GRADIENT DESCENT: Module for Mothership Sci-Fi Horror RPG

Created by Tuesday Knight Games

A brand new zine-sized module for the Mothership Sci-Fi horror RPG. Androids, AI, memory, and existential horror abound.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Pre-Press Checklist and Other Updates
1 day ago – Wed, Sep 23, 2020 at 12:43:06 AM

Hey gang,

We finished up our first round of proofreading and boy was it a big one. The biggest hassle in proofreading a Megadungeon is all the room references. Each minimap has to correspond to both the key and the overworld map, as well as any other room that references it through the module. Jarrett Crader and David Wilkie went through each map with a fine tooth comb and looked for inaccuracies in them, of which there were a couple dozen.

Additionally, they looked for issues in verticality. That is, they made sure that if you descended down stairs from Room A to Room B, you couldn't make it back to Room A through, say, Room C, without at some point ascending stairs again. You would think that would be a minor thing, but if can really affect players' orientation during a game, which can break their immersion.

After I got the list of notes back, I finished up all the corrections, and now it's back in Jarrett's hands for a final pre-press proofread. This is more like a spelling and final errors check before I send it off to the printers.  We're pumped. This book has seen a handful or proofs, dozens of playtests, and at least 5 editing passes. We can't wait to show it to you.

T-Shirts Have Arrived

Our lovely, silky smooth t-shirts have arrived at our warehouse and they look great. I'll get some pictures soon to send you on our next update. But they're ready to fulfill right now, so that's one less thing I have to worry about.

Patches Are Being Made

Right now our patches are being manufactured and should ship out to our warehouse shortly (probably while the module is being printed). These are pretty cool. They're about 4" wide and they're, just like our Tempest Co. patches, fully "in the fiction" of the module so to speak, and they're kind of a cool reveal for your players. I can't wait to slap one on.

Pamphlet number one is finished!

The Hacker's Handbook is complete! This one is the brainchild of myself, Luke Gearing, and Mothership newcomer, Kevin Whitlock. This tiny pamphlet contains some simple tools to create beefy Networks for your intrusion inclined players to hack. It's also got a new loadout as well as a list of new equipment: decks, gear, and single-use software. 

Hacking is a huge problem in most RPGs. Besides generally being wildly unrealistic, they often create a scenario where only one player can hack, or the hacker player ends up playing some sort of solo mission while the rest of the party sits around waiting. Even further, a lot of times they dump a bunch of new rules on you, which just adds to the overall clutter.

The Hacker's Handbook solves all of that. Essentially, Hacking checks work just as they always have, but now if you want, you can build out your Network with a little bit more info so that whoever is doing the hacking can make some interesting decisions.

More than that though, we've included some guidelines about using "User Accounts." That means any player that "acquires" the password credentials of someone now has access to their information as well. 

As a lifelong thief/rogue/hacker player in RPGs, this is one of my favorite things we've put together for Mothership, and I hope you all dig it. Here's a preview of what we're sending out, and I'll send out a PDF shortly so you all have something to munch on while we get to print!

What's left?

We've still got another pamphlet tie in to Gradient Descent coming your way, and Dan D of Throne of Salt has been hard at work on it. We've changed tactics a couple of times because some of his content was so good we ended up just putting it straight into the module. I'm pretty excited about what we're working out for the final version though. It should greatly improve the sandbox like nature of Gradient Descent.

Additionally, I've been working on the Warden's Screen for GD and I'm having a blast. Rather than just duplicating all the info that's already in the easily referenceable (is that a word?) book, we're putting in new helpful content that Wardens often don't think about until they get into trouble. I'll share a mockup as soon as I'm comfortable with one.

Other than that, I hope you're all staying safe, thanks again for your patience. The end is in sight!

Layout, Editing, Art complete -- moving into final Proofreading
28 days ago – Thu, Aug 27, 2020 at 02:40:16 PM

Hey gang,

As some of you may have seen in the comments, a little over a week ago I finished up the final layout for Gradient Descent and sent it over to Jarrett for editing. Jarrett did an amazing job and finished editing last week, I've spent this past week making his final changes, and now we're ready to move into final proofreading! We'll be starting that this weekend and then we'll be sending it off to print!

I'm incredibly proud of the work we've done here and I can't wait to share it all with you. Here's the last final spreads I'll share before the book comes out. We added an extra four pages in here, this thing is by far our biggest Mothership book to date.

This book has a really specific way that we key rooms, as well as different scale rooms (Human sized and industrial sized). You can see here just from the images the difference in size we're talking about. One of my favorite things, that I'm glad we were able to make work, is that every room's number also has the page number embedded into it. So room 45a is on page 45. This makes cross-referencing and flipping around super easy.

One of the brand new spreads we added. The Bell, a tiny little campsite/station for you to rest at between dives. Our rumor table serves as a way to point players in a direction or give them more info about topics they find interesting while exploring. Each NPC has different rumors and interpretation on events.

Gradient Descent deals with androids, obviously, but there are many different kinds you'll encounter in the Deep. Some, like the Infiltrator Androids, are completely indistinguishable from humans. Others, like the Security Androids, are more like walking, faceless terrors without a voice, sent to destroy you. And finally, the Forgotten Androids, are defective builds fleeing from being hunted down or reclaimed and sent to the dreaded "Reject Bin" for annihilation. Other than the Security Androids, however, all of them have things they care about, things they want to talk about. And if you're careful, you can make it through the entire Deep without once using a weapon.

What's Next?

I have a proof of the t-shirt arriving today as well as a proof for the patch getting made. We're finishing up the pamphlets as well. All of that should be printed at about the same time as the book. So we're not too far off now! Hope you're all staying safe and I'll catch you next time!

Timeline Update - Getting Close!
about 2 months ago – Fri, Jul 31, 2020 at 03:51:26 PM

Hey gang!

Progress is moving along quickly now, we're on the downhill run! We're nearly to editing, sorry for the delays, but we've had a ton of playtesting reports come in and we went back through and updated some sections and maps that sorely needed it, but its pushed back our timeline a bit. I anticipate going to print in August, but we'll let you know if anything changes. We've also added about another four pages of content to help with the setup of the module and also detail more information about the Bell, which caused some delays again in layout. Sorry about the delays, but we think it'll be worth it in the end. This module is absolutely crammed with content.

One thing we finally pulled the trigger on that I think is exciting: the room names now contain the page number. So if you're looking for room 41b, that's on page 41. This makes cross referencing room so so so much easier at the table for the warden, and I'm super proud that we're able to pull it off.

We've been working really hard on the maps to make sure there's a lot of verticality and information contained inside each map. The zig zag lines indicate a change in elevation (like a staircase or a ladder) and we've got different icons for airlock doors, airlock chambers, vents/shafs, elevators, and regular ol' office doors.

The Bell has had a major facelift as well. It went from being a hustling and bustling center of activity to a more cold and abandoned "campfire-like" (or as I like to think of it Firelink-shrine-like) last stop before The Deep. In playtesting we found that making the Bell too much like a backwater blackmarket made it feel too much like Prospero's Dream from A Pound of Flesh, and that it was territory that we had already covered. The new Bell plays much much better and points the action more at the players.

T-Shirt Proof Is In!

We got our physical proof of the t-shirt in last week and it looks great! We're sending the final changes to the manufacturer this week so they can get started on them immediately. Patch design is getting finalized as well and will likely be handled through the same vendor. We're pretty excited!

Watch the ENnie awards live!

Gen Con is all digital this year, and we're sad not to be there. If you're interested in watching the ENnie awards, it'll be hosted here: https://www.twitch.tv/GenConStudio at 8pm EDT on Friday July 31. Keep your fingers crossed that A Pound of Flesh can come away with a win!

IMPORTANT Change to T-shirt Orders, Production Updates, and ENnie Awards!
3 months ago – Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 11:52:32 PM

This post is for backers only. Please visit Kickstarter.com and log in to read.

Timeline & Dissident Whispers
3 months ago – Thu, Jun 18, 2020 at 09:03:53 PM

Hey gang,

Hope you're all doing well. It's been a crazy few weeks. We're trucking right along still, but right up front we think we'll need to delay for about a month. Layout is about 90% done but we need a decent chunk of time to edit because the module is so complex, and my personal productivity was hit pretty hard a couple of weeks ago. That being said, we're moving along at a good clip now and I'm hoping to wrap up layout in the next week or two and then start the editing process in earnest.

Part of what hit my productivity so hard was that amidst COVID and the Black Lives Matter protests, I felt very out of control and like I had no ability to make a difference. I was locked in my house, taking care of my family, but I wasn't out anywhere helping. About ten days ago the moderators on the Mothership discord were approached with a question: could someone post up a request to get some help on an RPG book for charity. I said yes and didn't really expect much to come out of it.

Then I started helping out a little bit with the team. They were working on a book called Dissident Whispers and they wanted to put together as many one-spread rpg adventures as they could over the next few weeks in order to raise bail money for the Black Lives Matter movement. This was something I actually could help with. And so I, along with over fifty other members of the rpg community from the biggest pros to the most casual hobbyists, threw everything we had at this project, called in all favors, and worked our butts off to put together the coolest book of adventures we could. 

Last night we finished it and today we're selling it. All proceeds go to the National Bail Fund Network. Not only am I proud to have been apart of this, I'm particularly proud of the Mothership community who showed up in mass to put together 11 amazing adventures for this book, including one by Alan Gerding, his first official Mothership release (and a really really good one). 

You can pre-order a physical copy + pdf on our website.

Or you can buy the pdf only straight from itch.io or drivethrurpg. It's currently the number 1 best seller on DriveThru. As of this writing, after only 6 hours we've raised $15,000. That's incredible.

Again, I'm sorry for the delay, but I feel like we have a fire under us now and we're definitely on the downhill slope. We appreciate your support and your patience.

Black Lives Matter.