What are the inheritable traits for crew members aboard a Generation starship?

Coincident Split has the player create the current crew of a Generation class starship. A thousand years previously, the starship set off from Earth, embarking upon an impossibly long voyage with the ultimate aim of finding a new home for tens of thousands of people. Despite the events of the past Earth is overpopulated. The starship is captained by a noble of the Galactic Monarchy. The game begins where the ship has, after a thousand years, finally reached its destination. The noble captain will lead a small away team onto the unknown planet's surface to discover if the planet is suitable for long term habitation by the rest of the crew. This is because long range sensors can really only tell you so much about any planet.

 The player must create the noble and the away team as an intial step before the game begins properly. Crew members are created using a family tree type structure wherein the player chooses the ancestors of each character in turn. Traits are passed down from the parents to their children instead of merely rolling virtual dice or assigning points to attributes. The player steers the crew member towards a desired outcome by choosing from existing crew members to build the family tree. The character being created is from the generation ship which, thanks to sub-light speed travel, takes so long to get to the nearest star that multiple generations of crew live and die aboard the vessel.

There are six basic traits which are inheritable through generations which a player will be playing special attention to. Each is rated using a percentile system where 100% is the highest that a crew member can ever achieve. The 100% level is possible to attain in any attribute, but unlikely. The lowest possible score is 16% (not 0%) and is extremely rare. The six basic traits which crew members are rated for and can inherit are empathy, musculature, influence, balance, intellect and endurance. Each is explained in more detail below.

Empathy - All crew members on board the starship undergo extensive psyche evaluations while in the academy and rated for empathy. Empathy helps with teamwork, team based sports and generally getting along with others. Crew members with high empathy are expected to go into the Medical Officer profession, where they can put it to , but this is by no means guaranteed.

Musculature is effectively how much muscle mass the crew member has on their body. A high musculature percentage leads to very powered melee attacks, both when armed with force weapons and when striking with no weapon. Nobles tend to have good musculature due to their propensity for training for and entering Zero-G Boxing contests - a popular pastime amongst these high ranking families.

Influence - Cadets at the academy are tested for influence in a variety of circumstances, determining how effective they are at influencing others to their way of thinking. Influence is helpful for any member of the crew, especially when dealing with other species or unknown parties. There are multiple alien species on board the Generation starship, not all of which thinks the same way by default.

Balance - The ability to remain upright while in challenging gravitational situations or when engaged in physical hand to hand combat can be very important, but also hand to eye coordination is considered as part of a crew member's overall rating. Crew members with a high balance tend to be good shots with phasers and heavier weaponry. Engineers especially are favoured for balance due to the weird n dimensional Escherist nature of ship engine compartments.

Intellect - All cadets learn, and are tested on, Stellar and Quantum physics. Their intellect rating reflects their test scores amalgamated with a general IQ test. Crew members with very high intellects are often recruited into the creed of the Technomonks, a semi-religious mystery sect that strives to discover the purity of knowledge.

Endurance - The rigours of space travel and walking upon alien planet surfaces require crew members to be fit and healthy. Endurance is a trait which benefits all crew members of any profession or type. The higher this is the more ability a crew member has to withstand adversity over long periods of time.

The sex of the crew member has no effect on these traits, so there is no inherent advantage to being male or female in the game. The type or profession of the crew member, however, does. So for instance, Medical Officers will tend towards good empathy, as noted earlier. Alien who are allied with the Galactic Monarchy and are available on the generation ship, such as the mighty Klarvian will tend towards a good endurance score, and so forth.

The challenge for the player will be to put these elements together in order to make an effective away team which will explore an alien planet and (no doubt, if diplomacy fails) engage in strategic combat with unknown hostile life forms...

What is Coincident Split, a science fiction tactical RPG?

Coincident Split is a science fiction computer roleplaying game set against the backdrop of a Generation class star ship. This type of vessel carries fifty thousand people (or more) on a journey across the vast gulf of space to find a new habitable planet for its crew to live upon. Generation class star ships are huge, like flying cities. Their drives enable travel at sub-light speeds, so many generations of people live and die on the ship before it ever reaches it's remote destination. 

Generation class star ships are owned by a noble sworn to the Galactic Monarchy. These nobles captain their ships and are fully responsible for the lives of their crew members. Their aim is set up a colony on a suitable world, but such is the nature of the mission that this will be something that the noble's ancestors will inherit the right to. The game begins where a suitable planet has been found and the player must create the crew of the star ship, i.e. the noble and the away team that will beam to the planet's surface to discover what is there and if the planet is suitable for long term human existence. Scanning a planet can only tell you so much. 

Character creation in Coincident Split has a twist - the player gets to create a family tree for each member of the crew, going back from the current generation. This family tree then helps to influence the traits of the character (e.g. picking engineering officers from the crew as both parents will likely lead to a child that has a technical mind too, and it may even surpasses the parents' capabilities in this regard). Choosing parents of differing roles and races may lead to the inheriting of traits from both parents. The player will no doubt be looking to make the best possible crew for the mission ahead, and so the character creation process allows players to experiment indefinitely with pairing crew members and selecting offspring to carry forward, or to eventually finalise on, making this a mini-game in its own right.

Direct genetic engineering and manipulation is technically possible, but banned on the Generation ship as it is felt by the Galactic Monarchs that it serves to cheapen life in all of its multitude of forms. Evolution is widely considered to be effective only when selection is occurring naturally. Humanity had to learn this particular lesson the hard way back on earth with the outbreak of the Mutant Plague - which originated in a lab - and which devastated the global population at the time. The only survivors of this plague were those who had been naturally conceived and born. While this is an event from the remote past the Generation starship's computer banks help ensure that each generation learns of it, intending that this particular mistake from the past is not repeated. This philosophy of natural Darwinism is held in very high esteem on the ship and so has held through the thousand year journey.

A further complication for the player is to make sure that the away team they construct has a balanced mix of various roles and races so that the team can cover many potential scenarios. Who knows really what might be encountered on the planet's surface (or below it). While the best character currently being viewed could be a medical officer, if it were to lead to an away team composed entirely of medical officers then it probably wouldn't be the best choice. On the other hand an away team without a medical officer could run into trouble fast should it encounter hostiles on the unknown planet.

It is also possible to generate characters that are already deceased but who have good traits which the player wants. These characters can be 'revived' (copied) into an Android and included as part of the away team. Androids are high powered close up against hostile aliens but, perhaps surprisingly, vulnerable to damage due to having a very low security clearance for armour. Androids are not common on board the ship, with a population of less than 1% of the total, and access to the consciousness duplication technology is strictly prohibited. Only the nobles and technomonks legally have access to it, ensuring that the population largely lives out its lifespans and then clears the way for the next generation on board the ship. The inspiration for the Androids are the Nexus 6 from Blade Runner, though limitations on the Android lifespan is around 70 years.

What are the available crew choices for an away team in Coincident Split?

The crew aboard a Generation Starship are many and their roles and responsibilities are varied. Only the very best are available for selecti...