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Author Topic: (spinoff and long post) asking for evaluation of lifepath chargen  (Read 422 times)

ancientgamer

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I recently posted another thread asking for examples of good lifepath chargen.  Anyway, here is a bit of what I have developed so far, specifically the childhood stage.


1.  Childhood:  

Roll a d10 for childhood events and look on table for the results.

Table 1:

1-3:  One childhood event.
4-6:  Two childhood events.
7-9:  Three childhood events.
10:    Four childhood events.

At this point, you will make a number of rolls equal to the amount of childhood events you have.  These moments are the ones that shape your adulthood and your outlook on life.  You will not remember everything about being a kid but some things will influence your upbringing.

Table 2:

Roll d100 for X number of childhood events.  Most events can be re-rolled again.  If that happens, the particular event was even more important to your character.  A few events will indicate that you must re-roll them if you have achieved the same result.  Some rolls will also tell you that you gained a friend or an enemy.  Feel free to generate them or have the GM do that for you.

1-2.  

Parents were poor:  You remember the hard times that your family went through in order to raise you.  You had your basic needs met but none of your “wants.”  As a result, add +1 to your Spiritual stat but subtract -1 from your education roll when you have finished rolling childhood events.

3-4.  

Met an important figure in your life:  Someone, other than immediate family, became a mentor in your life.  You learned something from them that you carried on into your adulthood.  

Roll a d10 to find out what that “something” was.

1-2. +1 to Physical stat, +1 to a physically based skill.

3-4. +1 to Mental stat, +1 to a mentally based skill.

5-6. +1 to Spiritual stat, +1 to a spiritually based skill.

7-8. +3 to a skill of your choice, +1 to education roll.

9-10. You have gained a life-long friend who is considered an ally.

The downside is that this event costs two rolls instead of one.  In addition, someone important in your life was jealous of the attention your mentor gave you.  This person is unfriendly to you but doesn’t wish you direct harm.

5-6.  

Twisted Figure:  Someone in your life did something horrible to you.  You trusted them until that moment.  Now, you have a hard time relating to people.  You have a -2 penalty to your empathy and any use of the communication that involves gaining the trust of other people.  However, your mistrust has allowed you to avoid being deceived on certain occasions.  You have a +2 bonus to your empathy skill when attempting to detect deceit.

7-8.  

Popular in high school:  As an unofficial “ruling” member of the “clique”, you had a number of advantages while growing up.  You were more comfortable being social (+2 to communication skill) and you’re more likely to finish high school (+1 for education roll).  However, you did not study as much as you should have (-1 to all academic skills) and you gained an enemy during this time period because of your cruel ways.

9-10.  

Someone dear to you passed away:  During your formative years, an important figure in your life died under mysterious or mundane circumstances.  If you have gained friends from previous rolls, one of them must be removed.  If you do not any friends during your childhood rolls, their spirit haunts you.  Your co-inhabitant will gain a +1 on any temptation rolls.

However, they thought enough of you to give you something in their will or before their death.  You can choose to roll a d10 and multiply it by one thousand to gain that many U.S. dollars or you can have a rare piece of equipment that may have been disallowed otherwise.

12-13.  

Unpopular in high school:  You were picked on and made fun of during your formative years for whatever reason.  As a result, you are a bit shy (-1 to communication skill) but you studied a bit harder (+1 to all academic skills) and made a friend who saw past your flaws and is considered an ally.

14-15.  

Made amends with someone:  Something made you realized that you did something wrong or that it was a good idea to get this person to at least tolerate you.  As a result, you can subtract one enemy from your list.  If you have no enemies at the time of this roll, then nothing important came of this gesture (wasted roll).

16-17.  

Got pregnant or impregnated someone:  During high school, you gave into your hormonal urges and fornicated.  As a result, you more than likely dropped out of high school.  You may finish any childhood rolls you have left but you have a -8 penalty to your education roll.

18-19.  

Enrolled in the army:  You decided to join the army after high school.  At the end of your childhood rolls, you have aged four years (Education rolls made at age 22) and your decision ticked off one of your friends (subtract one friend gained during these rolls) but gain the following bonuses:  +1 to physical stat, +3 to battle and close combat and roll on Table 2D.  

20-21.  

After-school activities:  You joined a group or some sort during your formative.  It was either an athletically, academically, or socially inclined group.  If it was athletically inclined, you gain +1 to your Physical stat and +1 to your athletic skill.  If it was academically inclined, you gained +1 to your Mental stat and +1 to one academic skill of your choice.  If it was socially inclined, you gain +2 to your communication skill and +2 to your empathy skill.   However, you made someone jealous or mad.  You have gained one enemy as a result.

22-23.  

Special Summer:  There was a short time in your life when everything went your way.  You had a number of friends who did things with you, went on vacation and did other things that have stayed in your memories ever since.  You gained a certain amount of perspective (+1 to perception and to resist temptation.)

24-25:  

Encountered the supernatural:  You saw or heard something that you couldn’t explain away later.  As a result, you are a bit more perspective (+1 to perception skill) and more aware of the supernatural (+1 to spiritual stat).  However, there is a loose thread that may come back to haunt you in the future.

26-27:

No Parental Supervision:  As a kid, you had to take of your brothers and sisters at an early age because your parents didn’t care about you.  You gained knowledge in taking care of the household (+3 to stewardship skill) but you probably didn’t get to go to college (-5 to education roll).

28-29:

Met your undeath:  You became a vampire at an early age.  You look younger than your actual age (an advantage and a curse).  You had to withdraw from school since it didn’t fit your schedule.  You might have decided to attend night school or by correspondence during your later years.  You gain a number of skill points equal to your mental stat times ten.  In addition, you have gained four stat points to distribute between Physical, Mental and Spiritual.  Finish any childhood rolls remaining and proceed to the undeath table.

30-31.  

Good student:  School was easy for you.  As a result, you gained a +2 to a mental skill of your choice and a +1 to your mental stat.  You even obtained scholarships to help you go to school (+2 to education roll).  However, you avoided social activities to do so.  Subtract one friend generated during these rolls.

32-33.  

Met your true love:  You actually met someone who was your high school sweetheart.  Your relationship may or may have led to marriage but you have gained an ally in any case.  This relationship may have distracted you from your education (-1 to education roll.)

34-35.  

Gave into temptation:  In at least one occasion, you did something wrong to keep your group of friends happy.  You grew tired of being manipulated after a while.  Now, you are a bit wiser (+2 to empathy skill) but now your co-inhabitant has an advantage (-1 to temptation rolls).    

36-37:  

High school jock:  You were one of the athletes.  You gained a certain amount of strength from this (Add +2 to physical stat and +1 to communication skill.)  Unfortunately, your school did not care about making sure you received an education (-1 to all skills involving the mental stat.)

38-39:

Home schooled:  For at least part of your life, you learned from your parents.  This allowed you to gain intellectually at the expense of your social development (+1 to Mental stat, -1 to communication and empathy skill).

40-41:  

Joined a gang:  The pressures of high school forced to you to leave before you graduated.  As a result, you dropped out.  However, you have learned from the street (+1 Physical trait, +3 to close combat and +2 to stewardship).  If you have any remaining childhood rolls, they are gone and you must roll on table 2A.  

42-43:  

Artistically inclined:  As a kid, you could draw or do other things that would impress adults and your peers.  You gained an impression for things others might miss (+1 to Spiritual stat, +2 to perception skill).  You are a bit vain because of this (+1 for anyone attempting to use subterfuge on you) even though you are not necessarily arrogant.

44-45:  

Summer camp:  Your parents shipped you away to in order for you to do something constructive with your time.  As a result of this, you can choose to either gain +1 to your Physical Stat and to your athletics skill or +1 to your mental stat and +1 to your logic skill.  However, you must take an equivalent penalty in the choice you did not take.  

For instance, if you wanted the +1 to your Physical Stat and to your athletics skill, then you must take the -1 to your Mental stat and your logic skill.)

46-47:  

Bilingual parents:  You lived in a home where your parents spoke English and another language(s).  As a result, you are fluent in an additional language.  Unfortunately, some people are cruel and made fun of you for your heritage.  Those harsh experiences makes you a bit uncomfortable talking to people (-1 to communication skill).

48-49:  

Tender-hearted youth:  You had experiences that opened up your soul.  As a result, you have gained +1 to your Spiritual stat.  This is a two-edged sword because some people would take advantage of it (+1 to anyone who attempts to use subterfuge on you).

50-51:  

Lucky Kid:  You were born under the right stars or something is looking out after you.  You can either treat a roll of “1” as a simple failure rather than a fumble or you can re-roll one simple failure per session.  You must choose which ability applies and you cannot re-roll this result.

52-53:  

Had close friends during school:  You carried this relationship to your adult years.  You can have either two contacts or one ally.  In any case, you also made an enemy during this time.

54-55:

Got into fights:  You have a temper that showed itself on the playground and in the hallways.  You know how to fight (+2 to close combat) but your co-inhabitant can more easily tempt you (-1 to temptation rolls).

56-57:  

Clumsy:  All of your friends and enemies make notice of this.  You have a -2 in your athletics skills and -1 to profession skills governed by the Physical trait.  However, this is a trait that may be overcome during certain circumstances.  Your friends still like despite this because you have a certain something…add +1 to your spiritual trait.

58-59:  

Saved someone’s life:  You just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  You now have a favor owed to you by that person.   You may call it in or they may just do something to end the favor.

60-61:  

Partied a lot:  You attended a lot of activities after schools but not the kind approved of by most parents.  You learned to talk to people (+2 to communication and +2 to subterfuge) but your studies suffered as a result (-2 to education roll).

62-63:  

Church-going:  You fulfilled all of your religious obligations and were not afraid to defend them.  You gained +1 to your Spiritual stat and +1 to empathy.  However, this attitude drove away some people (Subtract one friend generated from your rolls.)

64-65:

Learning disabled:  It is harder for you to learn in school than it was for other people.  You compensated for this in a variety of ways (+1 to Physical stat or +2 to a skill of your choice).  However, when you roll on the adult table, you only gain 75% of the skill points handed out.

66-67

Avid Reader:  You loved books during high school. This caused you to grow intellectually but it’s also a sedentary activity.  As a result, gain +1 to your Mental stat but -1 from your Physical stat.

68-69:  

Debate team:  You were in a group that purposely practiced their speech skills (Gain +2 to your communication skill and +2 to subterfuge).  This turned off some of the people in high school. (Subtract one friend generated with the childhood rolls.)

70-71:  

Unlucky Kid:  Nothing ever seemed to go your way during school.  You generate fumbles with “1s” and “2s”.  This has humbled you and revealed certain insights.  Gain +1 to Spiritual trait.

72-73:  

Injured/Illness during school:  There was a time where you had to miss school for quite a while.  As a result, you did not receive the education you could have (-1 to all academic skills) but you were determined enough to pass anyway (+1 to temptation rolls).  

74-75:

Humanitarian:  You volunteered a lot and signed up to help people during your spring break and summer vacation.  You developed a lot as a person (+1 to Physical, +1 to Mental and +1 to Spiritual stats) but you gained the jealousy and animosity of several people.  As a result, you have gained two enemies during this time but you may not know who they are.  

76-77:  

Worked a lot:  You had a part-time job that dominated a fair part of your free time.  You developed a bit due to the hard work and learned a little something about a trade (+1 to Physical stat and +1 to a profession skill) but your studies suffered a bit as a result (-1 to education roll)

78-79:  

Close call:  At some point in school, you were involved in a situation which you almost died.  This made you mature a bit more (+1 Mental and +1 Spiritual).  However, you were never certain if the accident was intentional or if you owe any for their assistance.

80-81:

Drug addiction:  During your childhood, you developed a dependence on a certain substance in order to cope with reality.  Your subsequent transformation will overcome it but you were very distracted at this time (-2 to education roll).  You can reflect on this time on your life and gave a certain appreciation for the problems of other people (+2 empathy and +1 perception).

82-83:  

Studied a fighting art:  For whatever reason, you spent some time inside of a judo, boxing ring or other place where you learned about to fight.  You gained +2 to your close combat skill and +1 to your Physical stat due to the practice.  You had to defend yourself and others on a few occasions and gained one enemy as a result.

84-85:  

Tragedy strikes:  Sometime during your time in school, someone your own age died.  The reasons and significance will vary depending on who the person was.  The experience hurt but it made you grow up a bit (+1 to spiritual stat).  Your demon torments you with this memory from time to time (-1 to temptation roll).

86-87:

Junior ROTC:  You decided to join the armed forces at an early and pledged a group who prepared you for this.  You gain +2 to your Physical stat and +2 to your close combat skill.  However, your future is already set for you.  You have to accept “Graduated from high school, went to work right away” result on the education table unless you rolled a result that forced you to quit school.  If this happens, you only gain +1 to your Physical stat and +1 to your Battle skill.  

88-89:

Strict parents:  They forced you to buckle down on studying.  You listened to them for the most part.  As a result, you gain +1 to your mental stat and +2 to an academic skill of your choice.  However, you did not learn the finer parts of socialization (-2 to communication skill).

90-91:  

Dabbled in the occult:  You and a small group of like-minded people read esoteric texts and played around with things like Ouija boards.  You now know a little bit about the supernatural (+1 to temptation rolls and +1 to a profession or academic where the supernatural is important).  Your decision to do this disgusted one of your friends (subtract one friend from any previously generated ones).  

92-93:  

Lady-killer or man-eater:  You were able to get a date with anyone you wanted for as long as you can remember.  You had it down to a science (+3 to your communication skill when talking to the opposite sex)

94-95:  

Genius:  You were able to fly through the school system, defying the expectations of everyone around you.  You had a far keener mind (+4 mental and +3 to all academic skills) but you were pushed through to college (ignore all previously generated bonuses and penalties and go to table 2D.  In addition, delete all friends and enemies generated previously.  Start the character at the age of d10+5.

96-97:  

Appeal for help:  You had to ask someone in a superior position of power to help you out of a tight situation.  They did some shady things for you at your time of need.  You now owe them a favor.  Subtract one enemy generated before this point.

98-99:

Rich parents:  You had it easier than most other children.  Everything was handed to you on a silver platter.  Doors were open for you (+2 to education roll).  However, the experience made you more jaded than most (-1 to spiritual stat).

100:

Choose your own destiny:  The player can choose any roll on this table and make it a part of their history.  They do not gain any additional rolls for this.  They can re-roll this result.
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Skyrock

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(spinoff and long post) asking for evaluation of lifepath chargen
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2007, 06:47:53 am »
It would be really helpful to know about the game you plan to write without clicking to nother thread.
Furthermore, it would be really helpful to know your design goals and what you want to achieve with a lifepath. Should it just interlock the PCs stronger with the setting? Be a springboard during creativity gaps? Force the players to boldly try backgrounds they've never tried before?


The first thing that comes to my mind is that a stronger categorization could be helpful to avoid getting contradicting results too often. Take the CP2020 lifepath for instance - you roll seperately for Parents, Family Tragedies, Childhood Environment and so on. For your game especially, a "When and how encountered you the supernatural?" section would make sense especially.

If you want to turn school to an important part, the alternative lifepath for Japan in the Pacific Rim sourcebook for CP2020 may be woth a look, as it focuses strongly on education, tests and the alternative ways from University Entry to Drop-Out.
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ancientgamer

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(spinoff and long post) asking for evaluation of lifepath chargen
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2007, 09:17:43 pm »
Fair enough Skyrock (and thanks for your comments)

I want the lifepath system to help force the players into trying new background and to help with certain aspects of the setting.  I want to comment more on the game and then ask about your suggestions.

This game was inspired by WW but I wanted to tear apart the cosmology and to create my own setting.

In a nutshell:  The character has become a creature of the night and deals with the constant temptation of falling into evil.  They have a spirit or co-inhabitant of their body fighting for control.  The presense is informal in the sense that it doesn't idenfity itself but just tempts.  However, the world is far less certain even in the supernatural realm...i.e.  If I transform ("sire") (assuming I even have this power) five different people, they might become the same type of creature or not.  In addition, even if they become the same kind, they will all have different powers.  The world operates on more of a cell structure.  The players are all members of the same cell in the sense that they are aware of each other.  However, since the world is more unstable, the political structure is far different.  The players are on their own and have to worry about their own survival.  There are no safety features or guarantees of any kind from a higher authority.

Are you saying to do something like the following...

roll a d10 for birth

1.  Good parents, wealthy background (roll on privledged childhood table)
2.  Awful parents, wealthy background (roll on privledged childhood table and on tragic development table)
3.  Good parents, middle class background (roll on average joe childhood table)
4.  Awful parents, middle classbackground (roll on privledged childhood table and tragic development table)
5.  Good parents, lower class background (roll on poor schlub table)
6.  Awful parents, lower class background (roll on poor schlub table and tragic development table)
7.  Orphan:  roll on poor schlub table, note orphanhood for future reference.
8.  Raised by supernatural: transformed relatively early in life, access transition table.
9   Adoption, roll again for background but note these are not your real parents.
10.  Died early in life (only added to round out table, I would never actually include this as a choice.)

In any case, they would roll on education table (answers questions like do they start working at once or go to ivy league school), adulthood (what they are doing after age 18, supernatural (how do they find out), transformation (at some point, they become a vampire, zombie or amphorous (a kind of shapeshifter)).  They would roll what creature they become and perhaps additional strengths and weaknesses...I want to add a couple more "original" entries without re-treading WoD completely.  

Anyway, I hope this clears some stuff and becomes orginal enough to become a game on its own without too many comparsions.
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Divinity - an RPG where players become Gods and have to actually worry about pleasing their followers.

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Skyrock

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(spinoff and long post) asking for evaluation of lifepath chargen
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2007, 09:40:38 am »
Thanks for elaborating - the set-up without vampire princes you bow low before, inter-"species"-alliances and so on reminds me more of NightLife than of WW (what is a good thing).

Quote from: ancientgamer
Are you saying to do something like the following...

roll a d10 for birth

1.  Good parents, wealthy background (roll on privledged childhood table)
2.  Awful parents, wealthy background (roll on privledged childhood table and on tragic development table)
3.  Good parents, middle class background (roll on average joe childhood table)
4.  Awful parents, middle classbackground (roll on privledged childhood table and tragic development table)
5.  Good parents, lower class background (roll on poor schlub table)
6.  Awful parents, lower class background (roll on poor schlub table and tragic development table)
7.  Orphan:  roll on poor schlub table, note orphanhood for future reference.
8.  Raised by supernatural: transformed relatively early in life, access transition table.
9   Adoption, roll again for background but note these are not your real parents.
10.  Died early in life (only added to round out table, I would never actually include this as a choice.)
That's exactly what I suggest.
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