A collective of designers are crowdfunding a boxed setting full of adventures, supplements, art and even a music cassette for the Mothership tabletop RPG. Outer Rim: Uprising invites players to explore life on the bleeding edge of civilisation as told through a series of pamphlets, handouts, zines and other collaborative creations.
The Kickstarter campaign is organised by The Lost Bay Studio but contains the work of more than 20 illustrators, editors, designers and layout artists all working on a shared science fiction setting called the Outer Rim. Everything on offer is interconnected in small ways that allow them to be dropped into any existing Mothership campaign or used on their own for one-shot sessions.
Taken together, Outer Rim: Uprising evokes a dangerous and tense stretch of space full of boiling android labour disputes, tears in reality, derelict ships and at least one spooky radio station drifting through the vast emptiness between planets. A press release claimed this setting was constructed with a “bottom-up approach” that won’t saddle players with a chunky lore book - the Outer Rim can be discovered and pieced together one depressing, deadly chunk at a time.
The bundle contains more than 15 separate creations, some of them full-sized zines or tri-fold pamphlet adventures, while others are lists of rumours, esoterica, lore hook and random tables. A box of cards called Sorry to Bother You lets players or the Warden instantly create NPCs, while Surviving Machine Parts details highly experimental cybernetic implants for the daring transhumanist amongst the players.
For those who do want to make full use of everything inside Outer Rim: Uprising’s box, the Campaign Handbook latches connective tissue between the locations and factions name dropped in other supplements. Applying the same loose touch here, the handbook is less tome of dense worldbuilding and more a collection of four new player classes, artefacts from xenocultures, secret locations to entice players and plenty of tables - this is a Mothership game, after all.
Mothership might still be preparing its first edition boxed set for delivery after a highly successful Kickstarter campaign of its own, but that hasn’t stopped the creative community from seizing the low-crunch, high stress system with both hands and cultivating an ecosystem of third-party artwork that would make Mork Borg blush. Prioritising player knowledge, careful exploration and violence as a desperate last resort, Mothership empowers players to tell stories somewhere in the vicinity of Alien, The Thing and Blade Runner.
Between the occult thrills of an experimental hyperdrive distorting space-time in The Hunger in Achernar and Cidus II’s pair of fold out pamphlets, one that welcomes corporate investors while its twin teaches players how to sabotage the biotech facility, you can’t ask for a better representation of Mothership’s aesthetic breadth. If you like diegetic, in-game documents, random roll tables or vibes-based art supplements, there’s something here to satisfy both the Teamsters and the Marines.
The team helping to create Outer Rim: Uprising contain some of the brightest stars in independent and small press RPG production. Main designers include Chris Airiau, David Blandy (Eco MOFOs), Alfred Valley (Thousand Empty Light), Josh Domanski (The Bureau), IKO (Skyrealms and The Lost Bay RPG), Victor J Merino, Christian Sorrell, Nyhur, Zach Hazard Vaupen (who contributed art to Mothership 1E supplements), David Kenny, Marco Serrano and Tim Obermueller.
The art team is Evangeline Gallagher, Zach Hazard Vaupen, Holly Jenka, Victor J Merino, Daniel Locke, and Vil, while editing came from Līber Lūdōrum’s Walton Wood and Anamnesis designer Samantha Leigh. The Kickstarter campaign for Outer Rim: Uprising runs through November 2nd and will produce both a digital and physical bundle that is expected to fulfil to backers June 2024.