By Colin

Enrique Malespero was once a powerful and very skilled Engineer. His specialty was creating lifelike animated dolls.


Poe inspired me for this one.

I originally envisioned this as a very gothic, dark story. Malespero is despicable, and yet can be played with enough depth to elicit pity from the characters. He is a tortured soul who only wants respite.

The secluded, gloomy location of the manor, the surreal scenes of Malespero's animated but lifeless creations, and flashbacks to the wedding and murder can all be used for good effect.

On the other hand, if you want to use No Longer Under Warranty, the tone for at least the first half of the adventure can be very, very light. Fredrik is a comic explosion waiting to happen.


Enrique Malespero was once a powerful and very skilled Engineer. His specialty was creating lifelike animated dolls. Many years ago, these dolls became something of a fad with the nobility. Nobles from far and wide across the Known Worlds came to buy them.

Malekins, as the dolls were called, made their creator a very rich man. But with his wealth, Enrique became a small man: mean, ambitious and cruel.

More than one noble family that had fallen on hard times saw the opportunity to quench Enrique's ambition with a title, and regain their fortunes in the process. So, Enrique Malespero was married to a very beautiful, young noblewoman named Carmen Justinian.

Despite everyone's belief that his new wife would be a pushover, allowing Enrique to treat her as a puppet, Carmen was a strong-willed Justinian. She thwarted Enrique at every turn. A heated argument between them turned violent, and Enrique murdered his young wife. But as she lay dying, she cursed Enrique and those in her family who had so misused her.

"You, murderous husband", she'd cursed, "having taken my life, shall find a loss of breath, for which there is no cure save the restoration of my heart's treasure."

Enrique fell ill. Some weeks later, he had a spell in which his breathing grew more and more labored. He passed out. When he awoke, he knew something was amiss. His skin was so terribly cold... It wasn't until the next day that he realized that he was no longer breathing.

Enrique finally came to the conclusion that he had died, and yet, somehow he still lived. It was the curse of his young wife.

Frantic, Enrique sought to remove the curse. He called on churhmen, Engineers, and philosophers. He spent his fortune. His agents scoured the planet and Carmen's homeworld. But all for naught. Nothing could help find what his wife had called her "heart's treasure".

Enrique fired all of the household staff. He retreated to a manor on a craggy hillside deep in the woods. He stopped making Malekins. He refused to speak to anyone except his faithful servant Thorexus. Enrique all but vanished.

More than four decades later, he was a half-crazed hermit, and had become the subject of local legend.


Needs more work...I imagine that the "heart's treasure" is of an occult nature, and/or can only be located via occult powers.

Many of the Malekins that the batty zombie-hermit has created over the last fourty years reflect their creator's psyche; they are efficient and relentless killers who patrol the manor.

More questions...Malespero isn't a garden-variety Zombie. What is he? A different flavor of Zombie? Possessed by a demon?

Story Seeds

No Longer Under Warranty

Van Gelder has had a Malekin for two generations. "Fredrik" has been a favorite childhood toy of the family, enjoying much abuse and affection as two generations of Van Gelder nobles have grown up.

The Malekin stopped working some time ago, and now that the wife of Karl Van Gelder, Baron of Turiana, is expectant, the Malekin must be revived.

The characters are to deliver the Malekin to its creator for repair, and return it to the nursery at Castle Voranis before a fortnight has passed.

The very first problem is that the Malekin is malfunctioning, but is not inoperable. Quite the contrary, the little animated nightmare is a veritable one-toy wrecking crew. It curses uncontrollably, bites anyone who gets near it, runs like the wind, has a perverted streak a mile wide, and has the nasty habit of destroying furniture.

Possible complications include:

Deadly Amusements

There have been a rash of assassinations of nobles and/or high-ranking League members by Malekins. The unsuspecting victims are deceived into believing that the toys are harmless amusements, but then the Malekins turn murderous.

The characters are sent to locate and destroy the assassins, and to check the flow of deadly toys from Malespero's workshop.

Possible complications include:

  • One or more of the characters have goals that run somewhat contrary; they are to save some of the tech, or save Malespero himself, etc.
  • Finding Malespero's manor without getting eaten by local flora and fauna.
  • Much more warlike Malekins.
  • Whomever or whatever is behind the assassinations.