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"Lifepath" systems

Daily Alice

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The first such system I noted was in Legendary Lives (not having thought of previous examples such as Traveller in such terms). I found it a pleasing touch, but the purely random nature - apart from different tables for different character types - might lead sometimes to the problems others have mentioned.

What I think improves on that is table results that present choices. Those choices can define a personality, rather than having it dictated (and multiply the range of possibilities as well).
 

jacobkosh

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Do both these systems generate characters that are equal, point-wise? So you could build them with point buy (if the game has it) or use the lifepaths, and you’d get the exact same numbers in the end? Or could you get one that’s much better than another, like in Traveller?
In Star Trek, at least (and I suspect in the other 2d20 games) everyone ends up with the same number of points, mechanically. The person who rolled randomly for everything might have a wackier or less intuitive spread of competencies than a character who was built very deliberately but is otherwise mechanically identical.
 

neomerlin

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The FASA Star Trek RPG addressed this problem by having player/GM define what level the character should arrive at and then rolling on the tables until they reached it.
That's... Actually not a bad work around. I'd still rather not but it is a good addition.
 

Gentleman Highwayman

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Do both these systems generate characters that are equal, point-wise? So you could build them with point buy (if the game has it) or use the lifepaths, and you’d get the exact same numbers in the end?
Yes.

Or could you get one that’s much better than another, like in Traveller?
Yes.

You get the same attribute and skill points at every major step. There are a few free skills or equipment buried in tables, but nothing notable. The thing is one player could roll a character that has lots of different attribute or skill points and be OK in everything. Another character could choose to be so good in some things they don’t even need to roll any more to succeed. Same points though, but very different characters.
 

Strange Visitor

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That's... Actually not a bad work around. I'd still rather not but it is a good addition.
It at least avoids the power-level part of the problem (assuming that they haven't been too fast and loose with assessing what varied things mean in the first place).
 

Tensen01

Go, Play; For Justice!
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Do both these systems generate characters that are equal, point-wise? So you could build them with point buy (if the game has it) or use the lifepaths, and you’d get the exact same numbers in the end? Or could you get one that’s much better than another, like in Traveller?
Yes, in every one of the 2d20 games since Conan (I think Infinity had some wonkiness about taking extra occupations but I don't remember) two characters with totally different choices both had the exact same point totals.
 

effkat

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In Star Trek, at least (and I suspect in the other 2d20 games) everyone ends up with the same number of points, mechanically. The person who rolled randomly for everything might have a wackier or less intuitive spread of competencies than a character who was built very deliberately but is otherwise mechanically identical.
Yes, in every one of the 2d20 games since Conan (I think Infinity had some wonkiness about taking extra occupations but I don't remember) two characters with totally different choices both had the exact same point totals.
Love it. I might have to take a look at a 2d20 game.
 

Tensen01

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Love it. I might have to take a look at a 2d20 game.
All of the 2d20 games have free Quickstarts available to take a look at the rules. they do not contain the character creation though.

Quickstarts (Only Mutant Chronicles, Infinity, Conan, Star trek Adventures, and John Carter of Mars are 2d20 games).

The Conan game is currently part of the Bundle of Holding though, for very cheap. $9 for the Corebook, GMs Toolkit and Maps
 

Delgarde

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They're good for inspiration. Throw down some dice, and you've immediately got some background elements, maybe some links between them... and that's a seed, something to get you thinking about how those elements could fit together.

An example from playing with the Eclipse Phase lifepath variant rules - I quickly find that my character was an indentured servant on Mars, before crewing on a ship pre-Fall... then afterwards, a smuggler and explorer. Okay, I can work with that... it's skeletal, but there's an interesting character to be found from that.
 

Straife Milton

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I think a lifepath system for one's youth, where the parents are largely in charge, would be cool. A lot of people can be forced into a role until they grow up, and then go try to do their own thing -- leaving them with possibly a mix of skills that they chose and were chosen for them. It could take a potentially boring, min-maxed character and throw a wrench into the scheme without eliminating the concept entirely.
 
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