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:

Off to Print
18 days ago – Sat, Oct 10, 2020 at 12:12:59 AM


I've just sent Gradient Descent off to print after two weeks of proofreading and final checking everything to make this as perfect as can possibly be. Mixam should have the printing done largely sometime late next week and then it'll be shipped to Quartermaster our fulfillment company to start packing and shipping, the end is in sight!

  • T-Shirts have arrived at our warehouse, so we're good there.
  • Patches have arrive at our warehouse as well, which is great.
  • Hacker's Handbook is done and ready for digital fulfillment.
  • Second pamphlet is in layout.
  • Warden's screen is in layout.

We're at the finish line, we're so excited for you to see what's next.

Address Changes

We're sorry if you've sent an e-mail about an address change and we haven't gotten back to you. Things have been crazy at TKG HQ as you can probably imagine.

If you need your address changed, or have sent us an e-mail requesting an address change but have not heard back from us, please fill out this form. You have about two weeks to do that before we lock in final orders for shipment. 

Backerkit Pre-Order Customers (We Know You're Reading This)

If you pre-ordered Gradient Descent on Backerkit (not through the Kickstarter or Shopify), we're running your cards this week. Heads up! If you need to change your payment visit your backerkit account and do that now!

Things are moving fast now, so I'll have more updates for you as fulfillment begins. This has been an amazing project and we're so grateful for all of your help and patience in making this happen. We've got a lot of great news to share about what's coming out next, so stay tuned!

Pre-Press Checklist and Other Updates
about 1 month 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
2 months 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!
3 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: 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!
4 months ago – Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 11:52:32 PM

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