Gradient Descent Session 3

March 22nd, 2021

Players: Brendan, Stephen

The party find themselves in a now silent factory floor, surrounded by darkness, when a voice makes itself heard: “I have ignored your dalliance in my factory thus far.” Monarch makes their presence known to the PCs: Monarch is annoyed. The androids the PCs “rescued” travel down the successful test chute the PCs climbed out of at the behest of the super-AI. Monarch then tells the PCs they can travel and explore the station so long as they no longer disturb the manufacturing process. Of course, there is catch: the group must also kill an android Monarch calls the Mind Thief if they want to leave the station. There is more back and forth. (“Will you help us?” “No, help yourselves.” “Will you pay us?” “Sure, why not.”) With that the sounds of screaming androids once again fills the space as the testing machinery turns back on.

The group opts to travel down the failed test chute, entering the Disassembly Yard. Another room filled with the sounds of screaming androids, this time ones being ripped limb from limb. Their lights can pick out the glint of huge robotic arms like trees, arms on arms on arms, careening across the room. They spot a duct and cautiously try to make their way towards it, managing to avoid being ripped to shreds themselves.

Moving through the duct they can hear the sounds of drones in the distance. But the duct work starts to narrow, and they are worried about proceeding any further. So they decide to head back to where they started this misadventure!

Back in the Disassembly Yard they start making their way back to the chute they entered from, but on the way back are both snatched up by huge robotic arms. UR812 attempts to cut himself free, but can’t manage to do so. Kjell’s marine instincts kick in and his sub machine guns blows apart the joint hold the arms keeping him and UR812 in place. The shot pushes them away from the arms. Freeing themselves from the now limp arms holding them in place they manage to make it back to the chute, and then back to the room they started. [I guess they really didn’t want to leave Josh out.]


Each session is helping me circle towards what I should be thinking about and prepping before playing. This module is very terse: something I appreciate with a module describing a space that’s quite huge and complicated. That I am able to run this module with such minimal half-assed prepping feels like a miracle. That said, one thing I realize is I need to flesh out how I would run particular bits and bobs that aren’t explained in detail. The room with the giant arms ripping up androids would (obviously?) try and rip up the players as well, but there aren’t any rules or advice on how that would work mechanically. Because I am not that familiar with mothership it feels a bit harder to improvise on the spot. With these sorts of dangerous traps, I also prefer to have all the mechanics down ahead of time, so I don’t wimp out in game. (Would I have had the arms rip off the players limbs if Stephen’s character hadn’t managed to free them? I’m not so sure.) I also find myself describing every single room as cavernous industrial space. I need some dungeon dressing tables or prompts.