Laws of Pretend Inheritance

One of the coolest things about the Pendragon RPG is the emphasis on generational play, spanning more than one lifetime.  This epic scale is something I also really love about Paradox Interactive’s Crusader Kings series.

So while I was out hiking the other day, I thought up a quick and fun way to start a dynasty for your RPG.  This would work particularly well with ACKS domain rules (and an aristocrat class!), and reminds me of the Punnett Square, which I was thinking of.

You’ll need two genetically compatible parents, and one d4 (or in this case, a d20).

For each of the child’s attributes, roll your d20.

On a 1-5, the child receives the mother’s attribute value.

On a 6-10, the child receives the father’s attribute value.

On an 11-15, the child receives the average of the parents values.

On a 16-20, the child receives a randomly determined value, as in character creation.

I haven’t done the math, but at first glance it seems this method would produce royal families whose average attributes were noticeably skewed towards those of their progenitors.

The interplay between status and Charisma value would be interesting to model here, because assuming that both status (wealth) and Charisma contribute to attractiveness and genetic fitness, then those without wealth but with high Charisma would be more likely than those with low Charisma to breed with the wealthy, and so forth.

You could add social status to Charisma to get a new value (Aristo-fitness?), and when world-building, have the mates of a given aristocratic NPC have this same value.

A less charismatic mate would then be of higher status, indicating perhaps an “arranged” marriage of political convenience, while a more charismatic mate could be of lower status, having charmed their way up the ladder a bit.

Depending on the relative values of “Charisma” versus “Social Status”, this could also reliably model an aristocratic taboo against marrying too far beneath your rank, as even the most charming peasant couldn’t expect to marry an Emperor or Empress.

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2 thoughts on “Laws of Pretend Inheritance

  1. I found the idea of breeding NPCs intriguing. I could also see a variation in that 1-5 would receive the lower of the two parent stats, or even the lower stat -1, while 16-20 would be to receive the higher stat +1, placing the “random” mutation somewhere in the middle of the scale.

    • You could definitely do that!

      I’m no mathematician, but I suspect if you start with attributes produced by a 3d6, and then allow good luck and good breeding to increase those attributes above 18, that you could eventually raise the human average attribute above 10.5. That’s an interesting question that I’d be happy to see someone more math-inclined than me answer. 🙂

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