Saturday, August 31, 2019

Classless Mothership Chargen

Keller Pyle

And you thought I was done. FOOLS! I will never be done! I will tweak these forever!

This post contains a whole lot of material swiped from other talented folks. (And feedback from Slantio Pink)

Classless Character Generation

  1. Roll 6d10 for Strength, Speed, Intellect, and Combat
  2. Roll 6d10 for Fear, Sanity, Body, and Armor saves
  3. Roll 6d10 for Luck
  4. Roll 1d10 for Personality (Stress Response)
  5. Select a background (Skill package)
  6. Add +5% to two attributes, or +10% to one
  7. Roll 1d100 for trinket
  8. Roll 1d100 for patch
  9. Select a gear package
  10. Get out there and die horribly in the empty vastness of space.

Luck works near-exactly to its use in Call of Cthulhu 7e. It may be used as a check on its own, or burnt to so that another roll succeeds (ex. If the stat is 40 and you rolled 51, burn 11 points of Luck to succeed)

Burning 30 points of luck can save you from lethal damage.

Personality (Stress Response)

  1. Aggressive - After Panicking, all attacks are made with (+) until the end of the encounter
  2. Charismatic - Allies heal an extra 1d10 stress during reduction activities.
  3. Cruel - Can shift Panic roll to another character 1/session.
  4. Ecstatic - Heal 1d10 stress on failed Sanity save; result integrated into belief system.
  5. Expert - +1 stress to allies when you fail a Sanity save.
  6. Protective - When you Panic, allies must make a Fear save.
  7. Repressed - Can cancel Panic result 1/session. Stress gained afterwards is doubled.
  8. Resilient - Reroll a Panic result 1/session.
  9. Supportive - Ally can reroll Panic result 1/session.
  10. Unsettling - Allies have (-) to fear saves in character's presence.

Background Skill Packages

Stolen wholesale from Saker Tarsos and Sean McCoy, plus a few of mine and a few by K Yani. I've kept them in their class-archetypes for convenience's sake. I don't like the normal tier list of skills and its prerequisites, and so go by this rule of thumb:

  • +10% = you're competent, costs 1 skill point
  • +15% = you're highly skilled, costs 2 skill points
  • +20% = you're the best, costs 3 skill points
There aren't any pre-requisite skills, but you have to move up one step at a time.

A Note on Zero-G: Zero-G can, depending on the adventure, be something of a lame duck skill. As such I'm fond of the idea of treating it as a general "Spacer" skill, which I envision as generalist experience on a ship or station - including Zero-G maneuvering, spatial awareness, spaceships and travel, EVA maneuvers, and social environments. This way it doesn't stop being useful when you're planetside.

Making your own packages: A fresh character starts with 3 + 1d4 skill points. You can trade 3 skill points for a +5 combat bonus when near an allied combatant.

Skill Clarification:
  • "Corewise" is the corporate / high-society / white collar version of the Rimwise skill
  • "Logic Core" is unique to androids, and combines Computers, Mathematics, and Linguistics
  • "Mysticism" deals with the Celestial or seemingly unnatural. Unrelated to Theology.
All skills can serve as knowledge or social skills as needed.

For backgrounds, roll d6, then d10

1. Teamster

  1. Junker: Zero-G +10%, Mechanical Repair +10%, Heavy Machinery +10%, Scavenging +10%, Jury-Rigging +15%, 1 SP
  2. Scoundrel: Zero-G +10%, Mechanical Repair +10%, Piloting +10%, Athletics +10%, Rimwise +10%, Firearms +15%
  3. Space-Force Dropout: Zero-G +10%, Mechanical Repair +10%, Piloting +10%, Military Training +10%, Athletics +10%, Astrogation +10%
  4. Vehicle Engineer: Zero-G +10%, Mechanical Repair +10%, Heavy Machinery +10%, Engineering +15%, Vehicle Specialization (choose vehicle) +15%
  5. Survivalist: Zero-G +10%, Mechanical Repair +10%, Heavy Machinery +10%, First Aid +10%, Hydroponics +10%, Scavenging +10%, Athletics +10%, Gut Instinct +10%
  6. Mendicant: Scavenging +10%, Theology +10%, Mysticism (Choose religion) +15%
  7. Fugitive: Rimwise +10%, Firearms +15%, Scavenging +10%, Zero-G +10%
  8. Union Rep: Zero-G +10%, Command +15%, Asteroid Mining +15%, Rimwise +10%, Heavy Machinery +10%
  9. Void Orphan: Scavenging +10%, Jury Rigging +15%, Athletics +10%, First Aid +10%. Alternatively, choose Innocent: +5 Any, -5 Combat, let ally reroll Fear saves of panic checks, Rimwise+10% +3 pts.
  10. Hypernaut: Zero-G +10%, Astrogration +15%, Guild Authority +15% Hyperspace +20%

2. Androids, Bioroids, Cyborgs

  1. Engineer: Logic Core +15%, Engineering +15%
  2. Hacker: Logic Core +15%, Hacking +15%
  3. Translator: Logic Core +15%, Culture +15%
  4. Specialist: Choose 2 master skills, other skills cost twice as much
  5. Corporate Protocol Android: Logic Core +15%, Corewise +15%
  6. Debtboy: Computers +10%, Linguistics +10%, Mechanical Repair +10%, choose 1 science at +10%
  7. Caretaker: Logic Core +15%, Childcare +15%
  8. Vatborn Mule: +10% Strength, Athletics + 10%, +2 points.
  9. Vatborn Pod: Roll a non-Elite background. Logic core +15%. Disadv to Body saves due to planned obsolescence.
  10. General Purpose Model: Logic Core +15%, + 2 points

3. Scientist

  1. Archaeologist: History +10%, Archaeology +10%, Art +10%, Linguistics +10%
  2. Anthropologist: History +10% , Linguistics +10%, Anthropology +10%, Art +10%
  3. Biologist: Biology +10%, Chemistry +10%, Genetics +15%, Botany +10%
  4. Physicist: Mathematics +10%, Computers +10%, Physics +15%, 1 SP banked
  5. Psychologist: Empathy +10%, Analysis +10%, Psychology +15%, Linguistics +10%
  6. Roboticist: Computers +10%, Engineering +15%, Robotics or AI or Cybernetics +20%
  7. Virologist: Biology +10%, Chemistry +10%, First Aid +10%, Pathology +15%
  8. Hidden Cultist: Choose 2 sciences at +10%, Art +10%, Mysticism +15%.
  9. Savant: Choose 2 master skills, other skills cost twice as much
  10. Corporate Researcher: Corewise +10%, Marketing +10%, choose 1 science +10%

4. Military

  1. Grunt: Military Training +10%, Firearms +15%, Athletics +10%
  2. Gunner: Military Training +10%, Gunnery +15%, Mechanical Repair +10%
  3. Paramedic: Military Training +10%, First Aid +10%, Zero-G +10%, Athletics +10%
  4. Officer: Military Training +10%, Tactics +15%, Athletics +10%
  5. Thug: Military Training +10%, Rimwise +10%, Close-Quarters Combat +15%
  6. Chaplain: Military Training +10%, Theology (Choose religion) +10%, Approachable Manner +10%
  7. Spy: Rimwise +10%, Linguistics +10%, Military Training +10%
  8. Lancer: Military Training +10%, Gunnery +15%, Piloting +10%, Zero-G +10%
  9. Ace Pilot: Piloting +10%, Vehicle Specialization +15%, Zero-G +10%, Athletics +10%
  10. Guerilla: Military Training +10%, Firearms +15%, Tactics +15%, Scavenging +10% 

5. Elite

  1. Celebrity: Corewise +15%, (Select Field) +20%
  2. Decadent: Art +10%, Depravity +15%, Corewise +10%
  3. Pretender: Scavenging +10%, Linguistics +10%, Psychology +15%, Art +10%
  4. Floating Nobility: Corewise +15%, Rites +10%, Command +15, +2 pts.
  5. Wageslave: Corewise +10%, roll again on Teamster or Scientist tables.
  6. Exiled Corporate Scion: Corewise +10%, Casual Cruelty +10%, Business+15%, Memetics +15%
  7. Simulation Lifer: Simulations +20%, +4 pts
  8. Afterlife Salesperson: Cybernetics +10%, Theology +10%, Upload Tech +15%, Programming +10%, Snake Oil +15%
  9. Slum Tourist: Rimwise -10%, Corewise +10%, Languages -10%, Inexplicable Luck +15%, Damnable Persistence +15%
  10. Corporate Investigator: Contacts +10%, Corewise +10%, Forensics +15%, Dirty Secrets +15%

6. Uplifts, Metahumans, Special Classes

     1-3. Uplifted Ape: Roll on a non-Android background table. Gain adv. on climbing.
     4-5. Uplifted Dolphin: Computers +10%, Mathematics +10%, Echolocation +20%, +3 pts. Out of water, your harness acts as a cargomule.
     6. Whale Proxy: Computers 10%, Piloting +10% Astrogation +15%, choose 1 science +10%
     7. Uplifted Octopus: +10% intellect |Camouflage +20%, Tight Squeeze +20%, +2 pts | Lose 5 HP on failing a panic save to autocannibalistic stress atavism.  
     8-9. Thelychroma: Roll on a non-Android background table. Gain adv on saves against poison and disease. Can go 3 days without food before penalties kick in. Can live on half a liter of water / day.
     10. Tecnavi: Zero-G +20%, Shipwise +15%, Consult the Shipmother +10%, Machine Language +10%


In addition to the packages in the main book, I like defaulting to the "Everyman pack", consisting of whatever items the character has on their person, personal or work related, that the character has on them when shit goes down. Generally this turns into "a sidearm, a phone, and whatever else makes sense."

Thoughts I have had while making this: the skill system in Mothership is very, very good for having archtype characters in high-intensity survival situations. Moving the context to a broad spectrum of backgrounds and potential skills runs into some walls really fast, but two potential solutions show themselves:

  1. Fluff out a couple extra stats (I do like how Eclipse Phase handles its six)
  2. Roll with a Troika-style "One skill to rule them all"
Further testing will, eventually, find a good middle ground.

Dirty Iron


  1. I am very proud of how this turned out, and of how it will turn out in the future.

    I very much like the idea of character creation carrying the bulk of the setting.

  2. I am still a big fan of this whole idea; I have this odd thought about doing Fading Suns on this approach. Hooray for Chargen Strikes Back.

    Curious about how Eclipse Phase handled it fluffed stats - can you show an example?

    1. Yeah, sure. Eclipse Phase stats are:

      1) Cognition - How smart you are / how well you can use your brain
      2) Intuition - Thinking on your feet and with your gut
      3) Reflex - Moving quick and nimbly
      4) Savvy - Ability to navigate social situations
      5) Somatics - How well you can use your body
      6) Will - Willpower, self explanatory

    2. Thank you.
      Do you think of _adding_ more stats or replacing some?

    3. For Mothership as-is, adding three extra stats to cover what isn't covered seems like the best option.

      For more drastic measures, Troika has one skill stat for everything, and that is nice and lightweight.

    4. Which stats do you wish to add?
      I am curious because, for example, Willpower seems to negate the whole idea of Sanity and/or Fear saves for me.

      As for Troika, I recall there was an article in somebody's blog (I think) in few recent months about how to rebalance Troika! even without Skill in sense there was even more lightweight solution to that.

    5. Willpower can be substituted in (but serve the same purpose) as a Fear save, I think. All the other stats are named after properties of the character, but Fear is the thing being defended against.

      The primary stat to add would be a social one, so Savvy is at the top of the list.

      I tend to feel that saves in MS should be treated like stats, so if we fiddle and merge and whatever our stats become Body, Speed, Intellect, Social, Combat, Will, Sanity, Armor. Still have 8, but without the strength / body redundancy.

  3. Very cool! working on a classless chargen for me own campaign at the moment...