Making a Character with Lifepaths

Basic Assumptions

This is a more involved way of making a character. I do find this method generally more enjoyable if the point is to not make disposable characters.

Your character begins at 18 years of age, untrained and inexperienced. By the end of character creation, you’re assumed to have either retired from your career in pursuit of other goals or began traveling while still practicing your preferred profession.

Each Skill adds a +2 or +4 to a 1d20 roll. You only roll a 1d20 when doing something risky like shooting a foe in a firefight or trying to pick a lock under duress. The number you need to beat is often between 10 and 15. It’s a 16+ when in a Firefight and a contested roll during melee.

At times you roll with Edge or Slack which is rolling two d20s and taking the highest or lowest, respectively.

Apply multiple Skills to a single roll if applicable.

Social Stratification

Roll 2d6 to determine your starting Social Status. Record the number and starting statement.

2d6Social Status
2–7Never invited to dinner parties. Your family falls under any of these types: (A) those who have never had wealth, (B) those who’ve lost wealth, and (C) exempt from the state. The game is rigged and you were not permitted to rise above your station.
8–10Enforcers of the illusion. Your family was either luckily chosen to become of means or they’ve had a history of sustaining the status quo. Traditionally Petit Bourgeois educated enough to think they should lead the boat-rocking.
11–12Disturbingly rich. An inherited silver spoon since generations prior and henceforth—effectively entrenched landlords.

Fluent Languages

Your starting social status determines the dice you roll for number of known languages. If you lack the native tongue of the starting region, presume you at least know the language functionally enough to survive.

Social StandingStarting Language(s)

Roll or choose from below.

5English (British or American)

Choose a Service

To gain skills and acquire resources before adventuring, you must enroll in a Service. There are five to choose from:

  • Drifter—amoral vagabonds with a mercenary outlook on life.
  • Outlaw—unfortunate souls who have the law on their scent.
  • Soldier—professional fighters for and rigid enforcers of the state.
  • Tradesman—individuals specialized in a craft or expertise (e.g. doctors, engineers, architects, artisans, craftsmen, etc.)
  • Scion—lucky ones who were born into wealth.
  • Merchant—rigorous acquirer of riches through travel.

You can enroll in a Service multiple times. Each enrollment advancing your age by 4 years. Each term of Service permits you to roll on the Skills Table. Each result is a rank in a Skill. You may only enroll 8 times before you must retire.

Enrolling into a different Service after each term is possible, but requires a different target result to be accepted. Always roll for the Service Change enrollment target even if the Service was taken at an earlier term.


Roll 2d6 to determine whether you succeed enrolling into your Service of choice. Roll +1 if you’re social standing is 11+. Failing the enrollment subsequently forces you to roll for your Draft, where the Service chooses you. Roll 1d6 and the result is your service for the term.

On the enrollment roll, you must also meet the minimum amount required to survive. Lower than the target means death—generate a new character.

Rolling high enough on enrollment also means you’ve served with Distinction and receive additional benefits. However, a roll of 12+ mandates an immediate second term in that same Service.

Service Change5+3+4+12+4+4+

Any time you finish your term of service, you may Muster Out and choose a benefit.

Mustering Out

Whenever you end a term, Muster Out and roll once on either the Benefits Table or the Cash Table. Serving with Distinction grants an additional roll on either table.

Benefits Table

12 Skills Table rolls1d6 pack horse(s) and 1d4 cart(s)1d6 pack horse(s)2 Cash Table rolls+1 to next enrollment rolls2 Skills Table rolls
2learn 1d4 language(s)2 Skills Table rolls+1 to next enrollment rollslearn 1d4 languages+1d6 Luck1d4 pack horses and 1 wagon
3+1 to next enrollment rollsland and homesteadwar horsefine fighting cockland and homesteadowned storefront
41d4 race horse(s)learn 1d4 language(s)2 Skills Table rolls1d4 race horses2 Skill Table rolls1d4 loyal apprentices
51d4 loyal companions2 Cash Table rolls1d6 devoted followersland and homestead1 war horse2 Cash Table rolls
62 Cash Table rolls1d8 imported cattleland and home1d4 bodyguards2 Cash Table Rolls+1 to next enrollment rolls

Cash Table

At the end of character creation, 1000 is the maximum that can be carried on hand. The rest is deposited to a bank or hidden somewhere safe.



Whenever you roll on the Skills Table, roll only on the Service of your current term.

CriteriaPermissible number of Skills Table rolls
Initial term of service2
Subsequent terms1
Mustering Out†2

†Applies only if the benefit is rolled.

All Skills on the table can only be acquired twice. The second time raises the Skill’s modifier to +4. Re-roll freely should you roll the same Skill more than twice.

1ThrowingDiplomacy and LawRidingEtiquetteFirst AidMedicine
3Folk MedicineEtiquetteThrowingRhetoric and PoetryDemolitionsMechanics
4AthleticsGamblingIron LiverPerformanceGunneryCarpentry and Masonry
5SurvivalIron LiverKnife FightingDiplomacy and LawAthleticsArchitecture
6FisticuffsPerformanceSurvivalHorsemanshipGamblingAnimal Medicine
7Quick DrawSeafaringAthleticsShootingWeapon FightingNavigation
8ShootingIntuitionSleight of HandAthleticsSurvivalSailing
9RidingForgeryFisticuffsFencingFisticuffsSleight of Hand
10Iron LiverRhetoric and PoetryPerformanceMedicineShootingSciences

Starting Inventory

When you finish character creation, you begin adventuring. Purchase your starting equipment. Prices are listed in the Gear section.

You have 12 Inventory slots. First 6 are quick slots, anything you can pull out at a moment’s notice. These could be things in your pockets, belt, bandolier, coat, or hung on your back. The next 6 require 8 seconds or more to pull out from your caryall.


Spend Luck points to add to 1d20 rolls. You may also spend Luck to have things go your way, if possible.

Roll 1d6 at the start of every session. You start with that many Luck points.


As you age, both during character creation and after, your potential Luck reduces.

A negative modifier to your starting Luck rolls is applied at age 38 and periodically increases following the rubric below.

AgeTotal Luck Modifier

Last Steps

Don’t forget to name them.