Backgrounds

Backgrounds

Once you’ve sorted out your culture and Attributes, it’s time to decide on a background. This is your character’s past, what he or she got up to before becoming an airship pirate. Not all backgrounds are available to all cultures – some jobs are just not done in some cultures. Check which backgrounds are available for your chosen culture and pick the one that suits your character concept.

Academic

Neovictorian (Upper Class males only), Skyfolk

You have studied an academic subject to a high level. If you’ve studied in a Neovictorian city (all three IMperial cities in North America have colleges), you’re likely to have a somewhat limited view of the word as the textbooks have been rewritten to the Emperor’s viewpoint and anyone who does anything too progressive ends up in the Change Cage. Only the larger sky cities such as Isla Aether have a university, but academic freedom is highly valued. You may have fled a Neovictorian city to take to the skies or perhaps you are studying the other pirate for your doctorate!

Skills: One of Academic (any), Engineer (any), Legal Matters, Medicine, Science (any); plus Bull, General Knowledge, Conversation, Research

Administrator

Neovictorian (Upper Class males only), Skyfolk

You may have spent your days shuffling paperwork, dealing with minor matters of stock or population control, or maybe you were in charge of huge numbers of people and kept the economy of an entire city running smoothly. Once aboard a pirate airship, you may find yourself in charge of the ship’s stores, or in command of its men, depending on previous experience.

Skills: Appraisal, Bull, Business, Intimidate, Leadership, Research

Agitator

Neovictorian (any)

Agitators are subversives, hell-bent on exposing the hypocrisy and misinformation upon which Neovictorian society is based. Most agitators work alone for the most part – writing inflammatory tracts, scrawling irreverent graffiti on the block walls, sabotaging polite society, or throwing a spanner into the factory works. Occasionally agitators do work together, to produce propaganda or to otherwise spread their agenda of sedition – but when they do, they risk infiltration of the Chuno Ggun. So agitators most avoid revealing too much about themselves or inquiring too closely of their fellow revolutionaries. Perha you had just had enough of your dismal home, but now you’ve exchanged the stifling oppression of the Change Cage city for the freedom of the skies.

Skills: Act, Art (any), Bull, Conversation, Disguise, Hide & Sneak, Perception, Streetwise

Air Marine

Neovictorian (Servant Class males only), Skyfolk

You were a soldier who fought for your city. When your navy needed ground forces, it was you who got sent in on the front line. You may have been assigned to a particular airship, or may have been stationed at a ground base or in your home city, ready to be assigned to transport whenever you were needed. Maybe you have served your term, and now put your combat skills to the use of your fellow pirates, or maybe you have deserted to escape the harsh discipline of the marines.

Skills: Dodge, Firearms, Fisticuffs, Improvised Weapon, Intimidate, Swordplay

Air Sailor

Neovictorian (Servant Class males only), Skyfolk

You served as a crew on an airship. This may have been an Imperial Air Navy ship, an airship belonging to a sky city’s navy, a merchant vessel, or even another pirate ship. Perhaps you jumped ship to escape harsh discipline, or were originally press-ganged and are now trying to get back to your home, and intend to jump ship again when you get there. Or maybe you betrayed your previous crew and they are out for revenge.

Skills: Dodge, Firearms, Fisticuffs, Improvised Weapon, Gunnery, Sky Lore

Air Navy Officer

Neovictorian (Upper Class males only), Skyfolk

You were once in charge of a naval vessel and perhaps had hundreds of men under your commannd. You were shown respect and lived a life of relative luxury when in your home port. If you were an officer in the Imperial Air Navy, you were a member of the upper class and these things came naturally as a part of your heritage. Now you re aboard a pirate ship. Maybe you were demoted or cast out of the service for some infraction, maybe you hated the order you were given and rebelled. Now your previous background could be an asset or a liability – it’s up to you.

Skills: Etiquette, Firearms, Leadership, Swordplay, Fashion, Sky Lore, Tactics

Artist

Neobedouin, Neovictorian (Upper Class only), Skyfolk

You once made your living with your artistic endeavors, whether that was painting, photography, sculpture or something more abstract or avant-garde. If you are Neovictorian, you may well have fled one of the cities after your work was thrown in the Change Cage for being too innovative. Perhaps you still use your art in the service of your crew or perhaps you have had to suppress your creative urges to avoid the ridicule of your shipmates.

Skills: Art (any two), Buller, Charm, Craft (any), Culture (own), Perception

Autocrat

Automaton only

You were a mechanical bureaucrat. In the Neovictorian city from which you escaped, you were involved with collecting and collating records for the government’s difference engines. You have a phenomenal memory. You may have been in a back room, shuffling papers, or stationed at an important security checkpoint, working an autophrenometer and scanning faces against your internal records. Your brain works differently than that of a human – you analyze things logically and are not prone to irrational beliefs and superstitions. Nevertheless, your desire for freedom eventually won out over the satisfaction you felt at working efficiently. The world outside your previous tidy existence is terribly messy and confusing, but you do your best to help your human shipmates.

Skills: Charm, General Knowledge, Perception, Business, Research

Beast Dancer

Neobedouin

You are highly trained martial artist, an expert in the Neobedouin art of Beast Dancing. Supremely graceful, the focus of all eyes when you dance, you are nevertheless a killer, whether with your bare hands or the favored weapons of your art, the Claws and the Arm-Blades. You have fought many a wild beast, using their own techniques against them. Now you fight others of your own species, and most of them don’t know what hit them.

Skills: Athletics, Dance, Dodge, Hide & Sneak, Martial Arts (Beast Dancing), Specialized Weapons (Claws, Arm-Blades), Survival, Tracking

Chuno Ggun

Neovictorian (Servant Class males, Upper Class males, Misbegotten males)

You were a hunter, a killer. Whether hunting down escapees from the Change Cage, or wiping out you were the vengeful fist of the Emperor, crewing the feared black frigates, bringing death to guilty and innocent alike. Maybe you commanded such a vessel, or provided the muscle, or perhaps you were part of a covert team that infiltrated other cultures and assassinated the Emperor’s enemies. Now you have a different life, but your past crimes still haunt you, and maybe one day they will catch up with you.

Skills: Athletics, Dodge, Firearms, Hide & Sneak, Improvised Weapon, Intimidate, Swordplay, Interrogation, Martial Arts (Bartisu), Tracking

Clergyman

Neovictorian (Upper Class males only)

Christianity is sadly unfashionable these days. You did your best, but the church was usually half-empty of a Sunday evening, the place was falling down and there was little enthusiasm for your sermons. There are a number of reasons why a Clergyman should become a pirate. Perhaps you were defrocked for some sin or other. Maybe traveling with the pirates is a way to find new converts. Or maybe you feel the need to save the souls of the heathen crew and get them back on the path to Heaven.

Skills: Charm, Empathy, Etiquette, Academic (Theology), Conversation, Performance (Sermons)

Criminal

Neovictorian (any), Skyfolk

This career covers everything from a street pickpocket or gang enforcer, though the common house-breaker and the gentleman burglar, to the crime lord at the center of a web of deceit. Maybe you have given up your criminal ways, but more likely you see your position as member of a pirate crew as an opportunity to further the scope of your activities.

Skills: Bull, Fisticuffs, Hide & Sneak, Intimidate, Might, Streetwise, Leadership, Pick Locks, Pick Pocket

Dilettante

Neovictorian (Upper Class only), Skyfolk

You had sufficient money not to need to work, but lived a life of leisure, dabbling in whatever hobbies took your fancy, whether it be beekeeping, bread making or baritsu. Maybe piracy is just your latest fad, or perhaps you lost your wealth due to some misfortune or indiscretion, or gave up the boring ennui of it all for a life of excitement.

Skills: Etiquette, six other “hobby” skills of your choice.

Factory Worker

Neovictorian (Lower Class, Automaton, or Misbegotten)

You spent your days doing boring, repetitive work in atrocious conditions. You may have learned some sort of craft, but were never able to us it creatively. Now you have escaped from your life of drudgery and are determined never to return.

Skills: Fisticuffs, Craft (any), Might, Streetwise, Gambling

Gadgeteer

Neobedouin, Neovictorian (Lower Class, Servant Class), Skyfolk

You have always had a way with machines. Whenever anything breaks down, it’s always people are coming to, and when you repair something, you have been known to make it work better than it did in the first place. And then there’s the way you have of taking two separate devices and somehow combining them into something new. You’ve never had any formal education in design, nor the funding to create your dream machines, but you’ve alwas managed to get by without either manual or blueprints. And what with a pirate ship’s constant lack of read cash, there’s always something for you to do.

Skills: Drive, Perception, Ad Hoc Repair, Craft (any), Engineer (any), Pilot

Ganger

Neovictorian (Automaton) only

You are a huge, burly mechanical creature, which bears only a vague resemblance to the human form. You worked the docks, lifting and carrying heavy loads, day in, day out. You may not be very bright, but you knew you were being exploited and that the humans who commanded you saw you as nothing but an unfeeling machine. Now that you are a pirate you have friends who respect you for your strength if not your intellect.

Skills: Dodge, Fisticuffs, Intimidate, Perception, Might

Hunter

Neobedouin

You are a master of wilderness skills, and used your knowledge to hunt for food for your tribe in the dangerous beast-haunted wastelands. Maybe, now that you are a pirate, you miss the feel of the ground beneath your feet, but the thrill of the chase is still there. Perhaps you revel in the freedom of the air, or perhaps you were cast out of your tribe for some misdemeanor and long to return to Mother Earth.

Skills: Dodge, Firearms, Hide & Sneak, Perception, Riding, Archery, Survival, Tracking

Inventor

Neovictorian (any), Skyfolk

You have always enjoyed designing new gadgets, whether it be as mall as a clockwork cigar-trimmer or as large as an intelligent automaton air-frigate. If you grew up in the Skyloft your talents would have been encouraged, but as a Neovictorian, you would have had to be secretive, or you would end up in the Change Cage. As a pirate, your inventions are useful to your fellow crewmates, but why are you not living a life of fame and adulation with workshops and technicians at your command? Maybe your rivals put you out of business, one of your devices went wrong and caused a major accident – or perhaps your inventions are not as good as you think they are.

Skills: Ad Hoc Repair, Craft (any two), Engineer (any two), Research

Marine Commander

Neovictorian (Upper Class males only), Skyfolk

You were once in charge of a regiment of air marines and perhaps had hundreds of men under your command. You were shown respect and lived a life of relative luxury when in your home port. If you were an officer in the Imperial Air Marines, you were a member of the upper class. Though the marines are not as glamorous as the Navy, you had the respect of your peers, and your men respected your first. Now you are aboard a pirate ship. Maybe you were demoted or cast out of the service for some infraction, maybe you hated the orders you were given and rebelled. Now your previous background could be an asset or a liability – it’s up to you.

Skills: Etiquette, Firearms, Fisticufs, Intimidation, Leadership, Swordplay, Tactics

Mercenary

Skyfolk

Whether you fight in the Skyloft’s intermittent skirmishes with each other and the Imperial Air Navy, guard merchant vessels, or work as city militia, you are in it for the money. Once you’ve taken a contract, you do your best to keep to it, but if your employer asks the impossible you don’t feel too bad about retreating. As the member of a pirate crew, you may be self-employed, but you might be getting paid as a bodyguard to one of the other crew members who has more money than sense.

Skills: Athletics, Blunt Weapons, Bull, Firearms, Fisticuffs, Swordplay, Business, Gunnery, Specialized Weapon (any), Tactics

Musician

Neobedouin, Skyfolk

Music is your life. Whether it’s the tribal rhythms of the Neobedouin or the varied music of the Skyloft cities (which runs the gamut from opera to steam metal) you practice and perform at every opportunity. For some in your crew, performance is just a cover for piracy, but for you, piracy is what keeps you in guitar strings and takes you to places where you’ll find a new audience. Do your crew mates love your music and gather round to hear you perform, or do they wince and move away when you start practicing?

Skills: Empathy, Fashion, Instrument (any three), Performance (any)

Outrider

Neobedouin

You were a caravan guard for your tribe, ranging out as they traveled, in search of trouble, whether it be in the form of the uber-beasts of the wilderness or the black frigates of the Neovictorians’ Chuno Ggun. You might have ridden a horse or a motorbike, a camel or a 4×4. Now you live in the sky, but your skills are still required. Did you commit to some crime that cast you out of your tribe, or did you like of vigilance lead to your tribe’s destruction? Or perhaps it was the romance of the air that called you?

Skills: Athletics, Dodge, Drive, Firearms, Fisticuffs or Martial Arts (Beast Dancing), Perception, Riding, Animal Handling, Survival, Tracking

Pirate/Privateer

Skyfolk

While others members of the crew are beginners, you were born to be a pirate. Maybe you were literally born on a pirate ship, maybe you ran away from home at a very early age, but you’ve been aboard ships, caught in the violence of boarding actions and steamcannon broadsides since before puberty. Perhaps you do it from force of habit, or maybe you can’t imagine a better career than the free life of an airship pirate.

Skills: Dodge, Firearms, Fisticuffs, Swordplay, Gunnery, Medicine, Navigation

Prostitute

Neovictorian (Lower Class, Servant Class, Misbegotten or Automaton), Skyfolk

Whether male or female, you sold your sexual favors for money. Perhaps you were a high class concubine in a sky city where such work was respected; but more likely you wee being exploited by a pimp or brothel keeper. Perhaps you enjoyed the work, but perhaps you felt degraded. If you are a Doll it is all you have ever known, and entertaining your human masters has been the sole reason for your existence. Now you live the life of an airship pirate. Have you given up your old trade for more conventional relationships, or do you still use your sexuality to get what you want from life?

Skills: Act, Charm, Dance, Empathy, Streetwise, Fashion, Seduction

Servant

Neovictorian (Servant Class, Automaton)

You were trained from birth, or manufactured specifically, to serve the upper class. You probably worked in a mansion, waiting on table, cooking, cleaning, gardening, looking after the beasts or serving in some other menial capacity. You would have heard your masters speaking of the world outside the walls and come to realize how you were being exploited. Now you are among the crew of a pirate airship. Sometimes the life is hard, and you still worry that the Chuno Ggun might hunt you down – but at least you are free!

Skills: Bull, Empathy, Etiquette, Craft (any three)

Shaman

Neobedouin

You were a respected member of your tribe, leading the ceremonies in praise of the Earth Mother, acting as advisor and healer to your people. Now you are aboard a pirate ship, you perform similar services for the crew. But why are you no longer with your tribe? Did you do something to lead to being outcast, was your tribe wiped out by beasts or black frigates, or did you simply want a change?

Skills: Charm, Dance, Empathy, General Knowledge, Leadership, Medicine, Performance (Ceremony), Teaching

Showman/Woman

Neobedouin, Skyfolk

You are a born performer. Whether a fire-eater, juggler, actor, story-teller or something more exotic, you have made your living entertaining others. Your act may be pure entertainment, or you may have a message to spread (political, religious or philosophical). Now you’re part of a pirate crew; whether you’ve given up performance, or whether it’s still a part of your life, one thing still holds true…the show must go on!

Skills: Act, Charm, Fashion, Performance (any three)

Trader

Neobedouin, Skyfolk

You were a traveling trader. If you are a Neobedouin you would have moved from tribe to tribe across the continent carrying goods from one place to another. Maybe you smuggled rare meats to the upper class of the Neovictorian cities. If you are a Skyfolk trader, you would have traveled with a merchant ship, going from exotic port to port throughout the Skyloft. Now you are crew on a pirate ship. Have you given up your old trading ways for piracy, or do you still try to swing a deal when in port?

Skills: Bull, Charm, Streetwise, Appraisal, Bribery, Business, Culture (two others)

Vigilante

Neovictorian (Upper Class only)

There are those in the upper class who think that the Neovictorian slums are sinks of depravity, and that the Peelers are not doing enough to keep crime in check. You were one of those, but rather than just complaining about it over a snifter of brandy, you went out there and did something. With supreme self-confidence and mastery of baritsu, you stalked the night streets for the killers and rogues who preyed on the weak. But perhaps you realized that it was the system that was wrong and now wish to change it; or maybe you just enjoyed the adrenaline rush and have become a pirate to get that buzz more often.

Skills: Athletics, Blunt Weapons, Conceal, Hide & Sneak, Swordplay, Martial Arts (Baritsu)

Writer

Neovictorian (Upper Class), Skyfolk

Words were always your thing. You read from an early age, and it wasn’t long before you were emulating your favorite authors. Whether you aspired to great literature or churned out pulp stories for Tales of the Airship Pirates, constructed delicate poetry or scribbled copy for the gutter press, you were never so happy as with a pen in your hand or an autostenograph at your fingertips. Now that you’re a pirate, there’s rather less time for writing than there used to be – but oh, the stories you can tell!

Skills: Bull, Empathy, General Knowledge, Perception, Art (Writing)

Backgrounds

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