The 30 Best RPG Dads
June 16, 2019

Father's Day is when we give thanks to all the great dads out there, and why should it be any different when it comes to our favourite fictional fathers? Here at the RPGFam, we'd like to celebrate some of the best dads in roleplaying games, whether they've inspired us to save the world, watch over us from the shadows, or have passed on their weapons of legend for us to wield against evil.

Intro by Mark P. Tjan


Barret Wallace (Final Fantasy VII)
Barret Wallace (Final Fantasy VII)

You might not expect the barrel-chested, gun-armed, gruff-sounding leader of eco-terrorist group AVALANCHE to be a great dad, but if there's one reason Barret fights for the planet, it's his daughter Marlene. No one is more precious to him than his own adopted kin, and he's willing to put it all on the line to protect her smile.

Writeup by Mark P. Tjan


Drachma (Skies of Arcadia)
Drachma (Skies of Arcadia)

When he's not hunting the great arcwhale Rhaknam, Drachma plays surrogate father to the Blue Rogues, Vyse, Aika, and Fina. He's only got one eye, but he makes sure to keep it fixed on any danger that could run afoul of his skyfaring family. Having been a parent and suffered the loss of a child, he's often standoffish and gruff, but underneath the grizzled exterior Drachma truly and deeply cares for those crazy kids out to save the world.

Writeup by Mark P. Tjan


Nier (NieR)
Nier (NieR)

Nier is easily one of the most devoted video game dads to exist. He's a man who gives everything to look after his sick daughter, Yonah, bringing her whatever she wants while trying to find a cure for her disease, even partnering up with a sentient magical book. His gruff exterior hides a much softer side, but when Yonah's life is on the line, Nier's power and determination to save her life breaks through. As a dedicated and protective father, it's hard to compare to Nier.

Writeup by Alana Hagues


Ness's Dad (Earthbound)
Ness's Dad (Earthbound)

He's just a telephone, but Ness's dad is always there to make sure you're doing fine. He's a busy, absent father, but he makes time to ensure that saving the world isn't causing you to lose sleep or get too stressed out. He also makes sure your wallet stays fat with your allowance, because how else are you going to afford a nice burger after beating up a Mighty Bitey Snake?

Writeup by Mark P. Tjan


Galuf Halm Baldesion (Final Fantasy V)
Galuf Halm Baldesion (Final Fantasy V)
Image source: Final Fantasy Wiki

Galuf is a reliable amnesiac goofball who is at least triple the age of the other Final Fantasy V protagonists, but he is also a supportive father figure to Bartz, Faris, and Lenna, whose parents are either dead or missing. However, it's Galuf's role as a grandfather to Krile that makes him a worthy member of our list of dads. His love for his granddaughter causes his memories to return, and his love of Krile, Bartz, Faris, and Lenna results in Galuf giving his life to thwart ExDeath's dark plans. And in passing down his level and job mastery to Krile, he leaves his beloved granddaughter a worthy inheritance.

Writeup by Michael Sollosi


Kiryu Kazuma (Yakuza series)
Kiryu Kazuma (Yakuza series)

Beyond his brawling prowess, dragon-like energy, and natural leadership abilities, Kiryu Kazuma is commendable for being one of the greatest fictional fathers in all of gaming history. Though he doesn't have any biological offspring, Kiryu is a father to many, having played a crucial role in the upbringing of people like Daigo Dojima, Haruka Sawamura, and the eight orphans who call Morning Glory Orphanage their home. His past as the fourth chairman of the Tojo Clan and his legacy as the legendary Dragon of Dojima often attempt to get in the way of his personal life, but he never shies away from his paternal duties, often solving his problems the best way he knows how ‐ with sheer brute force.

Writeup by Corey Hall


Pankraz (Dragon Quest V)
Pankraz (Dragon Quest V)
Image source: Dragon Quest Wiki

Over the decades, RPGs in general and maybe Dragon Quest in particular have the troubling trend of fathers giving their lives to save their children, with none more memorable than Pankraz of Dragon Quest V. The first third of DQV presents Pankraz as a noble figure, loved by all and completely outmatching any enemy you encounter in the game (he's past level 30 while the hero begins at level 1). However, when our hero is held hostage by demons, Pankraz stoically takes a beating without fighting back, and the hero watches his undefeated dad's HP fall to 1 in battle. It's heartbreaking. The Hero survives to be a husband, a father, and the successor to Pankraz's kingdom of Gotha, but it would all be for naught without Pankraz's memorable sacrifice. Never forget.

Writeup by Michael Sollosi


Sazh Katzroy (Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy)
Sazh Katzroy (Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy)

Among a sea of youthful pink-haired characters and boyband-member lookalikes, Sazh is the voice of maturity and wisdom, with a sense of humor and an excellent fashion sense to boot. He's also a single dad to an adorable son named Dajh and an equally adorable chocobo chick. While Sazh and Dajh's storyline ultimately came to a happy conclusion in the original Final Fantasy XIII, it was definitely among the most heartbreaking and memorable in the game.

Writeup by Tina Olah


Cassius Bright (Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky series)
Cassius Bright (Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky series)

Cassius Bright is such a virtuous character that he can probably only exist in fiction. He embodies the highest martial ideals by being one of the most renowned warriors on the entire continent of Zemuria, but he also possesses a kind and gentle nature. He has an impeccable professional reputation as one of the few Bracers (AKA civil protectors) to earn the guild's highest rank, yet he's a stable and attentive single father to his daughter Estelle and his adopted son Joshua who, by the way, was a child assassin who tried to kill Cassius. It takes a remarkable individual to take in the person who tried to murder them, and Cassius Bright is nothing if not remarkable.

Writeup by Pete Leavitt


Tenmyouji (Virtue's Last Reward)
Tenmyouji (Virtue's Last Reward)

In a game where people are betraying each other left and right, the one pair you feel will always stick together is Tenmyouji and his adopted child Quark. Quark refers to Tenmyouji as "grandpa," but having adopted and raised Quark alone in an extremely unforgiving environment, Tenmyouji functions as both father and grandfather. His jokes truly do approach "dad" levels throughout the Nonary Games, too. Because of his age and their harsh lives, Tenmyouji also has the unfortunate task of preparing Quark to live independently sooner rather than later. This does cause tension between them, but as the game progresses, you see growing understanding and how much the two care for each other. And Tenmyouji knows to take a moment and treat Quark to a root beer float. Aww.

Writeup by Hilary Andreff


Ben Hyuga/Fox Face (Shadow Hearts)
Ben Hyuga/Fox Face (Shadow Hearts)
Image source: Creative Uncut

We don't see much of Ben Hyuga over the course of Shadow Hearts, but what we do see of Yuri's long-departed father leaves a strong impression. A Harmonixer like Yuri, Ben is briefly playable in game, giving players an early taste of the power of fusion. However, the specter of Ben Hyuga quite literally hangs over Yuri throughout the game in the form of the sinister Fox Face. This entity stalks Yuri as part of the Four Mask Curse, a representation of Yuri's internal conflict that manifests in the form of his father. Many RPG protagonists suffer from daddy issues, but this might be one of the rare cases where said issues actively try to murder you.

Writeup by Peter Triezenberg


Jecht (Final Fantasy X)
Jecht (Final Fantasy X)

Tidus' strained relationship with his missing father, Jecht, serves as one of the core components of Final Fantasy X's plot. Having vanished from Zanarkand a decade prior, Jecht left behind a despondent wife and disillusioned son, who quickly grew to resent his father. As it turns out, however, Jecht had been whisked away to the land of Spira, where he embarked on a journey that somewhat mirrors the one Tidus and Yuna would later experience. But Jecht's journey ends in tragedy, and he is doomed to torment Spira as the living embodiment of destruction known as Sin. Tidus' discovery of this fact, and how it impacts him, is one of the most believable character beats in Final Fantasy X. He spends the rest of the game wrestling with his father's legacy, finding messages that Jecht left behind, and ultimately coming to forgive him in one of the FFX's most cathartic encounters.

Writeup by Peter Triezenberg


Norman (Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald)
Norman (Pokémon Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald)
Image source: Bulbapedia

In Pokémon, your father is usually an absent figure, not mentioned in name. Generation 3 of this monster collecting series bucks that trend by making your father, Norman, the leader of the 5th Pokémon Gym in Hoenn. Specialising in the normal type, Norman is an expert in dishing out major damage while also being a master of patience. Making your own dad a Gym Leader adds more leverage to the journey and proving that you're a better Pokémon trainer than him makes victory all the more sweet.

Writeup by Alana Hagues


Dirk (Tales of Symphonia)
Dirk (Tales of Symphonia)

As Lloyd Irving's adoptive father, Dirk's wisdom and skills as a master craftsman are invaluable to his son. Along with teaching him of the Dwarven Vows and basic crafting, Dirk's stern yet protective nature adds some much-needed grounding in Lloyd's life. Even when Lloyd leaves to go on the Journey of Regeneration, Dirk is always waiting at home for him, eventually crafting the most powerful sword in existence for his son so he can save the world. And when Lloyd's real father is revealed, Dirk doesn't push the man away; instead, he accepts Lloyd's father into his life and supports his son even more. Dirk is the role model Lloyd needs in his life and a true example of an excellent adoptive dad.

Writeup by Alana Hagues


Taban Ashtear (Chrono Trigger)
Taban Ashtear (Chrono Trigger)

"The ultimate in defense for my daughter!" Taban is part of the whole shebang in Chrono Trigger. Working together with his brilliant daughter, Lucca, the two construct the Telepods which incite the entire time-travelling affair for Crono. One thing I have come to find interesting is the way the family handles Lucca's mother's disability at the hands of one of Taban's machines. While one could infer a variety of things, what seems most likely given Lucca and Taban's characters, is they have coped and come to accept what happened, choosing not to dwell in guilt. Taban could have let the accident stop everything he worked towards, but instead it inspired him (and Lucca as well) to continue working for the betterment of humanity. Furthermore, the love and respect he holds for Lucca is literally objectified in the three pieces of equipment he makes specifically for her throughout the game. Unafraid to sing her praises, this proud papa is a simple man in the complex world of Chrono Trigger that helps keep Lucca grounded.

Writeup by Greg Delmage


Rost (Horizon Zero Dawn)
Rost (Horizon Zero Dawn)

The opening moments of Horizon Zero Dawn are some of the most stirring as players witness the relationship between the outcast Aloy and her adoptive father, Rost. A grizzled and once-respected veteran turned outcast, Rost chooses to raise Aloy knowing she will likely never be accepted by her own tribe. However, it also becomes clear he chooses to love her as well. We see a lot of Rost's warmth and love in the game's opening moments with infant Aloy up until he bellows her name out for all the world to hear. "I know my duty to them — and to you." These are powerful words that Rost lives by as he continues to stand on ritual and training, bringing consistent structure to Aloy's life. Though he struggles to express his love through words, it's clear acts of service are the language of his affection. He finds a common ground with Aloy through training, preparing her for the Proving (a coming of age trial), for life with the tribe, and for the struggle of surviving without him. As the game attests, Rost's final lesson is an important one that stays with Aloy: to serve a purpose greater than one's self.

Writeup by Greg Delmage


Thane (Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3)
Thane (Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3)

Thane is a terminally ill assassin who joins Shepard's party in Mass Effect 2, trying to make amends for his chosen path in life by taking jobs that are "ugly," but for noble causes. Building a relationship with Thane leads to finding out about his son, Kolyat, who he abandoned in order to avenge his wife's death. Shepard can help the two come to an understanding. Thane explains how much he cared about his son and didn't want him involved in that kind of life, allowing Kolyat and Thane to spend the little time Thane has left reconciling, a sentiment summed up in Thane's words to his son: "I've taken many bad things out of the world. You were the only good thing I ever added to it."

Writeup by Audra Bowling


Prancet Pavel (Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together)
Prancet Pavel (Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together)

Prancet Pavel, as the biological father of Denam and the adopted father of Catiua, cares deeply for his children. In fact, his getting taken is the starting point of the entire game's story. Though Prancet kept the truth of Catiua's origins from her, it was only out of love for the little girl he'd come to view as his daughter; he couldn't bear to have her become a political tool to be used by others. Prancet is depicted as a kind soul who obviously had a very profound and lasting effect on both his children.

Writeup by Audra Bowling


Erich Van Houten (Xenogears)
Erich Van Houten (Xenogears)
Image source: Xenosaga Wiki

Erich Van Houten is a man who arguably made many mistakes as both a husband and father, causing a large rift between himself and his daughter Elly. However, he never blamed Elly for her feelings. The player sees through his actions that he cared deeply for his family, even willingly sacrificing himself to keep Elly safe in one of Xenogears' many emotional scenes.

Writeup by Audra Bowling


Val (Legend of Legaia)
Val (Legend of Legaia)
Image source: The Legaia Wiki

In the grand scheme of things, Val is a very minor character. However, one of the most memorable scenes in Legend of Legaia was his willingness to risk his own life in order to find and protect his young son from the dangers of the encroaching Mist. It was this action that ultimately led to Val becoming crippled, but even afterward he only ever worried about being a burden to his children Vahn and Nene. He is a caring and supportive figure to both his kids throughout the game's story.

Writeup by Audra Bowling


Olaf Craig (The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series)
Olaf Craig (The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel series)

Olaf Craig has an imposing and awe-inspiring reputation as a general, but he is also a caring family man who only wants to spend as much time as he can with his son and daughter and ensure what is best for both of them after the death of his wife. Wherever Elliot or Fiona are concerned, Olaf is depicted as a very different man from his military rigidness. It turns out that even his hesitancy to allow Elliot to follow his dream to become a musician stemmed from concern over how society might react, but once he knows how truly strong Elliot is, Olaf supports him in his efforts wholeheartedly. Olaf obviously cares for his children greatly, and who wouldn't want a dad who rides a tank like a boss?

Writeup by Audra Bowling


Drax (Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy)
Drax (Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy)

Drax's initial purpose for being one of the Guardians of the Galaxy was to get revenge on Thanos for murdering his family, and he struggles with what to do with himself once that purpose seems met in the game's early stages. The player sees him interacting with his daughter in extremely haunting flashbacks, and the love that Drax has for her is painfully obvious, with the game even giving choices in their interactions leading to the same moving outcome no matter what they ultimately decide to do. These familial moments help provide further insight into Drax's actions and decisions later on in the game's plot to very emotional effect, since he obviously still carries the memory of his wife and daughter with him. The player gets to see how that shapes his interactions with the other characters.

Writeup by Audra Bowling


Chrom (Fire Emblem Awakening)
Chrom (Fire Emblem Awakening)
Image source: Creative Uncut

In Fire Emblem Awakening, the player can see Chrom as a father in three different ways: as a doting dad to a newborn baby, as a proud parent to a time-traveling swordswoman who comes back to the past in order to save Chrom's life, and as a caring and concerned parent to Lucina's sibling, should options be chosen that lead to her having one. There are many parents in this particular title, but Chrom stands out largely due to how important Lucina is to the overall plot. It is very obvious just how much love and affection Chrom has for his children in all of their interactions, even if he understandably has a hard time wrapping his head around the time traveling bit at first.

Writeup by Audra Bowling


Phoenix Wright (Ace Attorney series)
Phoenix Wright (Ace Attorney series)

Phoenix Wright is the proud adopted father of Trucy Wright. Throughout their interactions together, both in flashbacks to a younger Trucy and in the present timeline of the series, players can see that the characters care deeply for one another. In fact, just about the only thing Phoenix will never tolerate is the idea that someone might try to take Trucy away from him: a testament to how he clearly views her as his child. He is supportive of her aspiring career as a magician, and Trucy is more than willing to help her daddy out when it comes to solving cases, so long as Phoenix deems that they aren't too dangerous. In what were the darkest moments in Phoenix's life, Trucy's presence was the only source of light he had.

Writeup by Audra Bowling


Chalky (Dragon Quest XI)
Chalky (Dragon Quest XI)
Image source: Dragon Quest Wiki

Dragon Quest XI has several outstanding parents, including Veronica and Serena's doting mom and dad and Sylvando's stubborn-but-supportive master swordsman father, but The Luminary's complicated family stands out. The Luminary's father Irwin gave his life to save his son, and Irwin's father-in-law Robert wandered the world for over a decade in search of his grandson, grieving his daughter the whole way. But the most memorable Dragon Quest dad of recent years is Chalky, The Luminary's adoptive grandfather. Chalky takes in the baby Luminary without a second thought, and when the player-character briefly travels backward in time as an adult to meet Chalky, the wise grandpa instantly realizes who he's talking to. For being welcoming, understanding, and big-hearted, yet truly memorable despite appearing in only a few scenes, Chalky is the kind of grandpa we all wish we could have.

Writeup by Michael Sollosi


Jessie Black (Xenogears)
Jessie Black (Xenogears)

From Billy's perspective, Jesiah "Jessie" Black is a terrible father. Often seen as a crass alcoholic, Jessie seemingly abandoned his two children after his wife, Raquel, was murdered right in front of them by monsters known as Wels. However, he does everything he can to protect his children, even if they do not know the full truth. Billy might hate him, but Jessie would do anything for his son and daughter. Heck, what other father shoots himself out of a giant gun wielded by his son's mech?

Writeup by Tyler Trosper


Ziggy (Xenosaga)
Ziggy (Xenosaga)

Jan Sauer, AKA Ziggy, is a man with a devastating past. Before the events of Xenosaga Episode I, Jan was a police officer with a wife and a stepson. However, tragic events led to the death of Jan and his family. Against his will, Jan was brought back to life as a cyborg known as Ziggurat 8. Little by little, he tries to become more machine than human, but one little girl changes it all: MOMO. Giving him the moniker of Ziggy, MOMO changes his life forever and becomes the daughter he never had. Through newfound fatherhood, Ziggy finds a new reason to live.

Writeup by Tyler Trosper


Jess (Alundra)
Jess (Alundra)

One of the greatest strengths of Alundra is that you get to know everyone in Inoa Village pretty well. Of all the villagers, none have more affection for the titular character than the village blacksmith, Jess. While not much is actually known about Alundra's past, it's revealed that Jess' wife and son has passed away, leaving him a broken man. Alundra's arrival in Inoa Village and his subsequent struggle to protect its citizens from their torturous nightmares cause the two to bond like a real father and son. Jess quickly becomes Alundra's surrogate father, providing the hero with plenty of crafted weapons and items and doing anything and everything he can to make sure he stays alive. The most touching fatherly display doesn't occur until late in the game, but Jess' unconditional love for his adoptive son hangs heavy on the player's heart for the rest of the narrative.

Writeup by Kyle Seeley


Riki (Xenoblade Chronicles)
Riki (Xenoblade Chronicles)

No one can forget the legendary dadapon that is Riki! At first glance, you wouldn't suspect that this cute mascot character is a father, but lo and behold, he's actually 40 years old with a wife and (at least) six children to feed. In fact, the main reason he is a Heropon is to pay off the debt incurred by his family's appetite. Riki is a responsible father, not only to his family, but sometimes as a surrogate to fellow Xenoblade Chronicles party member, Melia.

Writeup by Tyler Trosper


Ryotaro Dojima (Persona 4 Games)
Ryotaro Dojima (Persona 4 Games)

Dojima would be the first one to tell you that he's not a perfect father. He's often running out for work or staying late at the office, unable to take time off to be there for the daughter or nephew living with him. However, all those late nights are all for the sake of protecting Nanako, unable to face her without bringing her mother's killer to justice and keeping her safe. Dojima's awkward attempts to bond with his nephew throughout the games show that despite it all, he cares deeply for his family, even as he learns how to connect with them. He's not a perfect dad, but he's willing to learn, and will throw his life on the line to protect his daughter.

Writeup by Lucy Gray

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