Norwest

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  1. "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance..." -Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 I knew things had gotten bad when the nuke started talking to me. "Hey, MacTavish," the Nuclear Fission Explosive grunted cheerfully, waggling its tail fins in greeting. "Feelin' a little under the weather there, are ya?" "Feck off," I wheezed back, suppressing a scream as the styptic powder covered my wounds. "I'll live." "Yeah, yeah, for now," the nuclear weapon replied, rocking on its chassis in response. "But y'do seem to be outta options here, Tavish. You're a Head'a Security without any Security to call on, an acting-Captain without a station to command, and you've got a nuke without any codes to make it work. Kinda missing some important parts there, eh?" "Ain't dead y-" I tried to say with false bravado, interrupted by a sudden gasp of pain as the acidic xenos blood reached something important. Fumbling for my makeshift medkit, I popped the top from a blank pill bottle and swallowed a handful of pills, choking them down a dry throat rubbed raw from exertion. "Still. Feckin'. 'Ere." "You're choking down random pills in the hopes that one of 'em will make ya right again, buddy ol' buddy ol' pal," the nuke chirped, seemingly oblivious to my tears of pain. "And it's only a matter'a time before those aliens come back an' finish ya off, Mac..." As if to underscore my hallucination's imagined words, my eyes twitched towards the eastern end of the Bridge and a sudden shift inside the darkness there. I'd triggered the Bridge lockdown, so heavy blast doors kept the xenos from simply overrunning me, but the craftier alien bastards had taken to tunnelling through the walls. One xenos had nearly gotten me that way, and I was still flushing its "parting regards" out of a gaping wound in my left shoulder. I snarled to myself, hefting my riot shield and slapping myself upside the head, cursing my fading vision. "It's nothin'. Clear." I turned back to my imaginary friend, smacking it with the butt of my shotgun. Three tons of carefully-machined explosive lenses sat on its own custom-made trolley, surrounding a hyperdense core of refined plutonium-239. "Stop lyin' tae me," I told the nuclear weapon. "I'm only animated by a figment of your imagination, buddy," the bomb responded merrily. "If I'm lying to you, it's only because your fragmented consciousness can't suss out up from down at this point. But seriously, MacTavish, pull up a chair and have a seat, because we really need to have a talk about your future." The laugh spilled out, surprising us both, but a few more chuckles followed it, until I'd almost collapsed to the deck howling. I laughed louder than the hooting evacuation alarms, cackling until the tears streamed down my dirt-streaked face. This was it: a nuclear bomb was lecturing me about "future planning." I'd well and truly snapped. "Hey, bud. Am I a joke to you?" I've no idea how a stationary, station-ending bomb could appear affronted, yet from from my angle the weapon's rear fins almost seemed like arms perched on hips. "I'm tellin' you, ya gotta get with the future here." "Sure. Right." I slowly picked myself up off the floor, tucking my combat shotgun under one arm and cranking my riot shield to full extension. A moment of mental effort activated my anti-drop implant, and my hands clenched around my weapons with a literal deathgrip. "Future. Sure. Talk." The bomb let out a long, winding sigh as I slowly hobbled to the center of the Bridge, supporting myself on the towering riot shield. "I've gotta give ya some credit, you've lasted longer than damn near anyone on this station. Might be the last one left, even. Still, between the sickness and the face-eatin' aliens, your odds of livin' through this are..." "Non-existant. Already bloody aware," I hiss, glancing through security camera feeds. They only showed me more of the same depressing images as before: mutilated bodies, showers of gore, broken machines, and too few dead xenos piled among the carnage. "Either I get eaten by xenos face-fuckers, or I explode from CentComm's little live-fire testing. 'Tis bloody nothin' tae live for, either way - what's the feckin' point?" "Nah, bud, that's the point!" the nuke chirps. "Most folks, they don't get to choose when and how they're gonna die - a shuttle accident out'a the blue, sudden solar flare, the works. And really, a shuttle accident's kinda a shitty way to go, ainnit?" I shrug, both literally and figuratively numb as the painkillers kicked in. "But not you, MacTavish. You sent your survivors away, and then you held here. Coulda run - shoulda run, really - but you decided to hold out here. And I gotta give you some credit, you've made these bugs bleed for me. This is enough blood an' guts spilled to make me feel downright appreciated, I'll say that much." Its invisible eyes flicked around the dimly-lit room, and the corpses piled across it. I'd locked down the station's bridge, with the nuclear weapon and authentication disk still inside. The room served as a long shooting gallery, and the nuke (and my own warm body) served as both lure and threat to the lethal xenos. They'd come from every angle, fore and aft, and I'd made them pay for each and every inch. I'd killed five of the bastards myself, and a few more had fallen to the "experimental bioweapon" which Central Command had deployed to wipe out the creatures. All good, except that the geniuses over there had deemed the station's nuke "too dirty" and had decided to use us as live-fire testing for their bioweapon instead. Turns out, their little toy crossed species. "Aye," I coughed wetly, feeling blood pooling at the back of my throat. "Made a stupid choice-" "A brave choice!" the bomb declares. "-a feckin' boneheaded one," I shoot back, "an' now I'll bleed out an' die on this pisser of a station." I wince as something important in my belly heaves and burns, doing my best to suppress the tears. "How's that fer a feckin' future?" "Well yes, you'll die here," the nuclear weapon replies airily, waggling its tailfins in response. "The question is how you want to die, and how ya want to be remembered. This is the stuff of holovids, MacTavish; 'a lone Security holdout dies snarling in the face of certain death!' You've got the makings of a legendary last stand here, pal." I chuckle, wincing as the pain worsens. "An' I should give two figs about it...why?" "Well, there's royalties-" "I hate most of me family, an' NT will probably take the rights anyway." I sigh, drumming my fingers across my shotgun's trigger guard. "I only had meself tae live for, so who the feckin' hell would I die for?" The attack, when it came, took mere seconds. One moment I was resting my weight forward on my towering riot shield, my combat shotgun pointed forward at the shadowed Captain's quarters, and the next I was facing down a half-ton of teeth, claws, and murderous attitude. A bulbous face scrabbled at my helmet, the 'tongue' inside it spitting acidic saliva against the hardened visor. Massive claws raked at my midsection, my shield and armoured trenchcoat only offering limited protection. I toppled backwards, my shield and gun still held in a vice grip... Auto-senses dampened my hearing as the shotgun boomed, the alien raking at me arching backwards as the buckshot connected. Acidic blood sprayed down like rain, and I could feel my teeth gritting behind my visor as the sulfurous stuff dripped into every chink and weakpoint in my low-profile armour. I refocused my eyes, re-sighted my waving gun barrel on the chitinous mass above me, and pulled the trigger again. More light, more sound, more sprays of lethal acid. I pulled the trigger again and again, lost in a haze of pain and rage, until reason intruded to remind me about the meaning of the repetitive *click* *click* *click* Mentally deactivating my anti-drop implant, I slowly rolled myself out from under the dead alien. "Oof." I let the dry shotgun drop with a clatter and slammed my riot shield on the deck, grasping it with both hands and weakly levering myself upright. "'Nother one down." Metallic clapping noises interrupted my reverie. "Very good, HoS MacTavish! You might not have been able to keep your station secure, but you've at least kept me safe and sound," the nuclear bomb chirped happily. I grimaced at the ever-present reminder of my madness, wishing I'd been more careful earlier about labeling the pills I'd snuck from the Medbay. "Now, about your future..." "Ain't got one," I interrupt brusquely, slowly hobbling over to the Captain's chair on the bridge and dropping into it with a sigh. I bring up the console screen, cursing under my breath as the message queue shows an empty list again. "I just wanted those bloody nuke codes-" "Sooooo, you don't care about how you go, but you were willing to sacrifice yourself to destroy this entire station in nuclear fire?" the bomb queries. "Methinks thou dost protest too much, Officer." "I..." For the first time in years, I'm at a loss for words. I busy myself cleaning a pitted wound around my neck, my hallucinations leaving me in blissful peace for a minute or two. I'm the one to break the silence: "Aye. Mayhaps there's nae any point to the 'verse; per'aps it's all just a sick feckin' joke." "So why care?" the bomb presses, its jovial tone gone. "If there's no point to anything...why do something?" I shrug, adjusting the makeshift armour plates across my back. "Gotta make 'em true. Even if there's nae any truth or justice out there, the only way there'll ever be any is if we choose t'make some." "Live for something," the nuke whispers reverently. "And die for..." "The crew," I respond, hefting my backup laser and feeling it thrum to life. "I'll save who I can, an' get justice fer the ones I couldn't." I shuffle across the deck, my steps lighter than they'd ever been before. "I'll show 'em that someone cares, that some other poor bastard on life's journey was willin' to give 'is all for strangers." I gently lean against the nuclear bomb, imagining that I could feel the annihilation contained inside. "Fer the colonies in distance from 'ere, fer the other poor bastards in spittin' distance from the bugs. I'll hold 'em here, contain the infection, let 'em live out their lives in peace." "Now that," the nuke intones, "is a future worth bleeding and dying for." A light on the end of the bomb pulses, and my eyes follow it to see chitinous shapes massing again behind the burned-out door. I nod, for once in agreement with my hallucination. "Aye." I square my shoulders, planting my shield and aiming my laser. "COME ON, YE BASTARDS!" I snarl. "COME AN' HAVE A GO IF YE THINK YE'RE HARD ENOUGH!" ------------- After-action transcript, MSgt Kearney, Trans-Solar Federation Marine Corps: "...our pinpointers led us to the station's nuke on the Bridge. We'd seen some carnage in the hallways, but this was somethin' else, man. One nuclear bomb, one dead human, and a fuckin' sea of dead xenos..."
  2. "Space BBC: Still (Under)Funded by Space Britannia" Hello, viewers. I'm your host, Sir David Rattenborough, and I've been necromantically resurrected to provide my soothing voice to your nature documentaries. Today, we're venturing into the Epsilon Eridani sector to see the exotic life-forms which live in such a hostile environment: The NSS Cyberiad is home to many unique specimens, including the hostile Tribunus Shitcuritus, the well-meaning Medicus Inscitus, and the dangerous Quaesitorus Validatus. Today, however, we are in search of the elusive Puer Greytidus, which haunts the dimly-lit corridus and Maintenance passageways of the local stations. Although numerous, the so-called "greytide" is a difficult creature to find, owing to its the poorly-kept state of its natural habitat. Hull breaches limit the creature's hunting grounds, causing fierce competition among its members. Many a "'tider" has been cut down in its prime by fierce competition over key resources, such as crowbars and insulated gloves. The "'tider" is so named for the grey, unkempt state of its issued jumpsuit. Although technically employed by NanoTrasen to "assist" other personnel aboard its stations, an ongoing expose by Faux News has revealed that NT pays these individuals in carbohydrate packs and water. They are, in effect, paid quite literally peanuts. Similarly, the humble "'tider" must acquire its tools and equipment by scrounging left-behind construction equipment, or by assaulting other station personnel for their own garb. For this reason, among others, the creature is greatly despised among NT space. While NT stations are as well-lit as one might expect, we rapidly depart these central corridors and enter a blank, unmarked airlock near the Arrivals shuttle. These dull, flat doors conceal the path to the Maintenance areas of the station, piping air, water, and electricity across its environs. Though dimly-lit, dangerous, and frequently unpleasant to inhabit, they are nevertheless vital to the station's upkeep. The 'tider patrols these long, winding corridors in search of food: whether contaminated by space-ants or not, he will seek a free lunch. The 'tider seeks a meal more enticing than his issued ration packs. Although he may have subsisted for some time upon food left over from previous reconstruction and remodeling, those reserves are now empty. The only other options left, aside from waiting for the minimal carbohydrate packages issued through the station's personnel office, is to acquire a decent meal at the Kitchen. Doing so, however, requires venturing from the 'safe' Maintenance tunnels into the light of a central corridor. Donning a face-concealing gas mask and removing his NT-issued ID card, the 'tider prepares to conceal his identity among the masses... Automatically ordered and charged through electronic delivery systems, food is often left unattended on the Kitchen's self-serve countertop for later pickup. Cracking open the nearby Maintenance door with a swipe of his ID card, the 'tider scans the corridor before quickly dashing across. A swipe of the hand, and the deed is done; a meal originally destined for Science is now in his hands. Sauntering away, the 'tider hides himself in both Maintenance corridors and the comfort of anonymity. Though someone might eventually investigate, who would they prosecute? Seeing the first's success, another greytider attempts the same feat. Dashing through the Bar, he races for the countertop and a meal left unattended. Yet his timing is poor, and the Chef spots his move. Seizing the creature's arm in a vice grip, the Chef subjects the 'tider to the power of CQC. Close-Quarters Cooking is a dangerous martial art, reserved only for masters of the culinary specialty. Practitioners of this epicurean craft are rightly feared, especially when operating in their own habitat. Pinned and left dazed, the 'tider is easy prey for one of its many predators, the Tribunus Shitcuritus. Dragged off to the far-away Brigston, the 'tider will be left with ration packs and donk-pockets for the forseeable future. Subsisting upon leftovers from the rest of the station, the 'tider nevertheless provides a vital role in the local ecosystem. It consumes waste and scraps from the larger departments, such as reishi from the Servitium regions or old welders from the well-known Cargonia. Greytiders are a tremendous mass of manpower, providing ready material for other departments and occasionally actually "assisting" them with various projects. And when the habitat is threatened by dangerous invasive species, such as the lethal Agentus Nuclei, this mob of bullet sponges forms a nigh-impenetrable barrier to protect the station from external attack. Yet this same defensive mechanism makes the 'tider a dangerous foe if crossed. While a single grey jumpsuit might be little threat for a well-armed Quaestor Validus, the 'tider is so named for its ability to rapidly congregate in one place. A group of greytiders is termed a "murder," and much like the crows of Earth they were originally named after, a murder of 'tiders will rapidly strip nearby regions of shiny things unless discouraged by locked doors and laser fire. Although nameless and faceless as a rule, 'tiders may flock to a single well-known personality, with the group even becoming named after this one exceptional fellow. The "Ssethtide" swarmed local stations a scant few months prior to this documentary, and although that particular "tide" is now receding, its marks are still evident on the local habitat. The 'tider has many predators, chief among them the Tribunus Shitcuritas. The "redshirt" patrols the station's central corridors, often ducking into Maintenance passageways to pursue if it sees the flash of a grey jumpsuit. The hard-headed Machinator Osiatum may attack a 'tider on sight, fearing a sudden attack for its own treasured yellow gloves. 'Tiders may often attack each other as well, whether in pursuit of food and scarce resources, territorial disputes, or the local custom known as "iunno man i was bored lol." Yet the deadliest predator of the humble 'tider is the different species of the dangerous Adversarius genus, such as the blood-sucking Aversarius Lamia. The 'tider is an odd creature, simultaneously revered and reviled by its contemporaries. Although individual 'tiders are collectively given short shrift, all of the station's inhabitants, from Engistan to mighty Commandotozhka, must nevertheless acknowledge the power of the Grey Jumpsuits. Though on the bottom of the local pecking order, through soap, cable ties, and sheer robustness, the 'tider may threaten even the most lethal of predators. Few will acknowledge them, but all must respect them.
  3. Glad you liked that 'un! There's a balance to sardonic CC shitposts, in between "being an entertaining asshole" and "just being an asshole." If you're up for it, I might use the Sankinovs for more CC riffing in the future.
  4. Soundtrack - "Big Iron" "To the town of Cyber-iad stomped a Durand one fine day," (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) "Hardly shot at folks around him, didn't have to much to say," (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) "No one dared to ask his business, no one dared to make a slip," "For the Durand there among them had a big ion on his hip..." ("big ion on his hiiiip...") It was evac in the shi-ift when he rode into the town, (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) He came ridin' from the south side, slowly lookin' all around, (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) "He's an antag loose and runnin'," came the whisper from each lip, "and he's here to do some business with the big ion on his hip, (big ion on his hiiiiip...) "In this station lived a Syndie by the name of Louie Red," (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) Many Sec had tried to take 'im, and that many Sec were deeeead...(~ooo~ooo~ooo~) He was vicious and a killer, though an AI of twenty-four, And the notches on his turrets numbered one and nineteen more. (one and nineteen mooo~ooo~ooore) Now the stranger started talkin', made it plain to crew around, (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) Was a validhunting Scientist, wouldn't be too long in toooown... (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) He came here to take a malf-AI back alive or maybe dead, And he said it didn't matter that he was after Louie Red, (~after Louie Reeeed...~) Wasn't long before the story was relayed to Louie Red, (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) But the Syndie didn't worry, those that tried before were dead... (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) Twenty Sec had tried to take him, twenty Sec had made a slip, Twenty-one would be the Durand with the big ion on his hip. (~big ion on his hiiiiip~) Now the shift had passed so quickly, it was time for them to brawl, (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) It was twenty past the shift change when they met out in the haaall, (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) Crew were watchin' from their windows, everybody held their breath, They knew this stomping Durand was about to meet his death, (~about to meet his deeeeeath...~) There were twenty tiles between them when they stopped to make their play, (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) And the swiftness of that Durand is still talked about to-daaaay... (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) Louie's turrets had not cleared cover when an ion bolt fairly ripped, And the Durand's aim was deadly with the big ion on his hip. (~big ion on his hiiiiip...~) It was over in a moment, and the crew all gathered 'round, (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) There before them lay the body of the AI on the grooound... (~ooo~ooo~ooo~) Oh, he might have went on livin', but he made one fatal slip, When he tried to match the Durand with the big ion on his hiiiip. (~big ion on his hiiiiiip...~) Big ion, biiiig iiioooon, Oh, he tried to match the Durand with the big ion on his hip. (~big ion on his hiiiiiip...~)
  5. Hello, everyone. Since becoming an admin I've run various events of different scales, and I'd like to hear the perspectives and opinions of the people involved. If you have any feedback, comments, or suggestions (or want to suggest a new event), lemme know below. Large-scale events: (major, round-spanning events which end up dominating the round) 1. "CentComm Defectors:" 2. "Space Pirates:" Medium-scale events (large events which have an impact on the round, but don't completely take it over): 1. "Colossal Missionary:" 2. "Masked Killer:" Small-scale events (i.e. events that shouldn't heavily interfere with the major events of the round): 1. "Judgmental Mime:" 2. "Lost 'Borg:" Will add other events as they pop up. Feel free to chip in with your own experiences or suggestions, though!
  6. I'm a longtime Seccie myself, and I'd have to agree with many of the earlier issues raised in this thread. More to the point, I'd argue that quite a few of them are closely connected: -The learning cliff: Security is an extremely difficult job to learn, requiring both robustness and knowledge of station SOP, server rules, and a thick enough skin to survive a storm of criticism. -Actual shitsec: While often just undeserved whining, much of that criticism is actually quite fair. I've seen prisoners left in cuffs for 15-20 minutes in Processing, utterly ridiculous criminal records placed (a 15-minute charge for just "resisting arrest," lol), and more undeserved harmbatoning than I can count at this point. -Poor oversight: Between the HoS, Warden, IAA, Magistrate, and Captain, there should be enough on-station personnel to correct bad behavior. I'd argue that much of the problem preventing that from happening is simply being overwhelmed: the HoS is desperately trying to keep a semblance of order, the Warden's watching over officers in the field, and every officer is desperately needed to fight the baddie of the week NOWNOWNOW. This leaves the IA agents and Magistrate with little to do, and when coupled with the high requirements for Magistrate and low job options for IAA, results in the positions usually being undermanned. This, of course, then worsens the problem of "bad apple" officers in the first place. -Staffing: All of the above, coupled with the reasonable likelihood of dying to valid-salad, makes Security a chronically understaffed force. Any measure to address Sec's issues must mention its horrible, horrible staffing problem, because everything else is secondary to it. No one's got time or energy to train newbies when they're constantly running after the next threat, and no one's got time to process prisoners properly when there's an officer down in Med-Sci Maint yada yada yada. And when there's no "low-speed" Security role, no one signs up for the job if they want a slower shift; it's either ASS TO THE GRASS BALLS TO THE WALL HARMBATON IN FREEFALL YEEHAW or it's playing Janitor instead. Note that this is a well-known real life phenomenon, often called a "staffing crunch:" with too few staff members on a job, pressure and requirements increase on the remaining ones, increasing their stress and causing them to quit (further worsening the staffing problem). Poor staffing is the heart of Security's woes; we can put patches over other issues, but none of them will stick unless we can ensure that there'll be more than just the Detective and Warden at roundstart. The term I've heard in RL law enforcement is "paradoxical policing," where inot only are there too few cops, the ones that remain are tired, burned out, and angry - and it shows. Conclusion: Recruitment&Retention is the key, everything else is secondary. I'd love to see a lot of the ideas in this thread implemented, from 'slings getting another rework to additional Code Red access, but ultimately the biggest problem with Sec is simply that there aren't enough of them around. Any suggestions for fixing Security's issues should focus primarily on getting more people to stay in the job. Issues and potential solutions: It's very, very difficult for even an experienced player to transition into playing Security. Others in this thread have already covered most of the reasons why, so I'm going to cover some of the issues inherent in resolving the problem and my proposals for addressing 'em: a) Hostile learning environment vs. protecting the "learner" role: Unsurprisingly, no one in red catches a break. I think there's simply no substitute for a "learner" Security role, a la the cadets that Kyet proposed earlier (personally, I'd go with "Constable" myself to avoid too much newbie stigma; I personally wouldn't mind playing a low-speed Sec role sometime). To separate cadets/Constables from the rest of Security's valid-salad, I'd suggest trying to draw a divide between them and the rest of Sec. Keeping other Sec roles more exclusive could be done with either a minimal karma-lock on Security roles (5 points to unlock "Security roles," a.k.a. the Brig Physician, Sec Officer, Warden, and HoS), or simply requiring a bunch of playtime (6+ hrs) in the "learner" role before being able to play as a Sec Officer. Combine this divide with limited equipment for cadets/Constables, restrictive instructions, and a limited degree of social protection. We can't entirely stop the low-speed Sec role from being a loot pinata, because they'll still need Brig/Holding Cell access and Security comms to do their job. However, limiting their equipment to less-effective tools like flashes and pepperspray a) forces them to actually use that gear, instead of relying solely on the holy harmbaton, b) limits their ability to get rekt by their own weapons used against them by greytiders, and c) makes them less attractive as a target. Similarly, the starting instructions (and hopefully over time, the basic standard and expectation) should tell cadets/Constables to remain in public areas and to not go patrolling off alone. There's no guarantee that they'll follow it, but it should keep at least some newbies on the straight and narrow. And finally, this divide between "always legit" Security targets and "try not to kill/humiliate" newbie role can be enforced through social interaction. Public shaming for antags, or even greytiders, who deliberately dunk on newbie Seccies can limit some bad behavior, especially if there's a clear divide between who's obvious valid-salad and who isn't. b) Lack of connection vs. a physical presence: One common problem with Sec roles is that there's no 'belonging' to the rest of the station. You've got antags to fight and greytiders to bash, and there's very little interaction between you and other departments. Even within Security itself, there's very little face-to-face time outside of hanging around in Processing at the same time, and the constant barrage of trouble on the radio means that there's very little of the team-building off-topic conversations which are so common in other departments. This worsens the issue of poor communication between Security and the rest of the station, increasing the divide and allowing for an easy bandwagoning of "shitcurity!" calls, whether deserved or undeserved, which make people that much less likely to play Sec again. I'd like to suggest departmental offices if feasible, the standard 3x3 (or 2x3 in a pinch) cubicles that come with basic ID access and departmental radio encryption. I'd suggest that cadets/Constables spawn at these offices right at roundstart, and serve as their public face of Security to different departments; I imagine this'd provide a more supportive environment for someone to learn the job, and would in turn provide that department with a tangible Security presence. Having a department to guard and a little Security checkpoint office to call their own would help make the role more than just a "learner" one. Security's currently responsible for the entire station at all times, which in practice means that you're running around pissing on brushfires here, there, and everywhere. Having a single department to guard and a small group to watch over would let someone play Security in a relaxed manner, only dipping their toes into the regular chaos when they felt like it. c) Lack of education vs. having a designated teacher: I've seen someone previously suggest a "Security Instructor" role, which was shot down on the basis of "experienced Seccies can teach newbies already." Without getting too confrontational, lemme put it like this: I've played an absurd amount of time on Paradise, let alone other SS13 servers, and in all that time I've seen a 'Sec training exercise' happen exactly once. On extended. That was it. Barring extended all day erryday, we need a framework of regular newbie education. Relying on charity, on someone experienced having the means, motive, and opportunity to take newbies under their wing during a busy shift, is not a viable solution. The poor staffing problem is the root cause of Security's issues, and lack of help for newcomers in the role is a significant contributor to the issue. Other players can certainly contribute, but we need someone whose role is focused primarily around education, to teach newbie Seccies everything from prisoner processing to shooting, and who won't bin all that teaching the moment a 'ling pops up in Sci Maint. I think the previous "Security Instructor" role addressed it handily, and I'd suggest a separate radio channel for "cadets/Constables" to give them space to ask dumb questions like "how do I use a flash anyway?" The obvious response to the concept of a separate radio channel would be "just use mhelp," but as an admin with access to the mentor channel, I can definitively say that they don't. People often just won't ask for help without some prompting ("hey, I saw that scuffle over in Processing, lemme show you how to take cuffs off a prisoner safely"), and other people just won't offer it without a little push. The "Sec Instructor" role is meant to provide that push, because when you log in to that job, you know that you'll need to step up to the plate to help teach newbies. This doesn't stop other Sec players from helping instruct newbies; matter of fact, I'd argue it would make them more likely to do so. It's the basic "bandwagoning" effect in action, where one person setting an example encourages others to join in. The goal here should be to prompt people towards better behavior, to give them that initial push, and to let them carry it the rest of the way. Tl;dr version: I could go on for ages about stuff I'd like to see implemented: additional minor antags like smugglers or drug dealers to add some early-round shenanigans, renovating IA so that people actually want to play the role, improving antag gameplay so that they have greater freedom to act and are rewarded for interesting or exciting acts of villainy, etc. However, none of those things deal with the basic issue of Security staffing, and there's no point in trying to add new antagonists or tweaking high-level gameplay if we don't address the more basic, fundamental problem of "people just don't play Sec." I've seen a lot of proposals to reform Security in the past, and I've thought a lot of them had merit myself. They were almost universally shot down, primarily by admins and coders; in my *ahem* years playing on Paradise, I haven't seen Security itself change. I have seen admin policy towards antagonists and on-station troublemakers get more restrictive, however, and much of that is due simply to Sec's inability to handle anything significant. As @Ping mentioned on the first page, there's an expectation of peace and order on-station, which Security simply isn't able to fulfill. The current system just isn't working, and our piecemeal efforts to address it aren't fixing the fundamental problem. Unless we make a 180 on the idea of station chaos tomorrow, we'll need a larger Security force to maintain order. No matter whether we adopt a "newbie Seccie" role or not, we need to change things up, because the current system isn't functioning reliably. I've seen frequent suggestions made on the forums about antags being too restrictive* and Security being constantly understaffed; once again, everything comes back to Security staffing. Threads like this or this are symptomatic of the larger problem we have downstream of Security's ineffectiveness, not to mention the perfectly valid complaints about Sec misbehavior and general shitcurity-ing. I'd like to think that my proposals above would address a good deal of the "learning cliff" problem, and I'm open to suggestions and trying something entirely different. Ultimately, though, I really don't want us to put our collective heads in the sand, and pretend that the problem can be resolved with a few tweaks - or that it can't be addressed at all. This is a major issue, and adequately addressing it will require a major rework. *Honestly, even as an admin myself, I've disabled most antag roles rather than play them due to being too restrictive. Having to look over my shoulder before doing anything is way too much of a hassle.
  7. I really like this idea, all in all. It lets secborgs stay relevant against biohazards, while still subjecting them to significant penalties ("1 hand+0 backpacks" vs. "2 hands+backpack o'guns") that allow organics to remain important too. (as an aside, when playing Secborg against blobs/xenos/terrors, I find it's almost a relief to finally die. Whaling on some isolated bit of blob for ages, with literally nothing more than a harmbaton to hurt the thing, is all kinds of no-fun)
  8. I'm a fan. Count me as a yes, please.
  9. I really do like the idea of a "Security Instructor" on the whole, and I think you've put a lot of good work and effort into the concept. I hope this does get adopted in the future, and I hope you don't give up on it yet.
  10. I'd personally recommend the 1980s-copper look, in order to encourage approachability. The student-instructor relationship is a key element of successful education, and while making a Drill Instructor (DI) as the teacher might make for some decent Full Metal Jacket parodies, it also actively discourages new Sec Officers from seeking out help. Meanwhile, the "grumpy-but-approachable old vet" is a timeless and tireless archetype, and would help improve the students' confidence to speak up in the first place.
  11. I'd also like to expand on the question of the motivations underlying the PR. To quote the rationale given: "Pulls back some of medical's powercreep." ...Medbay. Powercreep. Um. Gents, you are aware that the Science department is A Thing, yes? I'm aware that this doesn't obviate minor powercreep on Medbay's part, but from an outsider's perspective, it seems absurd that you'd focus on cutting Medbay down to size when their next-door neighbors combine ludicrous firepower with negligent responsibility. Even in Medbay itself, Virology is a far worse culprit with regards to overpowering capability than sleeper pods (put three viruses of Toxic Filter/Toxic Comp together, give one of the viruses Self-Respiration, and you can go for a spacewalk in your skivvies). The rationale given is obviously a bit short, so do note that I'm not getting their explanation in detail. That being said, I would urge the PR's proponents to consider what sort of gameplay you're trying to create by making Medical more difficult to get into, because I see this as generally unhelpful to the cause of making Medbay a decent place to work. I'm guessing that this PR is meant to "make injury more meaningful," in line with the other stated motivation of "making death more meaningful," but if so, then I'd like to offer some advice on the subject: In real-life hospital care, death is pretty easy. Resuscitation (the process of trying to save someone) is labor-intensive and effortful, sure, but once they're dead, things get much simpler. There's no 1:1 care with RT (Respiratory Therapist) hovering over their ventilator, there's no wrangling an ICU bed and getting the trainwreck-patient transformed into someone else's problem, no nothin'. You clean up the room, call in the family if they're around, call the morgue, and hey presto you're off to the races paperwork. If you want to make injury meaningful and limit Medbay's capabilities, then I'd recommend focusing on disability. As it stands, medical care in SS13 can rapidly restore someone to 100% in no time flat; if you want to make people more hesitant of getting horribly injured, then include possibilities for long-term harm which can't be easily cured. Add more long-term diminished capability (even if surgically repaired, a broken leg could mean a 15-minute mobility reduction, or a broken arm could mean occasionally dropping items), make sepsis be an issue for regular wounds rather than just during surgery, add a longer recovery time for pharmaceutical organ treatment (i.e. mannitol and mitocholide will need some time to work if taken in pill form), have severe injury reduce the subject's maximum health, and so on. No matter what element of Medbay we're talking about, if your goal is to make injury a scary thing that people want to avoid, I would recommend focusing on the end product rather than the in-between - in other words, consider making someone leave Medbay at 90% rather than on tossing a few more roadblocks onto Medbay itself. Concurrently, I'd suggest soliciting more suggestions for changes from the community itself. If you want more community buy-in, just state your intentions in detail ("I want to make [X], because [Y], and I'm currently thinking of doing it through [Z]. What are your thoughts?") and field some questions and comments from the players. A couple test-merges, along with explicitly looking for feedback from the start, would avoid much of the criticisms and similar messes that this PR has generated.
  12. I am a bit leery about these nerfs as they relate to newbie doctors. A mild passive heal doesn't mean much alongside an amazing "mito-manni-cryo" mix, but it does matter significantly when someone who's trying out Medbay for the first time tries tossing someone into a pod without first loading them up. Similarly, I feel like the sleeper nerf disproportionately affects newbie docs who don't have stacks of pills on their belts. Neither of these changes will make too big a difference for experienced MDs who can work their way around the changes, but they significantly complicate matters for people who are just starting out. Regarding implementation, I think the process was rushed without good reason. Compare this change, which AFAIK was merged practically overnight, with the multiple test-runs and rounds of feedback that preceded the Medbay and Security mapping changes. The map alterations didn't satisfy everyone's little desires - I shed a tear at this time for the eternally fax-less Coroner - but they resulted in effective, popular changes which actually gave people the things they wanted. Compared to those "gentle" approaches, this merge feels excessively rushed and poorly thought-out. Given the notably negative reaction it got on arrival, I would guess that the people who merged this did so rapidly with the expectation of pushback - a spessman fait accompli, as it were. I'm not going to pretend that I have any insider knowledge of forum or coder politics, and I'd urge everyone to take my assessment with a healthy grain of salt. That being said, I would ask the people pushing these changes to better outline exactly what they want. What events or situations gave the motivation for these changes? What sort of desired end-goal are they looking to achieve? What failure states are they trying to avoid? The current environment feels excessively antagonistic on both sides, and I'd like to encourage everyone to put a little more effort on cooperating.
  13. That's certainly a good point, but to be frank, I don't recall cloning being much fun for a newbie either. Surgery was the interesting and engaging thing for me when I was starting out in Medbay, because a) it required a significant number of actions, while b) the Operating Computer meant that I had a pretty good idea of what to do, and c) the patient was unconscious and therefore wasn't in a position to complain. Cloning has the issue of being pretty boring even for someone starting out ("put mans in cloner, press button, wait"), and I see the recent changes as being unhelpful in that regard, because they push attention away from the ORs. The key changes between a newbie and a veteran MD, in my opinion, is less about knowing esoteric knowledge and more about rapidly applying it. A newbie doc would be absolutely overwhelmed if left alone to handle an MCI, but frankly, they'd be overwhelmed with an MCI under any circumstances. Under more-routine circumstances, the older system of "defib, then clone" for newbies worked fine, and my proposed system would still allow for that to happen. There'd be more of a penalty to cloning, yes, but it'd still function as before. I envision cloning as the backup option, and I agree that we shouldn't remove it entirely. I like the idea of it serving as the last resort, and I believe that Clone Memory Disorder + a mechanical penalty wouldn't make it completely useless. IPCs can still function with 1.5x brute/burn damage, albeit with lots of salt about their EMP vulnerability in dchat, and my proposed changes would still allow for the cloner to function like it currently does otherwise. Newbie MDs would still be able to toss a dead character inside if defibrillation fails, and players would still be able to re-enter the round using it; the idea is to allow for a newbie to start there and to graduate up to knowing the different drugs, knowing how2SR, and so on.
  14. Thanks! I'll admit, I know very little about Botany, but making SR dependent on their help seems like a decent compromise. That way, even if all the Botanists are traitors/incompetent/dead, the Garden, Permabrig, and R&D all provide backup options for growing plants in a pinch. My reasoning with regards to increasing decay speed is because it can be halted completely with formaldehyde. That would provide a sense of urgency, since there's a looming penalty for not getting SR'd or hit with formaldehyde, and would require Medbay to practice triage. MCI (Multiple-Casualty Incident) triage, a.k.a. "walk through the car wreck and pick out the survivors," is pretty fulfilling work in my opinion, so I think it's something I'd like to see implemented in some manner. Defibs provide that to some degree, but with a greater reliance on SR over the cloner, I'd like to see SR have some form of "temporal urgency" (a time limit) which forces the triaging MD to be on the ball. And of course, if all else fails, there's still the microwave cloner to let dead people get back into the round eventually. While defibs already have downsides, I'm sure you'd agree that brain damage is extremely easy to fix. I'd like to add an element of suspense and danger to the defibrillator, so that the success stories are that much more meaningful - there should be a reasonable chance of failure, even if it's something that a competent player can manage without too much difficulty under normal circumstances. Defibs inflicting a harmful-but-manageable amount of cardiac damage would ideally provide some risk without keeping people from using them. After all, a 10u mitocholide pill can patch up cardiac damage, as can efficient task-prioritization like "patching up the heart along with the patient's fractured chest" that experienced MDs already do. I'm open to discussion here, of course, but I do think there should be some form of failure-state in order to heighten the successes.
  15. I'm linking my effortpost on the topic from the 'Community Poll - Medbay Changes' thread, since it seems applicable here.