Burning older characters without burning overly powerful characters

I’ve got a player who really wants to play an older character, an former Dwarf Captain who left the military to go into private business in a different trade. Now, per the standard burning process, such a character turns out to be 7-8 lifepaths, utterly eclipsing the other 3-4 lifepath characters in the campaign.

Is there an established rule or tactic to play more aged character concepts without utterly outclassing younger PC’s? My trick for it was to burn the character normally, but only give the player the traits and skill points for the most recent lifepaths, handwaving it as earlier skills getting rusty or forgotten. I figure it’ll work, but I’d like to hear other folks’ thoughts.

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Just use the rule about repeating lifepaths on page 84.

Although the main issue is that such a character has simply done more in life, and thus will be more capable. The very concept does not fit in the existing power level you had.


A war veteran and business owner will always eclipse college grad with no life experience. A Dwarf makes it doubly-so.

The problem isn’t with BW’s lifepaths. It’s with the player expectations and a conflict with BW best practices. Best practices recommend that players start with a concept that works with 3-4 LPs. It sounds like your player is trying to put in too much into his concept.

How about the Dwarf is a footsoldier that is now an apprentice? Or a Dwarf Captain that just retired and has Beliefs about becoming a businessman? I like the latter as the player avoids the age-old problem of putting all the adventure into their backstory instead of playing it out at the table.

I don’t think hacking the system to make a concept work is a good habit to get into. Rather, hack the concept to work with the system.


Echoing what others have said here;

While it might be tempting to play a character that is a successful business-owner that used to be in the military, why not just make that part of their struggle? It’s compelling to see someone change from one life to another. That’s more interesting to me personally.

How does the character move from one point in their life into another? Can they even manage to do it and what will they have to compromise on to reach those goals?


Ooof, now I want to play that decommissioned soldier trying to make a good at civilian life.


Out of curiosity, what is the ruling on subsequent lifepath repetitions?

Perhaps on the fifth repetition the character gains nothing aside from age?
Or, otherwise that half becomes a quarter?

I’d probably just add the time.


Thanks! Good to know

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