Our heroes did not appear out of thin air. Each one of them has a personal history who they are and where they came from. ATE does not have special rules incentives for having particular personal histories. However, we did think it would help people to know a few sample backgrounds that are more likely to be found among most PCs. Bear in mind that some backgrounds that are too far afield (“I was raised in space station”) will be disqualified so look to what we have here for more guidance.
Please bear in mind that all of the below suggestions regarding skill, builds, and names are just that: suggestions.
Born to the Road
Some Drifters and wanderers choose, despite all common sense, to have kids and carry them around till they can start pitching in. Miraculously, some of these kids survive to adulthood. Those born to the road often have a handful of survival, tracking, and combat skills and come off more as jack-of-all-trades. Names for these often sound more like nicknames and are short (Red, Teddy, Shorty, Sal) so that their parents can call to them quickly in case of danger.
You’d be surprised how many bomb shelters or things converted to bomb shelters there are out there. Often these go abandoned because you can’t exactly farm near them and keep their advantages. Sometimes an enterprising couple will set up shop after saving a ton of food so that they can raise a child in safety. Such kids probably grew up tinkering with things to make them work (Junking, Nanoweaving, etc.) and stretch the family supplies as far as possible. Often families of this type will try to do a “classic” family structure but may not have last names of their own. If they are neighbors of other bunker families often kids will have last names like Fredson or Marysdaughter and first names from the books or records in the family collection (Shakespeare and Bronte are pretty popular among bunker kids).
Sometimes (rarely) a group or organization will form a full city. The largest and best known in the area is Underground Atlanta ruled by the Queen of Atlanta who is rumored to be an immortal resurrectionist. Technically Atlanta residents owe their bodies after death to the city’s undead army and so one must escape if one has ever been a citizen. Atlantans often have a bit of Healing to help maintain the zombie army. Names for a city will depend on the environment but names in Atlanta often have last names indicating which street you grew up on and first names that sound of medical terms (Cortex Peachtree probably needs a middle name to help distinguish themselves).
Most people are not willing to raise their kids in the wild and so they use a creche. A creche is a sort of VR pod that will tap into the Lattice and raise a baby up to the age of 18 with full immersion edutainment. Creche kids often are more educated in Academics and sciences but sometimes it depends on how long they’ve been out of the creche as to whether they know other things. Creche’s were often popular before the End with religious types and so often come preset with certain names (Mohammed, Gautama, Ruth, Mary)
Cities with body taxes, Federals with citizenship, none of them are as controlling as cults. Cults come in all shapes and sizes though few have much to do with religions that came before the End. Escaped cultist often have social skills (Diplomacy, Performance) that helped them navigate and survive the cult. Often they will have a “cult name” that they grew up and a “real name” that they chose and that often reflects their desire to choose their own destiny (meaning of course that many of them choose Destiny or Fate as a name).
The New Federal government is by far one of the largest and widest reaching organizations in the world after The End. Some people eventually decide they don’t want to live under the thumb of the government but would rather live the free life of the drifters. Former Federals often have a single skill they focus in like a professional skill. Names in federal territories are often more traditional last names with first names that are American historical figures or locations (Nevada Jones, Betsy Ross Lee).