A Lifepath is a system used in character generation within the Cyberpunk pen and paper series. It is a method for figuring out a character's background and personal history. The system works like a set of flowcharts, each numbered for randomly-generated results. This serves as a list of "plot complications" that helps round out a character so players are not left playing a nameless generic archetype.
The Cyberpunk Lifepath is very open to new players, in the way that that a Cyberpunk character cannot be killed or maimed in the middle of character creation.
The specific Lifepath options and topics deal with dress & personal style, ethnic origins, family background, personal motivations, major life events, as well as finding and/or losing friends, enemies, and lovers.
In Cyberpunk Red, the Lifepath system has an added Class Lifepath system, in order to determine how a player's chosen role functions in their job, with options and topics dealing in Runner choice, corporation employment, divisions, and morality, optional partnership, workspaces, clientele, equipment procurement, and personal relationships.
The Cyberpunk 2077 video game offers three defining lifepath options to choose the backstory for the player character, V. The lifepath alters the beginning of the game, offering three varied opening chapters as well as offering additional benefits, quests and dialogue options throughout the game.
- Nomad - Leaving behind your nomad family, V heads to Night City in search of work.
- Streetkid - Having returned from out of town, V works favors in their old haunts.
- Corpo - Living a hectic life as an Arasaka counterintel agent, V strives to make their way to the top.
The pen and paper Lifepath system was inspired by the classic space opera RPG Traveller, which first introduced the concept in 1977.