Not all people are alike: some possess great physical strength, some possess great intellect, some are fortunate enough to possess both, while some possess neither. People also have differing sets of skills: some are good at fixing vehicles, some at bookkeeping, others at care-giving, and so forth. Just as no two people are alike, no two characters in WCRPG are exactly alike (in theory at least): some will be good pilots, some good doctors, others good politicians or good snipers. In order to tell how good they are at doing specific tasks, each character has a set of characteristics, which affects their basic combat statistics (see Chapter 2.3) and is affected by their Skill scores. In WCRPG, there are two main categories of characteristics, Disciplines and Attributes. Attributes and Disciplines are qualities that all characters possess which help dictate how well they perform certain actions. The DC of almost every die roll in WCRPG that involves a character will be at least indirectly determined by at least one of their characteristics.
All characters in WCRPG have seven Discipline scores. These scores reflect the character’s ability to perform specific tasks and their aptitude in certain fields. A character’s strength in their Disciplines at the onset of the game is somewhat determined by the species to which they belong (see Chapter 2.3). Each Discipline has five Discipline Skills; the scores of the Discipline Skills are summed together to directly determine the score of their controlling Discipline (this is different from most RPGs). The seven disciplines in WCRPG are Command (CMD), Science (SCI), Navigation (NAV), Tactical (TAC), Engineering (ENG), Communications (COM) and Medicine (MED):
- Command: Command is a measure of a character’s ability to negotiate and to lead others. Its Skills are usually required by those put into leadership positions; it's a useful area of focus for anyone in a leadership position, be they a ship's captain or a civil leader (though the focus of this Discipline tends to be combat-oriented).
- Science: Science is a measure of a character’s understanding of how to gather and apply systematic knowledge. This Discipline is primarily needed by science officers and researchers, though it can be useful to any character. All Science Skills focus on a particular set of scientific fields and measure the character's knowledge of those fields. The information that can be obtained through the use of Science Skills is often of vital importance, whether they are used to determine the military capability of an alien vessel, the gravitational force of a planet, or the severity of the weather.
- Navigation: Navigation is a measure of a character’s ability to pilot craft and to get people from one place to another without getting lost and is of primary importance to anyone travelling from place to place. This attribute isn’t necessarily limited to those who pilot vehicles; persons attempting to use a map and compass will still need to use their Navigation attribute.
- Tactical: Tactical is a measure of a character’s understanding of military tactics and their application. This Discipline is primarily needed by anybody who has to do any shooting from a vehicle (firing a weapon is handled by Security, which is a Command Skill). Tactical is used to improve the performance of varying craft and improving their chances of survival in combat situations.
- Engineering: Engineering is a measure of a character’s ability to acquire and apply scientific and technical knowledge to the design, analysis, and/or construction of works for practical purposes. This Discipline is primarily needed by engineering staff, ground crews and mechanics, but can also be used by civilian professionals whose jobs require strong knowledge in construction and maintenance. Characters with high Engineering scores perform faster repairs. One of the Engineering Skills is also necessary for interstellar travel.
- Communications: Communications is a measure of a character’s ability to exchange information with others, their ability to utilize proper equipment during that exchange and to understand information exchange applications. Almost any character can make good use of Communications Skills; they enable the character to speak to alien beings, jam enemy transmissions, send distress calls, gather information and negotiate trades. These Skills come in handy in many critical situations.
- Medicine: Medicine is a measure of a character’s understanding of the science and "art" of maintaining and/or restoring the health of biological beings through study, diagnosis and treatment. This Discipline is primarily needed by doctors and medical staff, but any character can benefit from Medicine as its two primary Skills (Intensive Care and Long-Term Care) can be used to pull them back from the brink of death.
Characters also have six scores in Attributes. These scores reflect a character's strengths and weaknesses in various physical and mental fields. Players familiar with other RPGs such as D&D™ and Serenity™ will find Attributes familiar. As with Disciplines, a character’s score in their Attributes at the onset of the game is somewhat determined by the species to which they belong (see Chapter 2.3). Each Attribute has three Attribute Skills. The six Attributes in WCRPG are Power (PWR), Finesse (FIN), Physique (PHY), Intellect (INT), Acumen (ACU) and Charm (CHA):
- Power: Power is a measure of a character’s physical strength. It also serves as a limit to the amount and "weight" of equipment a character is capable of carrying (a concept known as encumbrance; see Chapter 5.4). Power affects the character’s Melee Attack Bonus (see Chapter 2.3) and is added directly to the damage caused by any melee or thrown weapons.
- Finesse: Finesse measures a character’s agility, reflex actions and coordination. Finesse affects several of a character's basic combat statistics, including their HD ratings, their Initiative Bonus, their Ranged Attack Bonus and their Reflex Save DC.
- Physique: Physique represents a character’s health, stamina and recuperative abilities. It directly affects the number of HP (hit points; the maximum amount of damage a character can take before they die) that the character has and also directly affects the character's Fortitude Save DC,
- Intellect: Intellect measures a character’s ability to learn and reason. It determines the character's raw intelligence and learning rate.
- Acumen: Acumen measures a character’s common sense, intuition and willpower. While Intellect is used to analyze information, Acumen is more of a reflection of a character's ability to be in-tune with their surroundings. It directly affects the character's Willpower Save DC.
- Charm: Charm measures a character’s force of personality. It is generally used when a character is attempting to influence others.