What I use is a 3x3 system , 3 sentences and 3 guidelines
#1What is your background?
This needs to include where you how you grew and up and where.
For example, Roger the Dog Mage MU1
Raised a freeman , a kennel keepers brat at Castle Weland, in the Middle Kingdoms. This tells us he knows something of middle class life, castle life, dig training and may have friedns and foes at the castle
#2 Where you learned to be a PC.
Trained on the sly with Corian the local Hedge Wizard
#3 Why you are now adventuring?
Decided he wanted fortune , glory and excitement so he grabbed his stuff, bade his family farewell, took grip his warhound Grip and headed off for adventure.
Now to make this work you need 3 guidelines
#1 Whats said is said. If you make it up, its that way till its changed in play.However feel free to make stuff up as you play with DM approval as it makes great play hooks.
#2 The important stuff happens in play not in the backstory
#3 You are already a capable person out the door, tough as a man at arms and probably a journeyman in one or more skills. To make your skill roll, simply roll vs stat and be done with it. Thats all thats needed.
And viola, simple, flexible old school skills system.
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