This is part of a series of posts on Revisiting Firefly.
I want stories that are dramatic, thrilling, edgy and epic. I want high-flying exploits and dashing rescues (or thefts). I want to meet different crews of spacers in the Verse. I want stories that are new…
…and not just “shiny”.
When you’re making a property based on someone else’s story, there’s always a question: will you be re-telling the old stories, or start making your own? I think that’s the real potential about the RPG: hearing new stories about other crews making their way in a changing Verse.
Here’s some possible guidelines for your upcoming Firefly RPG game:
1. Don’t quote the source material. (If you must, do it sparingly – once per episode – when there’s a really fitting parallel. House rule: the GM can reward this, but only once per episode for the whole group.)
2. Use the old slang sparingly. (And start adding your own. House rule: once per episode, when you reuse someone else’s new slang, you both get a Plot Token.)
3. Your crew is not the Serenity’s crew.
The latter part is worth expanding on. The Serenity crew has its own story archetypes: the rich stranger, the preacher without a past, the embittered captain, the perky engineer, all trying to string together jobs to stay afloat.
Do something new! Find some different character arcs, and different hooks for your crew as a whole. Here’s some suggestions.
What brought your character here?
- an Alliance soldier, newly on leave
- a local sheriff, having retired her badge in frustration
- a teen pilot, called to fly things thing by her ailing mother
- a mother with four children, letting them run on the ship because they’re not welcome on her homeworld
- a banker with a gambling problem, seeking the next big investment on the Rim worlds
- an ailing gentleman of noble birth, with dreams of becoming a gunfighter like in the holo vids
What is the crew’s mission?
- hauling salvage as per Alliance coordinates, and stumbling upon a conspiracy
- transporting political refugees to the outer worlds
- bounty hunting on the Rim, plain and simple
- healing the sick in struggling Rim communities, while responding to your rich Core patrons
- charting the dangerous spaces beyond the Rim
What relationship is at the heart of this crew?
- a loving family
- a dysfunctional family
- a crime family
- a struggling and indebted business
- a long list of vendettas
- a raucous campaign to be voted Captain
- a zealous dream of finding the lost colony world, Miranda
Example of Implementation: Crew Distinctions
(Again using a hacked version of Cortex as a basis, here with a bit of Marvel Heroic as the influence.)
Write down the crew’s mission and the core relationship as distinctions. These can be rolled into your die roll for social tasks within the crew itself, either as an additional d8, or by taking a d4 and earning a Plot Point.
After a successful social task against a crew member, a player can spend a Plot Point to create a new distinction for the crew’s relationship, presenting another option to the players. (This is only worth d6 until a second player spends a Plot Point to make it work like a normal Distinction.) These never go away.
If the Crew’s mission changes or expands between episodes, the GM can alter that mission or add distinctions.
P.S. A bit more music
They say the folk who love on the Rim really know how to party, without the shine and chrome of the great Cities to distract them. The fiddlers here have kicked up a storm, and folks are celebrating the new shipment you brought in. You’re not getting market rate for this one, but it’ll have to do.