Is It Really Homebrew?

“Homebrew is a dirty word” :: About 7 “game systems” in play. I’ve played so many. I straight up buy anything pretty, especially minis. Since MoSh is dead easy:

  • MothershipRPG 1e – streamlined play, character sheet, suicide missions in small [ahem elderly] ships
  • Stars Without Number – generators and maps – tons of materials
  • Traveller Classic Black – the premier scifi game – tons of reference materials
  • 0-hr asset packs
  • I will flavor some locations with a specific ‘lore’ :: Dune-like Great Houses, Lesser Houses, Empire [police-state; imperial troopers; ID chip cards] Either you’re a citizen or a nobody.
  •  “long ago but not yet happened”

Mapping Sectors

I used the actual map of stars in our local arm of the Milky Way. When I did this, I used ChyView and 250ly range. The major players on Earth at the time were Democracy, Communism, Catholicism, Islam, with pockets of Fascism.

Purple – nominally Empire, Democracy for all Citizens, front: re-exploration
Blue – strongly Empire, fascists, Democracy for the Gentry only, build: fleets to grab taxes
Yellow – strongly Islamic, Democracy for the Gentry only, warfront: Mechs [active]
Red – Communism, Big Brother, warfront: Bugs [stalled – holding positions]

Every dot is a base of something, every oval has planets, lines connect ‘easy jumps’. (I brought this back to ‘simplify’ viewpoint) From Sol at center, left 255ly to Boros Sector on the fringe.

We have Old “Warp Drive” Warships (jumps that caused new filaments and sparked a war); “Folding” Guildships (a mythos-driven low-time dilation jump); “Stringing” Ringships (grasping onto existing sub-space filaments). So I get to use a calculator each time they want to move large distances (say Saturn to Jupiter during opposition – takes 5 day or you can blast your way there in about two years.) (I built this before MoSh expanded)

What Scenario I’m Writing

Visit Venus. Get your stolen parts back. Brutalist Faction (unlawful cyborg modders) Have intercepted your laser turret assemblies (you traded for one and the other is bonus).

Mothership is an RPG system that simplifies character creation and emphasizes skills. It’s on sale for zero. It’s almost the opposite of Traveller – chaotic, light-weight, d100 system.

Traveller is an RPG system that fantasizes FTL economies and works well with large-scale campaigns. I started on this system. I admit it. It’s bonkers. The level of record-keeping is Mental.

Aliens is a 1984 Movie starring an absolutely horrifying xenomorph we call “Mother” and Sigourney Weaver saves the day.

Hell Divers are daring explorers who brave the surface of hellish worlds looking for abandoned valuables.

Space Stations like ATMOS are large artificial satellites, capable of sustaining life.

  • It is a technological sophont-made orbital device made to support life with an atmosphere.
  • These may be a ‘service point’ near an orbital pathway of a planet, or more purpose-built for warfare or commerce
  • They are known by a wide variety of names and terms and come in as wide a set of shapes, forms, and technological formats.

Venus is a low-population hellworld with a population less than 1,000,000 sophonts struggling to survive in a deadly environment .

  • Hellworlds often offer daily, and sometimes even hourly, life-threatening situations to their inhabitants.
  • Such as acid rain under +.20 gees. Like bb’s. Sleet that feel like diamonds.
  • This world contains an archaeological site with suspected remnants of the Ancient Ones.
  • This a “high technology” world with technology achievements at, near, or over technology standards for Sol Empire.


The Bender Rule

  • Robots. I restrict android players to experienced-only, as these can be a real problem. We’ve been on hiatus since my last Andro player [‘Bender’] started torturing/killing everyone even if we stopped the game for a chat before resuming. Waving cigars, cans of beer, bullying – Bender from Futurama. I rolled the Panic table since he and others were yelling. “Death Spiral” and two players rage quit over the results. I blame myself.

Hyperspace Drives

I use the actual map of stars in our local arm of the Milky Way. We have “Warp Drive” Warships (jumps that caused new filaments and sparked a war); “Folding” Guildships (a mythos-driven low-time dilation jump); “Stringing” Ringships (grasping onto existing sub-space filaments). So I get to use a calculator each time they want to move large distances (say Saturn to Jupiter during opposition – takes 5 day or you can blast your way there in about two years.)

Teaching Role Playing?

For me, probably not. I have met a tonne of DMs and some go on forever and ever, and some just lay out minis and dump us into a JumpScare one-shot.

Some experience ‘acting’ a part is needed. I am aiming for a Guardians of the Galaxy feel in a grimdark [AlienII/WH40K] setting. The Empire has nice ships and denys the existence of aliens – you know better. You’ve seen shit. You guys have to keep piecing your ship back together, slapping on extra thrusters, digging in the trash, borrowing a million here or there… The only reliable part is the Westmarch Cryogenic.

I am not good at teaching RPG. I am perfectly happy to play with players experienced in “cooperative decision making” and, for the most part, they takes votes or consensus about their general course [that’s why the ship works for Pizza Hut at this point]. I paint the backgrounds and actions of others (npcs and NPCs) then I find pictures and make out a ‘dungeon’ [point of conflict] and a trick/trap. A house rule would be: leave the dice alone unless ‘shit gets real’. There’s a difference between changing an air-tank and doing it under fire.

Absolute beginners haven’t fared very well and I think that this is my fault as I am not a good teacher and tend to not repeat information. I try to help this by taking copious notes in Roll20. My background is a degree in map printing, printed circuit board, and IT systems management. My overall gamer background is that I love to paint DnD, CoC, WH40 miniatures and made several diorama for play. I am learning how to build visuals.

I buy collections online like these

My lifestyle is retired diabetic pipe-smoking old hermit with memory problems you might find around motorcyclists and game stores.

Coyote & Crow Unboxing

This is an absolute scorcher of an RPG. Very hefty.

The game background is Native-American Mystic-Punk. I really want to support this product.

In a cataclysmic timeline change, the main culture became entirely alternate from “history as taught”. It’s good to see a new, original entry to the pillars of fantasy.

RPG Philosophy

Mothership just published [November ’22] a new Work In Progress ruleset referred to as “First Edition” that I am working from. It doesn’t even have page numbers yet. I don’t “know it” word for word like I did ADnD in 1983. What I know is thousands of hours of science fiction movies and several game systems. ADnD, Traveller, Call of Cthulhu, & Mothership0. When I “think RPG” it is in Advantage/Disadvantage format and the plot is usually a trick, a trap, a target, and a treat.

Joining In – It doesn’t matter if you don’t know a specific background from the vast amount of relatively new publishing – I use a Dune/Empire basic background I wrote a few years ago [in which Princess Leia became the Empress]. I ask that the players know it’s only a parlor game and take the time to work with each other and the stat block you rolled. I don’t start the air-supply timer during regular, open-face, gameplay. I might say, “this station is clean as hell”, or “this is a sleek Cowboy Bebop looking galleria”, or “this station is very Blade Runner acidic-gritty, rundown-unsealed [keep your mask closed, timer is on]”.

Characters do die outright, though I usually ‘go easy’ on the wounds/bleeding. If your char is dead, we can ‘wake up a clone’ of that char, we can ‘inhabit’ an NPC and take it over, we can ‘wake a sleeper’ from my “magic cryo-tubes” [a West March idea wherein an unknown number of unknown player characters with unknown stats are ‘frozen’ until the player can attend]. The DM outline is to acquire larger ships and a couple of planets far from Sol. Hopefully we’ll build up to a dozen players and more. The DM self-insert is the ship AI, unreliable allies experiencing near-awareness from great age. A ‘new’ crew may feel an eerie, quiet ship, unable to explain what has happened.

Do I play RAW [Rules As Written]? Not as far as I can tell. I have the perception that this is your story on my vague outline. I like to hear how the PCs perceive and react to situations that suddenly turn very deadly. My Dungeon Mastering is from Traveller and Cthulhu. Yes. I regularly convert CoC scenes to SciFi. You may be ‘tasked’ with something that becomes something very different when you get there.

Is this OSR? I’m not sure I ever left the ‘old-school’. I never appreciated Min-max Pathfinder type stuff. I never got into putting on voices and acting out scenes the DM wrote. There is a school of thought that rolling the dice all day is NOT what is intended – we only roll for crisis-action-time [like when I started playing in ’79]. As in the RAI, failures result in panic tables. Two types of rolls: Attempt [Stat] or Reaction [Save]. Failure causes stress points to build. Tension builds. When Panic ensues, we do get TPKs. A scenario, running light, can be done in 3 to 3.5 hours.

RPG Publishers

Atlas Games
Brittannia Game Designs
Chaosium – Call of Cthulhu
City of Mist
D101 Games

Free League (Fria Ligan) – Aliens*, Blade Runner*

Frog God Games
Goodman Games
H. P.  Lovecraft Historical Society
Hit Point Press
Human Gorilla
Magpie Games

Mongoose – Traveller*

Nor Cal Mythos Entertainment
North Wind Adventures
Ordealia Publishing
Possum Creek Games
Silver Branch Games
Solarian Games
Stygian Fox Publishing

Tuesday Knight – Mothership*


I think Jerry knew

They say no one knew…

They say they didn’t see it…

They lie for the darkness they hide; that they approved of his self-destruction…

Nobody knew Jerry Garcia was at a rehabilitation clinic in Forest Knolls, California in the summer of 1995. Not Robert Hunter, his long-time writing partner.

But that’s where the iconic singer and guitarist would suddenly die on Aug. 9 one month after a legendary concert at Soldier Field July 9th.

He had become spread too thin, faded and folded by everybody NEEDING him too much. To be the oracle.

To be the One.