Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG 1st Edition Boxed Set

Created by Alan Gerding

Everything you need to play Mothership® in one terrifying box. Important Notes: * Pre-orders will ship after the Kickstarter ships (eta Q2/Q3 2023) * Pre-orders ship all together (we can't split up shipments and ship individual items) * Shipping will be charged when the Pre-Order store closes (eta Q2/Q3 2023)

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Quick update!
12 months ago – Mon, Jul 03, 2023 at 10:19:02 AM

Hey gang,

Technically this is our June update, but we're sorry for missing that deadline. We're going to keep it short as we are in bunker mode getting everything out to our printer. Proofreading is nearly finished on the books and soon we'll be turning everything over for a pre-press check and digital proof from the manufacturer. We'll also be receiving a new white box prototype with our updated design for the interior of the Deluxe Box.

Prototype WIP (Not final) box design for the deluxe set.

Above you can see a prototype design of the Deluxe Box insert, which we're in the process of finalizing now. Our goal is essentially to stack the warden's screen and map on top of an insert which holds all the books in the center and has two compartments, one that holds pamphlets, and the other which holds dice and the standees. We're still finessing the details, but when it's done I think it's going to look pretty sweet and also be super functional.

Once all this is uploaded to our manufacturer we'll get our place in the print queue and then outline the next steps are far as shipping and fulfillment go. Additionally, once the final files are approved we'll be releasing PDFs of everything to all of you!

For now, here's a few more screenshots from Another Bug Hunt and Unconfirmed Contact Reports. 

Another Bug Hunt - Scenario 2c

The second scenario of ABH has players choosing which of three factions they'll be siding with and performing a mission on their behalf. The third of these scenarios involves rappelling down a reactor chimney to rescue marines hidden within the bowels of the station.

Unconfirmed Contact Reports

UCR has some gorgeous art in it and we're very happy with how it's turning out. Above you can see art from Scrap Princess (Stickmen) and Dan Hawskworth (Succubus). There's a huge diversity of styles and approaches to the art in this book which we really wanted. Below you can see art from Nayla (World Worm) and Franck Besaçon (Womb). 

Unconfirmed Contact Reports

Each spread has quotes and snipped of documents, poems, stories, internal memos, and other in-universe text that you can drop right into your game. Same goes with the art which we approached from the stance of "each piece of art exists within the universe" as an artifact, sketch, photograph, sculpture, note, or piece of art inspired by something a character in Mothership witnessed.

Okay, I gotta get back to it! Thanks for all your patience and support! Have a safe and fun 4th of July for all of your who celebrate, and we'll see you next time. 

Proofreading Update
about 1 year ago – Wed, May 31, 2023 at 08:59:53 AM

Hey gang,

Things are moving as we get closer to production. This will be a shorter update this month as almost everything is at the same stage but here's where we're at:

We're excited to announce that we've started the final proofreading process. Throughout June all remaining books and components are being turned into our Lead Editor and our proofreading team for final checks. They've already started work on most of them and they'll be continuing their final checks and turning them over to the manufacturer in the first half of July. Once that's done, we'll be able to get a more specific timeline from our printer and give you all a narrowed down release date.

What's the production process like?
While the proofreading team is working, I'm working out the final component specifications with the printer. 

After the books get sent to the manufacturer, we'll receive an updated White Box prototype with all of our changes. For example, we're upgrading the box to a thicker cardboard for better durability and storage.

Additionally, we brought on a packaging designer who is creating the inserts for the Deluxe Set. They have some really cool ideas for upgrading the Deluxe Box inserts for a more premium experience and better storage for the components. I'm hoping we'll be able to share some mock-ups of what those will look like soon.

While we're approving the White Box the printer will also send us a color proof, which is basically all the printed sheets of the components, unassembled. These are usually giant sheets of printed material and we go over them for color as well as to make sure we didn't have any errors in our files when we uploaded them.

After that the products go into the print-queue to get printed and we start working out the shipping plan! Around this time we'll send out final address and payment notifications as well as let you guys know what the final shipping costs we'll be.

We're close to the end!
We appreciate all your patience and support on this huge project. It's bigger than anything we've ever made before and we're incredibly proud of these books and the work we've done on them. This campaign and these products make us really excited for the future of Mothership and we have big plans for what's coming next. 

Thanks again! We'll send out another update next month with our progress.

April Progress Report
about 1 year ago – Fri, Apr 28, 2023 at 03:22:49 PM

Hey gang!

We’ve made some great progress this month, so let’s dive in.

Dead Planet, A Pound of Flesh, and Gradient Descent, along with the Player's Survival Guide, Warden's Operations Manual, and Shipbreaker's Toolkit, are all in the final stages of proofreading, all our pamphlets are being proofread as well and we're working on the Module Conversion Kit now for all you 0e completionists.

We have also received all the content for the Deluxe and Core Warden's Screens, and we are excited to release this printable Deluxe Screen for you to try at home. This three-sheet screen is perfect for those who can't wait to get their hands on the final product. The margins are a little slim because we can print closer to the edge than most of you can at home. But we're hoping to revisit this once the boxed set ships and make a more printable home-deluxe screen. 

Here's the images of what's included, but I'll send out an actual PDF through backerkit.

Panel 1 of the Deluxe Screen (Not Final)

Panel 1 is all about combat, life, and death. We managed to get all the survival rules, as well as even the tactical considerations from the WOM in there so that if you're floundering for how to make a violent encounter interesting, you've got a lot of options to choose from. We're also throwing in this new Quick Stats table (you'll see a version of this in UCR) to help you very quickly generate horrors and monsters at the table. The Damage table gives tiers essentially so you can stat up new weapons and attacks with that.

Panel 2 of the Deluxe Screen (Not Final)

The second panel is all about Warden style content. We've got puzzle components, a price tier list, jobs, pay scale. As well as the Panic table and some options for failing forward. The Puzzle components may feel like a lot but we think if you ever end up having to improv a problem on a derelict vessel, or just have to come up with obstacles on the fly, this table is invaluable.

Panel 3 of the Deluxe Screen (Not Final)

The third panel is all of our ship content. We've got everything on here and even a little bit of our planetary generation stuff as well to help you quickly create new locations when your players touch down on an unknown, uncharted planet.

Unconfirmed Contact Reports is still collecting art, and we have about ten pieces left to input before it's ready for the final proofreading. Once we have all the art, we’ll be releasing it to backers as well. I know a lot of you are chomping at the bit for monster stats, so we’re pumped to get it to you. 

Another Bug Hunt is in full swing, and we are excited to give you a preview of the first scenario in the book called Distress Signals. This scenario is fully playable, and we can't wait to hear your feedback. With this first scenario, new players and Wardens should have a great introduction to the game.

ABH Scenario 01 - What's Going On? - Not Final
ABH Scenario 01 - Greta Base - Not Final
ABH Scenario 01 - Minimap - Not Final
ABH Scenario 01 - The Carc - Not Final (Rough Art by Zach Hazard Vaupen)

This text hasn't been through final proofreading yet, but this scenario has been extensively playtested and we really like where it's at. We should have the art for this next week, but we didn't want to push the update into may, so we've got the sketch in there for now. Zach Hazard Vaupen is doing the majority of the art in this book, alongside Don Austin who is doing all the portraits.

The book includes three other scenarios: 

The second scenario, Hive Mind, takes place on a terraforming station with three factions competing for control. The players have to choose between their conflicting missions, and there are three mini-scenarios within this scenario, (one focusing on “solve,” one on “save,” and one on just plain “survive.”). Take a look at this incredible map by newcomer Jacob Haynes.

ABH - Heron Terraforming Station - Map by Jacob Haynes

The third scenario, Mothership, has the players investigating a crashed alien Mothership and attempting to solve its puzzles. This is a classic dungeon-crawl style scenario with multiple routes and ways to get to the heart of the ships and a ton of danger.

The final scenario, Metamorphosis, is a large event scenario where everything goes wrong, and Wardens have to use all the knowledge they've accumulated over the previous scenarios to run this event without any handholding.

As for everything else: as you know, we have ordered and received the shirts at our warehouse, and patches have also been ordered.

Pre-final poster map (front)

The poster map is almost complete, with one side featuring a playable mat with all the information about ship-combat and space travel you need, and the other side featuring a fully-fledged deck plan for the Jumpliner. We know that players who don't have a ship will be traveling in these a lot, so we wanted to give you something concrete to work with. User HailSanta from our Discord, our resident ship designer, created the deck plan, and we absolutely love it.

This map isn't complete yet, but you can see how it's shaping up.

Our timeline remains unchanged since the last update, but we will keep you informed if anything changes on the manufacturing side. If you have any issues or questions, please don't hesitate to contact Tyler at [email protected].

Lastly, we want to thank you for your continued support and patience. We appreciate it, and we are working hard to deliver the best product possible. We will be back with another update next month!

Shipbreaker's Toolkit releases Tuesday
about 1 year ago – Fri, Mar 17, 2023 at 01:54:03 PM

Hey gang,

We've got an awesome update for your today! This coming Tuesday, we'll be releasing the Shipbreaker's Toolkit. This book has been a long time coming and was one of the first things about 0e we wanted to update. Let's dive in.

For a horror game, it was important to us that the ships serve as a source of horror in and of themselves. We've built this into the game in a few ways:

1. Failure on a ship affects everyone. Whenever your ship fails a stat check or save, everyone on board gains 1 Stress. If your ship ever critically fails, everyone makes a Panic Check.

2. Ship combat isn't built of individual actions, but group choices. There's no pilot action or gunner action, you're all in this together. In the future, this would be handled by the computer anyway. So in Mothership the most important decision you'll make in ship-to-ship combat isn't "what am I going to do this turn" it's "should we run away? or should we stay and fight?" We cover this with "ship rounds," where ships attempt to move, then fight, then enemies make a morale check. Once the ship round is over, time returns to normal as you deal with the issues onboard that the damage from ship combat has created.

2. Each point of megadamage your ship takes affects the environment. Damage doesn't abstractly reduce the number of hit points your ship has, it changes things for the future, shutting down your life support system, or taking your navigation offline. This means that all damage at the ship scale creates a problem for you to deal with at the human scale.

3. Repairs and maintenance issues cause lasting problems that you'll need to deal with or suffer the consequences. We've got an awesome table of d100 maintenance issues, made up of major and minor repairs. These take time and money to solve, sometimes months, where your ship will be out of commission and you'll need to find local work or get a ticket somewhere else.

In our playtesting, this has kept ship combat moving quickly and feeling visceral without forcing you to memorize a new subsystem of gameplay. We can't wait for you to try it.

Additionally, we wanted to reduce the amount of time it takes to build a ship, so the new ship system is built on ten pre-existing designs which have their own slots for weaponry and upgrades. We're hoping to release more ships over time and we're looking forward to what our third party publishers also do with our example from now on as well.

Furthermore, we decided to make each ship spread sort of like a one-page dungeon. You never know when you'll need to excavate a derelict, or board an enemy ship, or even steal one! It would really bog down the game if every time that happened you had to roll up a ship, design it, draw the map, etc. So on each spread we've included rough deck-plans and infographics covering some of the most important or notable things about each ship. With luck a Warden should be able to flip to a spread of say a Troopship, and have all the information they need to run a session on board that ship. Our hope is this means players and Wardens will venture onto new ships and have fun in new locations they've never been to before.

The book also goes into details about how you pay for all of this stuff. Sci-fi games are notorious for "mortgage payment roleplaying" and we wanted to get away from that. So instead we talk more about what the Company or the Military is covering if you work for them and what life is like if you own your own small company or work as freelancers. We think you'll like what we've come up with.

So, what's next? We're working on Unconfirmed Contact Reports now, getting in more art for that and that'll hopefully be the next thing we release! We'll let you know as soon as we have another update on that one, but we're excited about what we're seeing.

We really appreciate all your kindness and patience on this kickstarter. I know it's frustrating when a project gets hit with delays, we get frustrated too. So I can only say thank you for sticking with us through the development process. We really believe in the work we're doing and we're excited to share our work with all of you. Only two more books to go!

As always, if you need any help, please don't hesitate to contact Tyler at [email protected] and he'll get you all sorted out!

Until next time!

Timeline Update, Introducing: Orphans
over 1 year ago – Tue, Jan 31, 2023 at 09:06:30 PM

Hey gang,

Another month down and we’re rolling along! Let’s get into it.

We’re moving our timeline for release back to late Q2 early Q3. We were hoping to meet our targets with layout for Another Bug Hunt and Art for Unconfirmed Contact Reports, but with just sickness after sickness, it’s been much more difficult to get things finished as I’d hoped. We’re disappointed to share that, but we think ultimately the boxed set will be better for it. We really appreciate your patience and support as we keep moving ahead.

Alright, with that out of the way we’ve made some awesome progress regardless that I wanted to share with all of you.

Unconfirmed Contact Reports

Almost all of our art in Unconfirmed Contact Reports is done and the book is looking awesome. If you have forgotten, the whole idea with this book is that we’re doing most of it from the perspective of survivors of the horror. So each horror has a statline up top and then a brief description followed by in-universe quotations which Wardens can use in their game. These can be memos, song lyrics, poems, graffiti, chat transcripts, we have a pretty wide selection. Even the art follows this model. The images we’ve hired out are meant to be used as references from people who have encountered the horror before. They’re not perfect illustrated renderings, they’re half remembered scraps of someone’s worst nightmare.

The idea is that all of this is immediately usable at the table. You can pepper the quotations throughout your location, use them as rumors, or clues as to how the horror works. You can show your players the artwork and say “this is the best they can remember.” However you choose to use it, there’s a lot of room for interpretation there, which we like.

Another Bug Hunt

Another Bug Hunt (ABH) is moving right along as well and it’s looking beautiful. The layout is being done by Lone Archivist who you may know from Tidebreak or What We Give to Alien Gods. I wanted to share some of the spreads he’s working on because they look phenomenal.

The big thing we’re introducing in this module is WES, the Warden Educational Support helper. Sort of like a dystopian Clippy. Because ABH is a starter module, we’ve provided a lot of Warden’s advice with each encounter describing why we designed it that way, and how you can use this to teach your players.

This module was a BEAST to write and I think it shows. The module is structured to introduce more complex elements with each session, walking you through how to teach the game to your players, and slowly letting go and moving to more sparing and minimalist notes as the module goes along. A lot of our other modules (Dead Planet, A Pound of Flesh) are known for feeling very advanced to a lot of new players. I think ABH will bridge the gap between new players and veterans really nicely.

Concept art of the Carcinid Noble (the tiny carcs at the bottom are a few meters tall for reference).

Other than that the Shipbreaker’s book is rolling right along with some final maps and renders that we need done for the ships. Hopefully, we’ll be able to share more on that this coming month, we’ll see how progress goes. We’re also working on a large ship map for the poster map included in the boxed set, which is really exciting and I’ll share more as that art comes in.


WIP Cover

So, we promised you a free adventure for all these delays and here’s what’s going on with that! The book is called Orphans and it’s a 16 page zine by Luke Gearing and laid out by David N. Wilkie. Below is the work-in-progress cover. The concept is pretty great:

Charis Iakovou (16) and Luca Valderas (17) were ‘scouted’ from their families, all employees of TriSun Products. Their parents were told Charis and Luca were recruited for executive training and in return, the families received handsome bonuses for raising such promising assets. In reality, TriSun identified Charis and Luca as potential psionics and shipped them to clandestine labs to develop and study their powers. After years of exposure to targeted subliminals, both families have forgotten their children.

The experiments failed – neither of the subjects had any psionic potential. However, the experiments left them both changed. The misery and desperation imprinted in them shone in the ether. Like moths to a flame, entities from beyond clustered to listen, attempting to pry through and make contact.

One succeeded.

Imbued with newfound powers, the Subjects escaped using an executive life-raft from the station. They call the entity Auntie.

Here’s some of the concept art of Auntie. This one is going to be a real banger. I’ve been mostly hands-off on this one as I focus on the boxed set and it’s been really great to watch from the sidelines as it comes together.


If you’ve been following along on TKtv Alan has a great new video about the job of a GM. These videos are amazing and if you like them you’re in luck. Alan’s been hard at work on his fairytale horror game called Father Fog and you can think of this content as first draft of Father Fog’s Warden’s Manual. I can’t wait to share more about that game.

Last but not least, we have two amazing Panic Engine games up on kickstarter right now: Cloud Empress by watt (Hot Stuff on Shore Leave) is a nausicaa inspired game of ecological horror. I did an interview with watt here if you want to read more about it. And Ruination Pilgrimmage by Donn Stroud (The Lesser Key, Dead Planet). Both are funded, both look beautiful, both definitely worth checking out.

That’s all for this update! 

I know it can be hard to weather the up’s and down’s with a kickstarter campaign, especially a big one like ours. I can’t tell you all how grateful I am for your support and just how hard we’re working to bring this thing home. I’ll be back next month with more to share. Until then if you have any questions, please e-mail Tyler at [email protected]. He recently shared with me just how amazing you all have been in the comments and e-mails when talking to him, so I really appreciate that. Customer support is often a thankless task and I know how frustrating it can be to have questions and not feel like you’re getting good answers. We have one of the more thoughtful people I know doing this support work, so I just always want to give him a shout out, I really couldn’t get anything done with his help!

Until next time, stay safe out there!