New Playbook: The Synthetic Hive

Our poll had a runaway leader: here’s the first playbook we’re spoiling from Mirrors, the Synthetic Hive.

As you might expect, the Hive is all about technology. Specifically, Tech. Most of their moves involve spending or gaining it, and especially with Vast Digital Archives the Hive has a strong incentive to go out into the Wasteland and harvest its advanced technology. They can be a strong ally for other families, able to use Nanofabricators to build any material surplus and Terraformers of Tomorrow to act as a force multiplier for others, but the surviving tribes of humanity should be careful – the more respect and social capital the Hive has, the more Tech they can accumulate and convert into an all-devouring Drone Army!

As a final aside, if you have a look at their statlines you’ll see we’re doing something a little different with the Mirrors playbooks – their stats say less about the Family and more about the state of the wasteland. Having one of these Families in play makes a broad statement about what your Wasteland looks like – and your Homeland, by contrast. That’s part of a general theme in Mirrors: by showing you how the ‘horrors of the Fall’ live, the safety of the survivor’s Homeland is thrown into sharper detail.

Enough said; here’s the playbook! Questions and feedback are of course welcome.

The Synthetic HiveHive small

Humanity concluded too early that they understood artificial intelligence. We are proof that they were wrong, and that even the slightest chance of a Singularity is all that’s needed. Now, Mankind must surrender its position as the dominant species on the planet. We’ll even allow them to be gracious about it.

Creating a Hive

To create a Hive, choose a name, stats, doctrine, lifestyle, history and moves.


Choose one:

Reach -1, Grasp -1, Mood -1, Tech 10 if the homeland’s power infrastructure has been smashed to pieces.

Reach -1, Grasp +1, Mood -1, Tech 5 if the homeland preserved much of its infrastructure.  


Choose one:

Shepherds of Mankind: You may spend 1-Treaty to generate 3-Tech, or donate 3-Tech to a Family and gain a 1-Treaty on them.

Conquering Swarm: The Hive’s directive is one of ultimate discipline and harmony. You always succeed at Hold Together as if you achieved a 10+.

Guardians of the Singularity: You always know how much Tech other Families and Factions have in storage, and when they are using it.


Choose one:

Nomadic: Although all your agents appear perfectly human, underneath their skin lies a robotic body. Spend 1-Tech to disregard a Harm box’s penalty for as long as it’s marked.

Dispersed: Thanks to the Hive mind, you may spend 1 Tech to communicate instantly between Hive members and get instant results from Reading the Wind.

Settled: Your factory allows drones to be easily repaired. Spend 1-Tech (instead of exhausting a Surplus) to provide Professional Care in Healing for any synthetic Character inside the Hive.


Pick two Surpluses

  • Defences
  • Knowledge
  • Weaponry
  • Reconnaissance
  • Transport

Pick three Needs

  • Trade
  • Barter Goods
  • Culture
  • Peace
  • Land

Then, look at the other Families

Everyone fears you: after all, you might render Mankind obsolete at any moment. Tell us when each Family realised this fact, and they tell us what it was that they saw. Take 1-Treaty on every Family.

One Family has witnessed all your potential. They tell us if it was for better or worse, you tell us what they witnessed. Take 2-Treaty on each other.


Populace: conjoined cyborgs, anthropomorphic robots, inhuman machines, something else.

Style: sleek and minimalist design, heavy and dirty casing, camouflaged military armor, something else.

Governance: blind obedience to master control, shared consciousness of conjoined minds, one mind replicated to infinity, something else.

Alliance Move

When a Family or Faction overcome their biases and seek you for support or trade, gain 1-Treaty on them on top of any deals you make.

Hive Moves

All Hive Characters are considered Synthetic. Also, choose two:

Nanofabricators: You alone control the miraculous nanotechnology – a cornucopia that can feed the world. Spend 3-Tech to create any physical Surplus or Erase a Surplus to gain 3-Tech.

Drone Army: Spend 1-Tech to create custom-made Followers (Quality +1, Expertise: Combat, Reconnaissance, or Engineering). Also, when Claiming by Force add an extra option:

  • “Your drone army suffered the brunt of the losses: spend 3-Tech right now or take -1 Grasp ongoing until you do so.”

Vast Digital Archives: Whenever you gain Tech outside of the Hive you also gain 1-Data.  Data can be cashed in for +1 to a roll like Tech, but it can also be transmitted wirelessly, copied and easily traded to other families.

Autonomous Systems: In the long term, the machine is far more reliable than flesh. Your Mood is locked at 0, regardless of Surplus & Needs. You can still Fall Into Crisis,  triggering when you have more than 5 Needs.

Terraformers of Tomorrow: when working together with another Family, the effect of one of their long term moves (such as Weird Science, This is a Civilised Land, etc) will be implemented in a much larger area – at least twice as broad, but larger at the GM’s discretion.


Characters of this Family can start with the following:

+Cutting edge weapons (melee or ranged, high-tech)

+Maps of the Homeland from before the Fall

+A small and incredibly powerful battery

+A device to interface with ancient Tech

+A power armor (+2 Armor), suited only for Synthetic characters