Firefly: Rubicon

This past session of our Firefly RPG campaign, I finally got to use the job creation tables published in the Things Don’t Go Smooth supplement. They worked beautifully in setting up the situation, and gave me several ideas for the game that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Seriously, the whole Things Don’t Go Smooth book is golden, but that job creation section is worth the price all on its own. You should buy it.

The job tables showed some family entanglements, so I brought in Price’s Triad family to hire the crew for the job, which turned out to be picking up and delivering a person. The hitch in the job led me to decide that the person was Mitchell Stuart, who caused such fun the last time he showed up. And the locations I rolled – Planet in the White Sun System and Underwater – led me to flesh out some details about one of the planets that had no exposure in the show or the sourcebooks.

So, Rubicon became a vacation site ((The advertising slogan was “Rubicon. There’s no going back.”)). Most of the planet was covered by water, with tall spires of rock and coral that poked up out of the sea. These places were crafted into dramatic hotels and estates, catering to wealthy visitors, with a few of the larger spots made into resorts for the less-affluent to visit. Because surface space was at a premium, most of the staff who live on planet lived in underwater habitats, connected to their above-water place of work. These underwater arcologies had originally been designed as friendly, welcoming spaces, but as time went on, less and less was spent on maintenance, so they looked like malls that had sunk into the sea, with tiny leaks, water stains, rust and algae everywhere. Narrow corridors ran from the larger communal areas to residential suites; these looked like they belonged in a U-Boat. I thought this gave a nice contrast between the haves and the have-nots of Rubicon.

I also generated the antagonist for the scenario: an ex-soldier bounty hunter and her crew. I buffed this antagonist – Ada Wilson – up a fair bit, because I find that the system lets the PCs really pull some astonishing stuff off with good description and working the plot point mechanics. To make sure the enemy was a real threat, I needed to make her a real threat.

Here’s how the disparate bits of the scenario came together in my notes:

The crew is paid to pick up a person on Rubicon and deliver to Albion. That person is Mitchell Stuart, now fallen from fame, and needing asylum after his involvement in events on Deadwood came out. He has info on a branch of Niska’s cartel that the Jiang Triad would like, and he has agreed to share it with them in return for safety from Niska and enough money to start a new life in luxury and secrecy. The Jiang Triad has, of course, tapped Price’s crew to make the pick-up and delivery, partly to see if their reliability has been as compromised as rumours ((After the issue with the indentured workers.)) have indicated.

The Triad intends to test the crew in the most direct way possible – by feeding information on Stuart’s whereabouts to a bounty hunter working for Niska, and seeing how the crew handles it.

We were all a little scattered and unfocused for this session, which led to a kind of distracted play. Still, we had some fun. Price got tasked with the job, and persuaded the rest of the crew to go along with it. Now, it’s important to note that Price was not told that the person he was picking up was Mitchell Stuart. That was mainly for my own amusement.

It was a short trip from Albion to Rubicon, and the gang was somewhat interested in the description of the planet. They decided to send Price and Walter down to pick up the passenger, while Domino and Jin stayed with Peregrine ((Now that Domino owns Peregrine, they’re even more paranoid about someone messing with her.)). I got the incredible pleasure of watching everyone’s face when the door down in the underwater residences opened to reveal a haggard Mitchell Stuart to the crew ((That alone was worth everything. Everything.)).

Of course, that’s when things had to start going wrong. There were a couple of thugs lurking in the corridor, but our heroes made short work of them, even scavenging a grenade from them. This almost came in useful, when Price tried to use the grenade to force Ada Wilson and her squad to let them into the tube train back to the surface. Unfortunately, Price rolled a lot of 1s on his intimidate check, and I decided that meant Ada had her tech specialist just defuse the grenade remotely. This, of course, led to some shooting, and eventually a big explosion, but the gang managed to get Mitchell up to Peregrine and break atmo.

On the transit back to Albion, Peregrine was caught by Jasmine Angel, Wilson’s ship. There was a bit of a stand-off, as Jasmine Angel used an EMP device to shut down Peregrine’s systems. But thanks to some fast-talking, clever shuttle use, and Su Jin’s impressive repair skill, the crew managed to blow out Jasmine Angel‘s airlock with a breaching charge, fix their own systems, and escape.

Back on Albion, I had one last obstacle for them: a sniper in the docks, with a high-powered rifle trained on the ship ((“How did they know we were coming?” “Yeah, weird, right? It’s almost like someone told them.” “Stupid Triads.”)). This almost took Mitchell out as they were escorting him to the delivery point, and it kept them pinned down in the dock away from the ship for a while. Then, though some clever trickery ((That I don’t properly remember right now.)), they filled the area with obscuring smoke or steam, and made a break for it.

And so, Mitchell Stuart was delivered safe and sound to the loving ((Kinda.)) arms of the Jiang Triad. Price scored some points with his family, and everyone else got a nice pay day.

We’ve got two or three more sessions in this game, then the campaign wraps up. Because it’s been a very episodic kind of game, I’m not aiming for a big, tie-up-all-the-loose-ends finish, but I am seeing a lot of opportunities for callbacks to the early adventures, and I’m going to be bringing some of those in.

Stay tuned. We’ve got some fun left to come.

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