Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Halo for Mothership



Halo 1 is a sequel to Aliens (you can't watch the opening of 343 Guilty Spark and say it isn't), and thus it is MoSh related. Therefore, I propose the following:


Weapons are differentiated from their default Mosh equivalents by their ammo type - the damage amount remains the same (ie, a sniper rifle will always do sniper rifle damage).

Plasma Weapons

  • Deal double damage against Shields.
  • Permanently decreases Armor by the amount absorbed.
  • Can be overcharged - this will disable vehicles and strips shields, but generates incredible waste heat.
  • Cannot be reloaded: must be recharged at an appropriate station.
  • Grenades will stick to surfaces.

Needle Weapons

  • Half damage against Armor.
  • 1 damage vs Shields.
  • Three successful hits or a critical will cause an explosion (equivalent to grenade).
  • Ammo can be grown using specialized machinery.
  • Grenades have greater area-of-effect.

Spike Weapons

  • Ignore armor. Punches right through.
  • Useless against shields. Bounce right off.
  • Weapons and ammo are very heavy.
  • Extreme kickback. (Use STR to wield instead of COM)
  • Grenades have severe damage-cutoff with distance.



  • Personal Shield - Provide an extra armor bonus on top of, but separate from, normal armor. Damage will be subtracted from a shield, but they are not destroyed when depleted and will regenerate to full outside of combat. Come in Shield 5 and Shield 7 varieties.
  • Hand-held shields - Do not regenerate without a charging station, and you have to hold them. As you do.
  • Overshield - Doubles current personal shield, or provides Shield 5 if unshielded. 1-time use.
  • Active Camoflague - A time-limited stealth field.
  • Trip Mine - As grenade. Pressure-activated.
  • Bubble Shield - Generates a 15' diameter spherical bubble that will only permit passage of slow-moving objects.
  • Deployable Cover - Unfolds into a meter-high   
  • Flare - Creates Blinding bright light.
  • Gravity Lift - Pushes objects upwards. Forward momentum is maintained.
  • Power Drain - Strips shields, disables vehicles, explodes as grenade
  • Regenerator - Regenerates all shields within 15' radius.
  • Radar Jammer - Interferes with any nearby motion trackers


United Nations Space Command (UNSC)

The UNSC exists first and foremost to bring humanity's colony worlds to heel. The war with the Covenant put a halt to that, and in the following power vacuum many planets in the Outer Colonies have sprung for independency. The United Earth Governments would like to dissuade them of that notion, but the UNSC remains strained in both numbers and material from the continued fights against our alien neighbors.


4(20) / 10 Armor + 5 Shield / 80 Combat / 70 Instinct

Last of the old guard. An exercise in fascist brutality created to violently quash dissent in the colonies, repurposed to fight the Covenant.

  • Loadout - Any. S-IIs are liable to cycle through weapons by whim and availability.
  • Hits like a Truck -  Melee damage is equivalent to getting hit by a moving vehicle. Anything less is them pulling the punch.
  • Behind Enemy Lines - In the late stages of the war, S-IIs typically operate alone, well beyond resupply and reinforcements.
  • Old as Balls and Tired as Hell - None of the S-IIs left alive have any illusions of grandeur about their lives as walking war crimes. They might be willing to talk.


3(20) / 5 Armor / 65 Combat / 60 Instinct

By the end, they were throwing children on suicide missions.

  • Loadout - Active Camo (SPI Armor), SMG, Frag Grenade x2
  • Cultivated Hate - S-IIIs were recruited from the orphans of Covenant-occupied worlds specifically to keep them ideology motivated.
  • Meatgrind Mindset - S-IIIs were designed as disposable super-soldiers. The indoctrination still rattling around in their brains gives them a "by any means, at any cost" mindset towards combat. So long as the Covenant don't win, any losses are acceptable.
  • Acceptable Obsolescence - The cybernetic and genetic modifications used in the program had a high failure rate during installation, and it's only increasing with time.

The Covenant

The alien war machine is, behind the wall of purple battleships, held together with shoestrings and bubblegum. It's been fighting a civil war for longer than it's been fighting humanity, and momentum more than anything else is carrying it forward. The Great Schism delivered a crippling blow to a structure already rotting away.


  • Loyalists - Forces that have remained loyal to the remaining san'shyuum leadership, despite the death of the three High Prophets and the loss of High Charity.
  • Swords of Sangheilos - The reformed pre-Covenant civil government of the sangheili homeworld and colonies, headed by Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and his allies. The only major ex-Covenant faction to have stable diplomatic ties with the United Earth Governments.
  • Jul 'Mdama's Covenant - Sangehili-led reconstruction of the pre-Schism Covenant. Military structure is nearly identical to its predecessor, though politically it lacks the san'shyuum bureaucracy and so has turned to educating its unggoy to make up for this.
  • Servants of the Abiding Truth - Fundamentalist sangheili religious order, turned insurrectionist faction against the Swords of Sangheilos. Maintain belief in the Great Journey.
  • Keepers of the One Freedom - Covenant splinter sect that maintains belief in the Great Journey, but considers the San 'Shyuum prophets to be heretical. Noteworthy for their acceptance of human adherents, leading to multiple strongholds in the human Outer Colonies.
  • The Banished - Jiralhanae-led separatist faction, founded by exiles and escaped battle packs on the fringe of Covenant space. Have been able to form a meaningful power base in the wake of the Covenant's collapse.
  • Kig-Yar Pirate Fleets - Stolen Covenant vessels are easier to find than an affordable apartment, and offer a much better quality of life for any of the underclass species than they'll get in most of the other factions.

The San'Shyuum (Prophets)

1(10) / 0 Armor / 10 Combat / 45 Instinct

The priestly leadership caste of the Covenant, typically secreted far away from the front lines.

  • Loadout - Hover-throne, plasma pistol
  • The Old Fucks - Most san 'shyuum are aged, inbred, and ravaged by microgravity. Most of them are also dead, after the loss of High Charity. 
  • The Great Journey - The Covenant religion and its worship of the Forerunners is of san'shyuum creation, and their species' cultures have traditionally held the greatest investment in it. Accordingly, they have suffered the most damage from the revelations of Installation 04.

Unggoy (Grunt)

1(15) / 3 Armor / 25 Combat / 30 Instinct

The Covenant war machine is built on the backs of enslaved billions. 

  • Loadout: (A) Plasma pistol, x2 plasma grenades (B) Needle SMG, x2 plasma pistols (C) Fuel-rod cannon
  • Respiratory Requirements - Unggoy require an atmosphere heavy in exotic methane compounds in order to breathe, and so require special respiratory harnesses when off of their homeworld or accommodating habitats.
  • Leader dead! Run away! - In the event that the sangehili appointed to their squad dies, the surviving unggoy will book it if able (as they no longer have anyone around to shoot them in the head for deserting)
  • Smarter than they let on - Unggoy are actually quite gifted with languages and technical skills - it is the lack of education that is the issue, not a lack of ability.
  • Not again! - A few certain unggoy are aware that something is amiss with the universe. They don't particularly understand the gnawing feeling that they are performing on a stage for an unseen audience, but they seem to take it in stride.

Kig-Yar (Jackal)

1(12) / Armor 1 / 40 Combat / 45 Instinct

The most common of the Covenant's auxiliary species.

  • Loadout: (A) Plasma pistol, hand-shield (B) Needle smg, hand-shield (C) Needle sniper (D) plasma sniper
  • In it for the Dough - Kig-Yar have no attachment to the Covenant as a belief system - it's a meal ticket, and if they have a chance at better pickings elsewhere, they will gladly take the chance.
  • Advanced Senses - Kig-Yar outpace every other sapient species in terms of sight, smelling, and hearing.

Sangheili (Elite)

4(15) / 7 Armor + 7 Shield / 60 Combat / 60 Instinct

Military leadership caste of the Covenant.

  • Loadout: (A) Plasma SMG, x2 plasma grenades (B) Needle SMG, x2 plasma grenades (C) Plasma Pistol, x2 plasma grenades (D) Plasma Rifle, x2 plasma grenades (E) Plasma sword
  • Militarist Death-Cult - Sangheili culture has essentially been destroyed by a cult of warrior-honor bootstrapped onto the belief in the Great Journey. True believers will make seemingly idiotic tactical decisions on the grounds of not appearing cowardly or underhanded to their fellows. True believers have a tendency to get killed, mind, but that doesn't stop the propaganda machine from replacing them.
  • The Great Schism - In the waning months of the war with humanity, the Prophet of Truth issued a decree that stripped the sangehili of the privileged position within the Covenant and replaced them with the jiralhanae. The former have never seen the latter as more than savages good for absorbing bullets.

Mgaelekgolo (Hunter)

40 Armor / 60 Combat / Irrelevant Instinct

Colonial organisms: thousands of thin orange worms, bound together like muscle fibers and poured into an armored shell fit for tank. They should be treated like an environmental hazard.

  • Loadout: Fuel-rod cannon (1 MDMG), shield smash (5d10) 
  • Bond-brothers - Always appear in pairs. If one is killed, the other will go berserk. 
  • Weak Spot - If you can manage to break through their armor, you'll be able to sever the cybernetic lattice that the worms use to structure themselves. It's the closest thing to killing it outright you can get without something that can entirely obliterate them.

Yamne'e (Drone)

Look, no one likes these guys. No lore, not fun to fight, just a big ol' bug, nothing cool.

1(10) / 1 Armor / 25 Combat / 30 Instinct

  • Loadout: Plasma Pistol
  • Swarmer: Group attacks as one, +5 combat for each additional Drone

Huragok (Engineer)

1(10) / 0 Armor / 0 Combat / 50 Instinct

An artificially-built lifeform made by the Forerunners long ago. 

  • Loadout: (A) None (B) Regenerator Harness (C) Suicide charge (as plasma grenade)
  • Mechanical Savant - Engineers were created by the Forerunners to maintain their megastructures, and so they have an innate ability to analyze, repair, and disassemble technology of all kinds.
  • Gasbag Floaters - Huragok are naturally bouyant and may adjust this as needed; however, this does mean that even minor damage can be potentially life-threatening.
  • A Friendly Face - Huragok have no interest in matters of religion, politics, or war - they just like fixing things, and are willing to be around anyone who will let them get to work.
  • The Network - Huragok are dependent upon each other for their own maintenance, and so tend to form tight-knit cadres amongst themselves

Jiralhanae (Brute)

Nuked themselves into the stone age and would have gladly done it again if the Covenant had not absorbed them.

4 (30) / 0 armor / 50 Combat / 60 Instinct

  • Loadout: (A) Spike SMG, spike grenades x2 (B) Plasma SMG, plasma grenades x2 (C) Spike rifle, Armor 5, (D) Gravity hammer, Armor 7, Shield 5
  • Berserker Rage - Combat score increases to 70 after losing 2 Wounds
  • Shock Troops - Mainline Covenant strategy is to pack these fuckers into pods and drop them on the enemy's heads.
  • The Great Schism - In the waning months of the war with humanity, the Prophet of Truth issued a decree that stripped the sangehili of the privileged position within the Covenant and replaced them with the jiralhanae. The latter party, eager for revenge after generations of subjugation, jumped at the opportunity.

The Flood

Thing about the Flood is that, the way they are portrayed in Halo lore is such that if you end up in the middle of an outbreak, you're basically already dead, and there's a limited time window to glass the entire site before you end up in an end of the world scenario. This makes it not very fun from a game perspective, unless it is used as an environmental hazard.

If there must be infection from Flood spores in a game, I would handwave it as 1d10 Infection per hour, with total transformation occurring them Infection > Body save.



You know that one Brian David Gilbert video where he reads every Halo novel and slowly goes mad from the influx of entirely useless knowledge? That's the experience of writing this post. There is so much, and so little of it actually worth the writing down. I likely should have abandoned this but it was already halfway done when that idea crept into my head so...proof of concept, to be used with something better later down the line? Who knows. When you can't write anything, write badly just to get something written.


  1. Also: wow, I had not realized the sheer scope of how 4-5-6 have rebooted themselves with every iteration, rendering every single concept contained within them utterly pointless from a narrative standpoint.

    1. Also i had considered adding some Destiny things in as well, but honestly destiny itself, as a disaster of a game, is better moSh fuel than its contents.

  2. I am glad you did this because in general terms the setting is pretty cool and I like seeing your take/interpretation of things, but I agree with your last paragraph that on a re-read so many of the novels are just absolutely nothing. I think literally the only books that stood the test of time for me were Ghosts of Reach and the Kilo-Five trilogy.

    1. They really should have added in non-Covenant or civilian-Covenant species a lot sooner. Would have given them a lot more room to pivot to something new.

    2. I agree, and I think the issue was with a lack of vision after the trilogy. The trilogy being limited in scope makes sense, it's a war story and the war was apocalyptic-scale. But after that all we ever got were extensions to the war story; ODST was awesome and atmospheric but just Halo 2.5, and Halo Reach was awesome and atmospheric but Halo 0.5. 343 got a chance to do something cool and unique because the war is finally over, and...literally level one of Halo 4, we're fighting a neo-Covenant. Neat, I guess. Crap.

    3. If they had shunted the timeline ahead 25 years, and we ended up with Old Man Chief and some ex-Covenant + independant Outer Colonies fighting Forerunners + new aliens, we'd be all set.

  3. I'm honestly yet to be convinced that there's anything actually interesting in the Halo lore. like the child soldiers thing is... something? but even fucking 40k seems to do it better. otherwise it seems to be peak sci-fi genericism.

    1. 100%. Halo's success comes down to the moment-to-moment gameplay, being a flagship moment for console games, some immaculate vibes, and having a finger on the zeitgeist of the aughts.

      Which is why it's become increasingly irrelevant since the release of Reach - it's been scrambling to find some replacement for broad-strokes War on Terror Era in Space and coming up empty.

  4. I've been going through all your Mothership stuff and having a great time, but revisiting this post I'm a little confused about something.

    Does the Armor stat on foes in this post act as DR, and if so how do they defend themselves? I was under the impression an attack roll in Mothership was PC Combat vs NPC Armor, but some of these guys have an armor of like, 1. So does that mean they defend themselves by rolling NPC Combat vs your own, and their Armor reduces incoming damage? That's my assumption, but I haven't found confirmation in any rule set I've been able to get my hands on, and I feel like I'm missing something.

    (sorry for comment-spamming on this post btw, I spent a few days trying to find the answer myself before asking to avoid choking the page)