Mindjammer RPG: Occupations
This week I’d like to talk a little more about occupations in Mindjammer – The Roleplaying Game. As you’ll see from the preview PDF, occupations work similarly to the cultures I talked about a couple of weeks ago – aggregations of high concepts, troubles, suggested skills, stunts, enhancements, and equipment, to help to create a Mindjammer character quickly and easily.
Occupations are never set in stone – you don’t have to take one, and the ones that are given in the core book can be tweaked and changed to fit whatever your character concept is. But they’re a very handy shorthand, as well as a way of describing some of the character archetypes in the Mindjammer setting. An occupation is a top-level broad type of character – there’s a military occupation, a merchant occupation, a spacer occupation, and so on, pretty much self-explanatory and covering what you’d expect. Each occupation contains a number of builds, which is where it gets fun. Each build specifically proposes the high concepts, troubles, and skills, stunts, and other abilities which are its tools of the trade, as well as a description of how that build fits into Commonality society (or not…). Builds are really where the archetypes shine, and where the Mindjammer setting hooks right into your character. Sure, you might have a Security occupation – but are you a CORESEC enforcer, a culture agent, or a gestalt controller?
This chapter is where you can see those archetypes, and create characters based on them. If you need a character in a hurry, you can copy out the suggested abilities straight onto your character sheet, and get playing right away. We expect in general though you’ll modify the builds as you go, customising them based on your character’s backstory. Occupations generally contain more abilities than a beginning character can take, so there’s also a ready-made advancement path if you want it. You can also change occupations, and of course invent your own; and, if you’re the type to push the envelope, later in the book we present a number of post-human occupations and builds, where you can get seriously transhuman. More on that in a future post.
One thing I wanted to draw your attention to in this week’s preview; take a look at the Memetic Engineer build in the Sci-Tech occupation on page 63. You’ll see that build suggests stunts like Cultural Intrusion, Cultural Redaction, and Memetic Engineer; these allow you to use your skills in hugely differing contexts. In this case, they let you use your Intrusion (the Mindjammer name for the Burglary skill), Empathy, and Technical skills in actions against whole cultures. That’s right; with the Cultural Redaction skill, you can restore damage done to entire cultures; with Memetic Engineer, you can even change them. Cultures are a big deal in Mindjammer (certainly not the only deal, but a big one); but the same principle works for actions against starships, space stations, organisations such as governments and instrumentalities, and so on. The ability to take a stunt to act in a radically different context is central to the game.
Lastly, check out that “Culture as Extra” entry at the end of the Memetic Engineer build. This is just like Max Proffitt having the Rosemary Princess starship as an extra, except you can use a whole culture as if it was part of your character. If you want to make cultural ops part of your game, you can begin to see how; but the same goes for all kinds of other entities – including clandestine organisations for special ops, espionage, and conspiracy / political games. And when you take the same principle into the Mindscape… You get the picture.
Take a look! If you have any questions, fire away, either here or at our Google+ Community. Work on layout is proceeding apace here at Mindjammer Central – join me here next week for another update as we approach launch.