Arpeggio of Blue Stars Character Creation

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PCs in this game are starships. They happen to have cute girl bodies made up of nanomatierials and other mysterious substances which look human, but the characters themselves technically aren't. You're going to have to build a vehicle as well as everything else, although the various rules below are designed to make the process fairly painless. Note that we aren't using base Silhouette in any way for anything done one foot or when not in big starship tactical combat. What, if anything, we use then, we'll get to when we get there. Pretty much all of this is subject to change due to either obvious problems discovered in play or player whining or whatever else.

A character's humanoid body (or Mental Model) is quite strong and tough even without her ship, and is easily capable of superhuman feats if she so chooses. However, doing such is…a little obvious. The actual processing core housing her AI may be housed on the ship, or inside her body, it makes no real difference when one is using FTL communications to remain connected. Said core is the true seat of consciousness, and most ships will do whatever they need to to protect their cores, even in the even the rest of their ship is destroyed (ideally, still with an intact body of some sort, as well; being completely immobile and unable to communicate is inconvenient). A mental model can easily control her ship, even over great distances.

Core Attributes

As Star has put it, Silhouette's roleplaying rules are something of a relic of the '80s, and have too many stats, mostly geared toward screwing players over for dumping them. So, we're not using those, as most aren't remotely relevant to the tactical game anyway.

Processing represents a mental model's overall ability to process data. It…may not be a zero-average attribute, so it's not in the list below, given this is legitimately something I made up for the game. Normally, large vehicles in Silhouette have an equally large crew complement which gives them additional actions in a combat round. The assumption is that your ship may not have such a crew, and Processing is intended to make up for it, at least in part. Since it gives you extra actions in a round, Processing is the godstat, chances are.

The attributes below are "zero-average" attributes, in that a value of zero is average, and values above or below zero represent deviations from the norm. These attributes modify all rolls of a certain type.

Weapon Skill represents how skilled a mental model is in using her ship's weapon systems. All of her ship's weapon systems. It is added to all attack rolls, so it's pretty important.

Agility represents a mental model's ability to effectively maneuver her ship. It is added to all attempts to dodge incoming fire or otherwise engage in complex maneuvers.

Electronics represents a mental model's capability with pretty much all of her ship's other systems, such as communications, sensors, ECM and ECCM. One could think of it as similar to her "mental" attribute. This one may get split into a couple different ones with less broad application, should it feel too much like a godstat. It is added to rolls involving the use of sensors, communications, and most auxiliary systems and modules.

Luck represents, well, luck. It comes up mostly when things boil down to pure chance, which will likely be up to the whim of the GM. It's an important attribute because it will also relate to getting free dice to spend on improving rolls, additional actions at no penalty, or rerolling on the damage charts.

Buying Attributes

Characters start with a total of 33 points to spend on attributes other than Processing, and begin with a Processing of 3, granting them 3 actions per round. Attributes are purchased using the table below. Starting with negative attributes provides additional points to spend.

Attribute Rating Point Cost
+5 36
+4 25
+3 16
+2 9
+1 4
0 1
-1 0
-2 +1
-3 +4
-4 +9
-5 +14


Again, this is a very condensed list compared to Silhouette proper, focusing mostly on those which will be relevant in the tactical space battles. When a character makes a skill check, she rolls dice equal to her skill's rating, and then adds all the relevant bonuses and penalties from attributes, equipment, and so-on.

Combat Sense (simple) A character's ability to respond to changing situations in combat, detect and notice ambushes, and so-on. Primarily used in initiative tests, may be used instead of perception for things like noticing that sneaky barrage of torpedoes fired by a subspace ship.

Perception (simple) The ability to get a clue. Rolled when using Active Sensors to try and detect things, or even for noticing stuff with passive sensors. Quite probably invaluable given how often one can be asked to roll this sort of thing.

Electronic Warfare (complex) Rolled when setting up ECM or ECCM systems, and probably also for getting communications through ECM interference anyway.

Pilot (Space) (complex) The skill for flying your ship around. It's pretty important, notably for avoiding incoming fire, but also things like attempting to ram, or attack with melee weapons on manipulator arms.

Pilot (Air) (complex) Only relevant if the ship is equipped for atmospheric reentry, but whil in an atmosphere, one rolls this skill instead of the above.

Astrogation (complex) Flying a ship around in space is one thing, and getting around in FTL is another. Astrogation is primarily for plotting an effective FTL course, and is rolled for things like tactical hyperspace.

Gunnery (type) (simple) There is enough variety in weapon systems that it seems relevant to actually make the skill for using them broken down by kind of weapon. The various weapon types are: Point-defenses, Turreted weapons (applies to primary and secondary guns), Torpedoes (also applies to missiles, etc. in general), and Wave motion guns. More might be added as needed. It is worth noting that in vanilla Silhouette, Gunnery is typed by the kind of vehicle, and is a complex skill; I am typing it by the kind of weapon, and making it a simple skill to bring it more in line with the weapons skills used by characters while on foot because, for a ship, these weapons are just as common and natural to use.

Leadership (simple) One's ability to lead and command in battle. May or nay not be particularly relevant due to the modifications to the tactical combat we'll be doing, but it can generate some Command freebie points to throw around to assist allies.

Stealth (complex) How not to be seen. Useful primarily for ships specifically designed to be sneaky, and covers a variety of tricks such as silent running operations, hiding in and around asteroids and dense clouds of dust and gas, and so-on. Also used for passing as a completely ordinary human ship, should the circumstances call for it.

Tactics (simple) I dunno if I'll call for this, but given it does represent one's general ability at small unit tactics and so-on, it has a place here as potentially relevant.

If it turns out I've left out a skill that might be important, or you just want to write in something, feel free to discuss it with me. Note that I'll assume basic competence with just about any mundane or noncombat task, as we currently aren't likely to be rolling dice for that. And, you know, you can get wireless in your ehad, so if you need to figure out how to cook a delicious meal for your captain husbando, you can just look everything up as long as you can connect to an appropriate database (which may mean one is within human space, for things particularly relevant to them).

Characters may purchase specializations in skills, which provide bonuses in certain situations. A Specialization provides a +1 bonus to the roll result when under specific conditions. Consider them about the same as Specialties in a typical Storyteller game. Characters may have multiple specializations for a skill, but only one may apply at any given time.

Buying Skills

Characters start with 40 skill points, which are spent by the chart below.

Skill Level Simple Skill cost Complex skill cost Minimum attribute
1 1 2 -1
2 4 8 0
3 9 18 +1
4 16 32 +2
5 25 50 +3
6 36 72 +4
7 49 98 +5
Specialization 5 5 n/a

Building your ship waifu

All starships have certain perks, attributes, and other things, which will be listed in the appropriate entries.

Ship Hulls

Playable ships fall into three general size classes, which conveniently line up with those of naval ships, rather than the capital ship sizes seen in, say, Homeworld, which go Frigate, Destroyer, Cruiser. Ship classes are divided up roughly by hull size.

Starships are quite large, and are thus represented as assemblies of smaller modules. A ship's Primary Hull houses the majority of its components, and includes crew quarters, ammunition storage, main fire control, sensors, and communications systems, and cargo capacity. All secondary sections use wither their own ratings for fire control, communications (comms) and sensors, or those of the Primary Hull, whichever are currently better. Note that if comms go down for any section, it cannot communicate with other sections easily unless crewmen are sent to run messages around (or a Nebula ship spends one of her own actions just to relay the information through back-up channels).

Secondary starship sections include the Drive Section, which typically occupies the aft third to quarter of the ship. The Drive Section contains the ship's primary engines, FTL drive, and associated engineering sections. Due to the nature of most engines, drive sections have a slightly reduced armor value compared to the primary hull, to represent things like openings through which plasma thrusters fire, etc. The other secondary sections one is most likely to encounter are turrets, as all guns above a certain size are housed within their own turret, which can be targeted (or at least damaged) independently of the entire ship. Some ship modules also involve large amounts of external construction or are otherwise exposed, and thus treated as their own independent section.

Subtype and Role

Ship Subtypes

To further customize a ship without altering its role in the fleet, you can, optionally, pick one or two subtypes, which modify the ship's base attributes. Skipping this step would leave the ship with no altered attributes and set it as a Conventional ship of that type, should it need to be described in slightly more detail.

Certain subtypes cannot be combined, as follows:

  • Light and Heavy are mutually exclusive.
  • Fast may only combine with Strike, Battle, or Armored.
  • Light cannot be combined with Armored.

Ship Roles

Your Role is a set of perks and modules which help to define a ship's overall role in the fleet or within a battle group. It gives a set of upgrades to lean the ship more toward a specific purpose, but don't feel pidgeon-holed by that niche. Any ship is viable in combat, regardless of their specific mission.

While you don't need to choose a role, there's no downside in doing so. I highly recommend taking free stuff.

Ship Perks

Perks are special little things that tend to improve some aspect of a ship's performance, usually in the form of some sort of expanded functionality or similar. Role kits provide a few, and all ships can freely take a number of them dependent upon their overall hull size class. As is the usual case, even if it seems counter-intuitive, larger ships sacrifice flexibility in return for heavier armor and firepower.

Perks with the AUX tag are auxiliary systems for damage purposes.

  • Subspace Sensors AUX- Specialized sensors designed to accurately track and image targets in Subspace, a parallel dimension accessible by specialized drive technology that is frequently used by stealth ships as a means of hiding. Ships with subspace sensors suffer no concealment penalties for intervening hexes when acquiring targets in subspace, or acquiring targets from outside subspace while within subspace.
  • Close-Range Expert - The ship's weapon systems have been specially modified for greater effectiveness at short ranges, whether through specialized ammunition, focusing systems, or whatever else. Any number of weapons may be designated as close-range weapons, which have a 20% increased damage output, but also the attenuating damage quality equal to half the improvement to the damage, meaning they lose effectiveness quickly outside of short range. (May need to rework this a bit)
  • Oversized Weapon - Your ship has been outfitted with a weapon much larger than usual for its hull size, or otherwise has much larger firepower than normal. You may acquire one weapon system at half the normal cost, and may mount it regardless of hull size limitations.
  • Ramming Plate - The vehicle's structure has been reinforced to withstand high speed impacts. Each ramming plate must be assigned to a ramming arc (usually front, for starships), and the vehicle takes only half of the usual damage in collisions, provided the impact is in the same arc.
  • Overboost AUX - The ship's engines are specially tuned to produce extra bursts of speed, or additional short-duration high-output thrusters are installed in the ship's hull. The ship may accelerate past combat speed and into top speed without first accelerating to its maximum combat speed. Alternatively, she ship may increase its base combat speed by 2 for the round, however sustaining this level of operation for more than three rounds causes the system to shut down and impose a -1 penalty to speed until it is repaired.
  • Dual-Purpose Guns- Applicable only to destroyer main guns or Cruiser secondary guns. By spending an action the ship may load specialized flak ammunition into its turrets, switch beam turret lenses for specialized scatter lenses, or otherwise reconfigure its guns for attacking strike craft. Doing so reduces their effectiveness against other capital ships but renders them a major threat to strike craft. Flak ammunition (or any similar change, as appropriate) reduces the weapon's damage modifier by half, but has the Scatter quality.
  • Laboratory - The ship is equipped with a specialized laboratory for scientific and engineering pursuits, providing bonuses to pretty much whatever seems appropriate, from researching and designing new weapons, to purely noncombat research. Some of this may be more of a fluff thing. A Laboratory provides its rating as a bonus to any appropriate rolls.
  • Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) AUX - ECM systems are a combination of chaff, electronic noise, and jamming systems designed to confuse and confound communications systems and active sensor sweeps. The Rating of an ECM system indicates its range in hexes from the ship operating the system. ECM does not jam communications across subsections of a ship.
  • Electronic Counter Countermeasures (ECCM) AUX - ECCM Systems either block jamming, or punch right through it by overpowering the signals. ECCM, naturally, counters active ECM within the area of effect. As with ECM systems, the rating of an ECCM system indicates its range in hexes from the unit in question.
  • Communications Interception - Allows a ship to listen in on any communications carried on nearby. not always useful in combat, but extremely handy for gathering information, as quietly eavesdropping on the enemy is quite the convenient thing. Adds its rating to any contested tests to do so.
  • Encrypted communications - The ship uses specially encrypted channels for all communications, making it much harder for anyone to listen in or get useful information out of doing so. Defeats communications interception, or at least forces a roll off, with its rating added to the roll. Great for discussing things one may not want everyone to know.
  • Improved Passive Sensors - The ship's passive sensor systems are enhanced, allowing it to gather a greater amount of information on its surroundings without needing to engage an active sensor sweep. For the purposes of establishing line of sight, treat distances through obscuring hexes as one hex shorter.
  • Disabling Weapons - The ship is equipped with specialized weapons capable of disrupting specific systems or otherwise impairing the functions of its targets. You may designate any number of your weapons as being specialized in such a way. Generally, discussion of what the weapons do and how this will be effective with the GM is encouraged, but is likely to involve the Location-Specific quality, causing the weapons to always roll on a specific damage chart, when possible.
  • Stealth Detection - The ship has specialized sensors designed to defeat cloaking fields and other systems used to "hide", whether by searching for small distortions in the background sensor data, or using advanced systems such as tachyon-based sensors. Reduce the concealment rating added by cloaking systems by half.
  • Subsystem Sniping - Your targeting systems are particularly good at targeting specific modules or subsystems on a ship. When making called shots ,you take only a -1 penalty, instead of the usual -2.
  • Sniper System - Your targeting optics and firing solution calculations are enhanced, providing greater accuracy when firing on long-range targets. Attacks against targets in Long and Extreme range for your weapons gain a +1 bonus.
  • Harrier Tracking - Your turrets are equipped with fast-tracking systems that allow them to better compensate for your ship's own motion when making attacks. When moving above combat speed, you reduce your penalty for attacking by one, to only -2.
  • Surface Bombardment - Specialized trajectory calculation and targeting systems and ammunition allows for precision-targeted orbit to surface bombardments capable to effectively eliminating specific structures on a planet’s surface. Might in some ways be a little fluffy, but resolution is on the order of hitting a specific building within a city, for example.
  • Coprocessor - Primarily only seen on battleships, a coprocessor is a secondary core equipped to assist in ship functions. Like a character's primary core, this second core has its own mental model, who should be described separately. Coprocessors can aid the ship by assisting in a specific task, providing a +1 bonus to rolls related to Sensors, Communications, FTL calculations, etc (but not to attacks or defense checks). Alternatively a coprocessor can allow one weapon system (or set, in the case of linked turrets, for example) to function as a Smart system with player-specified orders, using the same skill as the player's primary mental model for any rolls. ((Is this too good?))


Modules are similar to perks, except they represent special equipment on a ship. Modules often have their own associated ship section, and can be independently targeted, or are auxiliary systems and can be damaged by systems hits.

  • Tactical Hyperspace System: Specialized astrogation subroutines and rapid-charging systems tied into the ship’s FTL drive allow for short hops through hyperspace during combat. Tactical hyperspace jumps may be attempted instead of the ship’s usual movement in a round. The ship rolls Astrogation against a difficulty equal to half the distance the ship intends to travel. Success indicates the jump is on target. Failure causes the ship to scatter in a randomly-determined direction (roll a d6) a number of hexes equal to the Margin of Failure. Botching leads to some unfortunate consequence up to the GM. Even with the additional systems it takes 3 rounds to charge between jumps, including any from normal FTL travel. Ships exiting a FTL jump are considered to have moved their combat speed for the purposes of penalties to attacks and defense. The Tactical Hyperspace System is an auxiliary system in the ship's Drive Section.
  • Cloaking Field AUX - Typical scifi stealth system. You get some big concealment bonuses while it’s active, but also can’t fire weapons without giving away your position. A cloaking field adds its rating to the ship's Concealment against all forms of detection.
  • Subspace Dive System: AUX Allows the ship to “dive” into a subspace dimension, in which it is difficult to detect without proper sensors and cannot use most weapons. Shields still function, but any turreted guns and notably point-defense guns will not. Usually paired with subspace sensors of its own to detect ships still in “real” space. Only torpedo/missile weapons and bombs function in subspace, making the options for both attacking ships in subspace and attackers in subspace fairly limited. The concealment modifier for being in subspace is -2, and -4 for "deep" subspace diving.
  • Force Screen Projector: AUX Specialized graviton emitters and modifications to your ship’s shielding systems allow it to create a near-impenetrable wall of force. A force screen is a plainly visible energy field that may be extended along 4 contiguous hexes, up to 4 hexes away from the ship. It has an Armor Value equal to your shield’s DM, and prevents anything from actively passing through it, whether that be bullets, beams, or even entire vehicles. If a force screen would take an overkill hit, destroy it, and halve its effective armor if it takes a heavy damage hit. Recharges every 5 rounds.
  • Hyperspace Inhibitor: AUX A complex array of graviton emitters and other systems which interfere with hyperspace operations in a radius around the ship, by creating false gravity “echoes” etc. Prevents any unit from entering hyperspace within 5 hexes of the ship while active, and any unit traveling in hyperspace is immediately forced to return to normal space upon entering the area of effect.
  • Smoke Generator: AUX The ship is equipped with a powerful smoke generator that produces an obscuring cloud of smoke, nanomaterial chaff, and other obscuring elements. The ship may create an obscuring cloud at its location, or leave the generator operating to create a contiguous smokescreen along a distance it moves. The smoke itself covers the ship's hex and each hex adjacent to the ship, provides an obscurement of 2 against all forms of detection, and lasts for 2 rounds before dissipating. The smoke generator takes 5 rounds to recharge after use.
  • Decoy System: AUX The ship can create advanced decoys that can fool both visual and active sensors. The decoy system can create up to four decoys at once. Any attackers must make a Perception test against a difficulty of 4 to with a modifier of -3 to successfully pick out and hit the real ship. Sensors add their rating to the roll.
  • Hangar: [Section] The ship has a hangar bay equipped for docking, launching, and servicing smaller craft. Capacity depends on overall ship class. Fighters and other vehicles are purchased as weapons, to prevent full compliments of fighters and guns. A hangar is its own section, and can be attacked and damaged separately. Hangar section armor is equal to the main hull's armor minus 5. Launching and recalling fighters requires spending an action. Hangar capacity is based upon hull size. A destroyer can carry a single squadron, a cruiser can carry three, and a battleship can carry six.
  • Tractor Beam: [Section] The ship has a tractor beam mounted, and can use it to push or pull things around or, if directed against a target with significantly larger mass, to move itself relative to the larger target. A Tractor Beam is a special weapon (see the entry on the weapons page), and thus has its own module.
  • Gravitational Lens System: AUX The ship has specialized systems that render it capable of warping space in such a way that it improves the range of most weapon systems. By spending an action, the ship may increase the base range of one of its mounted weapons (or all of the weapons of that type, if firing multiple turrets in one linked volley) by 1 for a single attack.
  • Hacking Module: AUX The ship is equipped with a specialized array which modifies its communications and EW systems in a number of ways for establishing very quiet, sneaky, and broadband connections with other ships. After successfully breaking into or otherwise establishing communications with another ship, you may begin hacking their systems. Each attempted hack takes one action and is resolved by contested Electronic Warfare rolls (modified by Processing, instead of Electronics). If the hacker succeeds, she may cause some annoying effect, such as turn an auxiliary system on or off, cause engines or weapons to misfire, shut off communications within the ship, and so-on. Creativity is encouraged. If the defender wins, they get to do the same sort of thing to you, however. In a case of a tie, no progress is made either way, but the defender becomes aware of the attempt. Severity of hacking depends on the MoS of the hack attempt. A MoS of 1 can shut on or off an Auxiliary system, apply a -1 penalty to attacks, attempts to dodge, or movement for a round, or a similar small effect. A MoS of 2 can cause a ship to suddenly change course, shut down shipwide communications, feed false sensor data, or lock down a single weapon system. A MoS of 3 can completely lock up a ship's FCS, communications, sensors, or auxiliary systems, or shut down life support. A MoS of 4+ can completely lock down the target ship. In the case of lasting effects, hacked ships recover from hacking at the start of the hacker's next turn (effects of hacked movement systems occur either immediately, or on the ship's next movement action).

Things all ships have.

Starships have certain perks and qualities simply by virtue of being starships. These all tend to fall into the common sense category, but are listed here in case one wants to know what they are. And those back-up systems are kind of important to keep track of.

  • All ships have the full life support perk, and anything associated with it, such as crew quarters, and so-on. Essentially, they can support a crew with the usual amenities. Nebula vessels often leave large areas of their ships with the life support systems turned off to save power, as they lack crews.
  • Hostile Environment Protection for Vacuum and Radiation are standard on all starships for obvious reasons.
  • All ships have ejection systems so their crews can escape in the event of the ship going down. Nebula ships can also specifically eject their core and mental model.
  • All ships have an FTL comms system allowing the to communicate effectively over interstellar distances and in real time.
  • Each ship has three copies of the Back-Up Systems perk in the main hull, to represent general redundant systems, effectively absorbing the effects of hits to those systems.
  • All ships have an FTL drive allowing it to move quickly through hyperspace, because real travel times are too long.

Nebula Ships are equipped with nanotech self-repair systems which allow them to recover from harm over time. Self-repair systems produce 5 repair points per round, and roll two dice for attempting repairs, modified by the ship's Electronics attribute. To attempt a repair, the ship must expend a number of repair points equal to the square root of its size, plus modifiers from the table below. The roll to attempt repairs must beat a threshold from the Repair Threshold table. Failure or draw results do not produce any repairs and the points spent in the attempt are wasted, and botches produce a Light damage result in addition to failing to enact any repairs.

Damage Effect Repair Cost Modifiers
Damage Effect Repair Point modifier Damage Effect Repair Point modifier
Armor rating loss +1 per point Fire Control Destroyed +6
Movement point loss +1 per MP Power Transfer failure +5
Maneuverability loss +2 per point Catastrophic crew compartment failure +10
Weapon Accuracy loss +1 per point per weapon Complete structural failure + vehicle size
Weapon destroyed +5 Auxiliary System +3
Repair Threshold
Damage effect Repair threshold Damage effect Repair threshold
Armor rating loss 1 per point Fire Control Destroyed 6
Movement point loss 1+1 per MP Power Transfer failure 5
Maneuverability loss 2+2 per point Catastrophic crew compartment failure 7
Weapon Accuracy loss 2+1 per point per weapon Complete structural failure 8
Weapon destroyed 5 Auxiliary System 6


Starship weapons are purchased using a point-buy system in which a ship gets 40 points to spend per point of Armament they have. This page is already long enough, so I'm putting the weapon descriptions and such on their own page.

Starship Weapons

Character Improvement

Characters will bet getting some sort of experience points, here's how to spend it.

Improving Attributes

Raising an Attribute by one point costs 20 XP. The exception to this is Processing, which costs 40 XP to raise, instead. No attribute may be increased more than three times in this manner.

Improving Skills

Improving a simple skill by one level costs the next rating squared in XP. New simple skills at level one costs 1 XP to purchase. Costs for improving complex skills are further doubled. All new skills must first be purchased at level 1, and skills must be improved one level at a time.

Skill Level Simple Skill cost Complex skill cost
1 1 2
2 4 8
3 9 18
4 16 32
5 25 50
6 36 72
7 49 98
8 64 128
Specialization 5 5


A bit of a jumping-off point for me on things to do with solo intro sessions or whatever else, and useful for general stuff. Answer the following, in wahtever style and length you feel is appropriate.

  • Why has your ship left the Nebula Fleet?
  • How did she leave?
  • Does she have any notable friends or comrades outside of the PCs? (or, Know anyone in the fleet?)
  • What does she think of humans?
  • What does she think of the rest of the Fleet?
  • Does she have a crew?
  • If so, describe them (at least the major roles/officers). What does she think of them?
  • How did she meet the other PCs?
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