Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Towards an Anti-Canonical Not-Warhammer 40k: Blood Floats In Space

Blood Floats in Space is a great Mothership supplement that imagines a beauty-obsessed space authority and its vassals, the Empire Without Borders Or Competition. Ruled with martial law, social classes are determined by beauty, systems with aesthetic flaws are destroyed and harvested for their base parts. The zine adds in two new classes - an armor entombed warrior and a ticking time bomb of a psyker. 

art by ArielP
The armor warrior can straight-up replace the Marine class, which is cool - all off-brand Astartes and no Imperial Guard with their flashlights, I say. The Psyker class freakin can melt its own face off if it successfully uses its powers a lot, much less if it fails psychic cast rolls. That's perfect. Psychic powers are like lighting a stick of dynamite with your brain, the zine informs us, and this class' characters are going to screw that up and some point.

Horrible star gods are detailed, which are worshiped by people in the empire. There are a small number of new gear-bits, a great number of psychic powers with amazing names ('For Every Psychic That Dies To Their Own Folly, Another Dies In A Psionic Duel'), Psychic Catastrophes ranging from merely gross to rolling a new character, a character sheet, d100 amazing rumors and d100 Empire-specific trinkets for your PCs.

The Gods are great and terrible. Each has a paragraph about their history/domain, a d6 table of manifestations that could wreck the players' day (or provide adventure fodder), and a final paragraph about their terrible human worshipers.

The Empire is ruled by the Empress, who was a popular musician before fusion with an alien lifeform and becoming an immortal floating space brain which commands the decaying remains of the delightfully-named Empire Without Borders Or Competition. 

I think there are a few things I'd love to add - the zine has some real fruitful voids where I want more stuff but I'm sure what I want is different than someone else. I feel like Mothership characters should get some Beauty stat for dealing with people in the Empire, and that maybe characters with a higher starting Beauty stat have some kind of Noble 'class' that they can unlock. A Noble would be good at, I dunno, dueling and evaluating poison in food. And that's about it. They're pretty (by Empire standards) and pretty useless. 

Maybe there should be mutation - just use A Pound of Flesh! But it should reduce your beauty stat? Because the Empire hates mutants because Empires are actually dumb. 

The PCs are sent on tasks that will likely gain mutations and have to hide them, Nobles are foppish and like the opposite of Teamsters, psykers are as useful and dangerous as unstable explosives, the Gods sometimes manifest in benevolent ways but really aren't here for anyone but themselves. It's a cool zine with a great setting in it - both explicit and implicit.

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