In his ground breaking work Reign, Greg Stolze came up with a brilliant random background simulator, where people would roll 11d10 and look for matches, each pair (trio, quartet, quintet) were compared to a chart where each number tied to a certain profession, so 2x1 and 4x6 meant you had some experience as a beggar (the 1s) and a lot more experience as a soldier (the 6s). It was up to you to decide what order those were in – were you a beggar who was press ganged into a life in the army or a career soldier who had fallen on hard times? – but each came with some skills or abilities. Any ‘orphan’ dice were used to determine life events that were sprinkled into that order, and those also carried skills or abilities. Each character ended up with the same number of points spent but a quick and easy way to get a framework for their character’s story.
IMTU couldn’t work quite the same way since so much of the character background is tied up in the template structure but I still wanted to put something in. I isolated 6 elements of character background from the CT rulebook:
1) Length of enlistment
2) Combat & Survival
3) Specalized Training
5) Non-Service Skills
6) Mustering Out
And since both CT and Feng Shui are d6 systems…well, I’m sure you can see where we’re going here. Orphan dice are applied to a table of key historical events for the setting: 10 or 15 things (2 or 3 columns of 5) that happened in the campaign setting that people might have been involved in (see 0.2.4 above – this would be different for a different campaign). There are no orphan dice for mustering out – any roll of a 6 means you got something of note.
Everyone rolled 6d6 and then had 3 ‘master dice’ that they could set to whatever number they wanted after the roll. This guaranteed at least some sets and gave the players a decent amount of control. While the descriptions for each set are the same across the board the bonus varies based on the Archetypes service. (Noted below)
1.7.1: Enlistment length (1s)
Default assumption is that everyone signed up at 18 and served at least one 6-year term. Each 1 you rolled (even if it’s an orphan; those are connected to the further back in time events) indicates another 6 years in your service. Once you have a set you’re 36 and have spent 18 years in the service. (Note that one particular biomod messes with your age, so triple these numbers if you have that one.)
Mechanically the 1s improve your ability in the core skills of your career – things rated 13, 12 or 11 in your archetype. You should apply these increases before making any decisions for the higher sets.
2x1: Mid-career professional (36)
At this mark you have served long enough in the service to have some real experience under your belt. Take your 13 rated skill and increase it to a 14. (Marine Commanders and Everyday Heroes can chose one 12 skill to raise to 13.)
3x1: Old Hand (40)
With another 4 years in the service you have some added breadth as well as depth. Increase your 13 skill to a 14 as above and increase any one 12 rated skill other than Status to a 13. (Army Grunts, Marine Security, Navy Legacies Scout Scientists and Doctors increase any one 11 rated skill other than Status to 12)
4x1: Professional (46)
At this point you’re at the high end of your career in the service, with everyone knowing you’re very broadly experienced. In addition to the advantages above you make take any one skill other than Status rated an 11 and increase it to 12 (Army Grunts, Marine Security, Navy Legacies Scout Scientists and Doctors increase the skill they would have boosted to 12 at 3x1 to 13 instead)
5x1 Forced Retirement (50)
Many of the services have a 32 year and out policy, given the size of the Imperium and the number of recruits pushing up. Once you’re 50 you’re expected to have been promoted out of the field, move to a teaching position or, in the case of player characters, gone on to another career. Rather than the paths detailed above you can either a) raise your 13 skill to a 15 or b) raise your 13 skill to a 14 and raise two 12 skills to 13s. (Marine Commanders and Everyday Heroes can chose one 12 skill to raise to 14. And a second 12 skill to raise to 13.)
1.7.2 Conflict and Survival
Life in any of the services comes with risk; sometimes this is action in hot military zones, sometimes it’s being stranded on alien worlds. In either event the character walks away more experienced or they don’t walk away.
Mechanically the 2s give you shticks and increase action skills, repair or survival. If you have a set of 2s make sure you have a variety of high risk actions you can natter about at the drop of a shot glass.
2x2: some individual incidents
You have been involved in several individual incidents – pirate raids, tense battles, a lost in space event – that gave you some significant expertise. Add one shtick based on your service: Navy = Blade or Guns, Marines = Blade or Bio, Army = Guns or Bio, Merchant = Blade or Drive, Scout = Blade, Gun or Drive, other = Blade or Drive
3x2: Time in a Crisis Zone
Rather than, individual incidents you have spent sizable chunks of your career in a part of space where such incidents are common, or a shorter time in a full-fledged hot zone. In addition to the Shtick above you are able to raise one of your Drive, Guns, Martial Arts, Repair or Survival to an 11; if you pick one of those skill not already in your archetype you add it at a 10.
4x2: Terms at the Front Line
You have spent entire terms of service at the most dangerous places in the Imperium. No one does that without being obscenely lucky, or needing replacement parts. In addition to the numbers above increase either the Fortune or Bio parts of your Meta stat by 1, no higher than 4.
5x2: Always on the edge
Your entire time in the service was in high risk areas, either by choice, necessity or accident. In addition to all of the above you may take the skill you increased in 3x2 and raise another point (to a 12 if it is a archetype skill or 11 if not).
1.7.3 Specialized Training
Inside every service there are skills that are necessary to have but aren’t core or critical. Many people are tagged to receive special above and beyond training in these skills to make sure the service has the people on hand that it needs.
Mechanically these sets increase skills in your archetype set at 11 or less, and ideally 9s and 10s.
2x3: Took a Class In It
You were picked out to get better at a single skill and have to take regular refresher classes. Increase any two Bridge skills (other than Status) already in your Archetype to an 11
You are fully licensed and certified in that specialized skill and can now practice it professionally when you leave the service; increase the one of the skills raised in 2x3 to 12.
4x3: Vacc Suit Training
In addition to the Certification you are also trained in how to use a Vacc suit to a high enough level that you take no penalties while in it. This includes zero G training and the ability to pilot a mech suit if one is available. This is such a valued ability that it ends up under a lot of certifications. If you already have this shtick from your archetype, select another one from your Archetype list.
5x3: Multiple Certs
Having attained mastery in your original certification you have moved on to another one; pick another Archetype Bridge skill to raise to 11.