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Taking Firefly Out For A Spin

Last night we tried out the new a Firefly RPG. It uses a variation of the rules used by Marvel Heroic, Leverage, and others. It actually bears a very strong resemblance to Fate with its focus on narrative and dependence on Assets and Complications. 

I had the full complement of seven players, whom had made their PC's in relative isolation, making for a mismatched group.  Just the thing for the genre. We had the gunslinging smuggler, a burly engineer, an unemployed government bureaucrat, a brawling con artist, a brash pilot, a sullen samurai, and a secretive Alliance spy.  The group was missing a scientist/medic, which meant they were more dependent on NPC's than usual which was fine by me. 

The adventure began with the group deciding to form a loose business consortium and purchase a ship. After borrowing the money from a loan shark, they buy a ship from a dealer of used spacecraft (the discussion of which one to buy did a lot to firm up personalities). 

But the ship they bought held a hidden secret: a dead body with mysterious cybernetic modifications. Now mysterious forces are on the trail of the dead body, and they appear willing to do whatever it takes to get it. 

The group is pretty familiar with the core rules and the source material, so it was easy to get settled in. One noteworthy thing about the game is that most RPG's tend to drop into "bullet time " in combat; every shot, stab, or punch gets its own die roll resolution. In Firefly, an entire combat, even with multiple assailants, is resolved in a single roll. That kept the action moving very, very quickly. There's also little repeat activity. By that I mean you don't have different people attempting the same task over and over again. Everyone participating just contributes their dice to the pool. Doing so means that they share in any Complications from failures, however. 

Speaking of which, Complications come up a lot. Complications are negative conditional modifiers and PC's get them every time they roll a 1 on any of the dice in their pool. That means that, if you're rolling five dice to try to do something you're likely to get a Complication even if you succeed in your action. As a result the group seemed to be dogged with bad luck, hard knocks, and plot twists. Villains often escaped and the PC's spent a lot of time running away. For Firefly that seems to fit.  

Various complications that were inflected upon the PC's included
"Weirded out by the body"
"Person of interest"
"Screaming bystander"
"Jammed up traffic"
"Long held grudge"
"Lacerated arm"
And "May have left an online footprint"

And that wasn't all of them...

Overall the response was good, even though I'm sure I made mistakes in the rules. I've already had some inquiries from other people wanting to play, so maybe I'll have a second group after all. 


  1. This sounds promising - please keep posting about it. I'd especially like to see your thoughts on a campaign of this vs. your Marvel campaign using similar rules.


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