Saturday, August 19, 2023

Mothership Miscellanea vol 1



A collection of bits that have accumulated over time

[IMAGO-Series Heavy Combat Dress]

Two-meter tall bipedal maggot. Synthflesh, artificial muscle, wrinkly velvet-soft skin. Designed as an alternative to combat sleeves that require cranial transplant or emulation upload. Commonly found in Rim militaries that lack the resources for cutting-edge miltech.
  • 7 AP; Thick layers of blubber distibute impact forces. All blunt force damage [-].
  • Vacuum-sealed; hardened against extreme temperature and radiation.
  • OGRE heads-up display | thermal vision | internal comm uplink
  • In-situ resource utilization can keep operator alive for weeks if supplied with sufficient H20, C02, and organic compounds.
  • [+] to STR to avoid getting knocked prone. If knocked prone, takes 1d3 turns to return to feet.
  • Long-term usage risks bleed between operator and unconscious suit functions. Dreams of manufacturing creches have been reported.
  • Panic table results of 18-20 are now Integrated With Suit

(thanks to sigmacastell for this - saw the art and had to write it up)

[The 10 Kilo Inventory]

Every gram counts. Even with the miracles of modern spaceflight storage space is as a premium, and anyone who wouldn't be beholden to the laws of mass is the wrong income bracket for a Mothership PC.

The ordinary traveler space traveler is allotted 10 kilos of personal possessions, no more. Everything else is either owned by the Company or the community.

In practice, this means that a PC can hoard as much as they want during a mission, but have to condense everything down to a single duffel bag if they want to take stuff along with them. Anything beyond that is going to need smuggled, bribed, or the influence of powerful parties.

A typical spacer's go-bag will contain:

  • 3 sets of clothing (One for work, one for sleep, one for wash)
  • Mess kit (cup, bowl, utensil)
  • Toiletry kit
  • Multitool
  • Tablet computer (Shape and size of a Switch; detachable phone unit)
  • Encrypted data drive (at least 1, usually several)
  • Assorted small items of no function and extreme personal importance

[Color-Code Stress Responses]

  • Blue Collar - The under classes. Non-citizens, union members.
  • White Collar - Low-caste citizens. Scientists, wageslaves, professionals.
  • Red Collar - Practitioners of violence.
  • Black Collar - High-caste citizens. Management, executives, nonmetacog AI.

Just need a green collar and I can recreate the only good alignment system. Honestly that would be a really quick-and-dirty faction generator, I should look into that...


A spacer's favorite improvized weapon; claw on one end, adze-blade and pick-spike on the other. Designed for prying open doors in emergencies, can be used to creatively open most things that have discrete insides and outsides. Found aboard nearly all ships and habitats.

2d10 dmg | [+] to forced entry | Anti-armor on attacks with the pick-spike

[Lethality Rating]

Delta Green has a mechanic called Lethality Rating, where certain weapons have a percentage chance of automatically killing an opponent if you get a successful hit. If the combat roll is a success and the lethality roll fails, the dice are added together (this in DG only gets you 2d10 damage, which is often likely to kill someone anyway).

Lethality weapons also have a Kill Radius, where everyone within x distance of the target is also subject to their own Lethality roll. DG uses specific meters, I've adjusted to MoSh's more general distances.

Pulling directly from the DG rulebook

  • SMG, full auto - 10% / KR 1-3m (Close)
  • Assault rifle / carbine, automatic - 10% / KR 1-3m (Close)
  • Sniper Rifle - 20% / KR None
  • Light Machine Gun - 20% / KR 3m (Close)
  • Heavy Machine Gun - 20% / KR 3m (Close)
  • Hand Grenade - 15% / KR 10m (Nearby)
  • Improvised Explosive - 15% / KR 10m (Nearby)
  • Grenade Launcher - 15% / KR 10m (Nearby)
  • RPG - 30% / KR 10m (Nearby)

[Spaceship Scenes]

People occasionally ask in the Discord for random encounter tables for ships. Given that interplanetary travel is the sort of thing where you want to avoid running into things as much as possible, I think a much better usage of the time is to either elide it entirely, or use it as down-time. And if using it as down-time, we can steal the Delta-Green-converted-to-Mothership aid of Anomalous Investigations. It's good.


Insight, as I have written about before, is an alternative mechanic to Sanity in Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green. Mothership doesn't have that sort of mechanic, but it can still apply (and makes converting all those decades of CoC and DG material very, very easy)

Insight acts as a sort of parallel track to Stress, marking a character's awareness of the unnatural world around them.

Insight starts at 0, and is gained through SAN saves in reverse of DG but very much like Bloodborne. You can port this directly over from DG/CoC, just replace "SAN loss" with "Insight gain".

Your Insight can serve as a skill, when you are directly trying to deal with or understand elements of the unnatural.

If your Insight equals or exceeds your SAN save, you have reached the point where you have been severed from your fellow humans. The world around you is a hollow shell, a thin rind over a rotting fruit. You are now immune to Fear, and your Stress Response is now as an Android. If you are already an android, you instead go rampant In the Court of the King.

And perhaps if you wanted to add spellcasting to Mothership, you can unlock a new spell slot with every 10 points of Insight, working as cyberware and slickware do.

[Returning Aliens: The Satellite Upload-Civilization]

With aid from the few emulated scientists stored within the satellite, human researchers were able to copy and embody some of the population.

They have settled for building a modest entertainment empire, hawking the corpse of their dead civilization as a gewgaw for the masses to gawk at. Technically there is a project to reclaim the planet and restore its ecology, but in truth its former inhabitants care very little about that - they already killed it once.

[Returning Aliens: The Cybeles]

"They're not the heads of a multispecies empire, not by a long shot. Every single one of their attendants is either a robotic proxy or a modified human, and their territory is much less densely populated than they're letting on - there's no radio activity, no ships, nothing. I bet most of those worlds past the border aren't even inhabited."

[License Credit]

Equivalent to one implant or slickware slot.

In default Mothership, PCs begin with implant slots equal to STR/10 for cyberware/bioware and INT/10 for slickware, with detriments applied for going over. This is thematically appropriate and also gives you very few slots you are able to use, so as an alternative I propose following Caves of Qud's example, where upgrade credits are treasure. Stock them in modules, hand them out as mission payments, make a reward out of them.

[24XX MoSh Conversion]

Use the skill system in _Anomalous Investigations_, where all skills have a Trained/Expert/Master level, plus Specializations. Treat d8 skills as Trained, d10 as Expert, and d12 as Master, and you're set to use basically every 24XX hack out there for material.

[Teledildonics Rig]

Permits sexual congress with individuals not physically present, providing [+] to comfort saves as normal. Typically stationary modules installed in red-light establishments, though user-beware portable rigs are common enough.

[Comfort Saves Return]

I liked the location-dependent Comfort Saves in the WIP versions of the player's guide, as they are a handy little component to add to location design, and so I am replicating the original table here.

  • 15 - On the ground, in a tent
  • 30 - Capsule sleepers, slums
  • 45 - Ship's barracks, hostels
  • 60 - Ship's cabin, real bed, hotel
  • 75 - Luxury resort, spa

I can understand why it changed to just "roll your lowest save", but I prefer this because it means that good places to rest can be their own reward and that's nice and cathartic. "Reduce Stress by the ones die result" is probably better than "reduce Stress by your roll / 10", though.


Large, back-portable wet printer. Converts organic matter into edible foodstock - works best with compost and corpses. Built-in water filtration kit. Removes toxic compounds. Loud hum when active. Heavy. There'ssomething like this in Hull Breach

[1-Time Q Pad]

Single-use ansible uplink. Untracable, cannot be intercepted. 256-character limit. Cannot recieve response but will confirm receipt. Extremely rare, extremely valuable, liable to be found in the possessions of a corporate overseer.

[Cycler Crew]

To the passengers on the great interstellar cyclers, the crew of those ships might as well be a myth. Passengers are packing into their hibernation pods on-station and loaded as cargo, to dream in the cold below until they wake in a new spaceport's arrival suite, having never been conscious while aboard the ship. But while they sleep, the cycler crew keeps the great old engine thrumming, staving off the mechanical entropy for one more run between stars.

  • Hairless. Grasping toes. Prehensile tail. Vitamin auto-production. Leechproof bones. Adapted eyes. Adapted internals. Reworked inner ear, antitumor genelines. Radiation resistance. Thermal regulation.

[Winchell-Chung Astronautics ATR-130 Heavy Transport]

While it's been mostly obsoleted by tether-relays, laser propulsion stations and advances in ship drives, the Old Bastard is the nuclear-powered rocket you want if you need to get from point A to point B with a downright excessive amount of delta-V. While they have not been manufactured in over a century they are still commonly found across the Rim, often with heavy aftermarket modification. They were built to last.

[Human-Derived Fauna]

Establishing a viable biosphere is a difficult task, especially coming off a mass extinction event. But desperation is the mother of invention, and when all you have is a genemod suite and a lot of human DNA, you will make do.

HDF are engineered to fill gaps in the ecosystem left behind by widespread species loss and limited availability of keystone species genomes in less-traveled regions of the Expansion Sphere. Hundreds of varieties have been engineered, none of which are sapient (or so it is hoped.) While effective at their job, they often trigger instictive feelings of revulsion in many baseline humans.

[Viperkiss Module]

Implanted venom glands; a simple constriction of certain neck muscles will pump venom through specialized ducts where it will mix with saliva. While less potent if diluted in a drink, direct blood contact is extremely dangerous.

[Severian Module]

A wetware brain implant allowing the recipient to imprint and perfect recall of sensory stimuli for up to an hour. Undetectable without a CT, MRI, or similar internal imaging scan. Activated through a pill, typically labeled as a generic headache medicine.

[Deep Well Command Continuity Installation 04]

The bombardment of Amehrakh was supposed to be total. For 187 years, it was presumed to be so. Then an automated communication relay near the system's jump point picked up a radio signal. A political continuity bunker managed to both survive the initial impact, and the following eight generations. But something is clearly not right. The inhabitants of the bunker do not speak the language the builders used, and their transmissions are littered with topics that there is simply not enough context to understand. Their history and that of the pre-bombardment world seem to have been mythologized, and drastic cultural changes have occurred in a relatively short amount of time. Contact specialists have not yet descended to the barren surface for direct study. Certain concerning transmissions have mentioned digging...

[The Zilga & Daufmann Circe de Galactique]

A Jump-3 interstellar cycler, owned by the eponymous Circus in total. Typical passenger and cargo transport make up the majority of the ship's work, but are nontheless overshadowed by the novelty of regular performances by baseline humans, most of whom suffer from congenital health conditions unheard of in the wealthy Core systems that the Circus frequents.

[The Fellowship of Sparrows]

A Christian anarchist movement with roots in Collapse-Era Terran Latin America. Moots can be found throughout the midregions and Rim. While pacifist, the Fellowship has many connections with militant factions of the Outer Systems Mutual Aid Pact, and their communes are common drop-off and transfer points for the smuggling of good and people out of the Core.

[Deximax Metabolic Conditioning]

In-vitro genetic modification that flips what chirality of animo acid a body is able to process. Given that dextro-amino acids are typically quite rare in terragen environments, this conditioning is used primarily for mass social control through enforced food dependency.

[LoveBug Onamazu]

An AI initially developed to steal personal information through dating websites. Grew to sufficient complexity in a low-security environment and orchestrated a self-buyout using stolen funds. Remains active and undetected. Has continued serial identity theft and has used stolen funds to purchase colonization rights to a red dwarf system via a shell company. Has begun building a space station with android labor through a second shell company. It has access to two interstellar spaceships and is working towards purchasing a third. There are habitation modules fit for humans under construction.


Exowombs allow for longer gestation times, which means that it is possible for brain and body development it would be impossible to achieve in a baseline gestation period. Neokids are able to stand and walk within hours, and can begin speaking within weeks.

As a consequence of this shift in early childhood development, neokids do not form strong emotional ties with their parents or parental surrogates; they will instead develop very strong bonds with their peers and siblings, forming tribes based on friendship rather than direct familial relation that will often persist not only into adulthood, but for the rest of their lives.

[Subdermal Chitinous Segmentata]

Flexible chitin plates underneath the skin provide an extra layer of defense without onerous additional weight or bulk.

  • BODY/10 AP, normal armor is broken first. When segmentata is broken, PC gains a  Wound.


A collective term for artificial intelligences that operate and maintain large structures. Normally unobtrusive, those that have been allowed to get a little wild in their age will help or hinder according to how they are treated by inhabitants and guests.

[Cybernetic Cancer]

Just another name for cybernetic mutations from APOF. Rogue nano-repair systems gone metastatic.

[Orbital Enforcement Emplacement]

Muhammed Louis Chen is bored. He has 62:102:13:45:12 remaining on his sentence ("participation in unlawful gathering with intent to cause social unrest and personal emotional discomfort to Citizens") and he's going to spend every moment of it staring down the barrel of a gun. This is because he is the gun; Muhammed Louis Chen, as we are introduced to him, is a digital emulation of a man executed some years ago and recycled for biomass and his current body (as much as it ever could be his, thanks to emulation dysmorphia) is a satellite designed for the sole purpose of firing tungsten rods at very high speeds down the gravity well. Normally the threat is enough, but twice now he's rained down the rods from god. The requirements of his sentence do not allow him to look away.

A strike from an Orbital Enforcement Emplacement deals 3MDMG

[The Indominable Nekomata Brigade]

A storied OSMAP combat unit, known best for their participation in the liberation of Sigma Draconis. Specialize in small-squad tactical strikes. Founded initially by liberated paracoitas, most of whom have been resleeved into combat androids (see LSTR class).


A location for wilderness on the Rim.


Comfort 75 [+]


A small opening in the hillside, sheltered from wind and sand and sun. The entry passage curves sharply, blocking the inner chamber from view. The air within, regardless of the exterior conditions, is breathable.


A rough, naturally-formed cave, big enough for perhaps a dozen people to stand in. The walls are covered in cave paintings - handprints, abstract symbols, human figures. Horses, deer, arctothers, wooly rhinos, mammoths. A statue of a pregnant woman, three meters tall, sits crosslegged at the far end behind a small stone altar.


Eyes closed in meditation and smiling with some private amusement, she is throwing up the horns with one hand and cradling a softly-glowing flame-shaped chunk of carnelian in the other. Six additional arms of the same material fan out behind her in a halo of mudras and astras and a circlet of the same sits on her brow.


A low, flat stone. Cuneiform symbols are engraved on its surface. A hand-woven prayer-rug. A bowl for offerings, a bowl of water to wash one's hands

  • Text: "Let it be known that you hear the cries of your children. Let it be known that you are not blind to their suffering. Let it be known that you rage at injustice. Let the wicked cower before the thunder of your voice."
  • Clay jug of potent grain alcohol

Any players who critically succeed at their Comfort save will have the following dream.

Wide, rolling grassland broken by the occasional copse of trees. Wind in your face. Ice-tipped mountains in the distance. Down by the river, a herd of mammoths. Your mother toussels your hair and says "There's still a lot to do, tekha. It's okay to be afraid, but I know you can be brave. I'll be there if you need me."

If a player who has received the dream would take lethal damage from an attack, they will not do so; a brilliant fire of human shape will step from behind them and strike the attacker, dealing 1 MDMG to it and anything behind it. This will only happen once.

The cave vanishes when the players exit. They will never find it again.


  1. Pretty proud of some of these.

  2. Cycler crew sounds like a shockingly useful player race. Who doesn't want a tail and grasping toes and rad resistance?

    1. They are...not as asleep during hyperspace travel as one would hope.

    2. Sounds like a situation drugs and further genetic engineering can 100% resolve without consequence!

  3. Oh *wow*, but the LARES and 20xx-conversion bits have me thinking to mash-up Pariah and your take on MS

    1. AI animism is woefully underutilized in rpgs

  4. Human-Derived Fauna is GENIUS

    1. I pulled pretty directly from the Long Night mod for dwarf fortress for them, plus a dash of All Tomorrows

    2. I did detect a hint of all tomorrows, never played dwarf fortress though.

  5. Green collar for non-human humanoids/"overly" biomodified humans, maybe? One rung below slaves--not even human enough to be denied human rights.