I am a bit confused about the command structure of CthulhuTech. What rank is appropriate for starting players who are NEG military members ? Does this depend on Profession, and if so, soes the Engel Project have its own rank structure ?

I understand that I can just make up all the answers by GM fiat, but I don't want to do so if there's an official or semi-official guide.


2 Answers 2


The following three professions has a starting character be in the military:

  • Soldier (Authority 1, Duty 2 for military; p.77)
  • Mecha Pilot (Authority 3, Duty 2; p.75)
  • Engel Pilot (Authority 3, Duty 3; p.73)

Authority has four ranks (p.94):

  • 1: Low-ranking non-commissioned officer
  • 2: High-ranking non-commissioned officer
  • 3: Low-ranking commissioned officer or warrant officer
  • 4: High-ranking commissioned officer

But what is the difference between low-ranking and high ranking? There are seven non-commissioned ranks in both the Army and Navy. The highest of these, SM of the Army and MCPO of the Navy are unique to the United States military of today. Going by that logic there's only one of each, making it not likely that a starting character starts out as the most senior enlisted soldier/seaman of the NEG military. This means that we have six ranks left, which splits into half nicely for three low-ranking non-commissioned officers:

  • E-4: Corporal/Leading Seaman
  • E-5: Sergeant/Petty Officer
  • E-6: Staff Sergeant/Senior Petty Officer

And three high ones:

  • E-7: First Sergeant/Chief Petty Officer
  • E-8: Color Sergeant/Senior Chief Petty Officer
  • E-9: Sergeant Major/Master Chief Petty Officer

As you can see both of these have a "central" rank on their own, meaning that Sergeant/Petty Officer and Color Sergeant/Senior Petty Officer is a fine middle point for Authority 1 and 2. Now, the issue is when you have several people of the same rank running around: multiple Sergeants (Authority 1) can work together in a platoon, but in such an organization they all command men themselves. As such, making them rank lower and have one be the E-5 rank officer works on a squad level. When you want to differentiate between the bunch you to establish a leader can either up the Authority quality by one point, or go for something like the Commendation Quality (p.94) and move the character up one rank.

Now, with the Mecha and Engel pilots it's a bit more complex. Commissioned officer ranks go from O-1 all the way up to O-10, at hich point you are a Field Marshal or an Admiral. If we split this one in half as well a low-ranking commissioned officer would be anything from O-1 to O-5:

  • O-1: Second Lieutenant/Midshipman
  • O-2: First Lieutenant/Sub Lieutenant
  • O-3: Captain/Lieutenant
  • O-4: Major/Lieutenant Colonel
  • O-5: Lieutenant Colonel/Commander

So what O-rank would a Mecha or Engel pilot have? Mecha pilots are compared to "the fighter jocks of old" (p.75). The New Earth Government does not employ an air force as such; instead the navy is a bunch of flying ships. If we go by the same organization size as the modern air force however, a Flight Lieutenant (O-3) commands the smallest possible organizational size of the air force: a Wing of 3-6 craft. This would make an ideal organizational size for a party of players, meaning that them ranking below the O-3 leader of their unit would work fine.

Engel Pilots meanwhile are rare and require specific training, an implant and an unshakable will. This does not make them warrant officers though. In the real world skills in engineering, ordnance, intelligence, supply and so on are specialties for a Warrant Officer. Ergo, being able to maintain the alien cyborg deathbot would qualify one for being a warrant officer, but piloting one would not because that's not what warrant officers do. What Engel pilots are however is a bunch of highly qualified pilots who deal with dangerous and complex biomechanical horrors on a daily basis yet operate in a way similar to Mecha Pilots, which would in my eyes allow them to qualify for a higher rank. And the higher paygrade would be offset by A: the rarity of such pilots and something as simple like that is a simple sacrifice and B: the high turnover means that you won't have to pay this higher paygrade for very long. It's cynical, but not inaccurate. As such, I'd make regular Engel Pilots O-3 and leaders one rank higher.


  • Soldier: E-5 for the squad leader, E-4 for the rest.
  • Mecha Pilot: O-3 for the wing leader, O-2 for the rest.
  • Engel Pilot: O-4 for the wing leader, O-3 for the rest.

The leader can be either one of the players or an NPC: this depends on if you can get players to go along with one being in charge or if they want more freedom.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Bugmaster My point was that the answer shows a lack of understanding about what prompts the issuing/creation of a warrant-based position. A combat pilot would never be a warrant officer. Support crew (like electronics operators) in a multiple seat vehicle might be, because their skills are specialized and technical. Pilots of a non-combat unit might be, too - aircraft are somewhat technical. But a combat pilot? Not likely. Aircraft (and by extension due to rarity and expense, mecha in settings that have them) are usually the purview and responsibility of commissioned officers. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 15:21
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ My understanding is the same as @T.J.L., which is why i still havent modified my answer. I don't think mecha/engel pilots should be warrant officers. Their support teams, yes. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 15:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ShadowKras Thanks. This answer does make a strong case for how to interpret the character traits as compared to real world ranks. You've glossed over that part. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 15:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @T.J.L. yea i am no expert on military, my country military is different from USA's (which cthulhutech is based on), and i agree that this is overall a better formulated answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – ShadowKras
    Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 17:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Bugmaster Okay, I've made an alteration regarding the warrant officer thing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 21:12

On the core rulebook, both Mecha Pilot (page 75) and Engel Pilot (page 73) archetypes have the Authority (3) assets as requirement for the job. Mecha Pilot also had the Duty (2) drawback, while Engel Pilots have Duty (3).

As for the Soldier (page 77) archetype, the require Authority (1) if they are municipal, and either Duty (1) if municipal or Duty (2) if military.

The description of Authority (page 94) says the character is in a position of command and responsibility.

  • 1: low-ranking noncommissioned officer;
  • 2: high-ranking noncommissioned officer;
  • 3: low-ranking commissioned officer or warrant officer;
  • 4: high-ranking commissioned officer.

While the description of Duty (page 100) says what kind of time their job will require from the character.

  • 1: a regular job that requires a portion of his time;
  • 2: the job require most of his time, like the military;
  • 3: the job requires virtually all of his time, like politicians, top brass or the Eldritch Society.

As for the names and classifications of each military rank (disclaimer: I am no expert on military), they can be found very early on the book, at page 23. However, both Mecha and Engel pilots could be either commissioned or warrant officers. From Wikipedia:

  • warrant officer (WO) is an officer in a military organisation who is designated an officer by a warrant;
  • commissioned officer who is designated an officer by a commission;
  • non-commissioned officer who is designated an officer, often by virtue of seniority.

Neither of them were commissioned by virtue of seniority, so we have to check the lore behind them in the setting. Both Mecha and Engel pilots are soldiers who went through special training programs (or surgeries) in order to have the necessary skills to pilot their mecha, which rules out warrant officers, as those are normally non-soldiers, like engineers, doctors, vehicle pilots, gunners, etc.

This is also evidence on the flavor novels between chapters, where mecha teams fight on the field without any supervision from another officer, which means at least one of them must be a commissioned officer, otherwise they wouldn't be in a position of leadership of a team.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I understand the Authority/Duty setup, but what I don't understand is how that translates into the named military ranks. Would Mecha/Engel pilots count as W-1 or O-1, for example ? \$\endgroup\$
    – Bugmaster
    Commented Jun 8, 2017 at 11:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .