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Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG Solo

I am starting to bring this together into something that looks like it could be a coherent solo ruleset. It is going to introduce a new parameter. At the moment it is called Doom. It is a bit like Stress but doesn’t apply to a character. It applies to the entire adventure. It started out a bit like Chaos in other solo systems.

Normally Chaos just pushes things towards Yes answers in the oracles. What you don’t want is stories being blocked by a succession of No answers that prevent the story moving forward. Chaos, builds over time and makes Yes, and Yes, and… answers more likely, thus breaking you out of the cycle.

Doom is different. It will operate at a scene level and control the occurrence of interrupted scenes. Starting each scene, you will be making a save against Doom. If you fail, the scene is interrupted in some way.

I want to bring critical successes and failures into this as well, but that is what iterative design and playtesting is for. At the moment everything is in flux. There are a lot of contradictions I am trying to resolve. Mothership favours not rolling dice. I get that, it is one of the things I like about the system. That doesn’t really work very well in solo play as every time you ask the Warden a question you need a dice roll to answer it. That just feels wrong.

My current iteration of these solo rules bumps a lot of the work to the top of the scene. I am making a single 5d10 roll and those rolls cascade down through the scene. It is a bit like banking rolls.

If you rolled 1, 7, 3, 0, and 8 these could be read as 17, 73, 30, 08 and 81. The can also be the single digits as rolled. The goal is to make a single physical rolling action, but to get the maximum amount of work out of those numbers. The player emulator, which controls your fellow crew will run on the 1d10 rolls. Your story will be running on the d100s.

This is the theory.

I am also aiming for more interrupted scenes and less individual plot twists happening in the oracles, but I don’t know how that will play out.

This is one of those ‘nice problems to have’. I have so many ideas about how I can capture the stress of being in a Mothership game, I almost have too many options.

Tomorrow will be ‘first draft’ day. Once I have that I can start playing properly. At the moment I am playing Mothership with my #. They work for the oracle, the critical success and failure rules are the same in both games. I am also using the margin of success in Mothership as the degrees of success in Zweihander.

Both games also have that built in fatalism, so the fit isn’t as bad as you could imagine.

I know I can do better though.

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