Obviously Burning Wheel lifepaths aren’t inherently better or worse than each other, it’s always dependent on what the character and setting are, but also, obviously, some lifepaths are better than others. What are the lifepaths that you learned were better than they seemed? I basically only use humans, so I’d love to hear the surprisingly good ones for the other stocks
Country Wife: Every Wife lifepath is really good, but only country wife gives you mental and physical points, along with the ability to take the skills from any number of lifepaths that fully set you up as a character, and the ability to make a three lifepath augur
Taskmaster: Hard Hearted, Booming Voice, and it leads to Master Craftsman! Why? I’m not complaining but why? Mr Crane, is this an accident?
Tinkerer: Mending and Scavenging are two of the most useful skills for a poor character, and 2 spare trait points is really rare, for good reason
Alewife: Domineering Presence is maybe the best trait in the entire game, it Leads Court, and Mending and Administration are game changers (Born City, Alewife, Courtier makes a ridiculous debater)
Apprentice Artisan: Locksmith is really good, and really hard to have on your skill list. It also gives a ton of skill points
Prince of the Blood: if you allow it, Born Noble, PotB, Bishop is completely broken
Baliff: It’s really short, gives a lot of skill points, has no prerequisite lifepaths but born noble, and provides really good FoRKs for those bounty hunter type characters
Military Order: It’s not obvious, but this is a way to build knights waaay more interesting.
Soldier Apprentice: Short, a really good skill list, and a Call-On for Power
Soldier Herald/Bannerman: From Peasant or Slave to Court in 3 lifepaths with a solid group of skills for either, depending on the character
Seafaring Engineer: Engineer, Munitions, and Artillerist will basically always FoRK into each other. Really good for making those mad scientist types, but only generally useful through Student or Journeyman
Bondsman: Most characters can use it to get access to whatever handful of skills they can’t get through their lifepaths, and Lucky is obviously broken
Harem Slave: Numb is so broken it’s not even funny
Deranged: Possessed is probably the best trait for getting artha every single session, along with getting a free supernatural trait
Poisoner: This is the other easy way to make it from Peasant/Slave to Court really fast, and who doesn’t love poisoning their enemies?
Smuggler: Not only is it really good on its own, it’s one of the requirements for freebooter, and it doesn’t share any skills
Researcher: Death Art on the skill list without any bad lifepaths on the way. Born Slave, Thinker, Scholar, Researcher was the first 4 lifepaths for my last evil necromancer
Death Cultist: Zealot and Suicidal are amazing, and it gives you access to spy