In Let’s Get Personal, I introduced the Personality System that is used in Human Orbit. This is the third post in that series, where I will talk a bit about the traits included in the Agreeableness group. For your recollection, the other groups are Extroversion, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness. Extroversion has already been covered and in future posts I will be covering Conscientiousness, Neuroticism and Openness.
Agreeableness in Human Orbit relates mostly, but not exclusively, to how willing NPCs are to prioritise the wants and needs of others over their own. It also relates to how uncomfortable confrontation makes them feel and how far they are willing to go in order to avoid it. A highly agreeable NPC is likely to get along well with other NPCs and be good in team-based work, but they are also more likely to be used by others and to fail to achieve their own goals due to putting other people first. The blessing of being highly agreeable, however, is that they take pleasure in other people’s success as well as their own. Highly agreeable NPCs are likely to live quite content lifestyles and to be fairly popular, even in cases where they are not extroverted.
The Agreeableness Traits
Trust is a tricky thing. In Human Orbit, it relates to how closely NPCs are willing to take others at their word. NPCs with low trust are likely to experience background levels of stress from constantly having to doubt the motives of others, but it will help them to avoid being possibly used by other NPCs (or, more likely, the player!). When the player falsifies an email and sends it from an NPC’s account, a recipient with low Trust is more likely to pick up on the differences between how the player has constructed the email and how the apparent sender would have done – if they consider the difference to be large, then they may even report it as suspicious network activity.
Morality is almost the counterpart to Trust. An NPC with a high degree of expression in Morality is likely to be straight-forward in the way that the relate to other NPCs, whereas an NPC with low Morality is more inclined to hide their motives. This will show up in the subtleties of NPC communication – when the player is monitoring the content of emails being sent between NPCs, they may find it more difficult to divine the ‘true’ nature of NPCs with low Morality. It is worth noting that having a low morality score does not indicate that an NPC takes part in immoral activities – only that they are more likely to hide their motives. Often this will be for simple reasons of privacy, professionalism or natural guardedness.
Altruism relates to the degree to which NPCs in Human Orbit enjoy helping others. An NPC who is highly altruistic and who is working in a close team-based role on the station will find frequent opportunities to boost their mood by helping others achieve basic work tasks. These sorts of NPCs are not necessarily more likely to notice when another NPC is in distress, but they are more likely to act upon that – even if that is to their own detriment – and, when they have successfully helped another, they are likely to feel happy for having done it.
Sympathy relates to the value that an NPC places in the emotional well-being of others. An NPC who scores low in Sympathy is not necessarily a bad person, but they will certainly seem like it sometimes! Such a person will value results and objectively valuable achievements more highly. An unsympathetic department boss in Human Orbit is likely to demand a lot from their subordinates – even in cases where they can see that they are stressed and under a great deal of pressure – they may request a lot of overtime and end up pushing their colleagues too hard, causing them to burnout. A more sympathetic boss would be more willing to take the well-being of their colleagues into consideration and miss departmental deadlines; it is more important to them that their friends and colleagues are happy and healthy.
Cooperation is a really core trait in the Agreeableness set. An NPC that scores low in the Cooperation facet will feel quite comfortable in confrontational situations, whereas a high scorer will do everything that they can to avoid confrontation of any kind. This trait pairs well with Assertiveness (from the Extroversion set) – an NPC who is highly assertive but only slightly cooperative will not only feel comfortable when they’ve been dropped into confrontational situations but they will also be ready and willing to confront people directly. It is least cooperative NPCs who will initiate the most dramatic interactions on the station, for better or worse.
The Modest trait is exactly what it sounds like. A Modest NPC is less likely to boast about their achievements and less likely to demand compensation for their efforts when they have gone above and beyond what is called of them. In Human Orbit, Modesty is one of the subtle traits that moderates the tone that NPCs take with one another and will show most often when it affects the course taken during one of the procedural conversations. A Modest NPC is, in short, less likely to annoy others.
When an NPC has a strong expression in most or all of the personality traits in the Agreeableness set, they are likely to get along well with others and to take good care of other people on the station. They’re a valuable, nurturing presence. As a warning to the player: If highly agreeable NPCs end up in accidents or somehow ‘go missing’, it is likely to cause distress to a whole array of people across the station, and also to break down support networks. Highly agreeable NPCs may come across as doormats but, make no mistake, they are the lynchpins of a healthy community. Look after these people, and they’ll do their best to keep the rest of the crew happy and healthy. And a happy, healthy crew is a productive crew.
Next time, I’ll be talking about Conscientiousness and the role that it plays in Human Orbit.