19 Mar 2019

Test Run - The Witcher - Applying the Lifepath

While creating a mage for R. Talsorian's The Witcher RPG, it occurred to me that I could use the game's lifepath creation for the cast of The Efl's Prisoner.  Several of Mecha Academy's characters were inspired by the lifepath in Mekton ZetaThe Witcher's lifepath would need a bit of tweaking to be usable for another fantasy setting, but the core would still work.

To demonstrate, I'll use Jyslyn, Wren, and Leomund from The Elf's Prisoner.  They predate the RPG, so what notes I have on them, minimal as they may be, won't be influenced by the lifepath as it is.  This is also a good way to show how choosing instead of rolling works.  It's going to be a long one, though, like the previous weeks' work.  This time, I'll break it down by chart.

1. Homeland
The charts in The Witcher work for that setting, not mine.  However, I do know where my characters are from.  Jyslyn is from the Sundered Chasm, Wren from a farming community outside Wildwood, and Leo from the Seven Dominions.

2. Family
Jyslyn's family is alive and sort of together.  Let's just say they're alive.  Wren's family had something happen to them.  Leo's family is alive and together.  Wren now gets to go to the Familial Fate chart.  Jyslyn's siblings their friends killing them isn't listed, but it's the same tone.

3. Parents
Wren can skip this part, since the fate of her parents is the same as the fate of her family.  Leo's parents are still alive; he'd be head of the family and not Nyssa's squire otherwise.  Jyslyn, though, has both parents dead, both "accidental".  Her father died long before the story started, disposed of by her mother.  Her mother, though, is a recent death, having fallen on some swords that Valenza "forgot" to put away.

4. Family Status
Dead or alive, the families had status.  Wren's family was lowborn, though they had their own farm to work.  Leo comes from a landed lord, a knight.  Jyslyn's family is nobility in the Sundered Chasm, though not necessarily high nobility.

5. Most Influential Friend
Wren's is Lia, who will inherit the tavern if she doesn't find another career for herself.  Leo's is most likely Nyssa, being her squire.  Jyslyn had Biala, her brother, though circumstances have changed since they were young.

6. Siblings
I'll start with Wren, who has none surviving.  She might count Jyslyn as family, but a sibling the dark elf isn't.  Jyslyn has three, all showing up in Chapter 14.  Valenza is the eldest and would be happy if she were an only child.  Tereka is the next oldest and might be jealous that Jyslyn got away.  Biala is the youngest sibling, younger than Jyslyn, and doesn't care what happens to his missing sister.  Leo, though, I have no idea how many siblings he has.  He's the eldest son and, since the Seven Dominions isn't fussy about who inherits as long as there's a clear lineage, eldest child.  Since his family is safe back in the Seven Dominions and the plot hasn't gone there yet, how many brothers and sisters Leo has isn't a concern right now.

I'll skip the rest of the lifepath, the life events.  Technically, Leo would get two rolls/choices while Wren and Lyslyn get eight to ten rolls.  Mekton Zeta's lifepath system would after siblings for Wren and Leo; they fall under the young hero archetypes.  Jyslyn, though, has some experience, as do Kazi and Nyssa.  I could use the events for inspiration for the story.  I do have a romance planned, though it's not quite ready to bloom yet.

Compared to just randomly rolling, choosing is faster, but requires having done a bit of work beforehand in figuring out a character's background.  The lifepath can prompt some ideas.  With Mecha Academy, the entry under parents, along the lines of parents defected, didn't go into details.  Dusty's background grew from there, as did Rhiannon's.  The lifepath didn't tie the characters' background together; I did.  But the system provided me that spark that I explored.  I'm not saying everyone should use a lifepath system to round out a character.  Different writers have different approaches.  For me, it does let me see where I'm missing details and lets me decide whether I need to fill them in.

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