A character’s romantic life is often an overlooked part of D&D. However, the current edition gives players the ability to use downtime to run a business, craft items, or a number of other things. In this article, we will give you rules so you can also use down time to go courting and get married. We’ve also included rules on how to create a Spouse for your character, in case you need game stats for them. These rules are not intended to replace role-playing, so if you would rather role-play out your character’s courtship and marriage, you can do so and ignore the contents of this article. These rules are here to give players who want to add some texture to characters on the side, and to quickly add marriage and family as part of their character arc.
One question a player should answer is where is their Spouse during their adventures? If the campaign is set in a city, this is probably easily answered since they’d be at the family house. However, for traveling adventurers, they might have a home town they return to from time to time. Or perhaps they’ll bring the family with them, like a traveling caravan, especially if the other party members also decide to start a family. The arrival of the adventurers in a town might resemble the circus or a trading caravan coming into town. But instead of putting on shows or selling wares, the Adventurers take on work rooting out the local monsters, solving problems, etc.
To create a Spouse, players can go one of two ways based on the needs of the campaign. The first is to simply roll up another character, but sometimes this option won’t make sense. In this edition of D&D, people with character classes are somewhat rare, so it is far more likely that a Spouse would end up being a civilian.
To second method to creating a Spouse is to take the standard spread of stats and apply them as you would creating a player character. Then choose a background and a race, making sure to add the skill proficiencies and bonuses to the appropriate stat/skill. The Spouse gets a proficiency bonus equal to a character that is half their partner’s level, and they receive 1d8 hit points per level.
For example, say a 10th level character got married, and the DM and the player stats out the spouse:
Hit Points 32 (5d8 +10)
Str 16, Dex 11, Con 15, Int 14, Wis 9, Cha 13.
Skills – Athletics +6, Intimidation +4
Tool Proficiencies – Playing Cards, and Land Vehicles
Feature – Military Rank
Benefits of Marriage
The main benefit to being married is that the player characters gain access to the resources of their Spouse. In the example above, the Spouse could be a member of the local lord’s military, which allows the player to use the Military Rank feature. A Spouse with the noble background can arrange a meeting with the local lords using the Position of Privilege feature. Or perhaps a Hermit Spouse will use the Discovery Feature to find the final clues to solve the conspiracy of the campaign. Living expenses and other rules are not affected by getting married as it is assumed that the Spouse generates income enough to provide for their own needs. Dungeon Masters might give players a bonus to other Downtime Rolls if the Spouse could reasonably provide such an advantage.
New Downtime Activities
Adventurers who are seeking to marry first have to find a potential partner. Players gain a bonus equal to their level to this roll if they have done something worthy of tavern stories (fame has its privileges after all) and a good story provides an easy way to break the ice.
|01-30||Character doesn’t find anybody, or a romance they are already involved in ends. Roll 1d20 on a 1-10 the Romance ends badly, 11-20 the romance ends amicably.|
|31-70||Your Romance is ongoing.|
|71 or Higher||One partner proposes to the other. Time to set a wedding date!|
Marriage is an ongoing relationship that your character has with a partner. Again, these interactions can be role-played out, but some players might prefer leaving that part to random dice rolls to represent the unpredictability that comes with life. Also, a character’s marriage does not need to be a major plot point of the campaign but a background element a character can refer to. Players should roll on this table during any significant period of down time, typically two weeks or longer. This table represents the random life choices that can occur. At DM discretion, you can add two more choices on the table, but keep in mind that those events are high drama and may not be appropriate for the campaign.
|01-30||Life continues as normal.|
|31-45||Character has gotten into a bad fight recently with spouse.|
|46-60||Spouse has had a illness recently. 1 to 6: Spouse had had a long cold or flu. 7 to 9: the Spouse has had a severe illness. 10: the Spouse has been very sick, and the player has had to take time away to care for them and possibly hire healers and/or nurses.|
|61-70||Character and Spouse add a child to their family, either biologically or by adoption.|
|71 or higher||The Spouse has had a significant boon occur. This will typically be a personal accomplishment. For example, a Soldier Spouse got promoted to a higher rank, or a Sage has written a book that has been widely received.|
|The Spouse dies via accident, illness, or to violence (Such as being eaten by a monster). DMs are encouraged to work this into the plot of the game.|
|The Spouse has grown tired of the adventuring life and has left the character.|
Using These Options In Play
Again these rules are not meant for everybody, and are not here to replace role-playing if that is what the player wants. These rules are designed to give additional flavor to a character for those that don’t want to role-play their courtship and romance. They can also help flesh out some backgrounds, such a character with the Noble background getting pressured to get married by their family to produce an heir (or more realistically an heir and a spare), or to seal an alliance. These rules add these character elements to the game without making it the focus of the game. In the end, all it might do is give your character a subject matter to chat with the party in the middle of the dungeon:
“Oh hey Gragthar, me and the missus had another kid.”
“Nice, congratulations! Truly nothing makes you appreciate life more than having a family to kill for. Now hand me my Orc-Killing Axe and lets kill some Orcs!”
“Thanks, man. And may the floor of this dungeon be flowing with Orc blood, like how my son’s drool flows out of his mouth!”