Mothership: Backgrounds and Memories

Mothership House Rule: Spacer Backgrounds and Recalling Memories


Unless you're playing a one-shot, Mothership characters could use a bit of grounding, as it were. Here's a table to generate crappy backgrounds for roughneck spacers.

Where did you grow up?

  1. Asteroid mining station, among microgravity miners
  2. Itinerant labor ship, among career spacers
  3. Orbital junkyard, among weary shipbreakers
  4. Deep space waystation, among opportunistic scoundrels
  5. Agricultural station, among countless algae vats
  6. Military base, among bored marines
  7. Terraforming station, among vast cooling towers
  8. A subterranean moon city, among colorless apartment blocks
  9. A failing surface colony, among fatalistic family
  10. An industrial factory station, among lethal machinery

Where did you spend most of your life before your current career? (Roll again from above)

Why did you go there? (if the same result: Too poor to leave)

  1. Dragged along when parents had to change jobs
  2. To break away from your family
  3. Ran out of money while traveling to somewhere nicer
  4. Accepted a Company contract position
  5. Socially exiled, forced to leave
  6. The ads for it were so nice...
  7. Following a good friend and/or lover
  8. Relocated by The Company
  9. Kidnapped into forced labor by a crime syndicate
  10. As a refugee from disaster

Recalling Memories

Either at the end of a session, or once per session when things are calm, you can relieve 1 Stress by recalling a memory from your past.  Set in one of the places from your background, recall a specific person, place, thing, or event that stood out against the static of a generally shitty spacelife. How did it impact who you are today?

Conceptual Status: Caution - Only Preliminary Playtesting

Freya's Prospect from the 2010 AvP game apparently?

Commentary & In My Campaign

These are part of a game structure to support doing something weird (as is my wont) with Mothership: using Emmy Allen's The Gardens of Ynn as the alien-ness in this space horror game.

One of the main threats in Ynn is attacking the visitors' "Sense of Self"; eroding their personality and personal identity. In order for that to be effective in a game only a few sessions in, the characters need a personality and identity to erode in the first place. Mothership is pretty minimal in terms of PC identity, hence these backgrounds, and a method of the players filling in bits of their characters' sense of self, via recalling memories (incentivized by a free point of stress relief).

Related Resources

Dan at Throne of Salt does a ton of bespoke Mothership content

I encourage you to comment below, rather than elsewhere.

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  1. The "recalling memories" mechanic seems interesting. Could you use it as a way to introduce "old acquaintances" who can reappear later? Could you play out an entire storyline in flashback?

    1. Absolutely on both counts, though in this game I expect I'll keep them to descriptive vignettes rather than gameplay.

    2. Very cool! This idea reminds me a bit of TOTGAD's "interludes", although of course yours are retroactive.


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