3 Androids for Mothership
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:
Bioroids aren’t exactly robots, but they’re not fully human, either. They’re biological constructs, built instead of born, and designed for specific purposes. Many kinds of bioroid are quite difficult to distinguish from humans without careful testing. Think Replicants from Blade Runner, or Cylon “skinjobs” from Battlestar Galactica.
- Android Stats: Use the standard Android stats & Fear rules on the character sheet.
- Biological: Other than their stats, Bioroids function the same as humans, including the need to go into cryo for hyperspace jumps.
- Detection: The Cybernetic Diagnostic Scanner won’t work on them, unless the user rolls a crit success when using it, in which case it will expose them as a bioroid. The Medscanner will work on them, but if the user rolls a crit success when using it, it will expose them as a bioroid.
- Roleplay Suggestions: Bioroids are often motivated by looking for an identity, purpose, or a sense of self after not fitting in with the role they were designed for. They also often hide their true nature from humans. Bioroids may have some feature that is distinctly non-human, pick or roll 1d10:
- Memory Wipe: Their memories can be reset using a (somewhat lengthy) verbal command (roll Intelligence to save). This command is a trade secret held by the people that designed them.
- Fresh Out of the Vat: They are physically and emotionally fully adult but they are actually only 1d5 years old.
- Short-Lived: They are designed to have a short lifespan, and only have 1d10+1 years left.
- Manchurian Candidate: They have been conditioned with a code word that will make them kill everyone in sight if they hear it, then immediately forget what they did (give the player a code word in secret — just don’t make it too common).
- Entertainer: They were bred for entertainment or pleasure. They are almost disturbingly lithe and beautiful, but are also very physically frail. They get Advantage on all Speed rolls and Disadvantage on all Combat rolls.
- Elephantine: They were bred to work on higher-gravity worlds. They are unusually thick, sturdy, and slow-moving as a result. They get Advantage on all Strength rolls, and Disadvantage on all Speed rolls.
- False Identity: Their memories were transplanted from someone else, or are entirely artificial.
- Aquatic: Designed for life on deep-sea stations, they can breathe underwater. Their fingers are also slightly webbed.
- Radiation Resistant: Their cells are optimized for space work. They get Advantage on Body saves against radiation.
- Chameleon: They can change the color of their skin as an action once per hour. If they do this to blend in to their surroundings, they have Advantage to rolls to not be detected, and ranged Combat rolls against them have disadvantage. Anyone who hasn’t seen this before must make a Fear save.
Robots are completely mechanical beings, designed to look and act like the humans they work alongside (to varying degrees of success). They usually have a synthetic skin that covers their metal and plastic interiors. Their internal fluids (if any) are milky white. Think Ash from Alien or the T800 from Terminator.
- Android Stats: Use the standard Android stats & Fear rules on the character sheet.
- Synthetic: Robots don’t sleep or breathe, and eating, drinking, and doing drugs has no effect on them. They can’t be healed through normal means. They also don’t age, can’t be poisoned, and can’t contract diseases. They are, however, susceptible to things that affect electronics, like power surges and EMPs.
- Charging…: They need to charge for 6 hours once per week. If they fail to do so, they will shut down until someone charges them up fully.
- Repair: To heal, they must have someone roll Intelligence (+ Mechanical Repair, Engineering, Robotics, or Jury Rigging) (they can do this themselves at Disadvantage). This takes an hour and uses up 1 Scrap. On success, they heal HP equal to the roll. Crit successes double HP gain, crit fails lose 1d10 HP. If someone used Jury Rigging to heal them, it will still work but the repair will look pretty janky.
- Panic: Instead of rolling on the normal Panic Table in the rulebook, roll on the excellent Android Panic table on the Mothership website.
- Roleplay Suggestions: Robots can be overly literal, unfeeling, and even programmed with certain directives that they will not under any circumstances contravene. They may also be subject to bugs and glitches. Pick or roll 1d10:
- Overseer: Programmed to follow corporate bylaws and log any violations thereof conducted by people around them.
- Mole: Programmed with a secret mission they must carry out, Warden’s choice.
- Unnaturally Fast: Can take Advantage on Speed checks to move scarily fast. If they do so, everyone who can see them must make a Fear check or gain 1d5 Stress.
- Onboard Encyclopedia: Advantage on all Intellect checks. If they fail a Sanity save, it means they couldn’t find an explanation for what they just saw in their database and are shaken to their core, gaining an additional +1d5 Stress.
- Interpreter: Advantage on rolls to find out if you know a foreign language (does not apply to dead or ancient alien languages).
- Corporate Spy: Eyes function as Body Cams.
- Tactical Coordinator: Eyes have built in Heads-Up displays.
- Heavily Armored: Advantage on Armor saves, disadvantage on Speed checks.
- Removable Face: They have a second synthetic face in their inventory and can swap faces by peeling one off and applying the other one. This is a careful procedure that takes 10 minutes and freaks out anyone who sees it. Witnesses must make a Fear save or gain 1d5 Stress.
- Built-In Equipment: One device from their starting loadout is physically installed as a part of their body (player’s choice).
The Cyberized Human was born human but their consciousness was at some point transferred to a cybernetic brain and encased in a robotic body. It’s not unheard of for cyber-brains to be transferred between bodies, but this is a complicated and time-consuming procedure. Think Major Kusanagi or Batou from Ghost in the Shell.
- Human on the Inside: Pick a non-Android class for your Saves and Skills, but use the Android Fear rules.
- The Shell: Use the Robot “Synthetic,” “Charging,” and “Repair” rules, though Cyberized Humans can additionally use the Cybernetics skill to heal.
- Cyberbrain Transfer: The cyberbrain can be removed and transferred to another compatible body. The installation is a complex procedure and takes 1d10 hours.
- Roleplay Suggestions: Humans are cyberized and given bodies for a number of reasons. Pick or roll 1d10 for a background:
- Disease: They were cyberized as an adult to save them from a terminal disease.
- Genetics: They were cyberized at an early age to stop a hereditary condition from damaging them. They went through several bodies growing up.
- Prosthesis: They suffered grievous wounds that mangled several limbs and organs, and opted for cyberization instead of individual prostheses.
- Dysphoric: They were cyberized as treatment for a bodily dysphoria.
- Identity: They were cyberized to change their identity. This may have been an identity they aspired to, or it may have been as part of a witness protection program.
- Immortality: They were cyberized to attain a longer lifespan.
- Combat: They were cyberized to get a body that would be optimized for combat. Gain +5 Combat.
- Work: They were cyberized to get a body that would be equipped for spacer work. Feet function as Mag-Boots.
- Transhumanism: They were cyberized in order to transcend humanity, and additionally have augmented their cyber-brains with AI optimization routines. -5 Sanity, +5 Intellect.
- Culture: Cyberization is common among the upper crust of many core worlds, and high-end bodies are seen as a status symbol.
- 2020-04-21: Updated Repair rules to be more specific.