Inspire Confidence – We are family

Edited to add: This blog was written as filler material, but here we are nearly one year later and I’m back as an active Know Direction Blogger. Have a wonderful fall holiday season, whatever your chosen holidays.

Hello again friends! I know I said I was retiring or taking an extended hiatus or something, but my friends here at Know Direction occasionally need a break and I still have burning ideas that require blogs to be written. That means that sometimes you’ll see me when one of my fellow bloggers needs a break. I’m writing these blogs in advance, so I’ll do my best to give you some context when necessary. This particular blog was written 11/25/2018, Thanksgiving weekend.

As we move through the end of year holiday season, I want to take a minute or 20 to talk about the importance of family, whether by blood or love. In the western world, starting late September/early October harvest festivals turn into solstice celebrations that run to January. Of course there are festivals and holidays all year round where we gather with those we care about to eat a lot of food and participate in traditional celebrations. These celebrations can easily be translated into opportunities to focus on family and friend relationships in game.

We do not regularly watch the calendar in our games because time is wibbly wobbly when you’re only passing through a couple days in game but weeks at a time in real life. Paizo has even made it easy by syncing up the Golarion calendar with our calendar (this link is to a wiki due to Paizo’s SRD currently being down for playtest). The rare exception was when we played Kingmaker, since the passage of time was integral to the campaign. We had a lot of fun preparing for holidays in character and it allowed for character development – why did our characters like or dislike any given holiday, what did they miss about home, and the like.

Bringing holidays into your game also provides opportunities to go home again. During our ongoing Numenera game, our PCs went to the home town of one character which sparked an impromptu celebration for her return. Her family pulled out all the stops and learned some important family secrets that have in turn driven some of our subsequent decisions. Nothing says begin family drama like finding out you’re an adopted genetically engineered partially ultra-terrestrial whose magic is derived from an extraplanar entity. Holidays really bring a family together.

It is a rare player character that has zero background or memory of someone in their past that they consider family, whether a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle, or other adult who taught you how to steal on the streets. It is well worth reflecting on how your characters are shaped by those who influenced them and when that influence happened.

A gaming experience that will forever warm my heart was during a Fate game we played with our children, the kids and myself were all school aged benders a la Legend of Korra. Thomas originally thought his character would be an orphan, but after a short time of game play he announced he needed to have a family because he was not prepared to contemplate life without his family.

I hope that each of you have someone that you care about deeply that you can depend on and while you may not be reading this at the proper time of the year, I wish you each happy holidays!


Monica Marlowe

Monica Marlowe is the 2015 Paizo RPG Superstar. Winning the contest launched her freelance game designing career. Her winning adventure, "Down the Blighted Path" and PFS scenario "Captive in Crystal" are available through Paizo. She’s publishing additional gaming materials under Marlowe House and through 3rd party publishers. Monica is also active in the ongoing education in gender, sexual, and racial equality in the gaming community. Driven by a desire to see a more diverse gaming community, Monica has joined the Know Direction network to help and encourage all gamers, veteran and new, to find their voices. Monica lives in southwest Ohio with her husband, Andrew, and 2 children, Kate and Thomas.

1 Comment

  1. Rob Pontious

    Absolutely true! I love making sure I have a game or two that week too as it’s like being with family, my gaming family!