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Life Path Character Creation

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  • Life Path Character Creation

    So one of the things I really liked about both the Battletech 3rd Edition RPG (Also known as Mechwarrior 3rd or Classic Battletech) and the older Star Trek RPG games was the Life Path system of character creation. This is, for those that might not know, the idea that you pick a set of paths that represent your growth before game start - from affiliation, to early childhood, to late childhood, to higher education, to real life. Each path chosen adds a certain about of years to the character, so one gains experience but also age. It basically creates a background with mechanics to support the various activities that one has gone through.

    I really like the idea and would find it very interesting if something like that was brought into Storypath as a sort of potential variant.

    Now, saying that, i don't exactly have the idea already written out or anything. I just wanted to share my thought on the topic and see if anyone else was also interested in something like that.

  • #2
    Storypath is already a quasi-Lifepath system as it is. It's just more freeform than most Lifepath systems (and there's plenty of them out there).

    I mean, the big differences here that I can see from a "standard" Lifepath system and Storypath are:

    1) In a Lifepath system you pick an option and the game tells you what stats you get. In Storypath you define the choice by picking the stats to go along with it.

    2) In a Lifepath system you generally don't go back to your picks later beyond mechanics they provide. In Storypath your Paths are important traits that you draw on regularly in play.

    So... what's the draw to a full Lifepath system? You'd be trading flexibility for what benefit?


    • #3
      For me its the whole you did this, then this, then this, etc etc. In the Mechwarrior 3rd version within each life path there are events that can happen, these events add both traits and also adventure notes. I like that. I think its fun. Especially when my mind turns towards making characters, I now have events that I could use to flesh out the background slash story.

      From a pure game perspective its not super necessary. But from a creating a past of a character using a mechanically boosting way, its fun.


      • #4
        Well, Origin, Role, and Society are usually pretty sequential.

        Raksha are my fae-vorite.

        Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.


        • #5
          I absolutely prefer life path character creation, but Storypath is enough with a good GM who discusses the design of the PCs paths to make sure the pieces are meaningful and relevant choices. A lot of GMs and players are deceived into believing that saying no makes a bad GM.


          • #6
            I think part of the issue for me is that most Lifepath systems work best with very narrow default character types. Look at the two cited in the OP: Mechwarrior and Star Trek. Mechwarrior is mostly about playing mechwarriors, it's all about giving some differentiation between, "being good at shooting stuff from inside your Mech, and being good at piloting your Mech," as the only things that matter in the wargame rules. Star Trek is about building a crew that are all aboard a ship of the same organization. How did you become a Federation X officer could use some guidance to not have everyone be small variations on the same thing.

            Trinity has a much broader idea of what the game is going to be about. How do you capture that without either a huge Lifepath system, or one that's already more like Storypath's rules as they are?


            • #7
              You can go “kind of life path”, just pick a path in a order:

              You pick your Origin path, add the skills and edges related to it.
              Pick a second path (any of the two remaining), add the skills and edges from that.
              repeat for the last one.
              you can latter add the remaining skills and edges.

              Ars Magica, Battle Tech, Gurps and others have lots of “dots”, each dot worthing a minimum effort in life, so each year can grant hundreds of worthless changes that stack until becoming useful.

              Storypath is different, there is a very limited number of dots, so each dot is important and worth years of effort.

              To make a life path system the small changes must worth less than a dot in a skill, otherwise you have little to add every year.

              House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
              Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
              Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux


              • #8
                Well, my friend certainly a good thought on the Lifepath system creation. I loved it and absolutely looking forward to creating a Life Path character for myself. I have been seeing number 4 every time and I'm having life path number 4. Is there anything to take of Life Path character creation with it? I quite like the Traveller character creation, which is the only lifepath creation system I've actually used, I think it makes interesting characters and can help me.
                Last edited by IanWatson; 10-10-2020, 06:14 AM.