Older D&D/AD&D and Other SystemsThe forum for discussions specifically related to the rules and procedures of either any of the older editions of Dungeons & Dragons (1e, 2e, BECMI, OD&D) or any other non-D&D roleplaying rules (Vampire: The Requiem, Dread), including non-fantasy d20 systems (such as Mutants & Masterminds).
I seem to remember a friend telling me about an RPG where you built your character by their backstory. As you made a character and aged and trainded them, they got stronger or more talented but had a greater chance to be injured. Possibly dead if I remember correctly.
And before you say it, it's not Traveller. I distinctly remember him saying that it was a fantasy setting and that he made an orc. It's driving me nuts trying to think of the name of it.
It may be Burning Wheel. Like Traveller, it uses "lifepaths" to build a character by their backstory. Chances of injury or death don't generally happen, though. However, the Orc lifepaths are all about that; after a certain point, you roll a d6 for any further lifepath you take, and on a 1, your character sustains an injury. The injury steps up and gets more severe the more lifepaths you take.
On the other hand, flat-out death isn't a possibility...
Very welcome. It's a pretty awesome game. It can take some rules mastery to really get the hang of, but here's a nice bit--it's a modular game. Don't get scared off by the pages and pages of potential subsystems. They're all optional. However, they slot easily into the game, once you've got the other bits mastered. The game is also packed with great GMing philosophy and a general zeal for roleplaying. (Also, pick up the Gold edition; according to the author himself, it's flat-out better than the other two editions, and represents an incremental step forward, instead of shaking up the game as with D&D Editions.)
This is called a lifepath creation method. It's also not exclusive to Burning Wheel, nor was Burning Wheel the first system to use it.
From the top of my mind: Ars Magic, Melanda, Artesia, Bright Sword, Protheus, the classic Battletech rpg, Chronica Feudalis, Moebius, most Fuzion games use it (even DBZ, IIRC), some Traveler games use it (I know Judge Dredd does), the FASA Star Trek RPG and Blue Planet. I'm sure there are more.