Starship Crew Types
Quick Capsule This is a listing of all of the different crew types. A description of the position and normal duties are included.
The first and last word of the ship, the Captain is personally responsible for every operation of his vessel, and his crew. In charge of Aure (A) Shift, the Captain is strictly speaking only expected to be working with his shift. However, most Captains spend almost all of their time on the bridge. Many Captains in the Imperial Navy are appointed, rather than having risen through the ranks.
Executive Officer (First Mate)
The Executive Officer, also called the First Officer, XO, or First Mate, is the Captain's right hand man. Sharing responsibilities with the Captain, and acting as Captain whilst commanding the Besh (B) Shift. The XO is taught to act as a counter to the Captain, proposing options and advice that may not be apparent to the senior officer. Tradition has it that the XO is the only officer for whom it is expected that they question the Captain, both his abilities and his orders. However, these are only done out of sight of the crew - the Captain and XO are expected to show complete unity in front of the crew.
Second Officer (Second Mate)
The Second Officer, also called the Second Mate, is responsible for the operation of Cresh (C) Shift. The 2O is expected to command the ship in any circumstances where the Captain and XO are unable to do so. Traditionally, the 2O is closer in demeanor to the crew than either of his senior officers, and acts as the informal liaison between the two. Crews tend to be very protective of their 2O's, seeing them as 'spacers made good', whereas command staff are usually seen as political appointees.
Chief Engineer (Chex-O)
The Chief Engineer is responsible for the ship's machinery working correctly. Usually found in the engine rooms, he has authority over every mechanical device on board. Chief Engineers are usually the most overworked member of senior staff, almost constantly up to their elbows in grime. Because of their workload, Engineers tend to be exceedingly short on the pleasantries of life, but despite this, are often liked by the crew.
Navigation Officer (Nav-O)
The Navigator is responsible for all Hyperdrive jumps, as well as, in theory, realspace ops. In practice, Navigators only really work on H-Space jumps, or in challenging R-Space environments, such as asteroid fields, or magnetic anomalies. Navigators are often aloof, "wannabe" command staff, disliked by all.
The Ship's Doctor is in charge of all medical operations on board. He is usually in the medical bay, working on patients.
Tactical Officer (Tac-O)
The Tactical Officer is charged with coordinating the efforts of other officers. His work is most intense during combat, where he'd be dealing with shields, maneuvers, starfighters, gunner control, communications, etc., however, the Taco is usually found on the bridge, even in peaceable operations. Tac-O's have a tendency to believe they are the only real professionals on a ship, Senior Officers seem to have little idea of how the ship works, Junior Officers seem incapable of solving problems, and other crewmen are always idiots. They tend to be disliked by everyone.
Logistics Officer (Log-O)
Log-O's are tasked with the allocation and distribution of assets within the ship. They liaison with every officer, but especially with the Cargo Master. They ensure that every turbolaser has blaster gas, every chaffir machine has sucre, every droid has components, and that there's enough paint to keep the ship looking nice. Logo's are usually adept at acquiring goods and services not normally found onboard, and tend to operate as expediter for all manner of dark deals. They are often referred to as the 'Ship's Scrounge', or, because of their official designation, 'Logo', by the lower decks.
Deck Officer (Dek-O)
A Deck Officer is responsible for monitoring all operations of smaller embarked ships. They supervise docking operations, launch and recovery ops, as well as loading and unloading within hangars. The single greatest responsibility of a Dek-O is the maintenance of the ship's atmospheric integrity in the hangar, since the failure of the atmospheric shield, or an erroneous opening of the bay doors, could kill everyone on board.
Universally distrusted, Liaisons from the Ubiqtorate are usually attached only to large, or suspect ships. They are known to be spies, seeking out traitors, and tightening up discipline through their charge. They are usually subordinate to the Captain (at least in theory) but can dispense summary justice to almost everyone else. Non-Imperial ships will also often have an Intelligence Liaison onboard. However, these officers are actually beneficial to the ship and are not nearly as despised as their Imperial counterparts.
A Cargo Master is concerned with the maintenance of the cargo loaded. Working closely with the Logistics and the Cooks, the Cargo Master constantly moves cargo around the bays, retrieving needed gear, whilst keeping the distribution balanced.
Pilots are usually cocky and arrogant. They are skilled operators, who often lack some key detail that kept them from the TIE squadrons.
Co-Pilots are often cowed by their seniors. Either driven to prove their skill, or resigned to a career that's gone as far as it can.
Shield operators are in charge of all the shielding systems. During usual operations, they maintain the particle shields, and the anti-inertia fields. During combat they also deal with combat shields.
Emissions Control (EmCon)
Only found on very large ships, Emissions Control are responsible for monitoring the energetic emissions of their ship. They use sensors to detect how large a footprint the ship makes, and have close ties to sensor and comms officers, often forcing them to curtail their activities to favor stealth. ScanCom usually deals with EmCon duties on smaller ships. The crew often refers to EmCon as 'Ghosts', as that's how they'd prefer the ship to be seen.
Sensors Operator (ScanCom)
Sensor Operators deal with detection of threats by use of the ship's sensors. They tend to get bored quickly. All other Sensors staff report to ScanCom.
Sensors (Passive) Operator (Nose)
Passive Sensor Operators deal with detection of threats by use of the ship's passive sensors. They emit no energy, but instead listen to the incoming waves, analyzing the results to determine their surroundings.
Sensors (Active) Operator (Eyes)
Active Sensor Operators deal with detection of threats by use of the ship's active sensors. They fire high energy waves into the cosmos, and analyze the returning reflections to determine their surroundings. Eyes are usually concerned with analyzing things found by other means, rather than 'cold detection'.
Sensors (Scan) Operator (Ears)
Scan Sensor Operators deal with detection of threats by use of the ship's active sensors. They fire high energy waves into the cosmos, and analyze the returning reflections to determine their surroundings. They tend to focus on detecting threats, this often makes the operators slightly paranoid.
Communications Operator (Commo)
Commos, usually called 'Sparks', are responsible for sending and receiving communications, both inter-ship, between the ship and others, and on smaller ships, the internal communications too. Commos are closely tied to Computer Operators, as they require the processing power to encrypt, decrypt, store and disseminate the data they shift.
Internal Communications Operator (ComInt)
Internal Commos are usually found only on the bigger ships. They are responsible for maintaining the communications within the ship itself. These tend to be plain send, and one of the larger duties of the ComInt is to monitor how much of this chatter escapes.
Computer Operator (Compo)
Computer Operators are charged with running and maintaining the computers on the ship. Every officer and spacer uses computers, but it's the Compo, often called 'Tweaks', who keep them running, and concern themselves with getting the best response from the machines.
Life Support Operator (LSO)
The most worried of all the crew, the LSOs are tasked to keep gravity, heat, light, air, and water running to every single crew member, all the time. The critical nature of these crew members give rise to their nickname of 'Saint'.
Droid Liaison Operator (DLO)
Only really found on large vessels, the DLO, or Bolties, monitor, and maintain the droid population. They usually have some specialized droids to do most of the actual work, allowing them to tinker and monitor, detecting faults with other droids. An almost universal tradition within the Navy is to yell 'Bolty!' when a malfunctioning droid is detected. This chant is picked up by the immediate personnel until a DLO or a droid, arrives to cart the damaged droid away.
Engineers are responsible for the ship's machinery working correctly. They are under the command of the Chief Engineer, and are usually overworked, and found throughout the ship, with their legs poking out of one accessway or another.
General Hands, or Spacers, are assigned without actual manifestos. They are a pool of hands, ready to perform duties as determined by their seniors. They are the lowest rank on a starship.
The Cooks serve the meals for all of the crew. This is a mammoth task, requiring close work with the Scrounges. The Chief Cook is often assigned to exclusively prepare the food for the senior staff, whilst overseeing the galley assistant's work.
A Galley Assistant is charged to create large quantities of food, maintain the auto-chefs, and clean the preparation environment. Assistants are not considered pleasant people most of the time; they dislike many of the tasks associated with their jobs and feel their workload is too high. They dislike having crew constantly asking for slight changes to their meals, or begging snacks. When not actually in the kitchen, Galley Assistants often perform as impromptu General Hands.
A medic works for the Doctor. They perform first aid, and monitor patients. When not actually in the medical bay or working with patients, Medics are often pushed into service as General Hands.
Yeomen are essentially gophers, they maintain the quarters of the senior staff, they run errands, and generally try to make themselves as useful as possible, whilst remaining almost invisible. Some Yeomen become trusted advisors. The lower decks think of them as career brown-nosers. The upper decks think of them as an essential privilege that comes with command responsibility.
Gunners are elite staff, trained with many kinds of weapons. They are responsible for actually impacting weapons onto threats. They tend to be rather smug, wearing their kill studs with a pride rivaling the Starfighter Pilots.
These staff monitor the power levels of large weapons, ensuring that they are charged when the gunner hits his trigger.
Similar to Gunners, Missile Operators are responsible for actually targeting and launching missile weapons. They consider themselves to be even better than Gunners because their weapons are so slow, comparatively, and thus require even more skill.
A loader monitors the mechanism that places new warheads into a warhead launcher. They are cleared to stop firing if they need to clear a jam.
Tractor Operators operate the tractor beams on large starships.
A Cargo Assistant does most of the actually elbow work for a Cargo Master.
These deck crew are responsible for refilling fuel, life support, and ammunition for docked vehicles and starships.
These crew maintain the vehicles and starships. Fixing them when they break, and ensuring top performance.
Armorers are responsible for the maintenance, security, and distribution, of the troops' small arms, armor, and other weapons.
This is an original work by Chris Curtis and Thomas Hill and was originally posted at the Servais Sector website. An archived version of the site can be found here. What we have posted here has been modified for Vast Empire use and is not intended to replace the original source material for any outside users.
Below are the original site notes.
This system was created in cooperation with TORIS. Most of the above text is by Ben Flood-Paddock. Copyright © 2000-2001, Servais Sector and TORIS, all rights reserved.
Last modified July 17, 2001.