A monster on the verge of eating an adventurer.

Review: Another Bug Hunt

by Ramanan Sivaranjan on April 29, 2024

Tagged: mothership osr

Another Bug Hunt Cover

My copy of the Mothership Starter set arrived on the weekend. I love it. The box is dense, packed with all sorts of good stuff. What I was excited about was the new adventure, Another Bug Hunt. This will be the first adventure people new to Mothership will encounter. It’s quite possible this will be the first adventure someone new to gaming may run, period. The Mothership Kickstarter was wildly successful: I have to believe there are a non-trivial number of people for whom Mothership will be their first RPG. I assume the brainiacs at Mothership HQ realized how important this module would be, because there is a lot of talent tied up in its creation. It’s amazing to read such a fully realized introductory adventure.

Another Bug Hunt is split into four scenarios, the first a classic of the genre: players find themselves exploring an “abandoned” base, trying to piece together what happened to its MIA staff. The base is a small complex, a 10 room “dungeon”. There are two entrances to the base, the one around back leading straight to the big-bad monster. I love that you could start the adventure stumbling upon the encounter that feels like the end. This is the OSR nonsense I am here for.

Advice for running this adventure, and running games in general, is scattered throughout Another Bug Hunt. The adventure pairs well with the (wonderful) Warden’s Guide. A short prologue to the scenarios has the players make a fear save. The adventure explains the purpose of the save, when to make them, and how you might give players bonuses on the roll based on what they say their character is doing to cope with what is going on. This is an important part of Mothership, so it makes sense to have it be the players first interaction with the game. The fist scenario contains the most advice, and feels the most introductory. A lot of effort has gone it trying to highlight the invisibile assumptions of OSR play. (Of course, being seeped in this stuff, perhaps i’m not the best person to comment on whether they’ve succeeded or not.)

The next scenario in Another Bug Hunt involves working with three factions, each with their own plan for how to best deal with what is happening on the planet. One group wants to get the fuck out here—why wouldn’t you? The next wants to retrieve all the research they have done on the weird alien monsters they’ve encountered. The last wants to save their friends and make sure they have power to weather an incoming dangerous storm. There are three missions to tackle, but a twist after the first one will make the subsequent missions far trickier to deal with. Each also provides important information or benefits, so it will all play out differently depending on the choices players make. It’s a nice dynamic set up.

The third scenario in Another Bug Hunt is when the characters in the movie say the name of the movie. The players explore an alien mothership, in search of more of the missing crew and a better understanding of what’s happening on this world. This is a very deadly dungeon. Or could be, if players are incautious or overly bold. The third scenario reminded me of Gradient Descent, with complex rooms that are more alien. It provides a nice contrast to the first dungeon.

The adventure ends with players trying to get off the planet. Players earlier choices will factor into how easy or hard escape will be. This is another scenario that feels it’s a classic of this genre: escaping hordes of aliens. This scenario is very open ended. There is a timeline, some rough rules for how things will play out, but what the players do could be all over the place.

Another Bug Hunt looks to be another fantastic adventure from the Mothership crew. I am hoping I will be able to run it soon. I am very curious to see how it plays. Each adventure has advice for running it as a one shot, though they seem best suited to be run as a single campaign. Running through this zine will probably take several sessions. That feels like a good way to kick off your new career as a Mothership Warden.

Players try and escape the planet as aliens rush their ship!