Engine-Heart: The Post Human RPG

The time of the humans has passed.

All that you were built for is no more.
But you and your kind endure.
Anyone remember WALL-E? You know that loveable trash compactor that fell in love with a bot with
an overpowered plasma cannon? For those of us nerds out there that like our games of pretend to include stats and rules and structure so everything is in theory fair ever wanted to play in that post-human world as all the little helper bots, AI, animals, and such left behind?

Thanks to Viral Games you can! They've had a PDF of this type of game-setting since 2010 and now they have a kickstarter. This is a role-playing game of small service robots in the aftermath of human extinction.

Before I get to the fold I should note this has already been funded. There's only one stretch goal left and as mentioned earlier the 2010 PDF is going to be free, likely forever, and the tone I get from the kickstart page itself is that Viral is doing this more for the love of the game and hoping to fund getting physical copies into different stores than to try making a profit.

Who is Viral?

Viral is a guy that wrote Modempunk, Joints and Jivers, and a few other things on 1d4chan. Apparently now he has his own site. Minimalistic but offers up exactly what you're looking for without lots of poking around, which is always nice. Given he's selling dice in the kickstarter for Engine Heart Below Cost and he's offering the core rules up for free I'd say he's doing this for love of the game rather than love of money. Grantedi want him to make piles and piles of money so he can keep doing the quirky awesome things i happen to like but it's good he's sticking to apparent principles I can get behind.

Alright what's Engine Heart, really?

Who here has seen Walll-E? Basically That. Could be the world is a little less degraded. Could be a little more. Could be there's a cave of humans in your setting that's never realized it's safe to reclaim the world. Could be cryo-tubes full of people that either never got thawed... or broke. Basically the limits are 'what happens after we're gone and the things we've left behind are still moving?'

1d4chan article for anyone interested. Oh and in addition to the rules PDF there's a scenario PDF Power and Lights that can be gotten from there (media fire link on the 'chan page  I'm linking to the copy on my google drive since i don't trust mediafire to not go the way of megaupload.) Also here's a character sheet straight from Viral's own site.

On the one hand it's quirky so 'niche'. On the other you can easily point to WALL*E and go 'look, that's roughly the kind of world we're going for as a 'default' setting. It's different enough a concept to be noteworthy and you don't take yourself so seriously that it's getting in the way of fun. However i could see this setting adapted to other robot-centric things (like Megaman.) Could have a simi-reigion based around he 'creators' (humanity.) Could have all sorts of things that the 1d4 page actually goes into as campaign ideas. Or you could adapt something else for robotic needs. Take for instance one of the offered scenerios from 1d4.

Follow the Yellow Road Signage

The Emerald City
  • Female human model sexbot. wears red shoes. lost memory and wants to find its way home.
  • Petbot. little dog model.
  • Defective tutorbot. trying to find CPU upgrade.
  • Lumberjack model bot. trying to find out what love means.
  • Securitybot. is armed but afraid to use force. trying to find courage.

They are all off to the Seattle megacity to talk with one of the few surviving supercomputers (it belonged to Wizards)

OK Fine the system is based off another but really when you get down to it everything is based off something else and Viral's not asking for sixty bucks for a core book then offering to sell expansion packs at thirty dollars a pop. Frak he's giving this stuff away at least the core material and everything else seems to be reasonably priced. That alone makes me want to give him money.

In Conclusion

Viral is many things. Half-cocked isn't one of them. Helps that he's managed to yoke the power of /tg/ to sift through and contribute ideas. I like that. Crowdsource a problem out. Just remember the chans are not your personal army/tech support guys/research department/etc.

I like that Viral actually included human (adult and child,) and animal stats in the back of the PDF for oddballs like us that might want to run something like 'oh hey there's a huge vault of frozen humans.'  That's even the source of several scenario ideas listed on page.

Plus the art, while simple, is very too the point without feeling crude. It's not stickfigure art. It's minimalistic!

Buy or don't buy? Buy it! Give the guy money! I love the idea.

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