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Issues with the Brig Phys


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It was brought up in the survey meeting and I was asked to make a thread explaining why I think the Brig Physician has issues.

First, let's start with: What even is the Brig Phys?

If you looked at Brig Phys SOP or their wiki page, you might think a Brig Phys is primarily for treating prisoners. After all, their entire SOP is concerned with what they must or must not do to prisoners and how to treat them. I also believe this was the original intention. In practise, though, the Brig Phys' primary task is treating Security members and serving as Security's private medbay.

A Brig Phys can effectively replace the entire medical department for security members, especially since many chose to build additional machines, sometimes going so far as to add cloners and cryo. The only thing they (afaik) never do is medchem or virology, though it's not hard for them to just stock up on chems from medbay.

It's not hard to tell why this is the case, either. As a mindshielded role, he is guaranteed to not be an antag. Why would you take a gamble on a medical doctor when the Brig Phys is right there? And Brig Phys' are bored at roundstart with nothing to do, so of course they spend their time expanding and working on their room. Not to mention wanting to be prepared for helping your 'team' out.

Why is this an issue?

  • It directly goes against our goal of more department cooperation. Why should you cooperate with another department (medbay) when you have a better, more trustworthy version of it right at home? Departments shouldn't be able to do another department's job themselves. Imagine if Security had a mini-RnD bay with a mindshielded person and their own protolathe and RnD console. Would that make the game better?
  • It plays into the 'us vs. them' mentality of the playerbase and reinforces it by clearly delineating a 'team'.
  • It is at odds with the basic idea of the game. There is a reason 'traitor' and traitor-style modes are very popular, they are the bedrock on which the game is built. Who do you trust? Who could be a traitor about to fuck you over? Those are questions you should be asking yourself when playing the game. Except as security, the answer is very simple. Who do you trust? Roundstart mindshielded people. Who could be a traitor about to fuck you over? Literally everyone else.
  • It has balance implications. Implants are very powerful, but require surgery to put in. Having a Brig Phys with a surgery setup means sec can have their powergaming implants put in without any risk or worry. One of the main reasons a surgery fail chance for awake patients was added was to make surgery risky.
  • It is outright expected that you play the Brig Phys like this. I did an experiment once, joined as Brig Phys and decided to just equip myself for triage and fixing minor things. 20 minutes into the round the HoS is harassing me over not building a surgery set and recommending I go steal a medivend from medbay.

Where to go from here?

It's easier to notice issues than offer solutions. I am honestly not sure how to even tackle this problem. I don't think removing the position entirely would be a very good (or popular) move at all and I think there's some value in the job. Aside from us needing more job slots, not less, having someone dedicated to keeping prisoners healthy is definitely a good idea.

I did a PR once to remove mindshield status from the Brig Phys and make him just as trustworthy as any other doctor, but it was shot down out of fear it would lead to too many perma prison breaks.

If we had a skill system we could make the Brig Phys worse at surgery than dedicated doctors, but that's probably not happening.

I am not too optimistic anything will get done on this but it is an issue that's bothered me for a while, so I brought it up during the meeting and was asked to elaborate, so there you have it. Do you agree? Disagree? Have an idea on how we might improve things?

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If we don't remove brig phys and keep it in the game i don't believe anyone could find a way for anyone to want to play that role without actually doing surgery and primarily caring for officers, karma locked or not 😕

But yeah I agree that roles that discourage interdepartmental interactions are not good for the game.

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i just personally dont see people relying on brigphys very often it at all.

its a mixed bag, you never know if the brig phys upgraded his bay or not. and most people with major injuries wont go to brigbay only to find out he has no supplies or equipment to help you. you die.

Everyone just defaults to medbay due to the fact they are expected to be always prepared (also medbay antags intentionally killing off patients is also extremely rare)

Most of the time i see brigphys doing work on someone is healing prisoners and installing implants to sec. maybe quick sleeper to inject healing and "off you go".

I wont deny that the brigbay meta exists, of course it does. Meta exists with everything. (like robotics adding a protolathe and autolathe, engineering getting an autolathe, cargo adding conveyors, etc). People enjoy upgrading.

The perhaps most important thing with brigphys is checking prisoners for implants - medbay is a very long way out, and usually sec doesn't have time to babysit treking through the whole station (and have clown and greytiders make issues all the way through), and then explain everything to a doctor (and then explain 5 more times because they're bald) and waiting for procedures to complete and come back.
 

Edited by procdrone
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I second not generally seeing brigbay preferred over medbay, primarily because there generally isn't actually a risk to using medbay. Medbay is tiny compared to the amount of traffic it receives, and if an antag tries anything during treatment it's nearly guaranteed to be seen by someone else. 

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Yeah I don't really ever see brigbay being preferred either. I'll go when I'm near sec and I know the phys is there/competent/capable, implants whenever I actually get them and phys is there/competent/capable or for implant checks, but otherwise I just head to medbay unless I'm dragged to brigbay by another officer.

I don't really see a problem with Brigbay upgrading or it existing, personally, as most officers(myself included) tend to still go to medbay.

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Pretty much parroting the above comments, BrigBay is a symptom of people having free time and upgrading the FUCK out of their little place in the station. 8/10 Ill head to Medbay for serious wounds, and only really go to BrigBay for implant checks on prisoners, implants for myself and then the occasional topping-off of Saline. 

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