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Spirit of the ‘Verse Character Creation (Expanded)

25 October 2007

[Edit: you may want to take a look at my Wiki for more updated information.]

As a companion to my previous post, here is expanded information on character creation in my Firefly/Serenity adaptation of Spirit of the Century, which I call Spirit of the ’Verse.

Spirit of the Century is copyright by Evil Hat Productions, and Firefly and Serenity are copyrighted by Mutant Enemy, I believe. My content, as usual, is released under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons license.

Without further ado…

Spirit of the ’Verse: Character CreationSpirit of the Century models the heroes of pulp fiction. Firefly and Serenity, by contrast, follows the exploits of more everyday heroes. Therefore, characters are less powerful than in SotC.


There are five phases:

Tale of Strength and Weakness
A story about strength or weakness, either literal or figurative, often including a physical encounter of some sort.
Tale of Determination and Cowardice
A story illustrating the mettle or will of the character (or lack thereof). This is character’s “dark tea time of the soul”.
Tale of Passion and Betrayal
A story of social conflict, of fellowships won and lost, or lovers lost and gained.
Tale of Life and Death
This probably involves the War of Unification for most folks, but ultimately, this is a tale about the character in crisis.
The Raggedy Edge
Times are hard for everyone. This is a story about how, in these desperate times, the characters have come to be where there are today.

Choose an aspect during each phase, so characters start play with five aspects. Characters must have a least one aspect that fits into the following categories:

  • Character Traits (“Sly as a Fox”)
  • Connections (NPC person or organization, “Browncoat Gunnery Sergeant”)
  • Unfinished Business (ongoing events, “Hunted by the Hands of Blue”)

(For more on aspect categories, read

Skills and Stunts

Characters begin with fourteen skills:

2 x Great [][]
2 x Good [][]
4 x Fair [][][][]
6 x Average [][][][][][]

Characters also start out with three stunts.

Skill List

Skills are as SotC, except as noted. Skills with descriptions are marked with an asterisk.

Academics Knowledge
Alertness Perception
Art Craft/Knowledge
Astronaut* Mundane
Athletics Physical
Burglary Subterfuge
Computing* Craft
Contacting Social
Deceit Social
Drive* Mundane
Empathy Social/Perception
Endurance Physical
Engineering Craft
Fists Combat
Gambling Mundane
Guns Combat
Intimidation Social
Investigation Perception
Leadership Social
Medicine* Knowledge
Might Physical
Mysteries* Knowledge
Pilot* Mundane
Rapport Social
Resolve Social
Resources Mundane
Science* Knowledge
Security* Subterfuge
Sleight of Hand Subterfuge
Stealth Subterfuge
Survival Mundane
Weapons Combat


This skill is analogous to Survival, but for outer space. An astronaut understands how things react in low- to no-G or in the absence of oxygen. Astronauts know the basics of space construction, celestial mechanics, and where to hunt for resources. And they know how to operate an airlock and what to do when a ship loses air or gravity.

The Astronaut skill can also be used to cover non-space environments, such as deep sea operations. If, at the time the player takes the skill, he decides the character is focused on another environment, he may rename this skill to something more appropriate (e.g., Aquanaut).

A person with a high Astronaut skill rating is a tàik?ng rén (tie-KONG-ren), the Chinese term for astronaut, literally “a person who’s been in space”. To such people, space is home.

Trapping: Autopilot [Astronaut]

An astronaut can engage a craft’s autopilot function, which typically has a Pilot skill of Average. The autopilot can also perform basic astrogation and course setting. It takes a few minutes to program an autopilot. Details on difficulties are in the GM’s guidelines (see page 248).

Trapping: Fade to Black [Astronaut]

Astronaut can be used to make a ship harder to find, by dampening EM emissions, for example. On a Mediocre roll, a character creates a sufficient place to hide to allow Astronaut to modify Stealth rolls. It takes only a few minutes to build, but will only last an hour, plus one extra hour per shit.

Trapping: Salvage [Astronaut]

Like the Survival trapping Scavenging, but in outer space. And, like scavenging in the wilderness, an astronaut must be in an appropriate setting like low planetary orbit to find much in the way of man-made flotsam.Astrogation [Astronaut]

As the Survival stunt Due North, but for outer space. Your character has a knack for navigation and can count on one hand the number of times you’ve been lost. Unlike most folks who need a navicomp, he gets a +2 knowledge bonus whenever trying to find his way to a place (using Astronaut), and faces no familiarity penalties to his efforts to navigate.

Stunt: Detecting an Ion Trail [Astronaut]

As the Survival stunt Tracking, but for outer space. Your character can infer a great deal of information from sensor readings. When studying readings, the character may roll Astronaut. Each shift from this roll spent thereafter gives the character one piece of information about the ship or object being tracked (such as size, propulsion method, and so on). Normally, Astronaut can’t be used to track something, leaving such attempts at a Mediocre default.

Stunt: Real Cute in a Space Suit [Astronaut]

Your character practically lives in a spacesuit, or did at one time. If your character fails a physical skill check in microgravity, he gets a +2 skill bonus to his roll to avoid taking a consequence. In zero-gravity, he gets a roll to avoid taking a consequence, even though he would normally not be entitled to one.

Stunt: EVA Veteran [Astronaut]

Requires Real Cute in a Space Suit. Having floated around the proverbial block a few times, you suffer no supplementary action penalty when moving and doing something else in microgravity or zero-gravity.


Burglary is encompassed by the new skill Security.


Computing is similar to Engineering, but whereas Engineering applies to the hardware side of things, Computer covers the software aspects of making computers and robots do things. It’s a measure of how tech savvy a character is.

Characters with high Computing scores network computer systems together, teach computers to interpret sensory data, tweak AI profiles, and council robots not to rebel and take over society.

Trapping: Programming [Computing]

A computer whiz with time and tools can build a variety of software. For details on how to go about that, check out the Gadgets and Gizmos chapter (see page 207).

Trapping: Breakfix [Computing]

Computing can be used to repair software bugs, given the right tools and enough time. Details on difficulties are in the GM’s guidelines (see page 248).

Trapping: Hacking [Computing]

Computing is also the skill for un-programming things. Given time and tools, a hacker can bring any computer to its knees. In those circumstances, Computing works like a very peculiar combat skill, possibly resulting in maneuvers or weirdly indirect attacks (like setting up a virus to subtly corrupt data when an event occurs).

Stunt: Software Engineer [Computing]

When you are building a new computer program or enhancing an old one, your difficulties are reduced by one, and the time to get the work done is reduced by one step on the time table.

Stunt: Can’t Stop the Signal [Computing]

Requires one other Computing stunt. As the Engineering stunt Grease Monkey is to vehicles, Can’t Stop the Signal is to communications gear.

Stunt: Computer Whiz [Computing]

As the Engineering stunt Master Fix-It.

Stunt: Cortex Monkey [Computing]

Requires one other Computing stunt. As the Engineering stunt Grease Monkey is to vehicles, Cortex Monkey is to computer networking gear.

Stunt: Workaround [Computing]

Requires the stunt Programmer or Elite Hacker. As the Engineering stunt Thump of Restoration.


Drive applies to maneuvering vehicles in two dimensions. It covers wheeled vehicles, air cushion vehicles like hovercars, zambonis, and even powerboats. Penalties apply if driving an unfamiliar craft.


Medicine is the application of life sciences to improving and maintaining the health of human beings. In this way, it is similar to the skill Engineering. People with high Medicine skills include doctors, nurses, and EMT’s, but a lot of ordinary folks have some rudimentary medical training. The Medicine stunts under Science in SotC now fall under this skill instead.

You may use this skill to treat animals, but familiarity penalties apply. If you wish, you may rename this skill Veterinary Medicine and take a penalty when treating humans instead.

Trapping: Biology [Medicine]

A character can use his Medicine skill instead of Science to answer questions about the life sciences.

Trapping: Medical Attention [Medicine]

A character can use the Medicine skill for first aid and more advanced medicine. See SotC, page 267, for a discussion of adjudicating use of this skill.Guns


Stunt: Artillery [Guns]

Normally, a character using a heavy-duty slugthrower like a cannon or a howitzer suffers a familiarity penalty as they learn to calculate parabolic flight paths and to take the wind into effect. Characters with this stunt have enough training or experience that they incur no such penalty.


The Mysteries skill is not available. There are no aliens or magical artifacts in the ‘Verse, and most other kinds of mysteries smolder far away on the Earth-That-Was, a planet now considered a research subject for Academics.

However, the Mysteries trapping Mesmerism is available through the Rapport skill as a stunt. Additionally, the Hypnosis stunts listed under Mysteries live under Rapport as well, having Mesmerism as an additional prerequisite.


Pilot covers handling a vehicle in three dimensions, meaning both atmospheric and space craft. Penalties should be applied if driving an unfamiliar craft.


The modern-day trend of blurring the lines between scientific disciplines continues into the 26th Century, so there continues to be only one Science skill. However, the Medicine stunts under Science in SotC are now stunts for the Medicine skill.

The Mad Science and Weird Science stunts apply to the state of knowledge in the 26th Century, but otherwise they work as their SotC counterparts.


Whereas Burglary covers the use of penetrating security systems, this game uses the Security skill to represent both sides of the coin. A person with a high security skill might be a soldier, policeman, or cat burglar.

Trapping: Cryptography [Security]

A character can use his Security skill to complement his Computing or Academics skill when dealing with encryption, codes, and ciphers.

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