Saturday, February 16, 2008

Firefly Brainstorm Lists: Characters

This list was generated in early 2007, when some friends and I were contemplating a rotating-GM game set in the Firefly/Serenity setting, but using the Dogs In The Vineyard rules system. Had that game taken place, my character probably would have been based on the "The Man With The Past" archetype.

Character List: The Firefly/Serenity setting allows old stereotype characters to become fresh. Here's a short brainstorm list of character types that would be good within such a setting. Any of these that don’t get used for PCs should be used as NPCs eventually.
  • Whore with a heart of gold - Either a full-fledged Companion or some unliscensed boy or girl turning tricks on the side. May be combined with another archetype to give a reason for “adventuring”, or could just be really loyal and tags along for whatever her friends are tangled up in.
  • Bank Robber / Second-Story Man - Someone who’s a criminal for the challenge or excitement of it. Gadgets, acrobatics, elaborate schemes, etc. Could utilize a combination, or maybe just focused on one.
  • The Duelist - Either a gunslinger, competition shootist, or a noble swordsman, who thinks he’s the best around, and is always looking for a chance to prove it.
  • The Man With The Past - Like Shane, Han Solo, or The Prisoner, this character can never escape thier deeds of thier personal history. Even if they’d like to just settle down and own a farm, what they’ve done keeps cropping up to get them. Rivals, spurned lovers, enemies and bounty hunters lurk in every port just behind the friendly facade. (More artistic would be situations just paralleling the decisions and actions of their past, not literally recurring villains from their past, but sometimes it’s too hard to pull off artistic subtlety in an RPG.) There’s two types here - the true hero who’s on the run from enemies, and the reformed villain who has to grapple with the sins of thier past.
  • The old coot - Grizzled veteran, hard-bitten pioneer, crazy old spacer. A great character-actor role where you get to spew pessimism and cantankerous monolog whereever you go.
  • The Shepherd - The lone pacifist or rationalist of the group. Doesn’t have to literally be a priest, especially since that’s been done in the original show. Just a voice of reason to keep the frontier justice from getting too far out of hand.
  • Samurai - A noble warrior. Does what is right, fights for the oppressed, etc. Refuses to flee, surrender or back down. Fits the genre really well, while still being unique from what we see on the show outside of short-term NPCs. However, there is the risk of it leading to TPK massacres.
  • Dodger - the quick-fingered orphan/urchin/pettythief. Lovable little kid who’s always getting into trouble. Maybe some sort of prodigy worth keeping around. Maybe just a relative of the captain.
  • The Psychic - Could be messed up like River, or could be a more stable psi-sensitive monk. The extent of their abilities are probably best not being spelled out in detail, but being mutable depending on situation and GM. (I’d love to figure out a way to make an Indian Medicine Man fit into the game, because it’d play great against the western theme, but there’s just no natives in the setting.)
  • The scoundrel - the one guy in the group that’s willing to sell out the others, like Jayne. It’s a bad idea for Liam to play this part, it’d be like typecasting him after his Continuum role. Seriously, due to what happened before, we’d all end up spacing him in the opening reel.

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