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.


  1. wow! this is the coolest thing ever, it's like you read my mind and created my perfect rpg. I didn't know I needed this until now. This would complete me. If only, ah... if only I had friends who would play this with me.