“Janus” Mothership Campaign – Session 2

“How do you break an android? You give it feelings.”

Elsa (BR3ND4 player)

The crew of the Janus arrived at ALCOR Station – basically a truck stop in space – before heading to Prospero. Special thanks to Victor Merino for kindly providing a cleaned-up version of the station image I could share with my players. If you run Mothership, go pick up this little pamphlet and drop it someplace in your game!

Narrative

Crew

BR3ND4, Android (corporate representative)
Dr Theodore Wilson, Scientist (ship’s doctor)
Billy Ray, Marine (security and cargo)
Aeris Goulder, Teamster (pilot and everything else)

During the trip, Doctor Wilson continued to work in the ship medical bay using his skills in field medicine again. He cleaned up a bit (+7 Health). ((As a note, I gave him [+] on the actual HP because he rolled 03 and I had Call of Cthulhu on the brain… really I should have waited for a critical success to do that.))

ALCOR

Once they arrived, they noticed a few things. Specifically, another crew was on the station already when the Janus arrived. Some of them were carrying heavy equipment towards maintenance areas labelled EMPLOYEES ONLY but they weren’t wearing the ALCOR corporate uniform. They also treated the staff quite rudely. After a bit, the Janus realized these folks were up to no good and, not trying to be heroes, they took off for Prospero Station where a group of oppressed folks known as the Hunglungs are demanding their oxygen debt be forgiven.

However, while they were still on the station, Billy Ray (the crew’s marine) decided to step up and fight the sparring robot in the entertainment area. I set up three levels (Novice, Professional, and Expert). I set gambling odds in favor of the player at 2:1 for the Novice level ((Combat 50, Instinct 40, d5 dmg, Hits 1(20))).

For this purpose, I gave the Marine 1d5 + Wounds damage but he wasn’t allowed to use his regular equipment. (This disappointed him, as he’d hoped to go boxing in his battle dress…) BR3ND4, the crew’s Android made a bet as well. Billy Ray assumed she’d bet against him, but actually no.

However, the sparring robot got a critical success on the first swing, giving Billy Ray a concussion. ((Because the robot is specifically nonlethal, I rolled only 1d5 on the Wounds table.)) That set him back a bit, but he overcame that and wore down the robot for a solid victory.

Prospero Station

Unlike ALCOR, Prospero is a city in space. Over 5 million people live here orbiting Uranus, with 36 other ships already docked. The Janus needed to deliver its cargo from the Baker Habitat and participate in the investigation of the artist’s disappearance.

Upon disembarkment, the crew entered a Clean Room in which they were told to disrobe for a forced disinfection with foam guns wielded by big men in hazard suits. This made Dr Wilson extremely uncomfortable and he requested that he go first without the rest of the crew presence. Despite Billy Ray’s former military experience and being used to this, the dehumanization caused him significant stress. ((I allowed him to apply his Military Training bonus to the Fear save but he still failed.))

Billy Ray punched a guard for being rude to BR3NDA. This is definitely not going to present a problem for him on a station that required him to leave his weapons on the ship or check them into a locker. He was allowed to keep wearing his battle dress, however.

On the dock, Aeris oversaw the delivery of the cargo, worth 2 Contract Points against their Debt. This led to a payout 19 kCr split 4 ways. Once this happened, the ship went under lockdown until the investigative interview occurs.

BR3ND4 asked Loshe, the dockmaster wearing a massive four-armed exoskeleton, for directions. He told them a few things, including that cyber mods were available and something called Sycorax would make that easier. Loshe also made it abundantly clear that he won’t take any bribes to unlock the ship for them if the investigation goes poorly. Billy Ray decided that this guy didn’t need punching, which was definitely the right decision.

Next time, the crew wants to do a bit of shopping and training (Shore Leave) plus, of course, that dreaded investigative interview.

Feedback

Once I figured out the “Wounds Damage” bit (which is getting cut or at least reworded in the final release), I realized it would be boring for unarmed combat. So I made clear to the players that this was a modified mini game.

I’m still uncertain about healing. After all, they have a doctor and a ship with a medbay. While wound damage will still require the specialized services of a dedicated facility on board a station or similar, one Field Medicine check to heal d10 HP on a success feels about right. In the future, though, they’ll only get advantage [+] on the HP for a critical success. He’s also loaded up with pain pills and whatnot in case they need more than that.

Originally I hadn’t planned to get the updated modules like A Pound of Flesh from the Kickstarter, but I think now I might. Not only do I hope that they’ve corrected a bunch of the typos, conversion of the game stats will really be nice. For now, I think I’ll cut NPC damage and HP by a third and see how that goes. I’m going to leave the Stress numbers alone until I get a better handle on whether those should change.

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