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Old 09-10-2018, 01:24 PM   #31
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
(They also probably have more resource points, because BW is all about spotlight time over mechanical balance.)
That's just balancing against a different metric.
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Old 09-17-2018, 08:17 PM   #32
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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How many mechanical effects do the various lifepath systems have? I'm most familiar with Burning Wheel's system, in which each lifepath grants resource points and unlocks traits to be taken; someone who takes Born Noble as their first lifepath has access to traits that a Born Villager doesn't, for example. (They also probably have more resource points, because BW is all about spotlight time over mechanical balance.)
Central Casting gives out attribute modifiers, skill points (including magic), money modifiers, the occasional one-off weird item, other misc advantages and disadvantages type things, and even some powers, from psi powers through to other very random stuff.

It's possible (though highly unlikely) that your allegedly human character can start the game with Infravision, for example. You may also have been kidnapped at birth by extra-dimensional Things and raised in another dimension by them, or sprang into existence fully formed with no memory (if you're an elf), or various other odd circumstances - again, highly unlikely. Most people from Central Casting are going to be the child of two surviving parents who were probably married, with some siblings, and a largely mundane history.

I made a character with Heroes Now who was abandoned as a baby and raised in the sewers by rats and then basically given secret special forces (cough ninja cough) training by a mysterious Thanatos-style patron. Which is kind of a critical hit on the weird table.
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Old 09-18-2018, 07:34 PM   #33
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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Something to watch out for is that the Central Casting books (at least earlier printings, don't know about reprints) are artifacts of the culture of their era, and the author at the time had some very firm Opinions. They include a screed in the introduction that sets those Opinions down which I'd recommend reading just so you understand where the book stands and don't stumble face-first into it.
I don't think there's such a screed in the fantasy one, and regardless, I think it's pretty safe to say the author has renounced that anyways. I think it was the sci-fi one that was especially amusing because it had part of the exotic personality table replaced with a screed that was basically saying the world is sick.

Feel free to override things with it. I find that really weird circumstances of birth comes up way too often for my tastes, for example. I use table 114B a lot for NPCs.
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Old 09-18-2018, 08:05 PM   #34
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

A couple of books I use:

Fantasy Character Generator Toolkit by Great White Games (2004 product). Officially for Savage Worlds, this gives you a bunch of random rolls for social class, family, childhood, adolescence and professional events. It gives skills in Savage Worlds.

Kingdoms of Kalamar Player's Primer by Kenzer & Company. This is specific to their campaign world, Tellene, of which the Empire of Kalamar is a major political entity. You've got family background, random religion rolls, random crafter rolls and random class rolls.

I no longer use them, since I sold the books, but the HackMaster class guides for the AD&D version of the game such as the Combatant's Guide, Griftmaster's Guide, Spellslinger's Guide and Zealot's Guide have background generation tables for the class groups. You've already chosen your race and class-these tables tell what happened during school days and do impact your character. In the Combatant's Guide, your character can get shot in the eye by a crossbow and go blind or die in a battle. In the Griftmaster's Guide, your thief or other character in the thief group (includes bards and ministrels) can be beaten to death after rolling an 'incarceration event' and then rolling poorly on that table. The cleric can get assigned to a poor location and have weak faith, making them a lesser cleric or they can witness a miracle.

In the current version of HackMaster, there are also background tables for family and social class, but not much. You get some bare bones and then fill it out. So, I use the other books for ideas on developing out characters. Well, and if I have no idea where a character came from, I have d10000 tables for each of the 6 regions in the Player's Primer to roll for a character of that race would likely live in that region.

There are a lot of characters who grew up in rural areas, but that works for a zero-to-hero game where PCs must pay points to be anything other than one of the lower social classes (LLC, MLC and ULC for those playing AD&D).

So, think of lifepaths less mechanically and more, well, I've got a fighter of this race. What makes them more than their class and race and powers selection?
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Old 09-19-2018, 02:13 PM   #35
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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Originally Posted by Rasputin View Post
I don't think there's such a screed in the fantasy one, and regardless, I think it's pretty safe to say the author has renounced that anyways. I think it was the sci-fi one that was especially amusing because it had part of the exotic personality table replaced with a screed that was basically saying the world is sick.

Feel free to override things with it. I find that really weird circumstances of birth comes up way too often for my tastes, for example. I use table 114B a lot for NPCs.
I can definitely confirm that screed at the front is only in "Heroes Now!"

I don't recall about the sci-fi exotic personality table screed, but it has been a long time since I read it.

While not absolutely certain, I definitely recall it had the usual "use what you want, ignore what you don't, reroll if desired, it's a game, have fun" disclaimer you find in almost all RPG products.

An interview with the author is here. She says:
Quote:
7. What has been the most enjoyable/rewarding gaming product you’ve worked on, and why?

Enjoyable… Possibly my Central Casting series of books about creating character histories. It’s rare that a designer has full ownership of the projects they create. Central Casting had been a pet project since my earliest days of gaming in college. I played around with it for over ten years. The first book in the series about fantasy characters saw print nearly 30 years ago, followed by two more books (science fiction, and modern-day characters). The publisher went out of business nearly 20 years ago and the rights reverted to me. Time for an update, I think. Rewarding? Oddly, it may be The Dungeoneer magazines I did in college. They created the foundation for a career making games. How cool is that?
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Old 09-19-2018, 07:06 PM   #36
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

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An interview with the author is here. She says:
Something I wanted to know, actually: who owned the rights, since I know they bandied around for many years. Good for her; I know she'll make another winning version.
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Old 09-19-2018, 09:31 PM   #37
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Default Re: Lifepaths in Faaantasy!!!

First Edition Chivalry & Sorcery didn't have a life path as such but did have lots of background rolls. The first character I played in a friends campaign was the middle son of a baron. Him going adventuring despite having a phobia about pain made perfect sense. The oldest brother was paranoid and the youngest was a sociopath that was willing to kill his brothers to get the title. Spending time far away made lots of sense.
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