(In my experience, it’s been a little more like “pick two,” but I’m too nice to my players.)
Mothership has an ethos of “Survive, Solve, Save: Pick One.” This means players should face hard choices between surviving the mission, solving the mystery, or saving the victims. So why not reinforce this ethos for players by applying it to how they earn XP?
In the current rules, PCs gain 10 XP each session. So let’s mix it up: instead, PCs gain XP by Surviving, Solving, and/or Saving in a session. At the end of each session, the Warden evaluates the player characters’ actions and awards XP as follows:
Gain 5 XP if you survived the session.
Teamsters get +1.
Gain 5 XP if you helped solve a mystery or if you gained a significant insight into what’s happening around you.
Scientists and Androids get +2.
Gain 5 XP if you helped save one or more people from a horrible fate.
Marines get +2.
If you don’t survive, don’t worry: any other XP you would have gained that session goes to the next character you roll up!
(This means that, for example, a player with a Scientist character who has to choose between Solve and Survive will actually get the most XP by choosing to Solve and die in the process. This won’t happen to Teamsters, since their bonus comes from surviving. That’s intentional — they ain’t getting paid enough to die.)