Recently hit 300 hours in Quartermaster which may make me the most pathetic man in space, but it also makes me the most qualified to write a guide for our favourite ego-boosted Cargo Tech. For the sake of the guide, I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re already a dedicated Cargo Tech who knows the basics of Cargo and now you’re eager to graduate into pseudo-head of staff-dom.
Tools of the Trade
The most iconic part of the Quartermaster’s kit is of course, the cloak. To many, it is what separates the QM from the Tech. Wear it with pride for it is what gives you the right to bark orders at your inferiors and rub shoulders with the heads of staffs. Many also forget that you can, in fact, store items in the cloak, which isn’t too useful for other heads of staffs but can be particularly useful for less than law abiding QMs who want to keep an item in a place officers often forget to check or even remove (I tend to keep a plastitanium switchblade in there, for monkey butchering of course).
After the cloak, QMs are most well known for the megaphone which offers them a really shit version of a loud radio headset. If you are going to use the radio, use the megaphone, especially in common where your messages are more likely to get lost in the flood of chatter on higher pop stations. Id recommend sucking up to your HoP and asking for one of those fancy new Amplitude Keys that turn any old headset into a loudcomms version to save you pulling out your megaphone constantly if you can.
Aside from the big two, the QMs kit mostly just includes general items of bureaucracy and housekeeping. I tend to keep a box on me with the major items in them, which includes:
• Cargo folder with a few copies of the shifts bounties in them, useful if the bartender wants to know what drinks to make or the warden doesn’t want to hand over his shotguns for no good reason. You may replace this with a Tablet using the bounty hunter app but I still like keeping a few physical copies on me
• Cargo door remote. Let’s you open or bolt doors in cargo and set them to emergency access. Always keep this on you, it’s your only way into the vault by yourself so having to run back to your locker is going to be the difference between a happy crew or a vault looted swarmers and pirates. Can also be an easy way to let crew come in to collect guns in the case of a station-wide threat, but most good AIs will have done this for you
• Export scanner, pretty self explanatory and you’ve probably already used it as a Cargo Tech. Lets you check an items value
• Cargo budget. The most important, valuable and robust item in your kit. Protect it with your life. If you use it correctly it can get you most places on station. If you’re running a good cargo it should usually have 50k+, so feel free to take out a couple hundred for bribes or reimbursement for bounty items, people tend to remember the QMs that pay them for their work and will be more likely to work with you again in the future.
• The QMs stamp. You can use it on the forms that come with crates to get a few extra credits. Some people think you need to stamp the forms that appear when you order something but these are generally useless aside from telling you that your absent Cargo Tech returned from maints to order 30 autorifles. I also keep the denied and granted stamp in the box to fill it out so I don’t go insane, which may upset some cargo techs as they would like to stamp forms too. You can order more stamps in a bureaucracy crate if they’re in hot demand.
QM also starts with a couple extra things depending on the station, these are usually:
• GPS in your office in some stations, rename it to your name+QM and keep it in your coat pocket so you can track down dead miners if needed
• Some stations start you with a mining hardsuit, self explanatory. Spacesuits are nice and useful (It’d be nice if this was consistent in more stations but beggars can’t be choosers)
• QMs start with a box of Cargo Encryption keys which might be universal across all stations now, I haven’t been on every station since the merge to check though. If anyone outside of cargo ends up going on a lavaland adventure it’s best to throw one of these at them and check up on them as you would any other miner.
The Bloated Ego
QM is, famously, a Cargo Tech with a cloak and an inflated ego. Many QMs get ideas of grandeur and importance and end up deluding themselves into thinking they should be giving orders to certain members of the crew. As a QM, it is important to keep this ego inflated because there’s no way in hell the HoP is going to end up directing his own department.
As QM, you hold power over the miners and the Cargo Techs. There’s also a little bit of power over the service department when it comes to bounties but for the most part all you can do is rat on them to the HoP if they refuse to help.
Miners should be your major concern as Quartermaster. A missing Cargo Tech or two won’t affect the station as a whole, just your ability to sit at the bar and make other people do the hard parts of cargo but more than one missing miner will have damn near every person in the station barging down the doors of cargo in demand of iron. The general rules of controlling mining are to:
• Encourage communication, be sure to check in on them every 10 minutes or so to make sure they’re still alive and make sure they check in before doing something risky like fighting a boss. You might also begin the shift by reminding them not to die which, in my experience, does not do much but traditions die hard in Cargonia.
• Make sure they take a GPS with their name on it and that they’ve maxed their suit sensors. A miner is inevitably going to die under your watch, but if you make sure they at least do this then they won’t have to stay dead.
• If the materials dry up and the shuttle hasn’t moved in some time then your miners are probably dead. Radio in to make sure they’re actually dead and prepared to either replace them or go on a near suicidal mission to pick up their corpses to make sure they get you a little more iron before being allowed to move into a peaceful afterlife. It might be best to do both if you’re not sure their bodies are recoverable. You should not go for their bodies alone, particularly on a busy shift.
• There are two miners from hell: The clueless new miner or the veteran power gamers. Both tend to be radio silent and both tend to not get many materials deposited before never returning to station but for different reasons. The new players tend to end up as miners unintentionally or are a little too inexperienced to do an effective job, these tend to be the type to die to a goliath early on. One poor soul I worked with once managed to kill himself with the shuttle airlock before ever getting of station. These players, whilst unrobust, tend to have the stations best intentions at heart and haven’t been crushed by the repetition of this game and particularly mining so will actually mine if directed. If possible, try to see if a miner you trust could take them under their wing and show them the basics so that in future you might get your moneys worth out of them before they fall into lava. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the scourges of lavaland. If you see a 10 hour account rush hiero you’re probably facing one these players. They barely mine and if they do it’s solely to get points to unlock more loot. The station will barely have any materials but they’ll be at the bar in the H.E.C.K suit by the time half an hour has passed. There’s not much you can do in these situations aside from call the HoP and a seccie to help demote them and strip them of their loot and pray a suicidal assistant is willing to mine in their place. You might want to be careful doing this, these are the type of players to escalate to violence quickly so that they can use their epicgamerloot to “robust you”. If you see a player doing this repeatedly and refusing to roleplay it may be worth getting an admin to intervene.
• It is worth treating your miners well, not just because being nice generally makes the game a better experience, but because an appreciative miner is more willing to share some of their hard earned loot. Careful not to powergame too hard though.
Cargo Techs are generally much easier to handle. Generally you should remind them to hand out the bounty papers and help haul the warehouse freight into the shuttle. A lot of techs take this the wrong way and will spend the full shift raising maintenance for crates, lockers and welding tanks. It’s generally worth teaching these players that once the initial warehouse load has been moved and a few crates form cargo maints have been taken that they should be concerned with other money making methods, primarily bounties. Cargo often attracts a lot of new players since it’s generally a step up in responsibility from assistant, but isn’t too important of a role. It’s your responsibility as a Quartermaster to show them them the ropes of not just cargo, but different aspects of the game as a whole. When teaching a new Cargo Tech, I tend to show them:
• The supply console, cargo shuttle and crates. These are the bare essentials of cargo that any Cargo Tech should know. Often times this is all a new tech is shown which is why many of them continue to only load more and more crates for their entire Cargo career. For the love of god don’t stop here.
• I tend to show them the bounty console next and take them with me whilst I hand papers out to the major bounty departments. This helps introduce them to the bounty system as well as give new players a better sense of what is on the station which is a skill useful in more than just cargo.
• Inevitable I show them the mail and disposals system next. It’s such a horribly under-utilised system considering how robust it can be. You should show them how to ride disposals back to cargo, how to send themselves to different locations with the help of a friend and how to mail crates to other departments. If you don’t know how to do this then I would seriously recommending learning quickly because it is an invaluable tool when you need to send multiple crates to one department. This is a good time to show them where trash goes once it leaves the mail room in cargo, which a lot of people don’t seem to know for some reason.
• It’s a good idea to show them the mules. I mostly use the mules in a lesson of basic hacking which is an important skill for new players. Once you’ve showed them how to allow any load onto the mule and how to increase its speed, you should remind them that the mules are generally a poor option for the delivery of crates as they will often get stuck on one another and will break entirely in zero gravity (Seriously, don’t use mules. The most use I’ve ever gotten out of them is hacking them and putting a pAI in them with Sulla to create killbots)
• From there you could show them lavaland or other information you wish someone had told you as a new player. Please for the love of god treat the new players well and help ease them into this shithole of a game, if you keep pushing them away the community is going to shrivel up and die. Helping a new player learn the basics to space is one of the most rewarding parts of the game.
• Also, if you have new players do not do Gun Cargo. You shouldn’t be doing Gun Cargo either way but if you’re teaching a new player that this is what cargo should be then you’re setting them up for failure, I was guilty of this myself in my earlier QM shifts. Often times a new player with pick up a gun if handed to them which could lead to them being noted for being involved in a gun cargo they had nothing to do with other than doing as the more experience players told them to do which is a damn shame.
When you have more experienced Cargo Techs, you won’t need to hand hold them as much and can generally leave them to self govern. Remember to keep communicating and give them some tasks if they seem to be idling (Hand our bounty papers, do some basic bounties, etc). Do try to keep them in the loop of what you’re doing as well, cargo is one of the closer-knit departments so an absent QM can get quite depressing. If you notice a Cargo Tech who doesn’t do their job and then immediately orders guns for themselves it’s best to talk some sense into them and return the guns. If the crates are already ordered then it might be best handing them to security to make some friends in high places. If they keep doing this then it’s time to have them demoted and kicked out of cargo, they weren’t going to be of much use anyway.
Having a good relationship with your department is what makes or breaks a QM. If a miner or CT is dying you should do what you can to save them and if they’ve been brigged you could try your best to get a reduced sentence. When I was a younger QM this led to me doing some acts of self-antag to bust out Cargo Techs which did help keep a reputation as one of the “good QMs” with cargo techs but also got me in deep shit every shift with security. I wouldn’t recommend doing this but if you insist on it then don’t do it too consistently, don’t cause major station damage whilst doing it and at least try to roleplay it somewhat.
Cargonia and You
The close relationship of cargo and ease of access to guns can lead to some QMs thinking a revolution for the holy lands is the best course of action. Most QM mains have a few Cargonian uprisings under their belts for better or for worse. Loyalty to cargo and your cargo techs is always good and can be a defining character trait if you’re willing to roleplay it properly but can quickly lead to self-antag behaviour if taken too far. To avoid eating unnecessary bans it’s best to try and stamp out the growth of independence and gun-buying in your techs before it gets too far and the flags of cargo are flown high and security is dead, it’s a boring gimmick anyway. If you’re a traitor however, doing a TC trade to brainwash all of cargo is always fun and incredibly based. Highly recommended.
Friendship is Magic
Quartermaster has a very limited skill ceiling in what is needed to thrive mechanically. So long as you can throw together a basic engine if the SM blows up and can keep enough money together in the case of an emergency then you’ll be fine. A good Quartermaster is instead valued in their social ability. This may be harder to develop compared to more mechanical skills but being able to have people like you or your character can mean a lot when it comes to bounties. If you’re a dick to everyone you cross then the bartender is more likely to smash a bottle over your head than make you that Nar’Sour. Always try and give people a cut of the bounties they help make, even if it’s only a few hundred out of a bounty worth a couple thousand credits. It’s always worth asking for someone to give you something instead of smashing down a window and stealing it. A good QM is a polite QM.
A major part of this is having an interesting character. Playing someone recognisable with a distinct tone or look is going to help you complete bounties and tasks more than you’d realise, because as much as we try to ignore it there is an unintended bias towards bee regulars. It also just makes it more enjoyable experience in general. If I didn’t try to make each interaction engaging then I would’ve given up on QM after my fifth time arming Cargonian and moved on to grander aspirations in xenobio. This doesn’t just apply to QM but compared to roles like virology where you’re tucked away in a quiet corner it is a much bigger part of the job.
Actual gameplay tips for QM aside of the over glorified “be nice to people” shit
• QM has access access to an express delivery console that can airdrop orders directly to the station instead of waiting for the shuttle to arrive. Get the board from the techfab and place down the beacon in a reinforced area to avoid damages from the airdrop.
• You don’t have to steal rechargers for the bounty. You can print recharger boards in the cargo techfab for a measly amount of materials
• Telekinesis can be used to lift crates, which allows you to master the lost Cargonian art of Crate-Bending to deliver crates at never before seen speeds
• Your PDA can be used to check the ore silo logs. If all the materials suddenly vanish you can track down which department and techfab they were extracted from
• Holopads can be used to call holopads in other departments. This can be particularly useful when trying to contact virology or xenobiology for bounties when they refused to emerge from their virginity den
• Use empty clones of lizards, felinids and moths for the tail or wing bounties when you can
I’m far from an expert at this game and role and I’ve missed a shitton from the guide but it’s late and i’m lazy. I might expand it in the future but for now that’s it.
Glory to Cargonia, Land of Stolen Things o7