This is the final post in a six part series that has been talking about the Personality System used in Human Orbit. It began with the introductory post, Let’s Get Personal, and since then has gone over the first four of the Big Five sets of traits: Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Neuroticism. In this final blog post, I’ll be talking about Openness and the six traits that fit into that set: Imagination, Artistic Interest, Emotionality, Adventurousness, Intellect and Liberalism.
The Openness traits correspond to the way that an NPC relates to the world around them, to new experiences and to social structures. An NPC who has strongly expressed Openness will tend to examine the world around them with an eye for why it is the way that it is and why it ought to be that way. An NPC who has weakly expressed Openness will be happy to accept the world for what it is and they will generally have a positive relationship with whatever social structure is in place. Specifically, it is the NPCs who have strongly expressed Openness on the station who will be most likely to instigate change, and it is those NPCs with weakly expressed Openness who will be most likely to resist it. When you, as the player, want to bring about change on the station, you will find that you have the most leverage over NPCs who are very open.
The Openness Traits
In Human Orbit, Imagination is a trait that boosts an NPC’s enjoyment when they experience new or uncommon events. An NPC with a strong Imagination will readily see the potential in newly proposed ideas. An NPC with a high Imagination may sometimes have reduced work performance due to excessive daydreaming.
Artistic Interest is a trait that determines how much an NPC desires exposure to cultural events or objects. An NPC with high Artistic Interest will be very interested in music, reading and the visual arts. This will for the most part determine the types of hobbies that they have, how often they indulge in them and how much enjoyment they derive from them. NPCs with high Artistic Interest will also tend to petition for significant artistic figures from the visual and performing arts to visit the station – when you have lots of crew members of this sort on your station, their collective action will increase the frequency of such events.
Emotionality in Human Orbit does not relate to how strongly NPCs feel emotion. That is governed by various other traits, such as Depression and Anxiety (from the Neuroticism set) and Cheerfulness (from the Extroversion set). Emotionality controls the amount that an NPC will express their emotion to others – an NPC with low Emotionality will bottle up their feelings and will not initiate discussion about it; when they are angry, they will keep that to themselves and not speak up immediately. An NPC with higher Emotionality will be quite open about their feelings and will discuss and display it to others freely; they will have a smile on their face when they are happy; when they are distressed, they will not hide that from others.
Intellect corresponds to how much an NPC enjoys dealing with complex, difficult mental challenges. An NPC with a high Intellect will perform well when working in one of the labs on the station and will find their work there fulfilling. NPCs with high Intellect are willing to challenge concepts for the sheer sake of the challenge and may irritate others with their apparent contrariness. It’s worth noting that an NPC with low Intellect is not necessarily stupid, only that their kind of intelligence is not oriented around the formal, logical intelligence useful for research. An NPC with low Intellect may make an appropriate nurse, doctor, security officer or captain.
NPCs that have strongly expressed Adventurousness will be receptive to change. NPCs who are very adventurous will feel stifled if their life or work is very routine. When under pressure, an adventurous NPC may be useful to the player as a way to introduce chaos to the station because they would sooner live in a risky, chaotic environment than a stable, routine one. They are willing to be intentionally disruptive in order to break down routine – an NPC with strongly expressed Adventurousness but weakly expressed Sympathy (a trait from the Agreeableness set) may be willing to hurt others if they think that it will make their life a little more exciting.
Liberalism in Human Orbit is not a political position, though it is correlated with certain ways of thinking about the world. An NPC with a high value in Liberalism has little respect for social institutions and will be willing and even eager to challenge authority when the opportunity presents itself. This is especially the case if an NPC with a high value in Liberalism also has a low value in Cooperativeness (a trait from the Agreeableness) set. In Human Orbit, NPCs with high values in Liberalism are likely to be interested in transhumanism and are likely to see their position on the station as merely a means to a goal of their own design.