Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Running Mothership (for the first time)

Following my descent into games very different from D&D 5e, I ran my first game of Mothership recently. Mothership is this, the rules are free and the starting module Dead Planet is chock full of cool dm facing content. In short, it's a sci-fi horror ttrpg that plays off classic sci-fi horror movie tropes.

The crew consisted of 4 players filling each role that the game provides. They were Lilith (a stressed out shovel-wielding teamster), Jack (the sweet country boy marine), Wesley (a young scientist, definitely not Wesley Crusher), and Coru (an android with memory problems who has the quirk of taking written notes). They were the final survivors on an archeological ship named The Alexis.
Please check it out at http://www.tuesdayknightgames.com/mothership

The Session

They woke up in the cryopod room to a confused and memory wiped Coru and began to slowly piece things together. They scavenging for supplies, killed alien bugs, tried to get to the command center, and figure out a means of escape.

The ship alternated between a base state (43 minutes) and a spookyfied eldrich interference state (13 minutes where corpses twitch, tentacles drift out of the vents, and androids shut down and reset).
While in the normal version of the ship this played and while in the spooky version of the ship this played. There was also a tall lanky telekinetic monster chasing the party during the spooky interference. It screamed an awful scream like this.

The end result was a tense race to solve a couple mysteries:
What happened to the crew?
Why is the ship going spooky?
Where tf are we?
How do we escape the Alexis?

They managed through aggressively decompressing the cargo hold to escape and jump onto a passing abandoned ship near their own (they were stranded, unable to make a jump to faster than light travel). While the other ship was being prepared to evac the last remaining members, the party members that remained behind fought off the telekinetic monster. The end result was everyone hurt, the scientist and marine were left panicking but just barely managed to make it onto the other ship.

The session ended with the party trying to take the other ship to the dead planet's moon and hopefully fix the jump drive dead zone in the process.

There's really evocative art for aliens like this by Stephen Wilson & Sean Mccoy inside DEAD PLANET

The Feedback

My players really enjoyed how quickly things could spiral out of control and how easy it was to play into their class tropes. There was initial resistance to switching to a roll under system but once I walked them through the character creation they began to enjoy the new system. Combat ran smoothly and they managed to repel the big monster pretty effectively. The setting of suspense and the descriptions of monsters were of particular praise. I personally loved the spooky tone and the sci-fi setting and can't wait to run more one-shots of Mothership in the future. Give it a chance if you have the time!

Monday, March 4, 2019

One Page Player Handout

So going off of Matt Colville's lovely video on a campaign handout, I put together a one-page handout to give my future players. It's going to be for my spooky forest hexcrawl game and while I have a separate google document for all my house rules and extra player options I figured this would be a good way to get them thinking about their characters.

Without further ado, here is what I sent my players to get them thinking about characters.

This is the sort of theme I'm going for

Lords of the Bitterwood

It is a time of dark tidings in the borderlands.

South of the kingdom of Dell, the Bitterwood remains unclaimed by mortals and worse yet it seems to be expanding and swallowing villages on the edge.

Amelia, Lady Regent of Dell has put out a decree:

“To cleanse the forests to the south of the vicious wytches and beasts, should be the kingdom of Dell’s highest order. To motivate the local rabble and ratcatchers to action, I am implementing a new policy of land endowment. Those who succeed in cleansing the forest, mastering the land, and gaining the support of the locals will be given lordship over the Bitterwood Forest.”

This lofty goal rang true to your character, and you have joined in attempting this undertaking. It ran even more true to the leader of your relatively unknown pack of mercenaries. You are currently under the employ of The Grey Sparrows, run by the indomitable Mama Stehlen. She has rounded up your party as the first foray into the Bitterwood.

You might play a human. The kingdom of Dell is a mostly human one and the lands you will travel will be lands you will be familiar with from stories

You might play a dwarf. Uncommon in the kingdom of Dell. Most are sailors hailing from a place they call the Sunrise Archipeligo.

You might play an elf. Wandering people that have been displaced and splintered into factions since the fall of the Fair Spire 200 years ago.

You might play a half-elf. Uncommon to find. Most half-elves come from the dalliances of traveling elves.

You might play a small folk. Halflings and Gnomes are becoming more common as families move into the kingdom of Dell fleeing civil war in Dreglan.

You might play a tiefling. Born of a cursed heritage you are likely hired by (or lived in the orphanages of) the Church of St. Antigony.

You might play a firbolg. Mysterious forest giantkin that live in communes. Rare to see outside of their domain to the north.

You might play an ibisian. Birdfolk of two factions. Those who betrayed the Cruel Wind (and lost their wings) and those who sided with him (and watched him fall to Amelia’s blade).

You might play a shifter. Traces of beastman blood run in your veins. Men meet your eyes with distrust. The church denounces you, but who are you to care for the wills of gods.