The second expansion for Mothership, A Pound of Flesh moves away from the more supernatural vibe of Dead Planet and into the human-made horror of super-science gone wrong. This has a very Altered Carbon feel. It’s all about life on a space station, too. Like Dead Planet did for derelict ships and planetary colonies, A Pound of Flesh not only presents a well fleshed out setting, it also gives you a lot of tools for creating your own. This book also contains a lot of information and possible complications for cybernetic enhancement for characters.
Something I really like about Prospero’s Dream, the premade setting presented here, is how there are three core themes or plot-threads, each with a loose timeline of events, and each set up so that it will progress even if nobody interacts with it. So, if you focus entirely on thread A, the events of thread B will happen and change the setting, and likewise for thread C. As a GM, you can use or ignore those threads, but it gives you the tools to use all three at the same time or mix & match if you want. I like the idea that the game world goes on outside of the experience of the player characters, and that if you ignore a problem, it doesn’t just go away.
Prospero’s dream could make for a very good base of operations for your characters. If they’re working as merchants or whatever, it would make a good safe harbor for them to return to between jobs. There are a lot of interesting non-player characters and factions for them to deal with and plenty of good down-time activities. You might let them visit frequently, dropping a few scattered hints as to some of the underlying issues present on the station, and then, when things are good and cooking, start the clock on the three plots, cranking the action up until they either solve the problem, escape, or get chewed up.
I said it before in my review of Mothership, but I think this game would be a great way to run something in the mold of Traveller, if you wanted to lean a bit more into the hardships of life in space. You could just dial back a bit of the Horror (at least, the supernatural Horror) aspect of Mothership, and you’d be good to go. I’ve often thought of Alien as being a Traveller-type movie as it is.
Mothership is the best RPG I’ve found this past year, for sure. A Pound of Flesh is a great and handy expansion.