There are nine character attributes. These attributes, sometimes called “stats” in other games are, Strength, Agility, Toughness, Personality, Intelligence, Perception, Will, Guile and Ops.
A character’s attributes are measured from one to six. Six is the maximum possible score in an attribute for any humanoid character in the game.
Player characters are assumed to be human. Rules for creating alien or robot player characters may come later.
Strength is a measure of physical power and muscle. Agility is a measure of hand / eye coordination and speed. Toughness is a measure of physical resilience to damage, poison, illness, radiation and other such threats. Personality is a measure of the character’s social skills and charm. Intelligence is a measure of the character’s quick thinking as well as their education and book smarts. Perception is a measure of a character’s ability to perceive clearly and notice hidden details. Will is a character’s ability to focus and mold the will of another creature (such as an animal) to the character’s own purpose. Will is also a measure of the character’s psionic potential. Guile is a measure of the character’s skill at deception, setting or removing demolitions or traps of various sorts and the character’s skill at gambling. The Ops attribute is unusual in that it reflects the character’s experience living on board a starship.
The Ops Attribute
Rocketship Empires is a science fiction setting meant to have tense starship battles, dogfights and plenty of space exploration, the things which are the meat and drink of the classic space opera. After a good deal of thought and some preliminary play it occurred to me that a character’s individual savy with life on board a starship was just as important of an attribute of that player character as their strength, will or guile.
A character begins with an Ops score of 1 where the other eight attributes have a starting score of either two or three. An Ops score of 1 indicates that the character has had very little personal experience living or working on board a starship. Ops is the governing attribute over every starship related skill in RSE. A character cannot purchase more skill ranks in an Ops skill (such as starship pilot) higher than their current Ops score. This means that a character with an Ops attribute of 1 could purchase 1 skill rank in the Ops skill of starship pilot. A skill rank of one in any Ops related skill reflects a character who has gone to school and has plenty of book learning regarding their skill but little to no practical experience.
“How many drops is this for you Lieutenant?”
“How many combat drops?”
“Two, counting this one.”
Because the Ops attribute is a less familiar sight in an RPG I thought I would describe each level of the attribute to give players some idea of what point progression in this important attribute means.
Ops 1 Green – Limited Experience (if any) Aboard a Starship.
Ops 2 Cadet – You can man a duty station in a pinch but most of the time you should be working under the guidance of someone with greater experience. If you are working in the private sector or alone you would be considered a Rookie.
Ops 3 Spacer – You are a competent professional with some significant career time aboard a starship.
Ops 4 Veteran – Others look to you to be the voice of experience on board. Life on a starship is a regular part of your career whether you are a starship pilot, navigator or simply a bounty hunter or explorer that bases themselves out of an independent ship. You have spent so much time on board a starship you find that you dream about life on board with some regularity. You have also developed a habit of talking to various parts of the ship or the ship as a whole.
Ops 5 Deep Spacer – One day you woke up with a symbiotic bioport growing in your arm, forehead, neck or wrist. You don’t remember exactly how or when this happened but now you can interface directly with any ship operating with Martian biomech technology. You still talk to the ship. Now she just talks back to you, and you can hear her voice.
Ops 6 Bonded – You rarely venture away from your life aboard a starship for long. You are intimately connected to the biomech technology that makes Martian / Terran hybrid starships function. If you stay dirt side for more than a few days you begin to experience some very bad side effects. Stay away from plugging into the ship for more than a week and you might slip into a coma until someone reconnects you.