The Reavers

There's a lot of fan based discussion on the Cortex boards for the Serenity RPG about reaver reproduction. Some of them are frankly bizarre, to the point that I wonder if these people are watching the same movie I am. Among them are ideas of the reavers launching missiles loaded with PAX chemical warheads to infect other worlds, filling their ships with PAX to cause boarding parties to convert to reavers or the Operative going on a suicide mission and allowing himself to be eaten to spread a lethal disease among the reavers.


Okay, for the record in my campaign, none of that happens. One issue is that the percentage of people converted by PAX into Reavers is so low, its not practical. The reavers do not have any stockpiles of PAX, for that matter, they may not know or care how it happened to them.

What about the guy in the "Bushwhacked" episode of Firefly who went insane after seeing the reavers butcher his crew? Well, that's just it; he went insane. He did not become a reaver, they didn't take him with them as a new recruit when they left. He just snapped and became reaver-like. Maybe they did it on purpose, but I doubt it.

Based on what they say in the movie, there were 30,000 or so reavers "created". Over the years, natural death and attrition from fighting amongst themselves and casualties from attacking outposts, etc has reduced that. The reavers took huge casualties at the Battle of Dante, but many escaped and not all of them even followed the Serenity there.

Eventually, all the reavers will die out of natural causes, if they don't get killed in combat sooner.

A couple of other things. First, where did the reaver fleet come from? My answer is that those massive ships are part of the colonial transport fleet that brought the colonists to Miranda. Thirty million people, remember? And their furniture, cows, chickens, building supplies, etc, etc, etc. When the PAX effect happened, many of those crews would have been planetside. Other ships arrived just after and fell into reaver hands. Still others are prizes captured by raiding parties and brought back to Miranda. One issue brought up in the last game (Dante Reconnaisance) is that the reavers seem to have a lot of pilots. Yes, I agree. But the transformation into reavers did not dull their intelligence, it just twisted its victims horribly. The vessels in the Serenity setting are not terribly complicated, so the smarter reavers must have learned to fly.

What do Reavers eat? They are not pure cannibals. If they were, Reaver raids would happen every damn day. My view is that the livestock that the colonists brought to Miranda has gone feral, so there are wild herds and flocks of things like chickens, sheep, beef cattle, horses, etc. Livestock for 30 million is a big breeding pool with only 30,000 survivors feeding on it. Reavers send out raiding parties for "amusement" and sport, not as their sole source of food.

Reavers rarely use regular weapons, their weapons are mostly improvised, intended to painfully immobilize or drug their victims. For the same reason, reavers ships are not heavily armed or may not be armed at all.