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Old 09-04-2018, 12:30 PM   #11
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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Originally Posted by Irish Wolf View Post
Yet another reason why I say "realism" has little if any place in FRPGs.
Extra letter in there. Realism doesn't have much of a place in non-fantasy RPGs either.
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Old 09-04-2018, 01:49 PM   #12
Cornelius
 
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
So ... has anyone actually created a fRPG with a lifepath generation system? The nearest I have encountered so far is Harnmaster, which settles for a very detailed background, including generating how well you get on with the head of the extended family.
Fortune's Fool by Pantheon Press has a lifepath character generation system. It's a rather vanilla fantasy, though more influenced by Shakespeare and traditional fairy tales than Tolkien.
Or so it seems to me, it's been a few years since I read it.

The main point of interest was the game system: instead of dices it used Tarots cards in a rather interesting way.

Sooner or later I would like to run a couple of one-offs
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Old 09-04-2018, 02:46 PM   #13
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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It sounds like Burning Wheel has a pretty extensive life path system, though I haven't played it.
How could i forget Burning Wheel?! Yes, the BW life paths systems are very interesting and flavorful. Definitely worth checking out.
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:50 PM   #14
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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Yet another reason why I say "realism" has little if any place in FRPGs. (I mean, aside from the fact that they take place in worlds where someone with the correct training can twiddle their fingers and mutter something, and the room down the hall will suddenly erupt into flame...)
That distinction is why I talked about "realistic versus cinematic" and "fantastic versus mundane" in GURPS Adaptations. You can have cinematic mundane narratives (say, the Jack Ryan novels); you can also have the realistic fantastic (Tolkien was already pointing in that direction with his hobbits complaining about mosquitoes and worrying about short rations, and a lot of science fiction tends that way).

But I think that why you're calling realism may be an exaggerated form of it. It's not unrealistic to write about people with unusual wealth or exceptional abilities, so long as such people do exist in reality; "reality" includes the whole bell curve, not just the middle ±0.5 standard deviations. What makes it realistic is that you figure out the consequences of actions in terms of actual cause and effect and not of "keep the story going" sweeping aside of small details.

There was a literary movement, naturalism, that went for the center of the bell curve, telling stories about typical people; it tended to emphasize the struggles and sufferings of average people, and it allowed them very little agency, seeing them as products of society. (A volume of literary criticism I edited two or three years ago pointed out that the authors assume that THEY had agency and could exercise it by reforming society through the publication of unflinching accurate accounts of these ugly details—it didn't occur to them that they too were "products of society.") You could do that in a game by having nothing by lifepath all the way, I guess. But I don't think realism requires that rigid adherence to maximum probability. You can have a realistic rpg if the player characters have to make choices and exercise agency based on probable alternatives.
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Old 09-04-2018, 03:55 PM   #15
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

I've noticed that lifepath systems tailored to the outcome work better. If you say you want to be a Wizard, that's one lifepath system. If you want to be a powerful noble, that's another. It gets you over the simple fact that more than 90% of people in medieval societies were farmers with no other options.
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Old 09-04-2018, 04:22 PM   #16
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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Originally Posted by Astromancer View Post
I've noticed that lifepath systems tailored to the outcome work better. If you say you want to be a Wizard, that's one lifepath system. If you want to be a powerful noble, that's another. It gets you over the simple fact that more than 90% of people in medieval societies were farmers with no other options.
Indeed - Harn's background generator does have a tendency to make session 0 "how I escaped from being a serf" (assuming, that is, that you did...). I would expect a lifepath system to select for outcomes that make for a viable adventurer unless it's a very esoteric sort of RPG.
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Old 09-04-2018, 05:12 PM   #17
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

Traveller may have been the first RPG with something like lifepaths, with the prior history system. Rather weighted towards military and paramilitary professions at first, and of course not fantasy.

I am a fan of the "Central Casting" series by Jaquays, and the fantasy version Central Casting: Heroes of Legend from 1988.
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Old 09-04-2018, 08:15 PM   #18
dcarson
 
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

Rolemaster has a semi lifepath system. You get s aet of skills based on race and culture, add choices from a limited set for adolescence then add a set from a training package for a profession. The unspent points from the training package are then spent at the costs for your character class.
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Old 09-05-2018, 03:29 PM   #19
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
Indeed - Harn's background generator does have a tendency to make session 0 "how I escaped from being a serf" (assuming, that is, that you did...). I would expect a lifepath system to select for outcomes that make for a viable adventurer unless it's a very esoteric sort of RPG.
Any system that aims for making a typical citizen rather than a typical adventurer is, in my opinion, doing it wrong.
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Old 09-05-2018, 04:25 PM   #20
Melichor
 
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

How about this:
Central Casting One : Heroes of Legend
https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/centra...sbn=0922335001

I have a copy of this in a box somewhere.
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