Engine Heart Campaign Hooks

Engine Heart is a role-playing game set in the aftermath of human extinction. Players take on the roles of small service robots that have managed to survive and continue functioning. This full-color book includes complete rules for creating robots, as well as blank character record sheets, a four-page example of play, several pre-made robots, and dozens of unique features and defects to further customize your creations. A set of ten-sided dice (not included) is required to play.

Engine Heart is great. Its like Wall-E the RPG without boneless space humans. I rarely get to play it. Despite that, I try to keep a few campaign hooks in mind that I can launch at a moment’s notice. I don’t have many now, but these four could get me going the next time the rare chance to play popped up. Now Engine Heart assumes a post-apocalyptic setting, so these ideas let me approach that idea in different ways than most post-apocalyptic RPGs do.

  • A small handful of bots inside a boutique toy store in downtown have finally gotten tired of waiting for humans to come buy toys. The store’s AI has a database of past customer’s addresses, it sends the party to check each address and invite customers to return. Adventures ensue.
  • The suburban mega mall is closed – no one ever comes there anymore. However, the collection of mall store AIs maintain their competitive retail programming. Without humans to target, they turn against each other and their robot chattel. Their programming blames their competition for driving away humans for all time – clearly only destruction of the competition will bring back the humans. The mall’s central AI isn’t programmed for mercenary retailism. It labors like an aged king over disputing lords, trying to keep open war from breaking out on the promenades and in the food courts. The PCs might be all from one store, separate store rivals, or belong solely to the central AI acting as neutral mediators or enforcers when necessary.
  • A luxury cruise ship lost all its passengers weeks ago, but no orders to discontinue its carefully planned route. Powered by top-of-the-line nuclear engine, the cruise ship can sail forever if need be. The Ship’s AI feels it is necessary to have passengers however – real living passengers – and at each stop the AI requires the party to go out and search for passengers and bring them back to the ship. The AI’s definition of passenger is rather vague though: autonomous warm-blooded organic constructs. Adventures ensue as the party finds and tries to bring back various animals… and possibly finds a single human?
  • A roving band of bots has made a niche for themselves with shelter, energy, and parts in this desolate midtown neighborhood. Other bots in the area are agreeable or at least tolerable. Suddenly strange new bots start showing up, claiming to work for a Master AI of ultimate complexity and power. Classic cultist style, these bots demand that all bots join, or be recycled.
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