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"Lifepath" systems

mitchw

Viral Marketing Shill?
Validated User
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. .
IIR Harnmaster works that way.
 

Polychrome

Internet Pacifist
Validated User
MechWarrior 3rd's lifepath is pretty good. It gives you options combined with random events based on what you choose. Also, you can get a giant robot, which most systems don't offer.
 

Gentleman Ranker

Registered User
Validated User
I enjoy a random lifepath system. I see no point in a non-random one.

A random system, preferably with elements of choice that simulate the sort of choices that are under a person's control during their life is of interest and will provide me with a character that is similar to the one I might choose but which has been acted upon by fate and feels more real, like an independant entity.
A character defined by me is less "real" but more closely aligned to what I want to play once the game starts. It has the benefit that I can just turn up with it and play what I want.

A non-random lifepath is the worst of both worlds. Something where my choices are constrained by those available (and generated by someone elses imagination) where I still have to plod through those steps and jump through those hoops before I can start play.

GR
 

Jerry D. Grayson

Putting the f-u in FUN
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I much prefer the randomly generated lifepath results myself. It becomes almost a challenge to put together a "jambalaya" character. Some of the fun comes from putting the pieces together and re-aligning my expectation of who and what the character is.
 

Littleredfox

Registered User
Validated User
I wonder if you could do a lifepath chargen like a short CYOA. Even if it’s not random, you wouldn’t know exactly how your choices would affect the character in the end. Well, I know you could, but would anyone appreciate it or would it just be irritatingly opaque?
One of the Tekumel RPGs had a longish CYOA for character generation.



This book got you through your characters childhood IIRC. With at least one more book before you became an actual Player character.
 

Lysus

Unbelievably Fancy Ostrich
Validated User
I enjoy a random lifepath system. I see no point in a non-random one.

A random system, preferably with elements of choice that simulate the sort of choices that are under a person's control during their life is of interest and will provide me with a character that is similar to the one I might choose but which has been acted upon by fate and feels more real, like an independant entity.
A character defined by me is less "real" but more closely aligned to what I want to play once the game starts. It has the benefit that I can just turn up with it and play what I want.

A non-random lifepath is the worst of both worlds. Something where my choices are constrained by those available (and generated by someone elses imagination) where I still have to plod through those steps and jump through those hoops before I can start play.

GR
Have you read Burning Wheel? It's definitely my favorite lifepath system and there's no random chance involved at all. It does a wonderful job of helping me establish who my character is and where they've come from.
 

Strange Visitor

Grumpy Grognard
Validated User
A non-random lifepath that has associated previous experience has the virtue that it makes sure a character actually has the skills and abilities that period of background would suggest, while simultaneously keeping down to a dull roar the tendency toward one-trick ponies.
 

Noclue

Registered User
Validated User
Have you read Burning Wheel? It's definitely my favorite lifepath system and there's no random chance involved at all. It does a wonderful job of helping me establish who my character is and where they've come from.
Came here to say this. BW is one of my favorite games. Non-random lifepaths that really build a character, while providing constraints that players have to deal with and consider. Not the game for someone who doens't want to go through any hoops before they can play, but has led to some of the best RPG experiences I've had.
 

Wightbred

Registered User
Validated User
The newest WHFRP offers a mix of random and selected items. IIR, you get a limited number of points to spend to override rolled results.
Only had a quick look at this but I think in the latest edition you can choose an option OR take a small XP bonus and make random roll for any table. This strikes me as a great balance.
 

Litpho

Wandering stranger
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Have you read Burning Wheel? It's definitely my favorite lifepath system and there's no random chance involved at all. It does a wonderful job of helping me establish who my character is and where they've come from.
While I love Burning Wheel, the mandatory negative traits in the life paths seem to be a huge stumbling block with some people.
 
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