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<   No. 138   2003-06-12   >

Comic #138

1 GM: Okay, you're examining the enigmatic alien device you recovered from the archaeological expedition on Gamma Prime Four.
2 Iki Piki: Careful what buttons you press. It might explode.
2 Serron: {poking the device} Explode?
3 Iki Piki: Sure. Enigmatic alien devices always explode if you hit the wrong button. For some reason, it seems aliens love packing explosives into their technology.
4 Serron: These aliens clearly have no concept of consumer advocacy groups.

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2012-04-07 Rerun commentary: The roleplaying game book GURPS IOU actually has an Enigmatic Alien Device Button-Pushing Table, specifically for deciding what happens when you push a button on an enigmatic alien device.

Pulling the book off my shelf and looking at it right now, you roll three (six-sided) dice, apply modifiers, and look up the total. A result of zero or less is essentially "the device blows up". And the most pertinent modifiers are:

So if it's a complex enigmatic alien device, you poke it with a stick, and fail your Weird Science (or other applicable skill) roll by 9 or more points, the device is guaranteed to explode.


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