropriate or tasteful.