A character is one of the crew members on your Ship. Characters are all members of the ship's crew, regardless of whether the character is your Captain, an Officer or a Crew Member. Each character is a unique and named persona with their own skills, abilities and Traits.
Depending on the Difficulty Level you are playing on, if Permadeath is on, your characters may die permanently in any number of ways. If Permadeath is disabled, characters who would normally die are considered to have narrowly avoided death and are left alive, but in a weakened state.