This is the fourth part in a six part series of posts that talk about the Personality System used in Human Orbit. In the first post, Let’s Get Personal, I introduced the Personality System. Extroversion and Agreeableness have already been covered. In this post, I will be talking about Conscientiousness, which will leave only Neuroticism and Openness remaining to be covered in the next two posts.

So, as a general summary, Conscientiousness in Human Orbit mostly affects how much control NPCs have over themselves. It affects the way that they relate to their work and their life ambitions (Orderliness, Dutifulness, Achievement-striving, Self-discipline), it affects their level of satisfaction with themselves (Self-efficacy) and it affects their likelihood of making rash decisions that may hinder their own ambitions (Cautiousness).

The Conscientiousness Traits

  • Self-Efficacy

Self-efficacy is an NPC’s tendency to believe in themselves and their capability to achieve their aims. When determining an NPC’s ambitions, this trait will be taken into account in order to determine just how lofty their ambitions will be. A high value in Self-efficacy will cause an NPC to have a great deal of belief in themselves and they will be more easily able to shrug it off when other NPCs suggest that they aren’t capable of what they claim. A low value in Self-efficacy indicates an NPC who does not have a great deal of belief in themselves – they will set the bar low for their ambitions and they are likely to struggle with their self-esteem. A low value in Self-efficacy  can be very bad for an NPC’s emotional well-being when it is combined with high values in traits from the Neuroticism set.

  • Orderliness

Orderliness is a fairly simple trait that relates to how ordered or chaotic an NPC prefers things to be. Very orderly NPCs prefer strict routines and schedules to live by; they will cope well with deadlines and are unlikely to miss them or be late. An NPC who has a low value in orderliness is the opposite – they are happier living a more chaotic lifestyle; they are more flexible and will not feel particularly stressed when things do not go according to plan (often, they never had a plan to begin with). An NPC for whom Orderliness is strongly expressed will probably feel frustration or even anger when another NPC cancels an appointment, a planned meeting or a date.

  • Dutifulness

Dutifulness can manifest a number of ways. The important thing to remember about Dutifulness is that it only affects people with regard to their actual priorities. An NPC who is very dutiful and also very Friendly (a trait from the Extroversion set) will be very sure to keep promises that they have made to their personal acquaintances. An NPC who is very dutiful and also Achievement-striving will be very sure to keep their appointments regarding work and public life. Note as well that someone who is very Dutiful but not very orderly may fail to keep their promises due to their disorderliness – for such a person, they will feel a very strong sting for having failed to keep their obligations.


  • Achievement-striving

Achievement-striving is a trait that controls an NPC’s relationship with their work – normally, in Human Orbit, this means work in the conventional sense: their career. NPCs that are highly Achievement-striving will work hard to achieve their aims and, if the trait is expressed very strongly, that may sometimes impede their capability to keep up with their other obligations and needs. An NPC that is both highly Achievement-striving and also highly extroverted will have difficulty balancing their work life with their social life and may experience some stress as a result.

  • Self-discipline

This is an important trait and pairs well with Achievement-striving. An NPC who is highly Achievement-striving but who does not have a high value in Self-discipline will be very oriented around their career goals, but will not always find the energy to cope with tasks that they dislike. They might be prone to procrastination and this will show up in their level of productivity.

  • Cautiousness

Cautiousness is a trait that controls how NPCs make decisions. An NPC who is very cautious will not make decisions quickly and will tend to deliberate over opportunities until they are sure that they are worth taking a risk on; sometimes this will mean that they miss out on opportunities altogether or annoy others with their apparent hesitance. A cautious NPC will be unlikely to express themselves openly to their superiors or to other NPCs that they think are popular. An NPC who is not cautious at all will often make rash decisions that they regret; they may sometimes overstep their mark and risk offending others.

Conscientious NPCs are basically the workhorses of Human Orbit. When you’re lucky enough or have been clever enough to have put a conscientious NPC as a department head, you can count on their department of the station to tick over like a well-oiled clock (with maybe some bits of grit in it). At the same time, it’s important to try to balance out NPCs with certain profiles into areas that they won’t conflict with one another – a department packed with Achievement-striving NPCs is likely to become a minefield as everyone tries to get themselves promoted ahead of the others. The friction that this creates in a department may not make up for the generally good work ethic that conscientious NPCs bring to the table.

Here, I have been talking about making sure that conscientious NPCs are employed in the right areas on the station, but I want to be clear that I do not mean that the player has direct control over any single NPCs place of employment. In order to manoeuvre an NPC into the desired place of employment, you will need to be clever and use a combination of methods to get them there. To have someone promoted, you will need to make sure that they are productive and meeting their goals. This will typically mean making sure that they are happy in their life and themselves. You will also need to free up the slot that you want them to be moved into – there are various ways of doing that (and some ways are very direct). Finally, you will need to make sure that their achievements are recognised by the powers that be – it will be hard to have an NPC promoted if they are unpopular with the upper management.

Next time, I’ll be talking about Neuroticism and the role that it plays in Human Orbit.

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