Vault 5e: A Life Well Lived – An Interview With Alex Cahill (Cubicle 7)

Cubicle 7 is kickstarting A Life Well Lived, a companion to their 5e/C7d20 book, Uncharted Journeys. Producer Alex Cahill agreed to talk about the game, how it’s used to build up your character, how GMs use the results, and more including an exclusive piece of preview artwork.

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EGG EMBRY (EGG): Tell us about A Life Well Lived.
: A Life Well Lived explores the quiet moments between adventures, seeing what your characters get up to when they’re not dungeon-delving and slaying dragons! It was our chance to expand upon some of the more underserved elements of 5e, allowing players to discover who they were before they took up the sword or staff, what they get up to around the campfire during an adventure, how they unwind and who they return to when the threat has passed, and finally, if they’re lucky, who they will become when they retire from a dangerous life of perilous questing. It is currently in the last few days of its Kickstarter campaign, and the amazing support of all our backers has added a new chapter all about spending your hard-earned gold on a Base, a place where you and your party can call home.

EGG: This book helps players build their character’s backstory while setting character goals. Is there guidance for the GM to build these backstories into the campaign?
: A good GM always wants to integrate the characters into their worlds, but it can be hard to know which threads to pull that will have the most impact. When players build their characters with A Life Well Lived, the GM learns about all the possible characters and events that they can take into their own hands. Hearing that your player has a sickly mother afflicted by a magical disease, that they were visited by a mysterious group of wandering entertainers as a child, or that they hid a murderous uncle out of shame and dishonour offers so much potential for the GM to take these plot hooks and work them into the overall story. Players are encouraged to work through the Lifepath system alongside the other players and the GM so that everyone has a full understanding of the potential plots, moments of connection, and intricate backstory that gets everyone at the table invested in each other's stories and the shared story of the main campaign.

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EGG: In the campaign there’s mention of your Doctor Who 5e project, Doctors and Daleks. Is A Life Well Lived focused on a 5e fantasy style experience or is it more generally compatible with all settings such as Doctor Who’s?
: A Life Well Lived serves the general fantasy genre, where you’ll have opportunities to build typical farmboy-to-knighthood stories, but with some more touches of the magical and bizarre, such as lovesick extraplanar teens dealing with political upheaval, forcing them into a life of journeys and adventure. Aspects of A Life Well Lived can be seen in our other setting-specific books, with their own changes to reinforce the feel of that world. Campcraft in Broken Weave errs towards the tragic horror and survival mechanics of the Broken World, while a Lifepath in the class-divided London of Victoriana will follow a very different story. While they may look different, the systems work on the same basic principles, and it’s easy to see how GMs can adjust A Life Well Lived’s Lifepath to fit their own genre.

EGG: Since this delves into pre-campaign backstories, does that lead to character specific sidequests? What can players expect from that option?
: There are story hooks to be found all throughout A Life Well Lived. Characters and locations discovered in your Lifepath give you ample reason to set off on an adventure driven by a personal goal. Campcraft and Downtime Activities can hint at subplots during a campaign. How did that hermit know so much about the Ethereal Plane when you sought her advice? What secrets did you uncover while excavating an ancient tomb between adventures? How did your spell backfire while you were trying to master it, and what do you have to do to make it up to the community? When you finally Retire, what do you get up to when the fighting finally ends, and what could drive you to pick up your sword one last time? A Life Well Lived adds so much depth for players and GMs in any campaign without pulling them away from the main plot.

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EGG: You have the free preview, Vault 5e: Around the Campfire, out now. What does it contain or, more importantly, what does it not contain?
: We were delighted to give people a sneak preview of A Life Well Lived with Around the Campfire, showcasing over a dozen Campcraft Activities that adventurers can undertake during a Long Rest. The free PDF gives you options to rest after a long day or prepare for upcoming threats, from chronicling your adventures in a journal around the campfire or crafting specialised ammunition for the fight ahead. Around the Campfire shows less than half of the Campcraft chapter and doesn’t even show the huge variety of more involved tasks, Downtime Activities, that take place in longer periods between adventures. Around the Campfire also shows some of the amazing art to be found in A Life Well Lived, but there is so much more to discover within the pages of the full book, including some pieces we’ve never shown before! Here’s a new piece just for you, showing a hilarious scene of the characters from the cover of A Life Well Lived uncomfortably tugging at their ill-fitting uniforms provided to them by their style-obsessed Patron!

EGG: Cubicle 7 created the first edition of Adventures in Middle-earth for 5e. The title of A Life Well Live sounds like a part of that setting. Did this project start life during that project or is this book a more recent idea?
: All of us in Cubicle 7 really like exploring the stories between adventures. You’ll see elements of this in our work from the early days of Adventures in Middle-earth to our award winning Warhammer roleplaying lines. A Life Well Lived is the fully fleshed out accumulation of these ideas, and I’m thrilled to have been the person bringing this to life.

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EGG: Cubicle 7 has a 5e compatible (5EC) system, C7D20. Is this book more for 5e or C7D20 or both? Are there any C7D20-specific options in A Life Well Lived?
: Because A Life Well Lived is made to slot right into a preexisting campaign, it is made for 5e primarily but has taken much inspiration from our C7d20 system, which will be evident throughout the book. Our ideas from C7d20, such as focusing more on the underserved aspects of 5e, are presented in greater detail in this book, but the Lifepath system, Campcraft, and Downtime Activities can be found in Broken Weave, and soon in Victoriana.

EGG: Who is working on this project?
: I’m the lead developer on A Life Well Lived, and I’ve had plenty of great help and advice from other members of the team who worked on our other 5e books, including our CEO Dom, who was lead designer on Adventures in Middle-earth, and the team that worked on Doctors and Daleks. Having worked on our previous 5e supplement Uncharted Journeys, I was delighted to explore some of the other underserved gameplay pillars 5e has to offer. I also worked with a team of writers and artists from around the world, and it was amazing to see how excited they were about creating a story that focuses on the quieter moments between adventures. Evoking a cosy, calm, and intimate setting is something we don’t often get to do when working with 5e, and seeing the other side of an action-packed adventure was something everyone working on this project was passionate about.

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EGG: Beyond A Life Well Lived, what else is coming up from Cubicle 7?
: We have a lot of exciting projects in the works that I could spend hours talking about! On the 5e/C7d20 side, Broken Weave will soon be available for all those who missed the successful Kickstarter campaign. I’m hard at work bringing the new edition of Victoriana to fans of steampunk fantasy. Our next follow-up to Uncharted Journeys and A Life Well Lived will be a set of books focusing on crafting, enchanting, and alchemy. We’re excited to power up your adventurers with new weapons, armour, and potions! Our 5e Doctors and Daleks and latest Warhammer rulebook, Imperium Maledictum will be available in stores soon too.

EGG: Thanks for talking with me. Where can fans follow Cubicle 7?
: There’s less than one week left to back A Life Well Lived on Kickstarter, so check out this page for full details and extra insight and to be among the first to get your hands on this game-changing 5th edition supplement! You can keep up to date with all of Cubicle 7’s news and releases on our website or on the following platforms:
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Vault 5e: A Life Well Lived from Cubicle 7
  • End Date: Tue, October 24 2023 8:00 AM EDT.
  • “Bring 5e characters to life outside the dungeon. Delve into their past and future with Cubicle 7
Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.
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Egg Embry

Egg Embry

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Alex, if you're reading this, could we please get a Lifepath preview that doesn't require creating a Roll20 account and then creating a new game to see it? It can be the same preview as the Roll20 one, or a different one, but even a page or two in PDF would make a big difference.

And are there still plans for an actual C7d20 book, or is it just going to be presented in various Vault releases, like the upcoming crafting book?

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