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I'm starting a new campaign with two new players, and one of the senior players requested to have her new character be the offspring of her first character (one I didn't DM). Then my other senior player said he wanted his new character to be the black sheep wizard of a long line of proud warriors.

Having played Rogue Legacy recently, I thought it'd be a nice addition to have the players leave a legacy after they die (which happens often enough for death to be meaningful). The problem is that I have no clue of how I should go about it. I've been looking and I can't really find another game that does this, but I might be searching in the wrong way.

I'm thinking something like a PC getting a house, marrying and having children and adopting, and then using hard earned crafting/questing money to get their children a good tutor, expand their lands, set up a business, etc. Then when they die they get to use one of their children as a player character. Building a legacy is attractive because it gives them good bonuses: A kid with a wizard as a tutor will have bonuses on spell-crafting or Int, stuff like that.

So, has anyone done something like this?

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I did something similar a while ago. There are several things you can do:

There's something vaguely similar called Weapons of Legacy. Is a 3.5 book that, despite being a bit weird rule-wise (actually the rules are pretty bad, as per @DuckTapeAl and @KRyan mentioned in the comments. Use it for ideas and flavor only), can give you good ideas of how to implement a legacy in the form of Magical Weapons from their parents.

Secondly, you can make the player's kids inherit some of their scores from their parents. Let's suppose that Mila the Wizard and Bronco the Barbarian marry each other and have a nice, beautifull little girl.

For each of their daughter values, toss a coin. Heads, she get that score from her father. Tails, from her mother. This way, you could have kids that look alike their parents someway, at least ability-wise. This could even create interesting characters: if Mila and Bronco had five kids, each one of them could be vastly different from one another, depending wich scores they get from their parents. You could have a "super-genius, super-strong kid", with a wimpy, always sick and... slow sibling.

If you go this way, more powerfull parents would make more powerfull offspring, which, in a way, kinda makes sense.

Then, you always have the cash from their parents. Those kids could start the game with better gear, on even on a higher level - if there is enough money, you could "pay for an extra starting level" to represent all the extra training the kid got while growing up.

You can also play this "legacy" as influence. People know the kid's parents, and thus would gladly repay all those wonderfull things that her parent's did when travelling around the village.

Keep in mind, however, that the game is played better if everybody is in a similar power-level. A single level of difference in 3.5 is huge, and thus make sure that every single player receives equally good benefits.


How to spend money with my family?

That's tricky.

There's a few ways you could handle that. You could go the "Hardcore way", and track every penny that you spend with your family according your desired lifestyle. You could go a really abstracted, and spend a fixed amount of money per month and that's it.

What I do is something like this:

I set for every character an "Average Family Upkeep Cost", that the character must spend every month according to the desired lifestyle. This value includes basic stuff like food, taxes, rent (if applicable), clothing and other basic needs.

I also offer several "Add-ons" for a family, that can be paid on a separated budget. Those add-ons include teachers, sword-fight trainers, and several other professionals that teach or train your kids.

Each "teacher" have an associated cost per month. For each 6 months a kid stays on training with a given teacher, it gets a half skill-point on that teacher associated skill. For teacher's that give a more class-oriented tutelage, every few years under training equals a class level.

A kid can only have as many tutors as it's Intelligence Modificer (minimun 1), so smarter kids can learn more stuff on the same time than other not-so-smart kids.

Of course, you should respect different "dificulty levels" for each class. Training as a Wizard is way more demanding than training as a, let's say, Fighter, so you must adjust the costs of the tutor and the time of training accordingly.

To control all this stuff, create a small "family sheet". About a half-page should do it.

On that sheet, write up every family expense, includding teachers, and the total montly upkeep.

If, by the end of the month, the character can pay everything, that's fine. Write up the coin that was left off, and move on. If the character can't pay everything, he must then negotiate/borrow the rest of the money, or give up some of the services that he acquired for his family.

Don't overcomplicate stuff - unless you really want to keep every single single penny spent, I suggest using whole numberns and more or less adjusting costs to simplify the book keeping.

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In general, this is a good post, but Weapons of Legacy has nothing to do with passing weapons down to children. That book is basically just a way to have equipment that levels with you, using super-weird rules and a crappy name. While you could pass down a legacy weapon (just like you could theoretically pass down any weapon), there are no special rules for that in the book. –  DuckTapeAl Aug 18 at 22:12
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Actually, there's flavor. Having your father's sword by your side and gradually unlocking its power seens fitting to me. Thats why i said "ideas" ;p –  Thales Sarczuk Aug 18 at 22:23
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Also, Weapons of Legacy is an atrocious book, design-wise, one of the worst in 3.5. (Personally, I’d rank it probably in the worst five, though Savage Species, Serpent Kingdoms, Complete Psionics, and Book of Exalted Deeds would be worse.) –  KRyan Aug 18 at 23:04
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I will expand my answer! –  Thales Sarczuk Aug 18 at 23:37
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@FernandoContreras I updated my answer with some more ideas for you, regarding money spending! –  Thales Sarczuk Aug 18 at 23:55

Small, but cool, thematic bonuses.

While I haven't extensively played with a system like this, I have designed one or two. The stuff that I find makes players the most interested in game backstory and roleplaying stuff is to give out small, yet interesting, thematic buffs. That extends to legacies as well.

What I would suggest is to let you players have a power that is related to what their parent does, and is roughly the utility of a feat. For example, if your father was a wizard, maybe you get +1 to caster level with his favoured school of magic, and a +1 to the DC of his favorite spells, perhaps 1 spell per spell level. If your mother was a barbarian, maybe you can get a +2 to Str for the duration of a combat once per day.

By keeping the overall power low, you make sure that no one feels like they're being left out or screwed over by other people's bonuses. Make sure to not just give out an existing feat, though. By making the ability mechanically distinct from the stuff that you can typically get, you make it feel more special. By keeping the ability thematic, you keep the focus on what was cool about the parent, not just how much money they had. Giving out money might seem like one way to do this, but money doesn't make you think of the storied history of your family the way that thematic buffs do.

An important thing to note is that you should design these powers as DM, and you should keep in mind how the players are likely to use them in play. If the player is a wizard and his mother was a barbarian, a strength bonus isn't going to be a good thing. As long as the buff meets the two goals of helping the player and being related to their progenitor while not being super powerful, you'll probably have a good time.

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I like the thematic buffs, I'll figure out a way to add them in a way, and this actually balances out the family upkeep that @ThalesSarczuk suggested with the Long line of warriors that I mentioned earlier. –  Fernando Contreras Aug 19 at 0:21

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