Lifepath Leads exceptions

So something that me and my players are a little confused by, and we have may missed the clarification in the book, if so please let me know. But if you take the example of the City Lifepath Captain of the Guard it states a prerequisite of any Sergeant lifepath. However if you take Village Sergeant it does not have a lead to City. Does it mean you can go to this lifepath even though there isn’t a lead, or would you still need to go to a different lead to get there and because it was a previous lifepath you could take it.

Thanks again

Hi @thecodex101!

A Lifepath prerequisite does not shortcut the need for a Lead to the relevant setting.

You still need a lead into City from your “current” Lifepath to then pick up Guard Captain.

For me, this is when it gets the most fun, as we look for ways to get to the end-point we want.

This is often where we get that really cool / unexpected Lifepath that just makes the character really pop.


Hi @Mark_Watson thats great thank you, still new to burning wheel so great to get advice from people with more experience to help guide us.

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No worries, @thecodex101!

That’s pretty much what we’re here for.

(that, and happily frothing about the game, of course)

It’s fun to reverse engineer the paths to get to a chosen end LP!

Starting from Village makes the journey hard, as how can a peasant possibly end up in such an important role? I made this straight-forward one based on a simple narrative:

  • Born Village> Village Guard> Village Sergeant>Lead to Professional Soldier>Sergeant> Lead to Noble Court> Man-at-Arms> Lead to City> Guard Captain

That’s 6 LPs with two Leads. A very powerful character!

Let’s try some simpler paths:

  • Born Village> Village Guard> Village Sergeant> Lead to Noble Court> Squire (or many of the other Noble Court LPs) > Lead to City> Guard Captain
  • Born Village> Village Guard> Village Sergeant> Lead to Professional Soldier> Apprentice> Lead to City> Guard Captain
  • Born Village> Village Guard> Corrupt Sergeant> Lead to Noble Court> Bailiff> Lead to City> Guard Captain

Still 5 LPs, but closer to starting character recommendations.

And importantly, if the player can’t get to that goal within the LP limits everyone agreed upon (say a limit of 4), then becoming the Guard Captain becomes an important Belief at the start of play. This is actually the preferred method with BW as that journey sounds way too fun just to skip over as backstory!


Just to explicitly answer one point: yes, required LPs just have to be previous lifepaths, they don’t have to be the one right before.


You will also sometimes see circular LPs. Its not a tree, like most MMORPGs, its a directed graph.

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