Saturday, February 16, 2008

Firefly Brainstorm Lists: Amber-Conversion

The two people pushing hardest for the Firefly/Serenity campaign that almost happened last year were me and Jeremy. We both prefer rules-light systems, and neither of us wanted to learn the Serenity RPG system well enough to run it. It was intended to be a rotating-GM game, so everyone would have had to learn it pretty well. The system discussion took a couple weeks. We went from the Amber-based system below, to Dogs-In-The-Vineyard in the Firefly setting, to just playing something else (Amber, as it turns out). In retrospect, I wish we'd done the DITV Firefly.

Diceless System for Firefly/Serenity
(based on Amber DPRG mechanics)

This is based on Jeremy’s idea that a diceless version complete with Amber Auction would:
  1. create some built-in rivalries from the get-go, to put the players in the right frame of mind,
  2. give everyone a clearly-defined specialty, something everybody knows they’re good at
  3. allow us to play very rules light so it’s easy for anyone to GM a session
  4. put the exact definition of our abilities and capabilities in the hands of each sessions GM (which is great for Psy powers, for example)
  5. be a lot of fun
Attributes that may prove important to the setting:

Here's the logic behind portions of that list:

Speed vs Accuracy: I think we need two separate stats for these. Being a good shot and a fast draw feel like two separate skills in a western. A successful gunfighter needs to be good at both, but plenty are better at one than the other.

Strength vs Endurance: Jayne is a character who’s clearly strong, but kind of a sissy.

Intellect vs Intuition: Simon is clearly very rational and clever. River is primal and psychic. Shepherd Book has a good balance between the two. Jayne lacks both.

Tech vs Charisma: Kaylie (and to a lesser extent, Wash) is good with machines. Inara (and to a lesser extent, Mal and Simon) is good with people.

Cool: Where Zoe excels and Wash scrubs out. (Zoe, by the way, is like Bleys in Amber - 2nd or 3rd best at everything). Maybe this is part of Endurance?

Your Talent: Each PC gets something that makes them special beyond stat points, but it’s limited to one per PC. Examples drawn straight from the show:
  • Simon is “The Doctor”.
  • Kaylee “Understands Technology”.
  • River has “Amazing Potential, But It’s Completely Beyond Her Control”.
  • Wash has “Hotshot Pilot”.
  • Mal has “It’s MY Ship”.
  • Inara is a “Certified Companion”.
  • Jayne has “Personal Armory”.
  • Shepherd Book has “Mysterious Past”.
  • Zoe seems to lack anything terribly special, so maybe she’s just got more points than anyone else to explain her being second best at everything -or- maybe Wash is the NPC pilot, and Zoe has “NPC Husband”
Should each PC get one free Talent, or should Talents cost 20 (out of 100?) Points?

Related posts: Character Concepts and Genre/Plot Ideas for use with Firefly.


digital_sextant said...

I'd have to go watch again, but I don't buy Jayne as "kind of a sissy," which smacks of cowardice-- Jayne is self-preserving, not cowardly. The phrase "sissy" seems like the bully from A CHRISTMAS STORY, bluster and no brawn. My recollection is that Jayne enjoys a good scrape or rumble, he just doesn't enjoy it enough to risk his own neck unnecessarily.

r_b_bergstrom said...

Perhaps "Sissy" wasn't fair, but Jayne's certainly not about Endurance in the sense that it's used in the Amber Diceless Roleplaying Game.

He doesn't compare favorably (in terms of stamina, determination, or recuperative powers) to Corwin, or any of the royal family. Okay, to be fair, no one on the show does. They are just human, after all.

So I'll put it in more Firefly-friendly terms, acknowledging that the apex of human development is pretty low on an Amberite scale.

Jayne certainly has an above average Strength - he's in good physical shape and full of rage. He's got muscles, he's got energy, he can handle a gun, a knife, or his fists quite well. He doesn't go down in a single punch, either.

But if you were to torture Jayne, Zoe, and Sheperd Book, who would crack first?