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-   -   "Lifepath" style creation - Thoughts? (http://forums.wolflair.com/showthread.php?t=65167)

TCArknight December 4th, 2020 08:04 AM

"Lifepath" style creation - Thoughts?
Howdy all!

Recently several games have come up, most notably Cyberpunk Red and the new Twilight 2000 (v4), that involve Lifepath-style components to the character creation.

While specific Lifepath creation in these games involves die rolls to determine the specifics of each stage, at it's simplest level, the user can just make a choice for which entry to take (as I did with the Star Trek Adventures dataset).

As such, I wanted to put together this thread to get folk's thoughts on how best to implement this sort of "Stage" oriented selection. Each stage breaks down to selecting one or more items for the character. This may be simple notes on clothing style, hair styles, tattoos, etc. These are one off selections that can be done with a chooser_table portal and specific components tailored to the stage. In STA, this would be the Environment, Upbringing, and Academy components for example

However, with Twilight 2000 v4 (T2K) for example, the Lifepath is a series of "Terms" where you choose a career (which is either military or civilian) that last 1-6 years (which could be entered manually). Each term, you can improve two skills (or same twice) and possibly gain a Special Ability.

Once a certain number of terms are taken, one final term is given (which functions like the others but has certain requirements in choices made during it to represent the draft before WWIII).

This same "Term"-like setup could appear in any number of games with Lifepath versions.

What are folks thoughts on how best to represent this selection of "Terms" and the associated skills/abilities?

Mathias December 4th, 2020 08:12 AM

If you have SR5 and the Run Faster add-on, the "Life Modules System" character creation method that book offers is an example of implementing something much like that in HL. That's implemented with the life modules being gizmos, and all the skills and qualities they offer being shadowed to the hero, so that you can do all the proper customizations within the gizmo (so that you can enforce all that particular module's rules on what may be chosen). Making everything stack once shadowed to the hero was the annoying part in setting that up - you have to figure out how to pick one copy of each thing that is the master copy, and have all the non-master copies add their values to the master, then hide themselves, but then within their original gizmos, each individual copy needs to show how much was gained from that particular life module.

Mathias December 4th, 2020 08:14 AM

Agent tables could also be used in place of gizmos - that's an alternative to how you can enforce each individual module's rules on what can and can't be taken, separately from the rules on a different one.

TCArknight December 4th, 2020 10:46 AM

Thanks Mathias. :)

It seems to me that the agent tab and tables work best in this situation.

Are these properties valid for all tables or just for the table_dynamic?


Mathias December 4th, 2020 12:21 PM

Hmm - never actually tried to add a chooser to an agent table. I'm not sure if it would work, or if you would just need to have dynamic tables, but only allowing one pick per table.

TCArknight December 5th, 2020 08:16 AM

It does look like this works when a separate portal on the agent tab. :)

<portal id="childSpecialty"
      if (@ispick = 0) then
        @text = "{text ff0000}Select Specialty"
        @text = "Specialty: " & field[name].text
      @text = "Choose your Specialty"

(In this case, specExpr is a field on the Childhood component (the agent) holding the candidate expression of the available Specialties for that Childhood selection.)

If this didn't work, is there a way to limit the number of picks on a table_dynamic ? The only way I figured to do it was to have an autotag on the table that got forwarded to the hero with the first selection. If that tag was present, it changed the font of the additem statement and did a freeze on the table. (I also just spotted the showfrozenfixed="yes" property for the table_dynamic that I could use for this as well...)

Mathias December 5th, 2020 10:41 AM

Using validation errors is my preference for this sort of thing. With the lifepaths, I can see someone convincing their GM "but my character had really bad teenage years - he was living on the streets and then he was working for criminals, so I should get to take both of those".

I don't have any good ideas for how to force a table_dynamic to accept a maximum number of selections (in this case, 1).

TCArknight December 5th, 2020 03:16 PM

Good point. :)

Since a chooser_table works with the agent (either in a template or alone) and an associated expression, it seems like a better option in cases like this.

As I think about it, an agent doesn't seem the way to go for the tours in T2K. From what I can tell, the compset for an agent has to be forced unique, and the hero can have multiple tours.

Breaking it down -
The hero can have anywhere from 1 - 8 Tours.
A Tour consists of:
(index number based on how many tours have been chosen)
1 career choice (can be the same across multiple tours) which consists of:
2 skill selections
1 specialty selection
+1d6 years

The hero can have anywhere from 1 - 8 Tours.

I can see a table_dynamic to add a list of tours. The showtemplate for a single entry would show index, a chooser for the career, and years of the tour.

Any thoughts on the best way to handle this?

Mathias December 6th, 2020 07:38 AM

Each tour has to be unique, so you'd add one pick for each environment option, another pick for each upbringing choice, etc. So the user adds the lifepaths on one tab, and then as they add each one, a new tab pops up where they customize that particular lifepath.

However, this is not an option if there's ways to repeat a tour. Like in SR5, there's the paths that reflect what you've done as an adult, and those can be repeated. At that point you have to switch to gizmos, or do something hacky like creating "Tour of Duty (Repeat #2)" style picks, which is just clutter in the selection list for most users, who won't be repeating these, so if your system includes this, I'd recommend picks with gizmos.

Oh, and another thing from when we designed this in Shadowrun - another reason we went with gizmos over agents is that once the user sets up a lifepath during character creation, they'll never touch it again during play. If it's an agent, that remains as a tab on the character, taking up screen real estate, but as a gizmo, all of the lifepaths are on the same tab where the user chose their race and other basics, and the user won't be visiting that tab again during play, but customizing them is done on a pop-up form, so the only screen real-estate they need is for a name and form-launching button.

TCArknight December 6th, 2020 12:14 PM

I think I see how you’re saying...

1) Lifepath component bootstrapped to the actor
2) Stages component as a child of the Lifepath
3) Module component which gets added to the Stages entity. This would be the Environment, Upbringing, Childhood, Tour, etc.

Am I seeing that right?

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