bfm75
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I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Tue 20 Jul 2021, 08:18

I don't like the regular maintenance roll (core book, page 179). In Alien (1979) it didn't seems like they did regular maintenance, or they wouldn't have been surprised that they still were a long way home when they were awoken. In Prometheus and Covenant it seems that an android is doing maintenance during the journey, but I don't care much for ether movie.

Game play wise, the role doesn't add much. I would much rather see a rule where the risk of issue with the ship would build up over time and when you got out of cryo some maintenance would be required, or some other cost of running the ship, which would drive the need to make money.

What do you guys think of the rule? Are you using it? Any ideas for alternatives?
 
Lord Drah'Kan
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Re: I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Tue 20 Jul 2021, 11:09

A required maintenance every week would mean the engineers of the ship have to get in and out of cryo a lot, so yeah, it is not a great rule. I'm starting a campaign in a few weeks, and personally, I'm going to drop this rule and let them do a check of the ship when they get out of cryo to see if any repairs need to be done.
 
bfm75
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Re: I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Tue 20 Jul 2021, 12:18

So, just do the maintenance roll at the end of the trip? No matter how long the trip was?
In my campaign I’ve just drop the rule altogether, but I would like to add in some “cost” of running the ship.

Just on the top of my head: could do something like stress builds up in the ship overtime (like one stress dice or week) and at the end of the trip roll the stress dice at for each facehugger (roll of 1) a maintenance roll has to be done.
I don know, perhaps too much rolling?
 
Grimmshade
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Re: I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Tue 20 Jul 2021, 22:42

I'm going to use some alternative as well. I don't think the RAW simulates what we see in the movies at all.
Honestly, it seems like by the time of Alien, Mother can do all the checks, possibly only waking the crew if there is a problem.
 
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ExileInParadise
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Re: I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Wed 21 Jul 2021, 00:30

In _The Book of Alien_ by Michael Scanlon there are a number of pre-production pictures of the Picador - a repair vehicle used by Parker and Brett to repair various parts of the Nostromo once they are woken up.
One picture showed a pipe gushing something with the Picador maneuvering to work on the damage.

One reason I would keep the maintenance roll is to honor (a bit) Dan O'Bannon's original intent in ALIEN to show "space is dangerous".

In the special edition commentary, he specifically talks about previous movies always showing ships landing effortlessly, like in _Forbidden Planet_.

He wanted to show a space future where things were much harder, and more dangerous by showing stuff breaking in a rough landing on an undeveloped planetoid - even for a ship designed for rough survey work.

Frequent breakdowns and repairs can help push that feeling that "the tech you rely on isn't all that reliable" as well as keep the stress dice jumping.

Additionally, I would say that just being in space requires constant vigilance - and those rolls even if they don't show anything could be "preventative" - astronauts scan the I.S.S. constantly and hope they DON'T find anything.

Suit or vehicular EVA prep could be considered maintenance.

Also, hardware damage tends to be incremental - so if you go too long between checks - then minor things get more of a chance to become major things.

What was a frayed wire one week becomes an arcing short next week that takes out an inconvenient piece of gear ...
We live, as we dream -- alone. ~ Joseph Conrad
 
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ExileInParadise
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Re: I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Wed 21 Jul 2021, 00:41

I don't like the regular maintenance roll (core book, page 179). In Alien (1979) it didn't seems like they did regular maintenance, or they wouldn't have been surprised that they still were a long way home when they were awoken. In Prometheus and Covenant it seems that an android is doing maintenance during the journey, but I don't care much for ether movie.
Agree they did not wake up specifically to do regular preventative maintenance - but when they were woken up - it was time to check everything especially before a potentially rough landing...

That's what MU/TH/UR was for - monitoring and once something went bad enough - then get the crew up.

In the Alien universe, you can practically consider Ash, Bishop, David, and Walter to be mobile extensions of the shipboard computer - the computer is doing the heavy lift on monitoring and dispatching the mobile synthetic for the minor stuff - both under a set of mission guidelines installed by the same company owners.

There could be a lot of mixes of human to synthetic ratios in various crews depending on the ship owners and captain - For example, Dallas may have preferered not to work with synthetics, say, after something went wrong on the Archangel because of one (I'm making this part up).

Other ships might be highly automated (and more expensive to capitalize at first because of that) - but cheaper to operate long term ... but possibly more vulnerable to piracy because *most* synthetics are inhibited from harming humans.

And, area of operations may limit the infrastructure needed for large scale support of synthetics - the big factories and experts are in the core - not out on the rim - so when you operate even further out like the Nostromo - the cheap, expendable mark 1 "human" is probably the easier to support with frontier colonial infrastructure.
We live, as we dream -- alone. ~ Joseph Conrad
 
bfm75
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Re: I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Wed 21 Jul 2021, 10:41

I also think that there should be a cost/risk of space travel. However, the rules as written would mean that the Nostromo would have been failing apart after 6 months of traveling or the crew was woken up once a week to do maintenance. I don’t think ether happened in the movie.

I was hoping someone might have come up with a great fix for this :)
 
Grimmshade
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Re: I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Wed 21 Jul 2021, 23:19

Here's what I'm going to do:

The ship's computer or Android takes care of all the Comtech rolls.

Before the crew goes into sleep, the mechanic makes a Heavy Machinery roll. Failure means a Minor Component takes damage in the middle of the trip, and at the end of the trip.
Success means a Minor Component takes damage at the end of the trip.
Extra success means no damage for the entire trip.

This is just wear and tear damage. Unexpected events should be played out as normal.
 
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ExileInParadise
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Re: I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Thu 22 Jul 2021, 00:16

I was hoping someone might have come up with a great fix for this :)
To paraphrase Joss Whedon - have things break at the speed of plot ...
We live, as we dream -- alone. ~ Joseph Conrad
 
capnhayes
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Re: I don't like the Regular Maintenance roll

Thu 09 Sep 2021, 00:14

I like the Stress Die per week rule. Makes it random and gives the crew something to look forward to after waking up. A related question on maintenance though is how long until spare parts, fuel for the reactors and other consumables run out? Is that in the rules somewhere?

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