Terror Signal

Something haunts hyperspace. Interstellar travel, lifeblood of the sprawling human civilization, grows increasingly perilous as voyagers report bewildering and upsetting incidents associated with jump drive usage. The one common thread is a mysterious signal – the TERROR SIGNAL. Is it a natural phenomenon, an attack, or the first hints of a mystery far more dangerous?

Terror Signal is a mystery sandbox campaign for Mothership. I co-wrote it, so I think it’s cool. You can get it on itch.io and eventually drivethrurpg – the cause of the delay there is too embarassing to recount.

But why should you?

Spoilers ahead!

It’s quite hefty, 60+ pages full of all the good stuff you can expect: locations, npcs, a small bestiary, adventure seeds. It starts small, and ends with a trip into a dying universe. It’s got high concept sci-fi horror – wait till you meet the entropiacs or find out what Hyperopticon is.

Perhaps more importantly, there’s a solid campaign structure. The adventure starts with something strange happening after a routine hyperspace jump. These weird things keep happening, and not just to the party (there’s a table), leading to the unknown source of these disturbances being dubbed the “Terror Signal”.

The first part of the campaign these hauntings kick off is a sandbox, as sprawling or straightforward as you please. Maybe the party tries to solve the mystery of their own accord, or are hired by one of the interested parties. Maybe they simply try to go about their own business for as long as Terror Signal lets them. Maybe they’re even engaged in another adventure at the same time.

See, a perfectly simple schema. We don’t expect anyone to exhaust it in a single campaign, you most likely won’t see more than one or two branches, but the options are there for you to use as you see fit.

The basic idea is that the realspace chapter provides reasons for your crew to jump around the sector, and each jump exposes them to the hyperspace weirdness and offers an opportunity to gain a signal fragment, ultimately finding its source.

Eventually, they learn the trick to getting a better reading of the signal, and kick the weirdness up a notch. If the initial hauntings were creepy minor scenes, now each jump plunges your crew into a post-universal detritus, semi-stable remains of a broken universe that pollute the hyperspace. These would take from a large scene to a whole session or more to resolve.

That’s also where you’re likely to meet the principal antagonists of the adventure and the originators of the Terror Signal, the divers. What they want and who they are, you can find out inside the adventure. The truth may shock you! How’s that marketing pitch working?

Whichever route the party takes, they will eventually assemble the signal fragments into a set of coordinates (there’s a mini puzzle!) which will lead them to its source and a deadly confrontation. That’s where the mystery part of the adventure wraps up, and the open endgame begins. We’ve covered some of the ways you may enter it, as well as some of the possible approaches you might take to resolving the adventure. The map of the sector you would have been making on your travels will most likely come in handy here.

All in all, it would take you from a few sessions to a full-blown many months campaign to beat the adventure, depending on how much you want to build it out.

I’m excited and terrified to release this thing out into the world. We’ve been working on it for over a year. Your turn to have fun with it.

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