Marriage and Family
Your current character will grow old and die in this game no matter how careful you are. Death in combat is a constant threat. When your character does die, you use the next character in line in your family (usually the eldest son). You want as many children as possible. Be aware, though, that women often died in childbirth in this period. So your wife is a risk during every pregnancy. All these are very historical problems.
On average, 27 percent of noble families became extinct in the direct male line in each 25 year period during the 14th and 15th centuries. That would mean about 81 percent of families have no direct male descendants at some point over the period of 100 years. Of course, a family (player) continue through female descendants, so it's unlikely that over 80% of families will die out in the course of the game. Most players can avoid the fate of their historical alter egos, but only if they are ruthless and clever in their family planning.
Choosing your wife carefully can pay big dividends later on. While you cannot marry other players, you can marry any other NPC that is the child of a player character, other than your own mother or siblings. Your children will have their characteristics and skills randomly selected from those of your PC and NPC Spouse. If both you and your wife give the child the same skill, that skill will have a higher value. Thus a wife with good "stats" will improve the performance of your next character.
Your children become adults at age 14. That's when they can be married off and when they can perform military functions important if you had to assume the character of a child.
There is also an option in the game to switch character, from wife to husband or vice versa. Because women cannot lead armies unless they have a leadership value of 9, and you may find yourself playing a female character, once you get that female character married, you can do the switch and play a male character again. Most often, you would end up playing a female because your male character died and your only available heir was your childless wife. In this case, you would immediately find a husband for the widow you are playing and then switch characters. You would likely not be finished there, as the most common cause of childless couples is infertility. Should that be the case, if in the above situation you were still unable to make babies, you would want to divorce the above wife (just recently widowed and remarried) and try to find a fertile spouse.
Only the groom, or his parents, controlled by an active PC, may propose marriage. Thus you can't marry your daughters off to the sons of inactive players. However, if you are playing a female character, you can propose a marriage to an inactive Family NPC. While this shows some of the restrictions on women in the 14th century, within limited circumstances Women in fourteenth century Europe were probably freer than anywhere else at the time. There is one exception. A female Player Character can marry the son of an active PC. The son's player has to enter the proposal. It is done this way to prevent someone from stripping heirs.
In most countries women could rule (France was an oddity). Also, women were not unknown as estate managers, chatelaines in their own right, university professors (a small, but very real group), and so forth. There were women authors (one of the best manuals on estate management was by a woman), artists, and more. Even in the Church women had a much greater role than realized. An abbess was usually the manager of a very large agricultural and industrial enterprise, as well as a social worker. In some circumstances abbesses could vote in ecclesiastical or civil elections, such as for prince bishop, and even for the Holy Roman Emperor.
On the various displays that show game characters, the relationships are shown. In the Court look at the far right. PLYR, FMLY and NPC are the relationship descriptions. In the household affairs, look at the left. You see NPC next to NPC's, and a code showing the relation for your family. Like "Son", "Dght", "Rlt" (Rlt = Related, e.g. daughter in law.) If one of your household is an acting bailiff, the designation in the menu will show NPC* or RLT*. The "*" indicates that the NPC is acting as a bailiff.
When your daughters, granddaughters, etc, marry "up" you will receive a stature increase for every point they marry up. So lets's say you have a rank of 12 and you marry your daughter into a family that has a rank of 8. You would get a 1.6 stature increase.
You cannot marry your daughter to an inactive player. The reason for this is that your daughter will be removed from your family if you do such a thinga dn this is no way to tell if the new, inactive, family even wants your daughter. There is a good gamesmanship reason to have it this way. For example, what if some sly devil married off his ugly, good for nothin', daughters to inactive characters to screw up the gene pool. Keep in mind that the MALE has to do the proposing, UNLESS the female is a PC. That in itself keeps you from marrying your daughters to inactive player positions.
Here is the family growth of an actual player in a past game.
DESCENDANTS CHART for Pierre II de Grailly (le Captal de Buch)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Pierre II de Grailly ( 1295) m. Jeanne de Grailly
Jean III de Grailly ( 1330) m. Ame le Roy
Jeanne de Grailly (Spring 1351) m. Louis Pierre de Valois
Jeanne de Grailly (Spring 1351) m. Claude de Chabannes
Pierre III de Grailly (Spring 1357) m. Madeleine d'Anjou
Jean de Grailly (Winter 1360)
Jeanne de Grailly (Winter 1337)
Elizabeth de Grailly (Spring 1340) m. Peter de Pons
Elizabeth de Grailly (Spring 1340) m. Guillaume de Granson
Eleanor Joan de Granson (Winter 1354) m. Geraud Edouard de Valois
Pierre de Grailly (Spring 1342)