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In Moot Member Blogs Trying out new Firefly RPG with Chris Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #49 New May 7th, 2014 02:10 AM
Trying out new Firefly RPG with Chris

Bought the new Firefly RPG from Margaret Weis Productions after reading Aramis's favorable review; only $19.95 as a PDF from DriveThru.

I spent a bit of time yesterday and the day before reading the book on my laptop, and today decided that I was ready to give it a try. When Chris (ChaosBennett on CotI) got home this evening we decided to just have a quick off-the-cuff run to try out the mechanics. One positive effect of the single season of the Firefly TV show is that we fans know each of the 14 episodes pretty well; all I had to tell Chris by way of setup was that I had an idea for continuing the "War Stories" ep after the crew has rescued Mal from Niska (sorry if that was a spoiler for anyone ) and ask Chris which character he wanted to play, and we were ready to roll; sure saves time on trying to explain a complicated setting or plot to new players!

As expected, Chris chose Jayne Cobb (aka Gayne Maize), so we looked up Jayne's page in the rulebook and pointed out his strengths and weaknesses; again no real surprises for anyone familiar with the character. We recalled that he had Vera with him in that attack on Niska's station and discussed how this could give him an extra d8 to roll in certain situations, and also his other Distinctions, such as the "Thrillin' Heroics" allowing him to move first in combat and re-roll any 1s (a fairly big advantage, as rolls of 1 can generate complications or botches and generally be Bad).

I arranged for Zoe, Shepherd Book and Kaylee to remain with him while the rest of the crew took Mal back aboard Serenity; ordinarily that would have put Zoe in charge, but since she was an NPC and Jayne was being played by Chris, I let him make the decisions about what to do.

The first thing he chose was to return to Niska's office and search for any more hidden compartments such as the "wife's nephew" had been displayed in. They first found the two "prisoner compartments", both empty as the nephew has apparently been moved. Kaylee started feeling queasy at all the blood, so they closed off those two panels without searching too much for anything to loot.

After that I rolled Zoe's Mental d8 and Notice d10 (wasn't sure exactly what Skill was most appropriate) to have her suggest that maybe it had been a little too easy getting in here. Jayne (Chris) then wondered about whether the control pad they were using might be booby-trapped, and asked Kaylee to check it out. I rolled Kaylee's Mental d8 and Operate d10, plus an Asset toolkit for another d6, plus rolled against her Mental and had her request that Jayne use Vera's passive IR scope to look for areas of the desk or floor warmer than the rest (which allowed Chris to loan Kaylee a d8 for Vera's asset value). With all that, Kaylee had no problem figuring that one wire from the controller, plus a power wire, went to an area of floor right in front of the desk that would make a suitable place for an antipersonnel mine, assuming the desk was armored as they expected.

They very carefully left that button alone and checked out the remaining three buttons of the control panel. #1 opened another wall panel displaying a weapons rack w some shotguns and more of those SMGs that many of Niska's troops had. Drawers inside the same panel held ammo and pistols; Shepherd Book was very excited to find a high-tech stun pistol that was made to closely resemble an ordinary autopistol ("Now I can aim normally and not have to try to shoot them all in the legs to avoid killing!") while Jayne was much more excited to find a whole drawer filled with a variety of grenades ("Much better to have and not need 'em, rather than t'other way 'round!").

Button #2 opened a panel that seemed to lead into an escape corridor; they decided to wait and check that out last, when they'd have time to be careful of booby traps. Button #3 opened a panel revealing a complex computer system; at first they were at a loss as Kaylee poked a few buttons with no result, but then Chris decided that Jayne wouldn't sit still for that, but would try some buttons himself and then if it still didn't work would just smash it to bits. With only his own Mental d6 and Operate d4, he got incredibly lucky and beat the GM-rolled target number, opening up a holo-display of the whole complex. With this display to guide them, Zoe and Book figured out how to tap into rooms on the display and call up their contents from the directory.

They found a storage room nearby on the next level down with a bunch of Colonization kits (like those that had been found on the ship the Reavers trashed in the "Bushwhacked" ep, except that the inventory noted that these did not have any Alliance labels or markings). They checked for guards and rolled a 1 indicating a complication, so the computer told them there were only two guards, but really there were eleven (shift change or staff meeting or something). However, before going down to take this easy treasure, Chris had Jayne go back to the weapons cabinet and grab a select few grenades, including some flash-bangs "so we don't blow up all the loot!"

The flash-bang into the room got a lucky roll and put over half the guards out of commission initially, which was long enough for Chris to use Jayne's "Thrillin' Heroics" Distinction plus his signature asset Vera to "Take Out" (kill or disable) the remaining five. Shepherd Book then got into the scene with his shiny new stun pistol, stunning all of those still blinded by the flash-bang along with any wounded survivors of Jayne's first attack.

At this point we looked up Niska's stats from the main rulebook (major characters are listed along with the episode in which they appear) and rolled for him to be up to some sort of sneaky counter-attack, but apparently he was too shaken from the personal attack by Mal earlier, and was still in hiding.

Past the guard-room was a heavy steel door into the storage locker, for which I expected Chris to resort to explosives, but he still had it in mind to avoid risking damage to the goods, so asked Kaylee to try fritzing the lock. Kaylee again had her Mental d8, Operate d10, and toolkit d6, which allowed her to easily open the lock (and if you think Kaylee is good at stuff like this off the ship, keep in mind that whenever she is actually working on Serenity she gets an extra d8 as Serenity is Kaylee's signature asset !). Inside they found a Mule tractor to replace the one they had blown up while breaking into Niska's place during the TV episode, plus a trailer sufficient to carry the Colonization kits.

I decided to set a target number for them to beat to get it all loaded before more guards showed up. Against that, they rolled Jayne's Physical d10 and Labor d8, plus Zoe's Physical d10 for helping out (she is actually stronger than the Shepherd, who has only Physical d8!). They made their target easily, avoided patrols to get back up to Niska's office to load all the weapons and ammo into a spare crate from below, and scrammed back onto the ship with a nice profit to show for Niska's interference and torture of Mal and Wash (not that either of them was volunteering for a repeat!).

I found several areas in which I obviously need to study the rules more, especially in setting target numbers for them to beat in actions that aren't being opposed by any particular NPC. It seemed to me that the book mostly used 2d6 for those, but that seemed to generate some awfully easy target numbers.

Still, I think we both had a lot of fun with it, and are eager to try it again with more players. The mechanics make it very simple and easy to just keep the story flowing, asking "what next" and deciding on the fly what dice need to be rolled and what results flow from that.
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RSS Feed 1 Responses to "Trying out new Firefly RPG with Chris"
#1 May 7th, 2014 03:53 AM
aramis Says:
For when difficulties are needed but not generated by a major GMC... page 265
  • Difficulty die
  • Trait die representing the situation or location
  • Minor GMC or Extra die
  • Scale die
  • Complications that work against the player
Difficulties (p. 264):
  • Very Easy: d4
  • Easy: d6
  • Challenging: d8
  • Hard: d10
  • Really Hard: d12 (Examples use Very Hard)

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