Created By: Koveras on November 28, 2013 Last Edited By: Koveras on January 27, 2014

Featureless Familyman

A Featureless Protagonist who has NPC relatives in the game.

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Needs a Better Title, preferably a gender-neutral one.

The point of Featureless Protagonist is to give the players full control over their Player Character's characterization, from appearance to morality. However, doing so usually results in a complete disconnect between the protagonist and the setting—at the beginning of the game, nothing links the PC to anything in the game world.

One way to bridge that gap, yet still give the player maximum freedom of defining their character is to give the Player Character some Non-Player Character blood relatives. The player obviously has no control over them—but that's OK: you can't choose who you're related to in Real Life, either. But they are still family, and they serve to fit an essentially background-less main character into the game's social structure nicely. Plus, further down the line, the players' attachment for them (if present) can be even exploited against them.

A subtrope of Featureless Protagonist.


  • The protagonist of the Baldur's Gate series, "Bhaalspawn", shares common parentage with the Big Bad of the first game, and Imoen, the very first permanent party member. The latter fact is exploited in the second game for a brutal Player Punch, while in Throne of Bhaal, you can resurrect, recruit, and eventually reedem the aforementioned Big Bad. ToB also adds a number of hostile Bhaalspawn who fight each other for their father's legacy.
  • Most of the origins in Dragon Age: Origins feature the Warden's blood relatives—and most of them don't fare very well, though some (particularly in the Dwarven Noble origin) go on to play a major role in the main plot. In at least one case (Human Noble), one of the surviving relatives shows up for the epilogue to say they are So Proud of You.
  • One could see this as the main shtick of Dragon Age II: Hawke has five living relatives (mother, brother, sister, uncle, cousin) at the start of the game, each of whom plays a major role in the story. Moreover, the in-game models of Hawke's brother and sister change depending on how the player customizes Hawke's own face to invoke some familial resemblance.
  • A Commander Shepard of Spacer origin in the Mass Effect series has a mother who is still alive on Earth. Twice throughout the series, she calls Shepard to say she's So Proud of You.
  • The customizable Player Character's older brother plays a major role in the Siege of Avalon plot. In fact, the main character first arrives to the eponymous city because their brother requested their help.
  • Towards the end of the Russian RPG GoldenLand (a.k.a. Heath: The Unchosen Path), the Player Character meets their long-lost sibling of the opposite gender—and then the two of them double-team the Final Boss.

Will go under Video Game Characters and Family Tropes, if launched.
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