[The final versions of these lifepaths are now on the wiki].
Spinning off the Worlds & Lords thread, I was thinking about how the “Theocracy” setting includes lifepaths all the way up to the top – specifically, that there is a lifepath for the Primarch of the Mundas Humanitas, aka the Space Pope, of whom there is just one at any given time – but the “Nobility” setting tops out at “Forged Lord,” which is a rank held by thousands of people across the galaxy, and “Stewardship & Court” tops out at “Lord Steward,” which is probably held by hundreds. But what if you want, say, the Gonzagin Emperor or the Dunedin Overlord actually in your campaign and “Forged Lord” plus “Your Majesty” just doesn’t feel colorful enough? So, for people interested in playing a game set on an Imperial throneworld or other such nexus of high politics, I offer two new lifepaths and associated traits:
Setting: Stewardship & Court
Time: 5 years
Skills: 6 pts: Military Law, Great Lord-wise, Logistics, Strategy, Administration, Oratory
Traits: 1 pt: Stormcrow, Belisarius
Requirements: Forged Lord and either Hammer Captain or Anvil Captain
Time: 6 years
Skills: 1 pt: Being Lied To-wise; 2 pts: General
Traits: 1 pt: Uneasy Lies the Head
Requirements: Your Grace or Your Majesty Trait
Stormcrow: The Lord Marshal commands the massed forces of one of the Great Lords of the Iron Empires, perhaps even one of the contending Emperors. Sovereigns cede such power to a subordinate reluctantly, and only in times of crisis. The appointment of a Lord Marshal is a harbinger of war. His arrival on a planet is a guarantee that a storm is coming: Even if the Lord Marshal means to use the world as a base rather than a battlefield, he will still throw it into turmoil by bringing in huge Anvil and Hammer forces with a voracious appetite for supplies and recruits.
The Stormcrow trait grants the Lord Marshal a 3D positive reputation with war profiteers, political opportunists, and hotheaded young warriors eager for glory. It grants him a 3D infamous reputation with everyone else.
Belisarius: Campaigning for years on end far from the capital, a Lord Marshal has vast resources, little supervision, and many enemies at court. A Lord Marshal with the Belisarius trait (and note that this trait is mandatory for any character taking this lifepath twice) must take a “complicated” (1 rp) relationship with his feudal lord (see p. 117) and a 2D infamous reputation with Lord Stewards and emissaries of his overlord’s court.
Uneasy Lies the Head: The Great Lord is a noble of staggering power, with hundreds of worlds pledging, if not actually delivering, their allegiance. Only the Emperors and Overlords of the various Iron Empires – and a handful of their most powerful political rivals – can boast such status.
Whether born to such heights, thrust into the throne by the deaths of more senior heirs, or a usurper, the Great Lord lives in a world where everyone wants something from him (or, rarely, her) and in which power corrupts everyone. A character with the Uneasy Lies the Head trait may not take any “trusted” (2 rp) relationships. Even the character’s free relationship (see pg. 116) counts as a “complicated” (1 rp) relationship.
Note this lack of trust does not have to be reciprocal: Other characters can take the Great Lord as a “trusted” relationship – he simply cannot ever bring himself to trust them in return!