Every good character has a history.
Traveller is famous for its character generation system, which basically provides a character with a backstory in the form of a mini game that you play everytime you make a character...
5150 New Beginnings can use something like that (its actually occurred to me many times that Fringe Space + New Beginnings could arguably be called a different version of Traveller without the setting attached... it just feels very Traveller in the way it plays).
So, here's some of my ideas. I'm looking for any concepts I've missed... career paths, upbringings, that kinda thing.
A few notes on my interpretation of the New Beginnings rules: I view Professions as almost like a group of skills... if I have the pilot profession, then I have some of the pilot skills... this gives me a stat boost when performing certain actions (like piloting a ship). The specialization just allows more granularity... I may be a pilot, but if I'm specialized toward piloting Hull 5 ships (frigates and free traders, for the most part) then I'm better at flying one of those than a Fighter or Battleship. For this reason, characters going through the generation process below will end up looking fairly different from regular New Beginnings characters... though there is nothing in NB stopping you from acquiring many professions, it seems most people stick to one or two. So just keep that in mind.
Note that these are all somewhat biased towards the 5150 universe (for example, the different career paths of the Star Army are based on units in, well, Star Army) but 5150 is pretty generic anyway, so these could easily be translated to any setting.
All characters start as "Rank" 3 (this is the same as Rep in 5150 NB character generation, so you get two 3's, one 2, one 1, and one 0 for your stats... its just that Rep isn't privileged: you can have Rep be 2 or even the 1, in theory... not the 0, though).
All characters start with one RANDOM attribute and no professions. Characters are 18 years old. They may be Drop Outs or LWC at the beginning, though this may change at some points in the character creation process.
Characters choose one upbringing (before doing any of the above stuff):
Good Schooling: +1 Sci
Well Rounded: Get a second starting attribute. You may choose which table to roll on (though you still roll on said table).
Spacer: Grew up on ships. Starts out with profession: Pilot (any Hull specialty) or Spaceship Crew (engineer).
Street Kid: +1 Fit
Legacy: Starts with 1 level in Fame or Notoriety (your choice). Note that Fame and Notoriety will be a big help in getting good careers both in the character generation minigame and in the actual game, in addition to being a bonus to certain social situations (not that different from Paragon and Renegade in Mass Effect, if you're familiar).
Old Friends: Starts with 1d3 contacts or crew members (your choice). (Rank determined: 1=3, 2-5=4, 1=5)
Colonist: +1 Sav
Socialite: +1 Pep
It should be noted that Rep isn't particularly important for most 18 year olds... you'll gain Rep through your career more than your upbringing.
Alright, so now you know how things started out for your character... Time to get into adulthood!
Now, I could try to include every career known to man, but the fact is that players are going to be of a certain type... they're either gonna be soldiers, engineers, pilots, officers, merchants, criminals, or the medics that patch them up... (or of course a combination of these). I'll make sure to have room for some of the slightly more obscure but possibly still useful/interesting professions... courtesans, missionaries, that kinda thing.
Character's backstories are payed out by year.
In any career one can be promoted, as well, but this is not listed as a 'branch.'
Military Professions (often gives you Merc QRS)
Star Army (Branches out to Tanker, Rangers, and ISS (Brances out to ISS Special Ops)).
Planetary Defense Forces (also covers any normal planet's military, Planetary Militias, etc... pretty much regular troops vs. the Star Army's more Marine-ish status. Branches out into PDF Commandoes and PDF Armor)
Star Navy (Branches out to Engineers, Security/Marines, Pilots, and general Ship's Crew).
Gaea Prime Scout Service (no branching out, but this is a highly variable job that is generally focused on exploration and some transportation/communications.... private messages are often sent by ships, to avoid being picked up by enemies).
Department of Home Security (Branches out into COG)
Mercenary (no branching out- generally is a bit more random and balanced in provided skills).
It should be noted that of the various military professions, Star Army is pretty much 'in between' navy and planetary skill sets, PDF is entirely ground focused, and Marines provide a much heavier focus on skills useful on a ship... stuff like using targeting computers and fighting in zero G (you get negative modifiers otherwise).
Other Professions (various QRS)
Free Trader (working on a ship independently.... provides a wide range of space, combat, technical, and other possible abilities).
Merchant (focuses on trading of various sorts).
Criminal (sets you up for any of the criminal careers in NB)
School (people can go to college, essentially, and can basically choose where to advance a bit more and with less danger than other careers, but it also tends to be slower... often sets you up for other jobs).
Blue Service (just got to have this.... doesn't give you much, maybe some Pep and ability to cook a good meal).
Diplomat (also covers religious leaders, courtesans, that kinda thing. Mostly Pep focused)
Law Enforcement (planetbound, more or less... interplanetary police work is covered by the Star Navy, DHS, Mercs, and the Scouts to one extant or another).
Entertainer (similar to diplomat but slightly different set of abilities).
Government (mostly gives Fame, but also can give power and contacts... doesn't provide much actual skill).
Labor (can provide you with some mechanical skills and such).
Technical (Branches out into Medical and Mechanical... basically Sci vs. Sav, but not always.)
White Service (can provide, mostly, the professions in under this label in NB.... could be a bit useful in certain situations... like translators have a higher chance of knowing another language, for example).
Drop Out: Just hang around, pretty much. Maybe travel a bit. Most random and variable job out there. Dangerous, usually not very rewarding. Its the only job you're guaranteed to get, though.
The sort of things you can get from professions (just examples):
- Rep/Skill advancement rolls
- Pilot (Hull: #)
- Ship's Crew (Engineer)
- Doctor (Surgery)
- Additional advancement rolls to any profession skill (this gives even larger bonuses for that profession).
- Soldier (NCO)--- allows use of "leader die" and allows you a better chance to avoid ambushes and such. Also gives you +1 Rep for shooting (a translation of the Targetting attribute)
- Marine (Ship's Gunner)-- provides bonuses when using ship's guns (in addition the the regular marine bonuses to this and fighting in zero g and similar weird circumstances).
- Fame or Notoriety Points
- Smuggler (Captain)-- provides advantages to finding good deals, keeping a crew together, etc.
- Ship's Crew (Navigator)-- provides advantages to finding the best route to a destination (conserves fuel and/or speeds up trip).
- Attributes (some random, some chosen, some mandatory)
- Contacts and Crewmates
- Ships (or at least Items to get a ship).
- New QRS's to choose from (you never NEED to take a new QRS).
It should be noted that it probably sounds like you'll end up with a million attributes, too many Rep advancements, and a million professions.... don't worry!
I haven't totally worked out the system yet, but I'm aiming for probably only 1-4 professions, tops (and generally the more you have the less in depth any of them are... so you don't get any "Pilot - 2").
Attributes will generally be kept to only a few... no more than 4 to a character, and thats a rare circumstance.
Rep Advancement will be just enough to make characters usually end up in the Rep: 5 range in about their late 20's- mid 30's....
And all of those will be offset by the times that you are forced to lose some of these things (failed advancement leads to not gaining the profession, failed years lead to rep LOSSES, not advancements, and attributes are often given the option to be replaced, not supplemented).
So, thoughts? Worries? Suggestions?