Being the most powerful, the most skilled person is fun. Assembling life paths is fun. So let’s gather the strongest 4LP people of every stock in this thread.
I’ll start with elves.
The adventuring princes:
(Etharch) Born Etharch (take Fea with your trait) -> (Citadel) Soldier-Protector -> (Protector) Sword-Singer -> (Etharch) Prince
9 general, 26 specific skills
11 mental, 19 physical attributes
Ironically, this princess can’t become an Etharch, because he doesn’t have points to become Aman. So this princess, unable to ever accept the throne, left his court, fought to protect the citadel and became a mighty sword of the white towers. Her brother, who instead of becoming Soldier-Protector married on a wilderland elf and became a (Wilderlands) Spouse can actualy take the crown as his fifth lifepath. Our princess will have to stick with becoming a Lord Protector.[HR][/HR]
The political bard:
(Etharch) Born Etharch -> (Citadel) Song Singer -> (Citadel) Bard -> (Citadel) Althing
5 general, 28 specific skills
14 mental, 18 physical attributes (+1 any)
This elf at the full bloom of his life became a political powerhouse, with (probably) grey willpower 6 enchanting his opposition. His skill set is slightly less useful for adventuring than the one Prince has, but massive stat domination will allow our bard to quickly pick up all the murderhobo skills he needs. Grey Willpower will also make him a potent spellsinger, and, if you take grey Agility and grey Will, as well as learn Antiphon Union with your general skill points, an incredibly talented crafter. He is a talented cook to begin with.[HR][/HR]
(Etharch) Born Etharch -> (Wilderlands) Spouse -> (Wilderlands) Matriarch -> (Citadel) Althing
5 general, 23 specific skills
16 mental, 19 physical attributes
This elven matron is a lot like bard, but worse. She has slightly better stats, but fewer skill points and fewer spell songs. Of course, she still can talk freemen into buying sand, can make delicious elven bread (if you take Antiphon Union), can heal the wounded and the sick. And she is filthy rich, did we mention that?
And, for desert, the best human Necromancer build I managed to make.
(Noble) Born Noble -> (City Dweller) Neophyte Sorcerer -> (Outcast) Rogue Wizard -> (Death Cult) Death Artist
3 Traits (4, but one is taken for Gifted)
5 general, 22 specific skills
9 mental, 15 physical attributes (+1 any)
This scary (you took 1p Aura of Fear, right?) man is well set to become the next dark overlord of the kingdom: his high Willpower and Perception will let him quickly pick up the much needed social skills and give him broad knowledge of various subjects. His physical stats are either 3/4/4/4 or 3/3/4/5 (we need that high Forte for taxing spells), which is pretty good. And last, but not least, the dead rise to protect him and do his bidding, the sorcerous forces of the universe dance at his command burning all who dare to oppose him. Fear this man. There is a good reason for that.
Strongest is kind of hard to measure. In a fight? In an argument? In having ridiculous piles of stuff? But hey, it’s all fun.
I had exactly that four LP Princess in a game I ran. There was also a (Etharch) Born Etharch -> (Wilds) Wanderer -> (Citadel) Soldier-Protector -> (Protector) Ranger. The Princess could dice enemies up a little better in a fight, but the ranger was way more useful in the wilderness, and could cut throats invisibly. Both were cheaty powerful Elves.
As a note, your Prince(ss) can reach Etharch on the fifth lifepath. You just need to meet all the trait requirements when you’re done, and Etharch gives you the point you need for Aman. It’s all fine.
I’m a fan of my 4 LP paladin. Peasant Born -> (Soldier) Apprentice -> (City) Temple Acolyte -> (Religious) Militant Order. He’s got fewer skills and stats than the standard knight, he has much lower resources, and he’s pretty clearly worse. But you can get knighthood of a sort and Faithful in four LPs!
Anything with Young Lady or Student gets a boatload of traits and skills. Born Noble -> Young Lady -> (City) Student… then go almost anywhere. Anything with a free trait point lets you unlock Gifted for 5 traits, or you could take Faithful. I played this with a lead to Courtier, took Gifted, and played a woman convinced by her student days to become a communist and using her secret magical might to try to topple the king. Decent stats, nice resources, serious social muscle, and magic. What could go wrong? (Magic actually took a back seat. Most artha blown was on Composition to pen revolutionary pamphlets. Proletariat uprising successfully incited!)
Or the simple Citadel Born -> Novice -> Shaper -> Artisan. Nothing creative. No combat skills. But you get some heavy-duty stats, you’re wealthy, and you’re a makin’ stuff machine.
Dwarves I find a little less interesting, sadly. Their rigid leads means there aren’t many surprising tricks to pull. I’ve had few Dwarves played in my games without very high LP caps, and the only Dwarf I played was a Runecaster and Adventurer who wasn’t impressive on paper but was a load of fun to play. The straight shot through the Noble LPs to Prince give you more money than you could possibly need and a character with at least a little social oomph unlike Killer McStabslash the Elven Prince who relies entirely on his (admittedly huge) pool of general points to do anything but slaughter his foes. Politely, with Etiquette.
In having a big numbers in stats, skills and resources And then explaining why your skills make you a good adventurer. For example, Artisan build would be terrible in this metric, because he has much less skills and stats and rps than the others, and his skills are all related to sitting in a workshop - not running around, adventuring.
Personally, I consider Bard to be stronger than Nanny Ogg, and prince being a better fighter than either of them. In the long run I think Bard is the best out of the three, because he can pick up combat skills easier than the prince can pick up social skills.
I don’t think you can spend a trait point from the path on a trait needed to qualify for the path. And since Aman is a hereditary trait, getting it through voting would be very strange.
Actually, for the necromancer taking Rogue Wizard a second time as the fourth life path is a superior choice than the Death Artist. Take Death Art as a general skill, and you have more stats, more skills, and a new pair of boots.
I burned up this character based on a drawing I saw of a golden skin shirtless muscular elf with white hair and a runic tattoo on his chest chopping a spear in half with one bare hand while avoiding several others (it was awesome!)
Born Etharch, Attendant, > Wilder Forester, Wanderer (216 yrs.10M/20P 35RES)
This Stern Etharchal with the Calm Demeanor has Hands of Iron (4 extra trait points spent).
I went for a powerful monk-like elf and gave him:
Will B6 Per B4 Pow B6 Fort B6 Agl B4 Spd B4
Health B8 (9) Steel B7 Grief B5 Circles B3 Res B1
MW B12 (SU B4/LI B7/MI B9/SE B10/TR B11/MO B12) 5 General Points 18 LP Skill Points.
He can soak up a lot of damage and incapacitate or kill with a single blow.
Son of a Gun -> Officer’s Mate -> First Mate -> Captain
16 skill points, 5 generals, 51 resource points, 5 trait points
9 Mentals, 16 Physicals, and 1 either
Non-obviously amazing, until you Grey Shade sword and Sorcerery, and buy the gift with your trait points. You only need Turn Aside the Blade to keep yourself mostly alive (enough to not need to Block in the first combat round).
You likely have B1 or B2 starting resources (buying an Affiliation and Ship) but wont have much armour or a superior sword. Money will be tight, but not insanely so.
You will also have a pile of social skills (Ettiquette, Oratory, Command, and Intimidation) you also get Sea Legs and Seamanship plus several wises to make you pretty powerful if on a boat.
How do you gray-shade sorcery with only 5 general skill points? You don’t have enough points!
It’s interesting that if you look at Orcs it’s hard to make anything that competes in impressiveness. The mightiest you can get as one of the Great and Black is Born -> Rites -> Followed -> Black Destroyer, and your average stat is below 20. You’ve got 20 LP skills and 3 general. You’ve got 29 Resources. You’re clad in rags. It’s not easy being black.
I agree that doubling up on lifepaths makes a lot of sense, especially when it’s your defining lifepath. It isn’t always possible, what with requirements and all, but it definately makes sense. (Both in game and real life)
5 general, 29 specific skills
15 mental, 20 physical stats
Good adventuring set of skills, one gray mental stat, high physical stats (maybe even a gray physical). High starting RP allows you to start as a proper pirate, with a crew and a ship (although I would split the RP cost of the ship between all PCs, and have the captain pay for the crew). Your required skills are: Elven Script, Council-Caller, Slip of Currents and Weathersong. For the land-based game Slip of Currents is a regretable waste, so I’d ask the GM to allow you to take Supplication to the Wind or Command instead. Overall, very strong adventurer with high development potential. A good mix of social and physical skills and stats.
Village Born --> Castrati --> Blackmailer --> Thinker
Pretty terrible physical stats, but you start with B6 Will/Perception, plus 7 free trait points. This lets you take one of the powerful 5pt traits as well as Quiescent (to neutralize Eunuch if you so desire). My personal preference is to take Tainted Legacy to access Dissent Parasite (from the Raksha), and then start with G5 Persuasion and Falsehood. This requires using your general points if you want your other skills to be decent, so you can drop one shade-shift and pick up a general skill as an alternative. The resources is low, but you don’t need weapons or toolkits, so you can start with at least a B1 resources, B2 if you’re willing to be short on gear.
A castrati who isn’t a eunuch? Interesting! And then he becomes a blackmailer. There’s definitely a story in there.
But if it’s “munchkinism” we’re after, then why take Quiescent - which doesn’t give any plusses at all! - when there are plenty of lovely call-ons that would be a better use of points? Aura of Innocence is the one I favor - makes the Falsehood even more potent, and there’s something nicely twisted about how it fits with the rest of the character. Sonorous Voice might also be a good, fitting choice to boost Persuasion.
As long as you don’t take Quiescent you have a very nice Varys type there. Only 17 and 4 general for skills, though, and 34 RP. Can we do better?
City Born -> (Any) Young Lady -> (City) Student -> Thinker also gets you 7 free trait points as well. Even worse physical stats, same mental, but up to 28 + 5 general skill points, but no lovely social skills. 40 RP.
But we’re munchkinning here. City Born -> Young Lady -> (City) Student -> Castrati. Back up to 10 mental / 13 physical. 29 + 4 skill points. Still 7 traits, and 50 RP to spend. How is this young lady a castrato… or is that castrata? We can spin a story about a boy passing as a girl to become a lady in waiting, then punished for his temerity. Kind of a messed up Peter Abelard story. But, of course, BW makes no bones about it: Young Lady requires female. Fair enough. The real trick is that Castrati (sic) requires nothing. It doesn’t specify that you have to be young enough to miss puberty; it doesn’t even require you to be male! I guess if you can present as male and sing the part no one checks too closely? Anyway, I like this ambiguously gendered individual with Dissent Parasite and absolutely murderous social graces, plus gives you access to city-dwellers and the court or nobility in your Circles. “Rabble-rouser” indeed!
That is not how BW works! In BW, the GM is supposed to reply, “Hey, no, if you’re gonna take sea captain LPs, you better freakin’ have some ability to actually be a sea captain. Cheater!” Though that’s only if the other players don’t say it first. >.>
Slip of Currents is the elven Navigation. Since the LP is called “Sea captain” and not “Navigator”, both Command and magical control of the winds both seem to me as viable abilities for you. And making people spend points on an ability that is unlikely to come up in a campaign is something I personally dislike. If the campaign is based around the sea travel, or just happens near the sea (and there is a good chance of heroes traveling there), then sure - leave it as necessary.