I have been reading and to some extent toying with Mothership all week. I first put the proposal forward to Sean McCoy at the beginning of the month but with one thing or another life just got in the way. You know how it is…
Mothership is a d100 roll under blackjack system.
Do you want to know when Mothership Solo is released? See the offer at the bottom of this update.
Blackjack systems have you try and roll as high as you can without going over your skill, as in trying to get as close to 21 without going bust in blackjack, thus the name.
The high but under element is important in opposed tests. At first, this blackjack element was my biggest concern in the solo system.
I could set a target number and any roll below it would be a yes, any roll above would be a ‘no’ and critical yes result would be the more extreme yes, and the likewise for critical no results.
That part of the oracle system was easy but that is not even the start of it.
The magic in Mothership happens when your fellow crew members start to fall apart around you. Panic cascades as one panicking crew member can shake the mental health of others.
I want to capture this contagious panic but in solo rules it is harder. I don’t like solo playing more than one PC. So how do I have a crew of NPCs, make full use of the panic and assistance mechanics and play solo?
I have an, as yet untested, answer.
The opposite of solo play is Solo GMing. It is kind of the opposite way around. In solo play you use tables to find the answers to questions that the GM/Warden would normally handle. In Solo GMing you have random tables of what the players would do. Each player is emulated using a set of random tables. The system I have seen is called PET, Player Emulation with Tags.
There is a bit of irony here, Mothership is a pretty rules light game. My preferred style is also rules light. So this is a good fit. I happen to prefer sci fi as well so we are all good there. The irony is that these solo rules could be the most complex and rules heavy that I have ever written.
I am not just trying to emulate the Warden, I also want to emulate your entire crew without you having to play them as full NPCs.
Over the next few days I am going to try and get all by tables together into some semblance of order and try and make a playable game out of.
Once I can play Mothership solo, then I will try and tidy up what I have and make it slicker and faster. As of today, I have nothing to show. (I could share a photo of my desk covered in scraps of paper and post-it notes but there are too many coffee stains for it to be hygienic.)