Eldritch Excursion – Family Guise

It seems today, that all you see,
Is OGL on Youtube and lewdness on streams

But where are those good-alignment values…
On which we used to rely?!

Lucky there’s a Family Guise!
Lucky there’s a build that
Absolutely killed that
Monster that’ll give us…


Here’s! Our! Family Guise!

Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog that knows how the difference between mechanics and flavor is all relative, but goes into the pedantic details anyways. Today we’re going to consider an oft-neglected part of your PCs backstory and ask who’s genetic mixer they spawned from.

Do a poll in your local tabletop RPG scene and ask just how many people put more than two brain cells to the task of their PC’s family and I bet you’ll get the same handful of answers. Orphan, runaway, orphan, orphan, and seventeen flavors of daddy issues. All of these are fine, but there’s a lot to be said about keeping your family close to the heart and on the front page of the GM’s notes.

There’s a lot that a few blood relatives can add to a campaign that goes beyond younger siblings to rescue from the BBEG. And yes, parents can do a lot more than just turning into skeletons as part of a stock tragic backstory. When you work with the GM, you can write your character to have important ties to some key aspect of the campaign, increasing engagement and having a built-in reason to stick to the plot. Here are some examples.

Just don’t let those sibling rivalries get out of hand, okay?

Family Business
– Think of all the typical establishments that your party frequents. The smithy, the inn, reagent shops, the local church, and maybe the local jail if they’re that kind of party. This is a great starting point to slot in that family structure. Maybe a trade runs in your blood and you adventure as a means of escape from tradition. Maybe you delve into dungeons because the business is failing for Campaign Plot Reasons and you want to do well by Mom and Pa. If you want to keep up the theme on a worldwide scale, make it a franchise, that way every Sanford & Scrolls you visit on your adventures will have a new-but-familiar NPC to meet.

Rival Party – This one is a classic. One party member has that rival sibling in a rival party, often with some yin to their own character build’s yang. One’s a paladin, one’s a barbarian. One’s a cleric, one’s a necromancer. They could be competing over a family fortune. Perhaps their parents are pitting them against each other in a ‘tradition’ that only one of them truly cares for. If you want to mix it up, you could play up their relationship as completely different when it’s between adventures.

The Party as Family – Most campaigns run much more smoothly if the players all tie their backstories together, and this is about as tied as it gets. This one is easier on the GM and way more fun for the whole party if they’re all in on it, but don’t let that discourage you from trying it out with a Duo Queue buddy in your local organized play games. Wholesome family adventures on Bring Your Kids to Dungeon Day, aspiring nobles working collectively to build their surname’s prestige, or a ‘family’ working to control the less scrupulous forms of trade are all great starting points.

The Eidolon as Family – Because I always did want to import one of my favorite eidolon subtypes from 1st edition. And who needs to roll up a gross, stinky, non-summoner class when you can just call upon your Pocket Champion instead?Ancestor Eidolon
Your eidolon forms a bond through strong spiritual ties to your ancestry, often acting as a guardian of their descendants or as protectors of family interests. Some of these eidolons are arrogant patriarchs and matriarchs who seek some variation of immortality through the bloodlines, while others are not directly related but have sworn their eternal servitude to a particular family. Regardless of their motivations, ancestor eidolons make for loyal and caring companions.
Tradition Occult. Can change depending on ties to ancestry (arcane for kobolds, primal for gnomes, etc) with GM approval.
Home Plane Ethereal Plane

Size Varies (see below)
Suggested Attacks fist (bludgeoning), unarmed attacks shaped like a weapon
Ancient Warrior Str 18, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 14; +2 AC (+3 Dex cap)
Dashing Forerunner Str 12, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 16; +1 AC (+4 Dex cap)
Elder Seer Str 10, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 14, Wis 18, Cha 12; +2 AC (+3 Dex cap)
Regal Primogenitor Str 8, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 18; +1 AC (+5 Dex cap)
Skills Occultism, Society (exchanging Occultism for the appropriate skill depending on Tradition)
Senses normal vision
Languages one language available to your ancestry
Speed 25 feet

Eidolon Abilities Initial progenitor; Symbiosis reclaimed legacy; Transcendence thicker than water

Your eidolon has ties to your lineage that affect its physical form. It gains the traits of your ancestry (such as Humanoid or Elf), the additional abilities granted to your ancestry (such as low-light vision or claws), and the size of your ancestry. If your ancestry has no special abilities, it instead gains a heritage associated with your ancestry. At 4th level, choose a Multiclass Archetype feat. Your eidolon gains that feat.

Reclaimed Legacy
Your eidolon recalls more of its power from days long past, allowing it to regain much of its power from life. Your eidolon gains an ancestry feat from your ancestry of 5th level or lower. When you gain a summoner feat, you may instead choose a feat from your eidolon’s multiclass archetype and gain it as an evolution feat, granting its benefits to your eidolon. Your eidolon must meet the prerequisites for this feat.

Thicker Than Water
Your eidolon’s power is fully realized, and some of that power is passed on to you. You and your eidolon each gains an ancestry feat from your ancestry of 13th level or lower, a skill feat, and a general feat. If the feat you choose directly affects your eidolon, such as Toughness, the effects do not stack. You and your eidolon must qualify for each of these feats.

And with that, I bid you adieu. Have fun at your next family reunion, remember to take plenty of pictures, and make sure to be extra patient with your uncle’s ‘creative interpretation’ of world affairs. Flies and honey and all that. Come back next time and I’ll show you armor that fits like a second skin. Spoiler warning, it’s not metaphorical.

Nate Wright

Hey there. I'm Nate Wright, author of the Eldritch Excursion blog. I'm also a credited freelance author on several releases from Paizo. When I'm not scooping up my thoughts and slapping them onto your feed like so much delicious ice cream, I can be found on social media where I retweet pixel art and talk about how great summoners are.