flotsam and jetsam for tabletop games, by quadra.

Warped 02.02: Yellow Goo

Goo dripping from a drop ceiling

The crew stop at the remote mining station Ypsilon 14, hoping to trade and stock up on fuel. But they are interrupted by a string of mysterious disappearances…

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The Doomed Warband and Campaign Sheets

Quote from The Doomed: “We are a forgotten world. The company came with their ships and guns, then abandoned us. Only the doomed and the horrors remain.”

Chris McDowall’s wargame The Doomed has its claws in me. It’s a super-streamlined skirmish game for kitbashed minis and it comes with a lot of material to play. I found I wanted a better way to keep track of my warband and campaign, so I made some sheets to do just that.

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Warped 02.01: Vesper’s Rocks

Death, Pierpont Morgan Bergamo Tarot

This is the beginning of Season 2 of the WARPED Mothership campaign. See the full saga on the Warped archive.

As they fly away from the Iblis’s Crown station, the crew watches the flashes of small arms and explosions below. The station has erupted into war as Imogen Jacquet’s Sol Military Contracts forces attempt to take down Ben Rashid. On the bridge, Sonia reports that SMC corvettes are tailing and escorting AKMC mining ships, and that two unknown ships, not broadcasting identification, have arrived and are moving towards them.

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Warped 01.14: Out From Iblis

Below Zero

SEASON 01 FINALE: The night continues at the dive bar Below Zero, the White Ape fight in full swing, the patrons deep in their drinks and rowdy, unaware of an impending conflict that could tear the station apart. The crew carouses, taking their last chance to blow off steam…

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Warped 01.13: Imogen

Imogen Jacquet

Sasha and J. have learned the dark secret of the drug known as Jvara, AKA the hot sweats,” while Alex and Can (their new friend — and daughter of Ben Rashid) remain oblivious to the depths of the operation’s awfulness. Simultaneously being made to abet Ben Rashid’s drug-running, being made to spy on his operation by Imogen Jacquet, and under threat of both SMC prison time and discovery by Tannhäuser, the crew has some hard decisions to make.

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Warped 01.12: The Hot Sweats

Hot Sweats

Nip rescued the crew from the warped plant creatures, only to drop them off in the wrong port, on the Kenbishi side of the station, surrounded by Sol Military Contracts police, with Warrant Officer Imogen Jacquet in the middle of them. Just how screwed are they?

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Warped 01.11: Flytrap

Venus flytraps

Two crewmembers dead. Hundreds of plant creatures giving chase. Can what remains of the crew complete their rescue op, or will they too be consumed by the warped vegetation?

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Challenge HP for Mothership


You know the scene: the heroes are trying to accomplish something…and they need more time that they just don’t have. One hacker watches the guards’ flashlights swinging through the office as the other types frantically at the terminal: the decryption progress bar creeps towards 100%, all too slowly. The teamsters cringe as they hear the alien smash into room after room, getting closer and closer as they frantically try to pry the blast door open just a little further…

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No-Initiative Action for Mothership

Starship Troopers

Instead of rolling initiative to start combat, tracking order, etc., I’ve started using a simple action” system: whenever the situation gets intense or time-sensitive, we slow time down and resolve everything simultaneously. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it just flows. Currently I’m using this in Mothership, but I’m looking to use the core concept in other systems as well.

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Warped 01.10: The Pitcher

Aliens motion tracker

Sasha, white-knuckle grip on his new shotgun, stands over the bleeding vaccsuits in the golden light and undulating hum of the gigantic warp drive. He nervously eyes the massive flooded chamber, plant-creature pods lining the walls, when he suddenly hears another noise, muffled and indistinct, emanating from the warp drive. He frantically backs away into the waist-deep fluid and swims back out of the chamber to the waiting crew.

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Warped 01.09: The Light in the Plant


The crew continue exploring the overgrown plant chambers inside the ancient space hulk Iblis, searching for Ben Rashid’s missing squad. More plant creatures emerge, and a strange light shines from an unnatural well.

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Calm For Mothership

Jordan Peele and Robert Hays

Here’s something to try in your Mothership campaign: invert Stress and call it Calm. In vanilla Mothership, Stress starts at 0 and goes up indefinitely as PCs encounter scary stuff. When something happens that triggers Panic, players try and roll 2d10 over their Stress. On failure, they must roll 2d10+Stress on a Panic Effects table and take the (usually disastrous) result.

Calm instead maxes out at 85% (like the other stats and saves) and goes down to 0%. Every time you would gain Stress in Mothership, instead lose that amount of Calm. Panic checks now have you roll d100 under against your current Calm (like the other stats and saves): if you fail, you look up the number you rolled on the new Panic Effects table below. A few things this change does:

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Warped 01.08: Knee-Deep in Salad

Plant Chute

The crew’s search-and-rescue mission keeps getting weirder, all signs pointing to the giant glistening plant orifice before them … and the voices emanating from within.

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Warped 01.07: Inside The Iblis

Iblis Overgrowth

The crew of the IMV Grasshopper meet the big players on the Iblis’s Crown space station and agree to board the ancient colony ship Iblis on a clandestine search-and-rescue mission. Will they find who they’re looking for? And what’s this fruit” they keep hearing about?

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Warped 01.06: Iblis’s Crown

The Iblis’s Crown

The crew arrive on the city-station to a smoke-filled hangar with a burning ship inside. They investigate the station, look for work, meet some colorful characters, and hustle them in holographic bar games! Also, a new player joins the crew.

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The Ypsilon 14 Terminal

Ypsilon 14 Terminal

In the Ypsilon 14 Mothership pamphlet module (available on DTRPG and itch), there’s a terminal with some fairly important functions. Since I was going to run it over Discord with video + chat, I fleshed out the terminal interface so my players could type commands into chat and I could play as the terminal by copy-pasting stuff back to them (I just improvised errors, confirmations, etc.) It went over great, and if you’re running Ypsilon 14, especially online, this may be useful to you!

The station is not exactly up to code. The [A] indicates Administrator.” This isn’t going to help much, since the monster doesn’t need oxygen: This’ll probably kill it though: Keep reading »

Warped 01.05: The Card In The Warp

The Iblis & Iblis’s Crown

Fleeing with the stolen ship, the crew sleeps in hyperspace as the android 02BZ maintains course. But he soon discovers that he is not alone…

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Warped 01.04: Cleanup

Viscera Cleanup Detail

After the weird psionic bloodbath on the RSV Fidanza, the crew has some downtime. It took them two days to get out here, and if they don’t report back soon, Tannhäuser R&D is going to send someone to find out what happened. If they’re going to help the surviving test subjects, they need to fix up the ship and cover their tracks before Tannhäuser shows up.

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Warped 01.03: In The Deep End


The crew search for the rest of the test subjects, the data, and the provenance of the severed arms. Along the way, they panic, hallucinate, and panic some more. Will they follow through with their cursed mission, or abandon it and earn the ire of the Tannhäuser megacorporation? Olivia’s player is out this time, so her character returns to guard the ship they came in on, and another new player joins us, taking over Janice Nyman, the Marine that the crew rescued from the mental domination of Test Subject 03.

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Warped 01.02: Enemy Of My Enemy

Star Wars Battlefront 2

The crew continues to explore the dim, flickering halls of the RSV Fidanza, wonder about all the missing limbs, question their loyalty to the Tannhäuser megacorp, muck about with computers, set everything on fire, lose control of their bodies, and maybe even make a few friends! A new player joins us this session, taking over one of the Marine NPC allies.

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Warped 01.01: Fidanza

Alien Cryochamber

The first session of the home campaign that I run. These after-action reports are organized into seasons and episodes. The first 3 episodes contain material that I am currently compiling into a small module.

The RSV Fidanza, a Tannhäuser Corporation research vessel secretly operating in a remote star system, has stopped transmitting its heartbeat signal. No distress signal, or signal of any kind, has been received since. Tannhäuser R&D has dispatched a small crew on a clandestine mission to investigate and recover all test data from the ship.

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Mothership Character Sheet

Character Sheet Header

The original Mothership character sheet is among the best pieces of layout design I’ve seen in RPGs, combining an excellent character-creation flowchart with a very usable gameplay aid. However! After running the first season” of a campaign and using my players as playtesting subjects, our needs gradually deviated from what the original sheet accommodated, and I found a few tweaks I’d like to make. Plus I wanted to learn from the master by picking apart Sean’s original and see if I could find ways to improve on it!

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Survive, Solve, Save for XP

The Martian

(In my experience, it’s been a little more like pick two,” but I’m too nice to my players.)

Mothership has an ethos of Survive, Solve, Save: Pick One.” This means players should face hard choices between surviving the mission, solving the mystery, or saving the victims. So why not reinforce this ethos for players by applying it to how they earn XP?

In the current rules, PCs gain 10 XP each session. So let’s mix it up: instead, PCs gain XP by Surviving, Solving, and/or Saving in a session. At the end of each session, the Warden evaluates the player characters’ actions and awards XP as follows:

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Mothership House Rules

Mothership: House Rules! (Based on the Alpha Zine Edition, 3rd Printing rules & errata (0E). Note that these house rules are compatible with pre-1E playtesting and my playtesting character sheet. Once 1st Edition is solidified and released, this page will be updated with a 0E section and a 1E section.)

Over the course of running several Mothership one-shots and an extensive campaign, I’ve tweaked a number of things. Here are my current house rules:

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3 Androids for Mothership

Ash from Alien

Mothership has an Android” character class, which comes with a few stats and rules & very little detail beyond that. I like this a lot — it opens up space for Wardens and players to figure out how their own little space horror universe works. When one of my players makes an Android character, I ask what kind of android they want to play & make rulings accordingly.

The default Mothership Android is inspired by Ash from Alien, but I figure the galaxy has to be full of corporations experimenting with AI, robotics, genetic engineering, and all kinds of other stuff that could produce a variety of almost-but-not-quite humans. My Mothership universe blends ideas from Alien, Blade Runner, Neuromancer, Ghost in the Shell, Akira, and other Horror SF & Cyberpunk-adjacent media that feature vicious corporate criminality, body horror, etc. In keeping with that spirit, here are three Android variants you can use in your games:

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Mothership Warden Screen

Warden Screen

I love the layout of the Mothership Player’s Survival Guide, but as a new Warden I found myself flipping through it a whole lot at the table and wishing I could find the info I needed even faster. So I made a Warden Screen, and have hardly looked at the book since!

This has all of the weapons and equipment in the game, helpful references like what stats and saves players have, rule reminders, and important tables like Panic Effects. You’ll probably get the most use out of the first 2 pages — the third is mostly about spacecraft mechanics, though it does have a version of the critical hit table from Sean’s blog, too. My setup is I have the first 2 pages taped to a folded piece of cardboard, and I keep the third page on the table.

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d10 Reasons you’re in the Corporation’s pocket

Tyrell Corporation

While putting together a Mothership module, I wanted to ensure that the player characters would be motivated to carry out the mission, even in the face of the horrors to come. Here’s what I came up with — have each player roll 1d10 at character creation to find out why they’re in the corp’s pocket. The real horror was capitalism all along!

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