Kicking Butt, Saving Christmas

All set up, waiting for the players.

All set up, waiting for the players.

Yesterday was Winnipeg Harvest Game Day at Imagine Games and Hobbies, here in Winnipeg. It’s the time of year that the good folks at Imagine host a bunch of games and contests, lay out a bunch of nice holiday treats, and ask people to donate to Winnipeg Harvest. As I have the past several years, I put together a Christmas-themed RPG one-shot to run.

This year, I chose Feng Shui 2, from Atlas Games. I chose FS2 because it’s fast, easy to teach, and can be run in a goofy, light-hearted style that suits these kinds of games1. This was my first chance to try creating an adventure in FS2, so it took me a little longer than I had expected, and I found a couple of problems with it in play that I manage to correct on the fly.

But I got the adventure created, and here’s the pitch I used:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but not everyone is happy. Someone hates Christmas, hates happiness, hates Santa! And this year, when Santa’s workshop (and powerful Feng Shui site) is attacked, only Hong Kong’s premiere team of hard-luck heroes – the Dragons – has a chance of kicking butt and getting Santa back on schedule!

Silent night, chi warrior? Not likely!

Now, I tied the adventure into the cosmology and backstory of the Chi Wars, but it’s pretty loose. That’s mainly because I didn’t think there’d be anyone there who would care too much about how this adventure fit in, and I was right about that. Still, there’s a rationale for what’s going on, and some touches in the description that can clue players familiar with the FS2 universe that this is taking place in the middle of the Chi Wars.

I had three players2, only one of which was at all familiar with the game. I’ve gotten a lot better at teaching the basics of the game quickly, and had them pick archetypes, name them, add the melodramatic hook, and give them a run-down of the basic mechanics in less than 15 minutes. And then we got going.

Butts are being kicked.

Butts are being kicked.

Play ran a little longer than I had planned – three-and-a-half hours instead of three – but not too bad. Everyone had fun, and Santa was saved, so yay!

Thanks to Sandy, Chris, and Maya for coming to Santa’s rescue.

The donation bin was pretty full when I left the store, but I don’t know the final total going to Winnipeg Harvest. Still, we did not too badly3. So, that’s good, too.

And, with the kind permission of Atlas Games, I am giving a gift to all the Feng Shui 2 fans out there: here’s the adventure I ran, Blood on the Snow. Use it wisely, Chi Warriors!

  1. In the past, I have run Gamma World, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, and Firefly. []
  2. Almost had zero – only one person signed up, but he canceled. But I had one person show that hadn’t signed up, and another who was in the store and decided to play, and a friend I texted when I saw the sorry state of the sign-up sheet came down to join us. []
  3. This is pretty high praise in Canada, just so you know. []

Winnipeg Harvest Game Day 2015

 

winnipeg-harvest-2015

Once again, we’re coming up on Imagine Games & Hobbies’ Winnipeg Harvest Game Day. It’s next Saturday, December 12, at the Imagine Games store at 246 McDermot in the Exchange in Winnipeg. There are games running all day, including a number of tournaments, and the good folks at the store always have a lavish spread of Christmas goodies for everyone.

If you want in on the gaming, you just have to bring a donation for Winnipeg Harvest. Food items and money are gratefully accepted. Any donation lets you get in on all  the games, and you get a Cheat Coupon for every $5.00 worth of donation you give. These coupons can be used during the games to sway the odds in your favour.

As I have the past few years, I will be running a Christmas-themed RPG one-shot at 1:00. Here’s the pitch for the game:

FS2

Blood on the Snow

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but not everyone is happy. Someone hates Christmas, hates happiness, hates Santa! And this year, when Santa’s workshop (and powerful Feng Shui site) is attacked, only Hong Kong’s premiere team of hard-luck heroes – the Dragons – has a chance of kicking butt and getting Santa back on schedule!

Silent night, chi warrior? Not likely!

This is a Feng Shui 2 scenario, capturing the craziness of Hong Kong action movies of the 90s. It’s fast, easy, and lots of stuff blows up. I’ll have everything you need to play, and I’ll also be teaching the game, so no previous experience is required. There’s even a prize for one lucky action hero!

Player slots are limited to 10, though. I don’t expect them all to fill up, but if you want to guarantee yourself a seat at the table, sign up at Imagine in advance – they’ve got a sign-up sheet at the counter. If you can’t make it down yourself before Saturday, if you give them a call at 204-452-8711, they’ll be happy to put you on the list.

So, come kick butt, blow things up and save the world! Also, help out a very worthy charity here in the city.

‘Tis the season, as the man says.

International TableTop Day 2015

This Saturday, April 11, is International TableTop Day!

I’m going to be at Imagine Games and Hobbies all day, from when they open at 11:00 AM until they kick me out at the end of the day. I’ll have a large dufflebag full of board and card games, and a smaller backpack with a few RPGs, and I’ll be demoing, playing, teaching, and talking about the games for anyone who’s interested1. There’s always a pretty good crowd at these game days at Imagine, and there will be others there with games that aren’t mine2, doing the same kinda thing I am. So, if you’re interested in games, I urge you to come on down and play a few.

I just finished packing my bags, so here’s a list of what I’m bringing:

  • Castle Ravenloft
  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse
  • King of Tokyo
  • Tsuro of the Seas
  • Tokaido
  • Dixit
  • Mysterium (Tajemnicze Domostwo)
  • Sheriff of Nottingham
  • Stone Age
  • Forbidden Island
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Infiltration
  • The Resistance
  • Race to Adventure
  • Elder Sign
  • Escape from the Aliens in Outer space
  • Mad Scientist University
  • Cthulhu Dice
  • Love Letter
  • Star Fluxx
  • Skippy’s Revenge
  • Berserker Halflings
  • D&D Starter Set
  • Fiasco
  • Monster of the Week
  • Dungeon World
  • Atomic Robo Roleplaying Game

 

  1. To be fair, I’ll probably talk to people who aren’t interested, too, because I’m kinda pushy. []
  2. A very strange concept to me. []

Winnipeg Harvest Game Day 2014

As they’ve done for the past many years, Imagine Games & Hobbies is holding a charity game day to gather donations for Winnipeg Harvest this Saturday, December 6. And, as I’ve done for the past few years, I will be running a Christmas-themed RPG session.

There are events all day long at the store, but my session will be starting at 1:00, and will run about four hours. Price for admission to anything and everything is a non-perishable food item dropped in the bin. For every $5.00 of food you donate, you also get a cheat token, which you can use during play1 to skew things in your favour. That’s important, because there are prizes for most of the events. And they’re tasty prizes.

There will also be snacks.

And my game? It’s a Firefly RPG scenario, like last year. The good people at MWP have once again provided some support for the event: everyone who plays in the Firefly game will get a code phrase that they can e-mail to MWP to get a code for one of two .pdf books: Thrillin’ Heroics or Things Don’t Go Smooth2.

What’s the scenario this year? Glad you asked!

Firefly RPG – The Feast of Stephen

Some jobs are hard. Some are dirty. And some don’t let you sleep much at night.

This job ain’t nothin’ like that.

Seems there’s a bunch of old ships that hitched themselves into a kinda skyplex up in the orbit of Tyrins. Fancy folk on that moon don’t like it there – it’s full of refugees from failed colonies on the Rim – and they’re in the courts tryin’ to get it towed away somewhere.

Meantime, you got a call from the Tyrin chief of police. He and his men are feelin’ charitable, and want to pay you to take a care package up to the ‘plex. Food, clothes, toys for the little ones, stuff like that. It bein’ a festive time of year, and things lookin’ bleak, they want to do somethin’ nice for them poor folks.

Of course, it’s gotta be by the hush. They got their jobs to think about. That’s where you come in. Flesh, wine, and pine logs, you’re bein’ paid to bear them thither.

What could go wrong?

There’s a sign-up sheet at Imagine that lets you reserve a spot in the game. It also lets you reserve your favourite Serenity crewmember. The earlier you sign up, the more choice you have.

C’mon down and play with me, and help support Winnipeg Harvest!

  1. Whatever you play. []
  2. Both of these are great books. You want them. []

C4 2014

This coming weekend is Central Canada Comic Con 1 here in Winnipeg. As is my habit, I will be trundling a couple of huge bags of boardgames, card games, and RPGs2 down to the convention centre and spending the weekend teaching, demoing, loaning, and playing games with people for my good friends at Imagine Games and Hobbies.

Normally, I’m a little more on top of things for C4, but I’m just catching my breath after a bit of a marathon run at work, so I don’t have all the particulars. I know that we’re in a different spot than previous years, and I think it’s on the main level, and I’ve been told that we have four tables near the JimCon folks. Other than that, I’m going to have to search.

I don’t even have a final list of the games I’m bringing to show you. That said, there are some particular ones that I’m guaranteed to have there:

So, I’ll have those 19 games at the con for sure. I’ll probably have a few more. I’m trying not to duplicate the list of games JimCon has posted that they’re bringing, and I’m debating whether I should bring the D&D Starter Set. If you’re planning on coming by C4 to game, and there’s a game you’re particularly keen to try, give me a shout in the comments, and I’ll see if I can’t oblige.

Either way, come play some games with me.

  1. Affectionately referred to as C4. []
  2. Though I have yet to demo an RPG at C4. Came close a couple of times. []
  3. Yes, I got an early release copy at GenCon. []
  4. With both expansions. []
  5. With tons of playbooks. []
  6. With all the expansions and several promo cards. []
  7. With expansions. Also, I think Perry is running a game of this on Saturday. []
  8. With all the expansions. []

International Tabletop Day 2014 is Coming!

This coming Saturday, April 5, is the second International Tabletop Day. It’s a day to get together with others and play more games, sharing the love of our hobby, having fun, and hopefully roping in a few new converts1. I’m a huge fan of Tabletop Day, and am celebrating this year much as I did last year.

That means I’m going to be bringing as many games as I can haul2 down to Imagine Games and Hobbies, and will be there from opening until they kick me out. During that time, I’ll be setting people up to play games, teaching games to people, demoing games for people, and playing games with people.

How do you get in on the gaming? Simple. Come down to the store and find a game you want to play. If you know how to play and you’ve got a group to play it with, just grab the game and an open table and go to town.

If you need to learn a game3, I can teach you to play, either getting you started or playing it with you, whichever works better given group size and demands on my time.

If you need a group to play it with, I can help put that together.

And if you just want to learn about the games, just ask me what you want to know. I love talking about games.

What kinds of games will be there? Well, I can only speak for myself, but I’ll be bringing a selection from the following list. Some have appeared on Tabletop, some haven’t, but all are cool games. If you see something on the list that you want to guarantee is there, drop me a note in the comments. If you want to book a specific game for a specific time, let me know in the comments, and I’ll see what I can do.

So, come on down to International Tabletop Day at Imagine! Play more games!

Rick’s Master Game List

  • Anima Card Game
  • Arkham Horror
  • Beowulf the Legend
  • Berserker Halflings (B-Movie cards)
  • Betrayal at the House on the Hill
  • Carcassonne
  • Cards Against Humanity
  • Castle Ravenloft
  • Conquest of Nerath
  • Cthulhu Dice
  • Credo
  • Deluxe Illuminati
  • Discworld: Ankh-Morpork
  • Dixit
  • Dominion
  • Dungeon World
  • Elder Sign
  • Eldritch Horror
  • Escape From the Aliens in Outer Space
  • Fiasco
  • Firefly boardgame
  • Forbidden Desert
  • Forbidden Island
  • Fortune and Glory
  • Fury of Dracula
  • The Hills Rise Wild
  • Infiltration
  • King of Tokyo
  • The Legend of Drizzt
  • Letters From Whitechapel
  • Lords of Waterdeep
  • Machine of Death
  • Mansions of Madness
  • Monty Python Fluxx
  • Pandemic
  • Race to Adventure
  • The Resistance
  • Risk Legacy
  • Runebound
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse
  • Shadows over Camelot
  • Skippy’s Revenge (B-Movie cards)
  • Star Fluxx
  • The Stars are Right
  • Talisman
  • tremulus
  • Tsuro
  • Tsuro of the Seas
  • War of the Ring
  • Wrath of Ashardalon
  • X-Wing
  • Zombie Dice

 

  1. In a good, non-cultish way. []
  2. And I can haul a lot of games, thanks to some awesome luggage. []
  3. And it’s one of my games – no promises for other games. []

Followin’ Yonder Star

 

Imagine Games and Hobbies, all ready for Winnipeg Harvest Game Day.

Imagine Games and Hobbies, all ready for Winnipeg Harvest Game Day.

Yesterday was the Winnipeg Harvest Game Day at Imagine Games and Hobbies, here in Winnipeg. It’s an annual day when the store hosts a number of games, collecting donations for Winnipeg Harvest. As has been my tradition for the past few years, I was down there all day, running a game. This year, it was a Firefly RPG adventure.

Lots of other stuff going on, too:

A Wings of War game, with airships and - I believe - Snoopy.

A Wings of War game, with airships and – I believe – Snoopy.

An asteroid field for X-Wing. The game involved some chocolate spacecraft.

An asteroid field for X-Wing. The game involved some chocolate spacecraft.

A table of boardgames for people to pick up and play.

A table of boardgames for people to pick up and play.

Snacks! You need to have snacks if you're going to be playing all day. Thanks to Wendy for keeping us all fed!

Snacks! You need to have snacks if you’re going to be playing all day. Thanks to Wendy for keeping us all fed!

And here's my post - all ready and waiting for my players to arrive.

And here’s my post – all ready and waiting for my players to arrive.

So, I had a sign-up sheet at the store for about a week, letting people sign up and reserve their favourite Serenity crew member to play. I was slightly concerned, because there were only three people signed up on Friday. But by the time I got in to the store around 11:30 on Saturday, we had seven people signed up – only Simon Tam and Inara Sera weren’t claimed.

Game time rolled around1, and we jumped in with a quick briefing on how the rules worked. It took only about fifteen or twenty minutes to give folks a rundown of the system – enough so that they understood the basics of building dice pools and spending and earning plot points.

There’s a twist to these games – Cheat Tokens. To encourage donations, for every dollar worth of food2, a player gets a Cheat Token. These can be used in the game for special advantages. For Firefly, I decided that the Cheat Tokens could be used to re-roll any die, even a jinx.

One final twist is the prize. Wendy3 always goes above and beyond, creating amazing edible prizes for each game. But because there’s a prize, there must be a winner, and that’s always challenging in an RPG. I fell back on the technique I used in previous such sessions: I divided the game into three acts and, after each act, the players voted4 on who had done the coolest stuff that act. At the end of the game, whoever had the most jingle bells was the winner5.

This is the prize made by Wendy for the Firefly game. It's made of fondant, and is edible.

This is the prize made by Wendy for the Firefly game. It’s made of fondant, and is edible.

And here's our crew, ready to misbehave.

And here’s our crew, ready to misbehave.

And so we started the adventure.

The adventure was pretty simple: the owners of three moderate-sized corporations hired Serenity to ferry them in secrecy from Bellerophon to St. Alban’s. They had heard that someone on St. Alban’s had managed to create a satellite power broadcast system that could revolutionize life outside of the Core Worlds. These three businesspeople wanted to form a joint corporation to help the creator bring his prototype into production. Of course, Blue Sun had also heard about this development, and were just a step behind our heroes.

I had three pages of rough notes for this adventure – one of the great things about Cortex Plus, especially its Action iteration6, is that a lot of the interesting stuff comes out of complications in play. It’s a simple system to improvise in7, so I just needed a rough outline of events and a few notes about the kinds of things that could go wrong.

It helped that MWP has released a number of adventures in the Echoes of War line, full of eminently lootable NPCs, scenes, roll examples, and other resources. I had them all in a big binder at the table, so I could look up useful bits on the fly.

Some highlights from the game:

  • Zoe blowing up the batteries at the engineer’s cabin to distract the Blue Sun forces. The cabin burned down.
  • Wash plotting a fast course to St. Alban’s to beat the Blue Sun pursuit8.
  • Kaylee and River working together to hide their passengers from a search of the ship.
  • Jayne shooting the Blue Sun thug who was holding a gun to the engineer’s head, thus ending the hostage situation.
  • Mal leading everyone in a complex, sneaky plan to distract the Blue Sun salvage ship while Jayne and Zoe stole the functioning power satellite right out from under their noses, and Kaylee shut it down before it fried everyone.

We all had a great time, and, at the end of the game, each player had three jingle bells. Yup. Six-way tie. They’d been spreading the votes around pretty evenly. So, I tossed a d6, and Karen won.

At which point, Nathan threw down his last Cheat Token, and said, “Reroll that!” There was some grumbling, but in general, everyone was good about it – we had decided that Cheat Tokens were good for rerolls, after all. I tossed the d6 a second time and the prize went to Sarah9.

Here's the crew, with Sarah proudly holding her prize.

Here’s the crew, with Sarah proudly holding her prize. Nathan is eyeing her rather jealously.

All in all, a fun day.

Thanks to the folks who came out to play Firefly with me:

  • Steven as Mal
  • Karen as Zoe
  • David as Wash
  • Nathan as Jayne
  • Sarah as Kaylee
  • Kelsie as River

Thanks also to Wendy, Pedro, Perry, Matt, and Mike10 at Imagine for organizing, running, and provisioning this awesome day.

And thanks to the good folks at Margaret Weis Productions, especially Christi Cardenas, who eagerly jumped in with some great support for those who participated in the game. This is just one more reason I love MWP – they’re great people, who also make great games.

I haven’t got a total of what was raised this year, but the box of donations was pretty full when I left. Thanks to all the gamers, whether they played my game or not, who brought a little something to help make sure that everyone has a better holiday season this year.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

  1. We actually got a bit of a late start – two players called and said they’d had car trouble but would be at the store soon. One other player just didn’t show, so no Shepherd Book. []
  2. Or money. []
  3. Owner and manager of the store. []
  4. By giving their choice a jingle bell. []
  5. Seems simple, but just wait for it. []
  6. That’s Leverage and Firefly, so far. []
  7. After a little practice, of course. []
  8. It didn’t work, but it was a damn good try. []
  9. Fortunately, not to Nathan. I think that might have resulted in a riot. []
  10. Technically Kelsie, too, but I’ve already thanked her, and she doesn’t get two thank-yous. Nor does she get a mind-controlled army of mutant orphans like she did last year. []

Winnipeg Harvest Game Day

Once again, Imagine Games and Hobbies here in Winnipeg is hosting a game day to collect donations for Winnipeg Harvest. I will be running a Firefly RPG game this year:

Followin’ Yonder Star…

The job pays well, and it ain’t too hard. All you gotta do is ferry some high-falutin’ business types from Bellerophon to St. Alban’s and help them find some he li ji qun1 there. ‘Course, ya gotta baochi anjing2, ’cause of some kinda business reasons, but that ain’t so hard.

This one’s sure to go smooth3.

Game Day is this coming Saturday, December 14. The Firefly RPG game starts at 1:00, and will run about four hours. Entry fee is a non-perishable food item donated to Winnipeg Harvest. Extra food items donated will get you Cheat Tokens that you can use in the game to sway things in your favour.

You can sign up at the store to reserve your favourite crew member to play. Also, everyone who plays will receive instructions on how to get a free download .pdf from the Echoes of War adventure line, courtesy of the fine folks at Margaret Weis Productions.

So, come on down and play with me this Saturday. Not only will it be fun4, but it’s helping out a good cause.

  1. Crane among the chickens – someone who stands out. []
  2. Keep it quiet. []
  3. If you keep saying it, it’ll be true eventually, right? []
  4. And it will be fun! []

Shooting Lots of Fish

***Spoiler Warning***

I’m going to be talking about the Firefly RPG in this post. Specifically, I’m going to be talking about Shooting Fish, one of the adventures in the Echoes of War line from Margaret Weis Productions. I’m going to be doing my best to avoid big spoilers, but there may be some – some of the things I want to talk about will probably give away a few plot points1. I’ll try and keep anything big hidden behind spoiler tags, but read at your own risk.

***You have been warned***

All set for the Firefly RPG demo at Imagine Games and Hobbies.

All set for the Firefly RPG demo at Imagine Games and Hobbies.

So, as I mentioned back here, I got a chance to play the new Firefly RPG from MWP at GenCon this year. I had a blast, and had already bought the GenCon exclusive preview book, and so I offered to run a couple of demos here in Winnipeg: one for my gaming group2, and one for my FLGS, Imagine Games and Hobbies. I decided to take the same tactic that Rob Wieland took when he put us through our paces at GenCon – offering the group the choice between the two scenarios that were included in the preview book.

I think it’s interesting to note that, in each of the three games where this was done, everyone chose the scenario Shooting Fish. They’re both good adventures, and both look like a lot of fun to run and/or play, but Shooting Fish has the crew helping out an orphanage, while Wedding Planners has the crew escorting a young socialite to her wedding. As soon as the word, “Orphans,” comes out of a crewmember’s mouth, though, it’s pretty much all over bar the whining3.

So, yeah, orphans. Everyone goes running off to Newhall to help the orphans. The adventure is fun – it’s simple in structure, with a couple of nice set-pieces, and a good twist that sets up an obstacle with multiple solutions. If you want a more detailed rundown, it’s hidden behind the spoiler tags below.

Spoiler
The crew travels to Newhall to help a shepherd running an orphanage. The evil mayor of the nearby town of Endurance is intent on closing down the orphanage by calling in all its debts. The crew can win enough money to save the orphanage by winning a boat race against the mayor and several other boats, and splitting the prize money between the crew and the orphanage. The mayor, however, won’t let them enter the race until they convince him to, which can happen in a number of different ways. Once the crew gets in the race, they have to repair the orphanage’s boat, and compete in the race. Win or lose, there’s an optional final showdown with the mayor to make sure the orphanage is safe forever.

Both games4 were similar in the overall shape, but quite different in details. This is largely because of the way that complications generated in play by bad player rolls shape the narrative5 in different ways.

Here’s an example. In today’s game, Inara, Mal, and Zoe were in the bar run by an unfriendly character. Mal and Zoe made a big deal about drinking only water6, while Inara ordered a fancy cocktail. While Mal and Zoe were dealing with other stuff, Inara worked the room trying to gather information. Not only did she roll poorly and fail, but she rolled a couple of 1s on the dice. I bought those dice and created the complication Inara has been drugged d8. Now we had an entire sub-plot going with the bad guy’s attempt to kidnap a roofied Companion.

That’s the kind of improvised twist that the game system is good at delivering. I didn’t run as far as I could have with the plot line because we had a limited time to play, today, but it could have generated lots of fun encounters as she tried to escape and the rest of the crew looked for her. It was nothing I had planned, and it happened because of a player roll, and it could have been its own adventure in and of itself.

I’m not going to talk in-depth about the events of the adventure, but here are some high points:

  • Jayne taking on a crowd of drunks in a bar to earn a place on a different boat’s crew so he could sabotage them7.
  • River and Book seeking out and neutralizing snipers during the race.
  • Wash jettisoning a burning boat engine right into a pursuing boat, taking him out of the race.
  • Mal doing his best to pick a fight with an Alliance-supporting bigwig.
  • Simon fighting off an armed boarder in the middle of the race.

In the end, time constraints prevented us from lingering on the ending of either game, but in both cases, our heroes carried the day. I highly recommend both of the adventures available right now in .pdf format; they contain all the rules you need to run them. What they don’t have is characters, but the Serenity crew8 is also available in .pdf format. Here are some links for you:

So. That’s the adventure. What about the game system itself?

It’s another implementation of the Cortex Plus system, like Smallville, Leverage, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. Of the three, it is most like Leverage, building a relatively small dice pool based on an attribute, a skill, a distinction, and an asset9. Complications can be generated through play by the players rolling 1s, and assets can be created by spending plot points.

It nicely models the pacing and style of an action-oriented TV series with a moderately light tone. It does a few specific things to model this:

  • General competence of the characters. While characters will have some skills rated at d4, the lowest attribute they will have – out of Physical, Mental, and Social – is a d6. So, no character is really hopeless in a broad category of task.
  • Fast combat. One successful roll takes out an opponent. Named combatants – including the PCs – can forestall being taken out by accepting a complication instead.
  • Clear distinction triggers. In a lot of the Cortex Plus games, distinctions are left deliberately vague as to the situations where they apply. The distinctions in Firefly have that element to them, but also have special little perks assigned to them, similar to the way distinctions work in Smallville. This does a lot to help players get good mileage out of their distinctions.
  • Big Damn Hero dice. If you beat your opponent’s roll by 5 or more, you can bank a special die that you can bring in on later rolls to do awesome stuff. This allows the characters to pull off some of the cool things you see them do in the TV series and movie.
  • Surprising problems and twists. This is caused mainly by the complication mechanics that I discuss above. It allows surprises for both the GM and the players.
  • Adventure structure mirrors the TV episode structure. The two scenarios follow the type of act structure that is used in the TV episodes, making the game feel more like a TV episode. This helps with pacing and dramatic flow.

My verdict is that this is a great emulation of the TV show. It’s fun, it moves fast, it encourages and rewards cinematic play. It captures the feel and the heart of Firefly, and should satisfy fans of the series who like RPGs. And, to judge by the group that showed up at my table today, it gets non-gamer fans of the series to try an RPG.

Shiny.

  1. See what I did there, Cortex Plus fans? []
  2. Well, for portions of my gaming group. My gaming group, over the years, has expanded to be a loose network of about fifteen people, and each game I run or play in involves a subset of that larger network. []
  3. At least, playing with the characters from the TV show. There’s a certain expectation of heroic, soft-hearted behaviour with the canon crew. Be interesting to see how that changed with a player-created crew. []
  4. All three games, if you count the GenCon game where I was a player. []
  5. For more discussion of this kind of thing, take a look at this post I did about setbacks in play. []
  6. Tepid water, at that. []
  7. Let’s be straight, here. Jayne planned to either sabotage the opponent’s boat or help them win, whichever way looked like the bigger payday. []
  8. Plus a bunch of other archetypes and the basic character and ship creation rules. []
  9. There are, as might be expected, one or two twists to the system, but that’s the basic idea. []

Firefly RPG Demo Reminder

Just a quick reminder that this is coming up. When I checked the sign-up sheet at the store, there were still four characters unclaimed:

  • Inara
  • Book
  • Kaylee
  • Simon

So, if one of those catches your fancy, better get down to the store and claim him or her!

And if you don’t know what I’m babbling about, here’s the original pitch:

Here you are, on the raggedy edge. You’ve been eatin’ nothing but protein paste for the last week, runnin’ low to spare your fuel cells, and hangin’ on for dear life whenever Serenity’s engines start to creak and groan. This last job for Badger should pay enough to get back into the sky, but not much more. Fortunately, Badger says he’s got another job for you soon as you touch down at the Eavesdown Docks. The way he’s smilin’, you know it ain’t gonna be good. But it pays enough to keep you flyin’.

Come try the new Firefly RPG from Margaret Weis Productions on Sunday, September 29, from 1:00 to 5:00, at Imagine Games and Hobbies here in Winnipeg. Play a member of Serenity’s crew, and brave the black on a job that’s sure to go smooth1. There are nine slots in this game demo, so odds are good that you can just show up and play, but if you sign up at the store, you can reserve your favourite character on a first-come, first served basis.

Come play with me.

  1. Not a guarantee that things will go smooth. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that they won’t. []