Putting the Band Back Together

After subduing the Great Houses of Europa, Emperor Saddam Wulfenbach holds court in his Zepplin Palace. His latest joy is the automata ‘The Drummer’; and those who can provide a match for it stand to gain much.

Hopefuls have brought their musical creations to win his favour… but there is a problem; the Drummer is silent.

Genre/Influences: Girl Genius, Dune.

Advisories: Contains minor drug references. A fairly lighthearted/up-beat game.

Scenario summary

The Wulfenbach Empire:

The politics of the great houses of Europa are baroque and bloody, and their family trees are positively incestuous. Two decades ago House Wulfenbach destroyed House Atreides in a surprise attack using a massive army of clanks. Since then his armies have crushed rival houses, forcing them to submit to Wulfenbach rule, and an oppressive peace now lies over all Europa.

As Emperor of all Europa, Wufenbach holds court from his Zepplin Palace, and the Houses which once resisted him vie against each other for his favour, and for the ear of the emperor’s Bene-Gesserit advisors.


The voice of rebellion is heard only in whispers and in acts of furtive defiance; amongst these is the anonymous automata performance artist known only as ‘Clanksy’.

Automata with his signature on them have appeared across Europa over the last few years, drawing seditious murals, writing political slogans, playing defiant anthems, or performing mocking acts of interpretive dance to undermine the Wulfenbach establishment.


The great houses of Europa are prone to producing ‘sparks’; people who have sporadic fits of mad genius. It isn’t known why this happens, but sparks have been becoming more common, and stronger in recent generations.


To help keep the other great houses in line, Emperor Wulfenbach has a policy of ‘hosting’ promising youths of the great houses to say on the Imperial Palace Zepplin for training. While these youths do indeed receive schooling in the sciences and statecraft, it is little secret that they also act as hostages against the good behaviour of their respective houses.

Automata or ‘Clanks’:

Sparks have produced automata of various capabilities, normally designed to perform quite specific tasks. A few skilful clanks, such as Wolfenbach’s troops can take spoken orders. In a few very rare cases automata have been created which can speak simple sentences.

The Drummer:

This brightly coloured four-armed automata is capable of playing many percussion instruments simultaneously, creating dazzlingly complex interweaving rhythms from a broad and constantly growing repertoire.

The current situation:

The Emperor owns a particularly fine automata drummer, but now he wishes a full automata band to play for him. He let it be known that those who could provide a match for his drummer would be granted a boon.

Many applied, and competition was fierce, but the competition is now over, and your three automata have finally been selected. Luncheon is over, and in 15 minutes time your creations will give a performance for the Emperor; it will also be broadcast to the peoples of Europa as a demonstration of the Emperor’s culture and generosity.

However in the final tuning up you have discovered a terrible problem. The drummer is broken. Can you save the day? The show must go on, or none of you will gain the boons you have worked so hard to achieve.

Character summary:

NB: The letters in parentheses above indicate the perceived gender of each character in this game. (N) Indicates the player may choose the character's perceived gender.

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