stuff that people on space ships do

edited December 2011 in Story Games
I'm trying to figure out categories of action for people on space ships. Mostly small-scale space ships.

Make decisions
Rally the crew
Parley with other captains

Proxy for captain

Fly a course accurately
Evasive maneuvers in combat
Aggressive maneuvers in combat (e.g. get on their tail, or wherever direction they can't fire from)
Adjust course to avoid contact with others

Plot the most efficient course from A to B
Plot the fastest course from A to B

Repair stuff
Install stuff
Modify stuff to do what it doesn't normally ("We can reroute the thruster's power to this cannon for an extra-powerful shot, but it'll probably destory the cannon")

Tend the wounded

Man guns
Haul freight
Engage enemy crew
Day-to-day work

There's gotta be some other stuff here. Any help?


  • Communications - Either traditional star trekkish talk to other ships, or Diaspora style invasive Electronic Warfare.
  • edited December 2011
    Bitch about shares.
    Fake a malfunction to get the cute crewmember down to help.
    Enforce quarantine procedures. Or not.
    Last feast before hyper sleep.
    Scrap together motion sensors and flamethrowers to deal with the alien infestation.
    Put down evil corporate android.
    Crawl through access shafts.
    Chase the cat.
    Set the auto-destruct.
    Try to stop the auto-destruct.
    Blast off in the escape shuttle.
  • edited December 2011
    Hehe, that's very nice John, but I need more general stuff that's the duty of the people on the boat. I shoulda been more specific :) For a better idea of scope, think of only the captains being PCs.

    Ooh, yeah, I forgot about communications. Lessee...

    Send signal
    Analyze/translate/triangulate signal
    Salvage garbled signal
    Scramble/jam signal
    Encrypt/decrypt signal
  • Depending on how replicator happy the setting is, a quartermaster would make sure there were proper provisions for the trip, make sure things are stored efficiently. Alternately, if there ARE replicators... maybe someone whose job it is to repurpose all the things that are being created by enthusiastic junior officers. (You replicated HOW MANY frisbees? Well, we needed extra plating on the starboard sensor array.)

    Science Officer (Trek term) Operates sensors and runs scans on other ships in the area, determines survivability of planets, calculate projected asteroid paths.
  • What's the purpose of this ship? How long does it intend to be in space?
    Have you watched the film Sunshine?
  • edited December 2011
    Quartermaster, right! Or, since I want to have a more naval feel,

    Manage cargo & provisions
    Collect fees & charges from passengers

    Speaking of naval,

    Mange the crew

    Science officer needs to be in there. Or, rather, those functions need to be in there. I need a better name than science officer. Also,

    Prepare edible and fresh meals (as distinguished from prepared ration food products)

    It's a merchant ship. It's in space for weeks to months at a time. I haven't seen that movie; is it good?
  • What if cargo distribution is really some member of "the crew" is the head of that, who is in charge of placing what where.
  • And y'all forgot

    Cabin boy/girl/alien

    ...comic relief and lackey.
  • The Computer Tech
    (for NAI)
    Maintain software and ship servers
    Fix bugs and defend against hostile information attacks
    Hack alien/enemy/friendly information systems

    (for AI)
    Provide human assistance to AI
    Interpret AI logical leaps and personality quirks
    Provide "psychological" support for AI, help it understand human (or sapien) emotions and limited perspectives
    --Or perhaps the computer tech is the AI or they are indistinguishable, depending on the flavor of tech you're going for
  • The medic/doctor should keep an eye open for diseases as well. I thing the general mental health falls on his desk as well, at least in smaller crews. you don't want anyone snapping in an environment where every mistake can be your last.

    How about a sensor technician, read sensors and interpret data.

    An AI? That soothing voice that tells you about the condition of the ship? And then tries to lure you into an airlock when the programming fails.
  • edited December 2011
    Make pay for the crew
    Make payments for the ship
    Marry people
    Dispense punishment

    Report to the captain
    Stand second watch

    Astrogation (get bearings after a jump)

    Monitor life support systems
    Coordinate damage control parties

    Identify psychological problems
    Assess crew morale

    Day-to-day work > cleaning and preventative maintenance
    Damage control
    Fire fighting
  • edited December 2011
    Posted By: WilhelmThe medic/doctor should keep an eye open for diseases as well. I thing the general mental health falls on his desk as well, at least in smaller crews. you don't want anyone snapping in an environment where every mistake can be your last.
    yeah this definately.

    There seems to be generally a SECURITY dude who specializes in fighting.

    and depending on the ships mission, a guy who specialzies in ALIEN stuff - geology at the least, and probably biology and diplomacy depending on your setting
  • Yes, yes, excellent everyone! Damn I missed a lot of shit.

    I haven't decided if aliens are a thing. I guess there's three options: no aliens, all the aliens are dead or gone, or aliens all over the place. I dunno yet.
  • There's also the aliens who have gone silent and throw near C rocks at their neighbors.
  • Definitely:

    1. Ship Life officers, people who watch out for people's problems and act as both mental health officers and PR people. It's their job to keep everything functioning smoothly and minimize problems or conflicts between crew members. They can also take on the role of conflict mediators and/or psychotherapists.

    (If you have religious overtones in your game/setting, some kind of ship Priest or religious organization could be useful. Who watches out for morale and looks out for people who are having trouble adapting to ship life? Who organizes daily prayers?)

    2. Security.

    You have people who enforce orders and maintain peace aboard the ship. They may act as bodyguards for some of the personnel, too (e.g. the Captain).

    They may also be secret security: planted among the crew and/or passengers to look out for signs of dissension or mutiny, to spy on the crew on the behalf of the Captain or whoever issues their orders. Spies, essentially.
  • edited December 2011
    And don't forget the POLITICAL OFFICER, responsible for one or more of:
    * ensuring proper morale among the crew,
    * encouraging patriotism and discipline among the crew,
    * ensuring loyalty to the government and its prevailing ideology,
    * organising educational courses and entertainment (libraries, movie screenings, staging amateur plays)
    * helping with social problems (such as hazing or superiors who exploit their position)
    * assigning benefits (child, sickness, maternity/paternity etc).

    A political officer might also have the authority to overrule the captain's orders.

    (I played in a Cold City adaptation of Odyssey 2010 - everyone was afraid of the political officer!)

    See and (the latter requires google translate, but contains different information than Wiki in English).
  • Ship's Life Officer = 1st Mate or Doctor or Exec

    consider also per above

    Exec Officer
    1. questions the Captain's plans
    2. enforces discipline before the CAPT gets involved
    3. supervises Everything in other positions/tasks so that the CAPT is dealing with Strategy, not Operations

    1. keeps database up to snuff
    2. may handle sensor suite on small ships
    3. may be your second senior pilot

    basically you have lots of overlap of positions depending on scale of ship/crew
  • Zero g sex.
  • Posted By: JDCorleyZero g sex.
    I'm so glad I'm not alone in thinking of this.

    I'm also kind of glad that I didn't have to be the one to post this.
  • "I'm like a doctor, Simone, I do important work here."
    * ensures the loyalty of the officers
    * provides decision-making advice

    * locates appropriate software in the thousand-year-old file system
    * provides glue-coding to patch together disparate found software into custom solutions
    * writes new interface code as technology changes

    * controls target priority logic
    * manages weapon system maintenance teams
    * specifies new system and reload characteristics

    * specialized knowledge of other cultures
    * trained in cultural prediction to deal with the many-year changes between visits
    * language translation and analysis
    * determines possible transaction methods

    * ensures new software and hardware systems are safe
    * inspects maintenance team operations
    * Mop the deck.
    * Clean and repair those little droids that normally mop the decks.
    * Replace LED lightbulbs.
    * Replace the speaker than makes the "shusssh" sound when the completely soundless doors open and close.
    * Spritz the hydroponic plants.
    * Stock the first mate's mini-fridge.
    * Get out of everyone's way.
    * Dig space-latrines.

    Brad, I love the "system archaeologist." Did you get the idea from A Deepness In The Sky?
  • Posted By: Colin_Fredericks
    Brad, I love the "system archaeologist." Did you get the idea fromA Deepness In The Sky?
    Oh yes! I could never think up stuff like that. :D
  • I love the idea of putting a corporate spin on it.
    You still need Human Resources and even Procurement in space.

    In particular HR has great comedy potential as it will meddle with the personal relationships between characters.. you could build a whole game just around them :-)

    Human Resource staff (yes, you will get HR in space!)
    - Recruiting
    - Hiring
    - Coaching
    - Counselling
    - Performance Assessment
    - Salary Negotiation
    - Employee Relations (take the shit on behalf of the captain!)
    - Training
    - Policy Recommendation
    - Team Building
    - Arbitration
  • -captain/owner
    -second in command
    -companion (courtesan)
    -hired muscle
    -medical researcher
    -shepherd (equivalent to a pastor)
    -smuggled child prodigy
  • Vending Machine Service Technician (Chicken Soup), Third Class
  • I based these on John Carpenter's Dark Star

    - Smoke Dope
    - Build Musical Instruments from Junk
    - Avoid Death in Cryogenic Suspension
    - Shoot Stuff with a Laser Rifle
    - Stare into Space
    - Feed the Alien
    - Fight the Alien
    - Try not to fall down lift shaft
    - Engage in philosophical conversation with talking bomb
    - Surf into nearby atmosphere
    - Become an asteroid
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