|Extra Merits, Flaws and Backgrounds|
Bad Credit History (Flaw -1/2)
The character has a bad credit history. Although he might have Resources today, he will have a hard time getting credit. As a 2 point flaw there are repo men and angry creditors after him.
Black-listed and unemployable (Flaw -1/2)
The character is for some reason blacklisted. It could be for political reasons, crimes, past fiascos or due to some personal conflict ("You'll never work in this town again!"). As a one point flaw the character is unemployable within a certain sector (film, software, the military etc). As a two point flaw this extends to more jobs, making it extremely hard to get hired by legit businesses.
Antisocial (Flaw -1/2)
The character doesn't fit into society due to delusional (or maybe too realistic?) thinking, opinions or lifestyle. This flaw doesn't necessarily mean he is antisocial or that people mistreat him, but his and society's ways are different enough to cause trouble regularly - unpaid taxes, quarrels with officials, derision from the neighbours and police interest. As a one point flaw the character might display more religious zeal than people are comfortable with, be a conspiracy theorist or hippie. As a two point flaw the character is living a life openly outside society and most of its rules, perhaps as a drifter, member of a back-hill sect or militia. This flaw goes well with the unconventional lifestyle below.
Openly un-conventional lifestyle (Flaw -1)
The character lives openly in a way that irritates others or causes persecution. He might be an militant atheist, member of black Islam, Wicca, a Satanist church or a sexual minority. The flaw hampers promotion and perhaps social situations with people of opposing views. It naturally goes well with the antisocial flaw above.
Accelerated Promotion (Merit, +1/2/3)
The character has been promoted rapidly or formally, becoming a higher rank than he would be expected to hold. This could be a courtesy rank or essential specialists given high positions in projects. The merit adds its points to the Backround rank. This has most effect on salary and formal rights, but usually not on the size of troops under the character's command.
In this networked world, most people can be found and contacted with a few search requests into the Net. Unlike most, you are hard to find. Your net addresses are unlisted and anonymous, your credit trail vanishes into the mists of offshore banking, your physical address is listed under the wrong name and you keep in touch with people using telecom or unexpected drop-ins.
This is in many ways similar to Arcane in Mage and Cypher in Trinity. The background acts as extra difficulty for attempts at finding the character (both friendly and unfriendly attempts), as well as extra dice when trying to be discrete.
You are part of a network with influence or information. In the past it might have been the freemasons, old school ties or a club, in the present there are more kinds of networks than even a conspiracy theorist could keep track of: business associates, closed mailing lists, net tribes, extended families, web communities, special interest group, virtual gaming teams, clusters, organisation factions, backbone cabals and slashteams. Like Contacts and Allies you can draw help from the Network, although the help is usually in the form of intangible things like information, media coverage or other things close to the specialisation of the network. An international crimewatcher network might help with investigations while a high society roleplaying group might have more unusual connections. The level of the background denotes a combination of how well known you are in the network (and hence how likely they are to help you) and how powerful it is.
You have a military rank. This background is only relevant for characters part of the military or in a military campaign. (-2 negative rank can be bought as a flaw in military campaigns; being civilian is usually not a flaw)
Corporate RankIn a corporate campaign the counterpart to military rank might be the following for a mid-sized corporation. The larger the corporation, the more ranks are possible and the higher the CEO can float.
The character has been equipped with augmentation - psychological conditioning, bionic implants, biotechnology, nanodevices or similar extensions. Each dot in Augmentation will provide some benefits, depending on the tech level: At TL 6-7, psychological conditioning, inoculations and similar treatments can provide one point of merits such as eidetic memory, light sleeper and self-confidence for every point in the background. Each point of augmentation gives one freebie to spend. At TL 8, physiological enhancements such as implants and gene therapy become possible. Every dot in Augmentation now provides 1.5 freebie points that can be spent on merits, attributes and skills. At TL 9 Augmentation provides 2 points, TL 10 3, and so on.
People/beings from high TLs are often less defined by their abilities than their goals and personalities - they spend most of their freebies on augmentation and rely on artificial systems. Note that augmented abilities are dependent on the augmentation working well and often somewhat more limited than inherent abilities - linguistic augmentation will allow the character to use implanted languages, but will not help much with understanding related languages, augmented cheerfulness will be somewhat plastic and intelligence augmentation will involve implanted AI algorithms not necessarily similar to ordinary thinking.
Normally the effects of the augmentation are fixed and cannot be changed, but by treating the augmentation as two TL less (i.e. it gives fewer freebies) it can be redefined.from day to day. The character can redistribute the extra freebies once each day. Beyond TL 11 the change takes minutes instead, and at TL 12 it takes a turn of concentration.
Game-balance wise this is of course a risky advantage, and only accessible to characters from high TL cultures where augmentation is common and acceptable.