Autobot of Love and Death

A scenario hook for The Gaean Reach

Learning that their nemesis, despicable interstellar arch-criminal Quandos Vorn, has launched an operation there, the vengeance seekers of your Gaean Reach game land on the bucolic planet Vouth. Their research tells them of its gently rolling hills, the pacifism of its founders, and its lush fields of aromatic herbs. They touch down to find a planet ill-prepared for the brutality of their adversary. Already its Grand Parliament has been reduced to a bullet-riddled ruin, destroyed by an autobot designed and built by Quandos Vorn.

Prime Minister Ilyria Srench, backed by a cross-party parliamentary majority, refused Quandos Vorn’s demand that they hand over 10% of their world’s GDP to him each year.

After killing Srench and everyone it found inside the Parliament complex, the robot now plots a random course through the fields and settlements of Vouth. It scans every complex organism it encounters. Those that register to its photoelectric DNA identifier as humans who share at least one common ancestor with Srench become its targets. The Srenches helped settle Vouth hundreds of years ago; more than half the population fits this criterion. The autobot confronts them with a tinny, electronic command: “BOW DOWN IN SINCERE LOVE AND DEVOTION TO YOUR BENEVOLENT NEW MASTER, QUANDOS VORN!”

The unfortunate person must then perform a prostration and recite words of praise to the bot’s creator. Using a sixteen-factor algorithm, it assesses the honesty of the target’s encomium. Targets failing the test receive a lethal barrage of machine gun fire. Those few who pass are spared, with the autobot’s congratulations.

If none of your players embraces the premise to devise a reason to tackle the autobot, the locals offer either carrot or stick to impel them. They might impound the crew’s vessel, for one.

Clever vengeance-seekers will certainly look for a solution other than frontal attack. They may ask themselves how the autobot reloads. By observing it, they see that it signals an orbital satellite to drop ammo bundles when needed. Even if they cut off its bullet supply, it remains a formidable physical presence, capable of bashing to death anyone made of mere flesh and blood.

As they get close to the bot, the vengeance-seekers may be surprised to see some Vouthites taking action to protect it. These are the people who swore convincing fealty to Quandos Vorn. Though they maybe don’t want to be held to that, they definitely think it unfair that their compatriots don’t have to suffer the same terrible ordeal that they did. “I survived the autobot, and I’m all the better for it,” they cry, mustering whatever resources they can to save it and build a new society around its commands.

Players will likely debate whether they should destroy the autobot, or try to capture it and reprogram it as a weapon against its creator. If they plan and execute a plausible version of that second option, be sure to let them succeed. The first time they use the autobot in a subsequent scenario, it yields them spectacular and no doubt gruesome advantage. The second time, it blows back on them in an equally entertaining, if unfortunate, manner.


Abilities: Athletics 16, Health 18, Scuffling 18, Shooting 20

Scuffling Weapons Damage: punch or swipe +6

Shooting Damage: hyperautofire barrage +6

Attack Pattern: (Scuffling) +4/+4/+4/+4/+2; (Shooting) +4/+4/+4/+4/+4/+2

Hit Threshold: 2

Armor: 6

Alertness Modifier: +2

Stealth Modifier: −4

The Gaean Reach, the Roleplaying Game of Interstellar Vengeance, brings to your tabletop the legendary cycle of science fiction classics by the great Jack Vance. This ingenious hybrid fuses the investigative clarity of the GUMSHOE system with the lethal wit of the Dying Earth Roleplaying Game. Purchase The Gaean Reach in print and PDF at the Pelgrane Shop.

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