Firefly/Serenity questions

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Firefly/Serenity questions

#1 Postby cbooth » Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:09 am

I will be starting up a Firefly campaign in the very near future and have a few questions for you Savages. :wink:
I realize that SWD is pretty much plug-and-play when it comes to Firefly; a lot of the rules translate very easily, if not wholesale, from the Serenity rpg. There are also two fine conversions for this as well, although they are a bit older. Do you find that Skills require more specialization for the game, as detailed in the core SWD book? There are many types of ships, ranging from shuttles to large bulk transports, and I don't know if such a broad Skill such as Pilot would be too generalized. Did you include/convert any Skills from the Serenity rpg, or just adpat Skills from SWD? Gear seems to be pretty easy to figure out; just some name changes for guns, keep the stats, and that's it. I was also thinking about using the rules for Savage Space for building vehicles, but the prices seem a bit steep.
Any other resources I should be made aware of? Tips, advice, pitfalls to avoid, etc.? Thanks ahead of time for all the help! :)

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#2 Postby Enno » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:40 am

Just take the Savage Firefly conversion and update it to Deluxe (just edges, and damage values).

We used the Cortex RPG as fluff material only. No need to convert any of the mechanics, as most of the things come down to a western trapping anyway.

Building spaceships was never problem, nor a main subject in any Firefly plot (movie, tv, books or comic), only repairing and obtaining one. So i don't see any reason to include detailed ship building rules. There are enough examples in the book and conversion to give your players enough variations of typical starship classes. Do think that your browncoats ever get enough Cr to obtain a new spaceship?
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#3 Postby ValhallaGH » Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:46 am

Specialization: If you include specialization rules then you're effectively saying "You can never master this field, and if you try then I want you to be able to do absolutely nothing else."
If that's the tone and style that you want then go ahead, but it doesn't fit the tone or style of Firefly that I saw. From the show, everyone had preferences, but they'd do other stuff when the situation warranted a change. Mal's pistol was a great compromise between firepower, social acceptability, and utility (it might even have been a Trademark Weapon), but he would pick up a shotgun or rifle (and use it about as well as his pistol) if the situation justified bringing that kind of force.
Besides, savage characters are much more defined by their Hindrances and Edges than by their traits (attributes and skills are collectively called traits). Jayne is a Clueless, Mean, Greedy (minor), Brawny, Marksman and Bruiser. Wash is a Loyal, Ace pilot.

Conversions: Convert flavor, not rules. You're not running the Serenity RPG with the Savage Worlds rules. You're running a Firefly-style campaign, using the Savage Worlds rules. Focus on being in the 'Verse, not on converting the proto-Cortex rules.

Specific Conversion Notes: Re-write a few edges (Mr. Fix-It) to be more generally applicable. "Natural Engineer; Requirements: Novice, Smarts d8+, Repair d8+, Notice d6+; Benefits as the Mr. Fix-It edge."


Good luck!
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#4 Postby OSIAdept » Mon Sep 17, 2012 11:35 am

I think the SWD has a note on specialization or skill familiarity.


You could also handle by basing on your players backgound

Lets say he was a atmo shuttle pilot
He can pilot most atmospheric shuttles with no prob, but put him in a fighter and hes going to be at distinct disadvantage

Just impose a penalty when using the skill in a un-familiar fashion

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#5 Postby sablemage » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:24 pm

Yes, OSIAdept, SWD talks about skill specialisation - it's a setting rule on page 95 of SWD. (All hail the ready searchability of PDF files.)

If specialisations are in play, you use the skill at a -2 penalty unless you're using the weapon, vehicle, or whatever that you normally use - so as you suggest, penalties for unfamiliar items.

It sort of takes Trademark Weapon in the opposite direction - instead of a bonus with your favourite thing, you have a penalty with others.

I wouldn't use specialisations myself, because I think they start to erode the FFF aspect of SW, but that's just me.

Has anyone tried a Deadlands-themed Firefly game? :twisted:

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#6 Postby OSIAdept » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:41 pm

I find the specialization quite useful.
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#7 Postby cbooth » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:48 pm

Great stuff so far, thanks!

Space combat isn't a real issue (I hope!), but I can see players wanting to "tinker" with the ship. Save up cash to increase the engine output, replace comm stations, buy ECMs (Cry Baby), etc. It was always a fun aspect of the Serenity games I've been involved in, and I want to be able to carry that over to Savage Firefly. It may invovle some book keeping, but nothing too extensive. After all, the PC's need to do something with their hard earned cash (besides lose it all in poker).
I'm still flip-flopping about Skill specializations. If I do introduce it, it will be on a limited scale; Piloting, Shooting, Fighting. Jayne is good at blasting people, but he's real good with Vera. I know that Edges really make a character, so I'm still on the fence about this. It would make Ace that much more potent though.
Anyone still running a Firefly campaign?

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#8 Postby steelbrok » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:13 pm

I would say that Vera is Jayne's trademark weapon

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#9 Postby cbooth » Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:31 pm

steelbrok wrote:I would say that Vera is Jayne's trademark weapon


Point taken. :wink:

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#10 Postby Chaosmeister » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:40 am

I do not want to toot my own horn but you may be interested in Savage Space that I have written. It is available in the download section of my Blog. The "Ships as characters" section and adventure generator was heavily inspired by the Firefly RPG, Series and other conversions.
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#11 Postby cbooth » Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:59 pm

By all means, toot away! :razz:
I was looking at the section for creating ships and I'll probably incorporate parts of that system, if not completely. There are a TON of adventure generators out there for Serenity, but I like the card draw aspect from Savage Space. Good stuff all around!
Converting some of the fan-made adventures shouldn't be too difficult, but I'd like to run my own. Still hashing out the intro adventure, which depends on whether one of the players decides wants to be the captain or not. In either case, I plan on throwing them into the middle of a chase scene or something similar. :wink:

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#12 Postby Sushi » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:34 pm

As someone else in the late-planning stages of a similarly Firefly-esque campaign, good luck! :)

Pretty sure I'm going to open up with my PCs getting their shuttle shot down on the way back to the (landed) ship, which has been put under siege since they left for supplies...

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#13 Postby cbooth » Sat Sep 22, 2012 12:51 pm

I've done some quick conversions of ships in the Serenity RPG using Savage Space, and they turned out pretty darn good (thanks Chaosmeister!). Most of the gear is alreday represented in the SWD book; a few name changes and presto. I was thinking of making the Armored Duster an AP2 armor, but that may be too much. Same thing for Mesh Armor, perhaps giving it an AP2 or 3, but only vs. bullets.
Still unsure about which ship to start them off in, really depends if one of the players decides to be the captain or not. There are plenty of fan-made adventures out there to pick from, but I'm considering running something homemade first.

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#14 Postby Chaosmeister » Thu Sep 27, 2012 1:25 am

Happy it worked out for you! Keep us posted on the game. I am always interested to see how it is used.
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#15 Postby cbooth » Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:18 am

First session is this Friday (09/28), and I plan on starting a new thread with all of the details. I'm going with a slightly tweaked adventure from the Serenity Adventures rpg book; the group is new to SW, want to get them comfortable with the FFF aspect of the game.
Thanks for all of the info and help, hope it goes well! :)

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#16 Postby Sushi » Thu Sep 27, 2012 9:59 am

cbooth wrote:First session is this Friday (09/28), and I plan on starting a new thread with all of the details. I'm going with a slightly tweaked adventure from the Serenity Adventures rpg book; the group is new to SW, want to get them comfortable with the FFF aspect of the game.
Thanks for all of the info and help, hope it goes well! :)


Hah, funny coincidence, my Firefly-esque game starts this Friday too! :D

I look forward to comparing notes...

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#17 Postby cbooth » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:38 pm

First session is in the books!
Ups and downs, but went very well. Money denomination was confusing to the players; I went with the original setup from the Serenity RPG. I plan on cutting out the frills and just go with credit to avoid the hang up in the future.
Another fun tidbit is that the players are new to SW as well! They found out very quickly that combat was fast and deadly. One PC took a Wound from an ambush and thought he could just deal with a -1 mod. Boy was he wrong. :twisted:
Still playing around with the Skill list, trying to fill in what's missing. I don't like the Knowledge: Computers skill, because it's too broad to use, but I don't want to get too detailed. I was thinking about porting over some of the skills from the Serenity RPG as Knowledge Skills, but that may be too much. Astrogation is a must, but Ship Ops looks like it could be too specific. I'm also thinking Mechanical Engineering would be a better fit instead of Technical Engineering, but not sure how to represent hacking or browsing the Cortex. Maybe I'm overanalyzing?
Thoughts?

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#18 Postby Sitting Duck » Sun Sep 30, 2012 7:38 am

Hacking can be represented with Lockpicking while browsing would use Investigation.
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#19 Postby Sushi » Sun Sep 30, 2012 11:00 pm

My thought is to err on the side of too-broad skills rather than too-narrow ones that won't ever get much use.

I've got one player who's playing an information specialist. They've got Knowledge:computers (primarily for hacking) and Investigation (for any sort of research). I'm satisfied that will work just fine.

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#20 Postby cbooth » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:50 pm

I'm in the process of creating a gear list that's more "Firefly" and simplistic at the same time. I condensed firearms to three kinds of pistols (light, medium, heavy), SMG, two kinds of rifles (rifle, assault) and shotgun. Everything else seemed too much (for the players at least), so I decided to trim it down.
Armor wasn't too hard to break down, since there weren't that many examples on the show; there are a lot of examples in the rpg book(s), but nothing the players would really be interested in. The rest of the gear is fluff really, with not a whole lot of mechanics to go with it. Having an extensive gear list is nice when you feel like shopping, but I want it to be more about the story than about "stuff".
Getting around in the 'Verse was a bit clunky at first; I used some of the different programs that fans made for the original Serenity rpg. They work pretty good, but just bogged things down for a SW game. I'm going to incorporate either the Savage Space rules, or the rules presented in the Savage Firefly setting for travel. Still on the fence about which one to use, so I'll just have to see.
I'm not sure how well the conversion handles money and jobs, especially when it comes to paying crew, ship maintenance, repairs, etc. May take a few sessions to find the right amount.
Any other tales from the 'Verse?


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