Daydreaming about Mothership: The Wonder/Horror Balance

Daydreaming about Mothership: The Wonder/Horror Balance

Trying to figure out a time to meet with some friends online and do some science fiction role-playing. We’re looking at Mothership and it made me think about that delicate balance between horror and wonder.

Mothership Character Sheet

That character sheet! I want to roll Xenoesoterricism to figure out what an alien techno-priest was thinking about the universe 10 thousand years ago and I want that understanding to mark my character in unexpected ways. I want my character to turn strange through their travels, if they manage to survive.

Sci-Fi Subject Divider

Sure, there are big corporations in space and corporations are only there to make money for their shareholders. I get it, corporations are sociopaths, but I also want other successful ways for humans to organize – communes, co-operatives, labor unions, libraries, tribes (that are NOT shitty combinations of some white guy’s imagining of American Indigenous Tribes and Bedouin and Samurai thrown into a blender) and other things we haven’t seen yet or modes of social power that we have forgotten. Is it a coincidence that the closest we see to a labor union in science fiction turns its members into space-fish?

Space Guild from Lynch’s Dune

What wonders would navigators witness from their math-wombs while bending space? I’m getting distracted by Dune, always a danger when talking science fiction. Where were we? Wonder and horror…

Yes, to firefights on space station corridors and aliens so very alien that they hurt our brains but also moments of beauty and wonder. Show us moments where the alien temple is framed against the nebula or where scientists share their data about a lost civilization. How about some moments of connection across oceans of space and otherworldly evolution.

Scientists I have met get that gleam in their eye when they start talking about their realm of study and what they have found and hope to find. Sure, we’ve got to pay the mortgage on this ship but if we find new glyphs on this asteroid we might be able to piece together an alien language.

Sci-Fi Subject Divider

I want my horror balanced with wonder and my pessimism balanced with hope.

The sci-fi gamer friends are e-mailing back & forth – figuring it out together. Hoping to do some round-robin science fiction GMing. Maybe this will be our first adventure?

What we Give to Alien Gods, our first adventure?

Right about now some science fiction nerds might drop a, “You can’t take the sky from me,” bullshit but as Jim prophesied a decade ago during one of our many campus walks during a lunch break:

“Firefly ended before Joss Whedon could REALLY fuck it up even worse.”

Jim DelRosso

Looking forward to getting together with friends and hitting that Discovery vibe – PEW! PEW! PEW!, science, friendship, found family, cool-ass ships, cosmic catastrophes, starships slowly becoming sentient and alien civilization’s archives.

As Captain Michael Burnham said:

Captain Michael Burnham: “Lets fly.”

These designs and more in my Science Fiction Collection…

Moons of Leviathan: Space Drugs

Inspired by the Visions of Death move in Apocalypse World: Burned Over in the Volatile playbook and in Apocalypse World 2nd Edition in the Battlebabe Playbook.

Moves are gained through using technology.

When you take Trance before battle, roll your approporiate training:
On a 10+, name one person who will die and one who will live.
On a 7-9, name one person who will die or one who will live.
On a miss you see a vision of the monster you become as a result of this battle and the fell havoc your hand brings to the universe, take -1 for this battle and hold 3 moving forward after the battle is done.
[ ] +1 to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] +1 to to a roll that brings this vision to reality.
[ ] Roll this move again as if you were entering battle. Either retire this character as the destiny is made real or prove you have free will by changing the course of destiny.
True Sword, a networked blade with an AI embedded in its core.

“I live in an apocalyptic dream. My steps fit into it so precisely that I fear most of all I will grow bored reliving the thing so exactly.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune Messiah

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Dune Collection
Scifi Dune Font by Hydro74 / Joshua M. Smith over a sand dune
Science Fiction Collection
scifi Truesword