Thousand Empty Light
A downloadable Mothership adventure
CW: darkness, tight spaces, marine wildlife, peril, bodily harm, extreme solitude
Thought space was full of horror? Try being trapped 70 metres underwater. On your own. In the dark.
THOUSAND EMPTY LIGHT is a psychedelic-xerox adventure zine that brings solo play to Mothership RPG (1E). Written throughout as an in-game corporate document, the zine takes the core game’s rules and builds a procedure for playing single handedly. It is a 36 page survival horror adventure, short story and universal solo toolkit all wrapped up into one.
The adventure casts the player in the role of a lamplighter hired by the HAZMOS service corporation. Their job? Enter an abandoned underwater tunnel on an uninhabited planet alone and restore power and light to each section. As they proceed, the player will discover that things aren’t quite what they seem.
This is an experiment in tabletop adventure design, requiring a healthy amount of interpretation from the player (a digital example play document is also provided).
A Mothership solo procedure
The engine behind Thousand Empty Light, a simple procedure provides rules for how to play solo. This can easily be used for other Mothership adventures.
Unique xerox artwork
Grainy black and white artwork inspired by the heyday of the photocopier and spiked with unsettling psychedelia.
Readymade hazards including creatures, environmental effects and a rogue AI. Statblocks are provided for combat-able threats. These are designed for Thousand Empty Light but could be dropped into another adventure.
Five specialist items
Readymade pieces of specialist equipment to discover and wield during play.
Twelve pages of setting material including transcripts from the previous lamplighter which tell the unfolding story from section to section.
Unique PANIC table
Mothership’s Panic table has had a redesign to encompass problems related to decompression sickness and nitrogen narcosis.
Combined Systems Semiotic Standard
A d50 table of safety signs for determining narrative detail, inspired by Alien’s ‘semiotic standard’.
Lashings of dread, conspiracy and body horror
All the basis is there for you to embark on a deadly and terrifying tunnelcrawl.
There are secrets to be solved in the zine which will lead you to discover more about the lore of the setting.
There's an official soundtrack by Gus BC (Twitter / Instagram) and accompanying bonus module for this adventure called Sleeping in a Drowning Stone.
Free download: Combined Systems Semiotic Standard
THOUSAND EMPTY LIGHT features a d50 table of safety signs for determining narrative detail, inspired by the ‘semiotic standard’ created for the 1979 Alien movie. This is designed to be useful as a solo oracle for Mothership and other sci-fi games generally, and is available for free below (under 'Download demo') .
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: A play example is provided to help with getting your bearings with this adventure - see below (under 'Download demo'). You should look through this before you play either the physical or digital version of the game.
There is also a dedicated website courtesy of Beast to help with playing Mothership solo: https://beastnaylor.github.io/1000EL. This includes:
- a reference sheet for THOUSAND EMPTY LIGHT's procedure
- a randomiser for the Combined Systems Semiotic Standard
- a random alien creature generator
- a secret message decoder
Try before you buy?
There's a plaintext version of this adventure available for free (under 'Download demo'). Thousand Empty Light has been designed as a visual artifact so this version does not really compare to the full experience, but it will give you a good idea of what this thing is.
If you like what you see, please consider buying the adventure.
Real life copies of the zine are available from several retailers in USA and UK.Details will be added here soon.
The physical version is also available from my web store: https://www.hausofvalley.com/product/preorder-thousand-empty-light
Ratings & Comments
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This product is based on the Mothership® Sci-Fi Horror Role Playing Game, published by Tuesday Knight Games. This product is published under license. MOTHERSHIP® is a registered trademark of Tuesday Knight Games. All rights reserved. For additional information, visit www.tuesdayknightgames.com or contact email@example.com.
The title of this adventure was provided by Chris Bissette's Random Adventure Title Generator, and is submitted as part of the Random Adventure jam.
|Tags||mothership, mothership-rpg, physical-game, sci-fi-horror, Singleplayer, solo, Tabletop role-playing game, zimo, zine-month|
In order to download this Mothership adventure you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of £6 GBP. You will get access to the following files:
- Have you found all the secrets?Dec 04, 2022
- Secret objective ciphersNov 29, 2022
- THOUSAND EMPTY LIGHT is live!Oct 26, 2022
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Super intense! Finally played. Had a blast. I have no idea if I played it right (is that even a thing?) but if anyone is interested, here’s my play journal.
(Edit: Actually I finally read the play example which I should’ve read first. I did a couple things wrong haha. Still had fun. Will play again using the oracle in a more useful way)
I’m always super impressed when someone manages to play this without the play example and I love seeing the different approaches people take! I think this might be the first time I’ve heard of someone’s Lamplighter managing to get to section 5 and then back again to 1.
Thank you for posting your playthrough!
I ordered the deluxe edition from Exalted Funeral, which just arrived today. The content of the book is great, but the text on the Semiotic Standard is completely unreadable, it's way too small. Kind of disappointing as I liked the idea of having it on the bookmark, but it's just unusable.
Other than that it looks great, am looking forward to getting it to the table.
Hey, I’m sorry you find the Semiotic Standard unreadable. The font size is definitely smaller than I would like but a compromise had to be made to get everything to fit on the single page / the bookmark.
Do you have the PDF for consulting the Semiotic Standard in a more legible form?
I do, and have already printed out a copy.
I just received my copy of this from the Lost Bay. Immersive and inventive, this is truly a work of art.
I backed this on Kickstarter and am delighted. Interesting, imaginative and the Semiotic Standard is an ingenious system that suggests so much from a single dice roll. I have doubled back to purchase the soundtrack before diving again.
Any chance this will get another physical release someday?
There are still copies! I’m planning on opening up general orders on my site soon. Are you in the US? There will also be available from a few different retailers soon.
I'm actually in Canada, but i'd still buy a copy if shipping isn't too bad.
If not it'd be nice if we could get a pdf with the colour cover at least :)
What a serious banger – theme and feeling are on point 🤘
As long as Alfred is still cool with it, would other folks with “hidden messages” be interested in sharing them here (or another, more clearly organised space)?
I'll go first and offer code #068
(moved it to the devlog)
It’s cool with me! To help organise these I’ve made a devlog dedicated to them. Please go ahead and post them there if you want.
Awesome, thanks ^^
I have never been happier with a crowdfunded project I've backed. The core gameplay loop is intuitive and interesting and makes the scenario - essentially moving through a tunnel - feel open-ended and replayable. These components can certainly be ported to other Mothership scenarios or sci-fi horror games.
Thousand Empty Light would be open to a number of different solo play styles, whether you want a single-session playthrough or to spend time further developing and exploring through journaling or recording audio reports in the log. This would also work for GM-less cooperative play.
The accompanying soundtrack is great. The easter eggs/ciphers are a beautiful and thematically appropriate touch as well. While I am sure the physical copies are going to be lovely, it made sense to me to print this on the photocopier at work. Absolutely pulls off the corporate training manual thing.
I’m so glad that you’re happy with it. Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to leave a comment, I really appreciate it. Also I love that you put the office photocopier to work - top marks.
First of all, well implemented tone and incredibly natural feeling resolution tools (in ORACLE and the Semiotic Standard). Everything beyond that is into bonus points! The art, design, existing logs, dangling prompts… beautiful stuff. I hope Hazmos has some other contracts in other locations down the line!
Thank you for the great feedback. I’d love to do more with Hazmos in the future!
Just got the final version today – this is so flipping cool. Completely immersive, wonderfully written and laid out. Just delightful. and spooky.
Will you be offering late pledge options for the kickstarter? I love this project so far but missed the funding.
In case you haven't seen it yet, pre-orders are available here via their website: https://www.hausofvalley.com/product/preorder-thousand-empty-light
Nabbed it and a patch, thanks for letting me know!
Thanks for placing an order!