The premise of the upcoming Mansions & Misfits sourcebook for the DoubleZero System is that the player characters are meant to be members of a found family. It’s the explanation for how they know each other. It’s why they’re working together even if they don’t necessarily like each other. This connection between the characters is the heart of the setting, so it’s impossible to place too much emphasis on this. The following is a short excerpt from the book.
Roleplaying Found Families
Found families, or families of choice, is a trope where people come together and form a pseudo-familial group. Most of the characters have either lost their biological family, or are estranged from their original dysfunctional family. A found family is often bonded together by a shared experience, passion for a common cause, or protection from a mutual enemy.
Even biological families can fit into the found family trope. In The Royal Tenenbaums, estranged siblings reunite when they learn their father is dying; they form a new relationship, and a new family identity, out of that. In the Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, a similar situation occurs over the death of a sibling. The entire premise of the X-Men is that in a world that is against them, mutants can come together and form a new family. The Addams Family, in every incarnation, are well aware of what the rest of the world is like; they choose to be the way they are, and support one another in maintaining and leaning into those family traditions.
The first thing that needs to be done when preparing a Mansions & Misfits campaign is sorting out who the family is. The guide can create the back story, or the players can collaborate and flesh out the details together. There needs to be a supporting character leader or founder, often the acting matriarch or patriarch. You’ll need a founding story, the reason that everyone has come together to form this found family. From there you can determine individual player characters’ roles within the family unit