This isn’t the preview list of ancestors yet, but refinements on my ideas for how ancestors work in the game.
First, Ancestors are Assets; they give you a resource of bonus dice for activities in which they were renowned themselves. So if your ancestor was a rajah famed for his eloquence, you’ll also be gifted with eloquence. But why take an Ancestor instead of just the quality you want?
First, because taking it as an Ancestor lets you have a higher rating; you could be Strong 4, or Descendant of Rajah Tulum 5 – Rajah Tulum being known for his feats of strength.
Second, because having a distinguished ancestor adds to your starting Renown. And Renown helps determine how NPCs react to and treat your character.
Having an Ancestor is not always a bed of roses though. Some Ancestors hold hatred for the descendants of their ancient enemies. Some want their descendants to reoccupy territory lost to old enemies. Some pass on to their descendants their own weaknesses – an eye for the ladies, a compulsive addiction to gambling, wanderlust, etc. etc. Some even bear a curse that continues to plague their descendants.
Whenever you go against an Ancestor’s desires, you lose –1 from that Ancestor’s rating. You gain it back when you accomplish a task the Ancestor approves of.
A cursed ancestor on the other hand will lead to a lot of problems, but also represent a rich reward of Renown for breaking the curse.