Monday, July 30, 2012

Firefly game

Last Friday, we met for the second Firefly/Rarescape game.  I think the most enjoyable part of the evening, though, was the discussion afterwards; what type of game do we all want to play on a Friday night after a rough week?

So, the story opened up with us in the Black and on our way to Haven.  Our two passengers are still upset by our close encounter with an Alliance ship in which our gambler had to burn a resource to get them to leave us alone.  The device that the scientist passenger had brought aboard was a cloaking device of sorts, produced by him in Alliance labs.  He was hoping to sell it to a shady character out near Haven in the hopes of paying off some gambling debts.  His female friend turns out to be a hacker (her words) and is also wanted...but not by the Alliance.  Our hacker decides to check on stories and starts nosing about the Cortex in an effort to find info.  He discovers the lady's real name and that she is not wanted by anyone.  She is also from one of the Rim worlds as well. 

We decide to stop the ship until we get more answers.  We interrogate the scientist and discover that the device has a serious flaw.  It drains power and disrupts electronic devices on the ship it's installed on and it prevents accurate navigation of the ship.  As we're talking with Dr. Sung (our scientist), Maggie (the girl passenger) sets off our system alarms as she is trying to get out some messages secretly.  We discover that she's trying to sell the old doc out for cash.  Then, our sensors go off.  A Reaver ship has homed in on our energy signal from the stop.  To fool it, we start flying away as though we're running.  As it nears, I tell them to turn on the cloaking device, nose the ship straight down and then nose it again toward Ferris (the nearest planet).  Pushing the systems to the limit to make sure we were "gone" to the Reavers, we eventually turn off the device.  But it had done some serious damage to the ship's systems. 

We limp into Ferris and try to get repairs done.  We also have a crewmembers only meeting.  After much discussion, we realize the following:
1.  If we keep it, the Alliance will hunt us down relentlessly.  Cloaked pirates are too dangerous to let go.
2.  If we sell it, the buyer will have to kill us to protect himself.  Can't have anyone knowing he has this device.
3.  If we just turn it over to the Alliance, we're all going to jail for aiding and abetting since we didn't turn them in right away.
4.  If we don't complete the job, Badger will be after us as well since he hired us to do this.

So, we think we had the perfect solution.  While on Ferris, we made a big deal about trying to find more cargo so we could pay off the repairs needed to the ship.  The Doc had some cash but we had to dig into profits to pay for the rest of it.  Then, we headed back to Persephone.  We continued to monitor the waves from Maggie and found out who the buyer was going to be.  We also learned they were not happy with our "delays".  Oh well.

A day out from Persephone, we drugged the two of them.  We then stripped them naked and crated them in their own crates.  Immediately upon landing, we rented a warehouse near an Alliance post and put a timer on the cloaking device.  We then put the device and the two crated individuals in the warehouse, which had been rented in Badger's name.  We put a few more clues around to point to Badger and then we fueled up and got ready to leave.  But as we were loading up, a couple of goons under the employ of the Haven contact showed up to challenge our arrival and departure.  As captain, I told them Badger had sent us a wave to return because he had someone else interested in our cargo who offered a higher price.  As the head goon left to verify this, we ambushed the 3 guards and lit out for the Black.  Monitoring the wave traffic, we catch a news report of a whole section of town "disappearing" and the chaos that entailed.  Then we hear of an Alliance round up of known criminals and we were laughing all the way to the Rim.

Now, we finished about an hour or more earlier than usual so one of the players could get home and get some rest before a big miniatures con game the next day.  Stan also wanted feedback on his Rarescape rules.  Rather than go through the entire discussion, I'm going to try to summarize...which means I'm going to give my interpretation and you can add yours in the comments.

Rarescape rules are very flat in terms of the power curve.  Levelling takes time and a high level character doesn't have a major advantage over a low level character.  I personally dislike using negative numbers, whether for hit points or AC (sorry, Chris) or anything.  Let 0 hp be dead and I can deal with that.  I enjoy Banes or Hindrances a lot.  I still have a set of tables from my 1e AD&D days of Quirks that help to flesh out a character.  I disliked not being able to figure out what was a "tough" task vs. an "impossible" task, though that may be more of my not understanding of the rules rather than it being a rules problem.  So, in summary, I'd probably be interested in playing this ruleset again but not in this genre. 

See, a side discussion developed about how literary settings do not do well as rpgs because the setting is so rigid.  There is not much we could do to change the Firefly universe because too much was set as "canon".  The same would be true for trying to play in Middle Earth or Star Wars or Star Trek, etc.  If you make the setting playable, then you have to dump a lot of the "fixed knowns" in the setting.  For example, if we started the game 10 years after the end of Serenity (the movie) and the Alliance is now only in the Core worlds, the Reavers are not a constant threat, and there are several groups vying for control of the Rim, then we could have an interesting game. 

There was more discussion, but I'll have to post more on it later.  I'm beat.
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