Underneath all the glamor of Genshin Impact's open world system, intricate designs, and gorgeous soundtrack, the NPCs of the world parse out a humble existence. The game frequently tells us how hard it is for the average person to get by without a Vision (a source of magic power naturally available to a select few), but given that all the player characters have powers it's easy to forget sometimes. Most NPCs go happily about their day, occasionally giving you freebies or a quest, but this article will take a look at some of the brutal backstories that you might have missed.
[Warning: this article has spoilers for certain quests]
While spoilers are mostly limited to side quests or small interactions, continue reading at your own risk.
The characters and lore in Genshin actually weave a very intricate web. Many things aren't explicitly said, or the information is spread out across multiple dialogues and interactive objects. That's where this series of articles comes in! And yes, it will be a series because Mihoyo loves a tragic side story.
We're kicking things off with with the theme: [Parents]
Are you ready to cry? Good, cause here we go.
Timmie is one of the first NPCs I encountered when I started playing. During the day he appears on the bridge into Mondstadt, along with a flock of pigeons who flee if you approach. Timmie will yell at you for scaring his pigeons and when you try to reassure him that they'll return, you learn that his dad left at some point and never came back.
Very shocking, but a little superficial until you do his quests.
If you trigger his follow-up Commission, you'll learn that a nun, Sister Grace, has been acting as a mother figure for kids in need.
Timmie's the one I've looked after longest. He's even come to call me Mommy.
She tells you that Timmie's only friends are small animals (the pigeons) and the other kids she takes care of (Glory and Nora). She helps you make his favorite dish to apologize with, and strongly cautions you against disappointing him a second time.
When you go back to Timmie, he makes it very clear that he hasn't actually forgiven you, but is trying to be mature and not cause trouble for 'Mommy,' since she's already busy taking care of the other children.
She still needs to take care of Nora and Glory. It would be immature of me to make things harder for her.
But let's be clear, I haven't forgiven you! I just don't wanna make trouble for Mommy. Got it?
Related Quests & Achievements:
- Pigeon, Duck, and Child daily commission
- Sorry, Timmie! 
- Taking Responsibility for Your Actions 
 This will be your daily commission the day after you kill the ducks during 'Pigeon, Duck, and Child'
 Awarded for completing 'Sorry, Timmie!'
When you're exploring near Liyue, you may notice an empty house North West of Liyue Harbor. This is Childish Jiang's house and you'll find him nearby, ready to play a game of hide and seek with you. As you talk to him, it becomes apparent that he's developmentally disabled. While Mihoyo avoids specifics, Jiang appears to have the mentality of a child despite having a grown appearance, cannot read very much, and his parents were seeking medicine his "troubled mind."
So, why is Childish Jiang all on his own?
The truth is that his parents are both dead ...and no one has explained this to Jiang.
In fact, some of his dialogue hints that the adults who bring him food may be actively hiding what happened. It's understandably a hard concept to explain to children, but someone should really take the time to explain what "death" is to Jiang. For now he just thinks his parents are mad, or can't find him because he hid too well.
Maybe Mommy got mad because I was so well hidden that she couldn't find me?
Still… I'd have thought that Mommy or Daddy would've found me by now, after such a long time…
You can find notes left by one of Jiang's parents, as well as their gravestones in the vicinity of his house. It seems one of his parents was a member of the Millelith, and wanted to retire to take care of Jiang'er (an endearing way of calling Childish Jiang). The details of the parents deaths are a bit vague, but as the Millelith are city guards one can guess that there was an incident in Liyue Harbor, and they got caught up in it during their last watch.
Thankfully, Jiang is still well cared for.
Despite his house being outside the city, Uncle Tian and various unnamed Millelith visit him often to bring food. It's great that he can get by for now, but in my opinion the visiting adults need to teach him some life skills instead of bringing him snacks. Afterall, he may still need help after these people are gone. ;-;
[Slight spoilers related to Ganyu's Story Quest]
A few fun facts to break up the tragedy:
- In Chinese, Uncle Tian(天叔, tiānshū) and his official title, Tianshu(天枢, tiānshū) are pronounced the same way.
- Uncle Tian might be the inventor of the Tianshu Meat dish, which is likely a reference to the real life cuisine 东坡肉 (dōngpō ròu) or Dongpo Pork.
Related Quests & Achievements:
- A Little Game world quest
- Ready Player Zero 
 Although most Millelith in the game appear to be male, I am making no assumptions as to which parent was part of the Millelith. It is also a bit of a mystery whether the second parent was caught up in the same accident somehow, or died afterwards. At least in the English version, there is nothing to confirm or contradict that both tombstones were added at the same time.
 Awarded upon completing 'A Little Game'
Joel can be found in the Dragonspine Adventurer Camp, on the path towards the mountain. He's looking for his Dad, an Adventurer who was supposed to pick him up from Mondstadt and bring him out to see the snow, but never showed up.
Ah, I... Hello... I—I can't find my daddy...
He said that he would come pick me up and that we'd go watch the snow together. But the time we arranged has come and gone, and he isn't here yet...
I'll remind you right now, Dragonspine is a very dangerous region, even for most skilled adventurers (not to mention player characters). Despite this, little Joel came all the way here on his own to find his father. Most likely the adults in the Adventurer Camp stopped him from going to the mountain proper due to the danger, but Joel is eagerly looking out towards the mountain for any sign of his father returning.
He'll ask you to go look for his father and you'll travel all over the mountain finding traces of his Dad's campsites and 'neatly-written notes.' (One of them telling how Joel slipped in a volume of his favorite fairytale, 'The Boar Princess,' into his backpack, and remarking that maybe it would serve as a good luck charm.)
The last site is in the cave leading to the summit, where the Dad's now hastily 'scribbled notes' tell how he was caught in a snowstorm, lost half his supplies, and while he barely managed to seek shelter in this cave, was trapped there when the entrance was sealed by a rock slide. The notes surmise that his only way out of the cave is to attempt a dangerous climb down a sheer cliff face and then jump into the snow below.
While this is the last stop on your quest before reporting back to Joel, if you check the bottom of the cliff, you'll find Joel's Dad's backpack, with no further traces of the man himself. When you interact with it you'll gain Vol. 6 of 'The Boar Princess' - presumably a lucky charm that would never be left behind if he could help it.
When you report back to Joel, you have the option to tell him what you found, or lie and say "I didn't find anything." No matter what you select, Joel will choose to believe that his Dad is still alive and decides to keep waiting for him at the Camp. Unfortunately, the probable truth is that Sister Grace has one more child to take care of now...
The one bright point in this storyline is the den of foxes who kept Joel's Dad company in the cave.
If anyone sees these notes, please put some food into that feeding bowl for those foxes. They kept me company the entire time I was trapped in here. If I get the chance, I'd love to bring Joel back here to see them...
The entrance to their burrow is behind the mint plant near his last campsite - sometimes one will be hanging out and run back in when it sees you. There's also a circular feeding dish on the ground where you can feed them berries once a day. If you feed them for several days, they will bring you treasure and not run from you that day!
Related Quests & Achievements:
- Lost in the Snow world quest
- The Boar Princess (Vol. 6) Archive entry 'Books'
- Untellable Tale 
 Thankfully my team has lots of passive healing, but even then I've died from Sheer Cold a few times (and many of my friends absolutely hate the region lol).
 Awarded along with a Treasure Chest/Crimson Agate after feeding the foxes by Joel's Dad's last campsite for several days.
Bonus(?): Baby Boar
We all know Boar will spawn in many places around the map and drop 2xMeat when killed, but did you know there are Baby Boars!? They mostly seem to spawn in certain areas (I have mostly noticed them in the plains to the West of Wangshu Inn) and are much smaller than a regular Boar.
This isn't particularly tragic - unless you kill a baby or it's parents.
When I first encountered a Baby Boar I just thought it was farther away and shot it (they still drop 2 Meat btw). I was so sad! My friends laughed at me for getting that worked up about the tragedy of this Boar family.
Many players may not care about killing game animals, but if you do be sure to keep an eye out for these smol children! (And keep your trigger finger off your attack button.)
- Boar Archive entry 'Living Beings'
- Bored to Death 
 Have a character die by boar charge.
Well, that's it for the first installment of Genshin NPCs and lore!
Please let me know what other lore topics you'd enjoy, or if you have any thoughts on the stories from this time~
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- Tags: author: Elsie, console: playstation, genshin impact, lore, platform: mobile, platform: pc, video games