Sunday, 31 May 2020

D10 poker minigame for Mothership

Cowboy Bebop

The first session of my new Mothership campaign featured a game of poker between three humans and an android. One of my players came up with this system. I predict it'll keep coming up in this campaign, the players seem to like it.
  • The higher your dice pool total the better your hand
  • Each player starts by rolling 2d10
  • Place bets (call/raise/fold) each round (clockwise around table from dealer)
  • Roll another d10 each round
  • Everyone shows their hand after 5 rounds
  • Highest number wins
There are probably lots of ways to adapt these rules for sci-fi settings. Some ideas:
  • Telepathy. Definitely counts as cheating. You can peek at one other player's hand.
  • Uncanny valley. Your face is inhuman and unreadable. You can announce your bet last in the turn, no matter where you sit.
  • Marked cards. You'll absolutely get beaten up if you're caught using them. You get to peek at anyone's hand at any point in the game, but you'll need to pass a skill check to get away with it.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Mothership Campaign Pitch: SOMETHING TO BURN

As soon as I read the Mothership rulebook, I wanted to run a game. Then I watched Cowboy Bebop and Alien in the same day and it all clicked.

I want to capture the feeling of players being "cowboys", desperate outsiders on the margins of society, in crushing debt and struggling to survive through loopholes and dirty tricks. The group starts with a ship and a huge amount of debt. Things get worse from there.

I also want to get the aesthetic right: stale beer, recycled air, cramped quarters which smell like cigarette smoke and sweat. Cassette futurism with a healthy dose of '90s anime. I made a pinterest board.

Campaign uses published Mothership rules, some playtest stuff from the discord, houserules from around the web. First game's later this week. I meant to have a pamphlet to hand out to players, an in-universe guide to the solar system. It won't be ready for S1, but I'll get to it eventually.

Something to Burn

He turns off the techno-shit in his goggles. All it does is confuse him; he stands there reading statistics about his own death even as it's happening to him. Very post-modern.
—Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
It is the 22nd century, and the singularity has failed. Millions of deactivated nanobots float dead in the air, and humanity has spread across the solar system, much of the Earth uninhabitable. Since the Franchise Wars ended eight years ago, the system has been dominated by zaibatsu, immense megacorporations in an uneasy peace. Androids, required by law not to have an inner monologue, have begun to integrate into human society—despite rumours they can “trip the wire” and become conscious. And now comes something nobody expected: the return of the Warminds, superintelligent AI whose self-improvement was mysteriously interrupted. They are powerful; they are strange. Most people live slowly suffocating lives in franchised territory. But some make a living on the margins, doing the dirty work: bounty hunting, space-hulk salvage, search-and-rescue, search-and-destroy. That’s where you come in. See you, space cowboy…
System: Mothership
Influences: Cowboy Bebop, Alien, Snow Crash, Blade Runner, Neuromancer, Prey
Player buy-in: You're drifters who live under constant and crushing pressure, always half-a-step away from disaster. That's the trade-off you made for freedom. You lead dangerous, violent, and unstable lives under the shadows of crushing monoliths of power. You want to get rich; you'll probably die trying. But, hey, being a space cowboy beats corporate dronehood any day.