Monday, 18 November 2013

Blake's ship

If you haven't read the latest Firefly RPG Core rulebook preview on the MWP site you really should.

It's here:
Go on - go and read it and come back, I'll wait.


Good isn't it? Anyhow the fact that it mentions a Salvage vessel got me thinking and it struck me that I never published on the blog the stats for Blake, the ne'er do well salvage captain that the crew met and fought in their first excursion into the Black, nor had I posted his ship; the "Gum San" (Gold Mountain). So lets rectify that (at least in part) now.

The Gum San is a Scorpio Class salvage vessel, a fan created ship detailed in the "Cortex Shipyards" fan-written supplement for the original Serenity rpg.  You can find copies of it floating about on the web if you look and Blake and his crew were creations of mine for that game that I never got around to using.

The ship is a civilian commercial vessel so other that the large claw like frames that extend from the bow, bristling with cutting gear and grapples to hold potential salvage. The class has no weaponry but Blake is nothing if not creative.  He has acquired two "Hull Crawlers" (also creations from the Cortex Shipyards); one person, magnetic tracked vacuum capable tanks, designed to cling to the hulls of stations or ships.  When there's trouble these two roll out of the ship's cargo bay and down the extended "arms", blazing away as necessary with missiles and their small scale cannon. When not needed they are hidden amongst the scrap and parts stored in the holds.

However the ship is old, cantankerous and not the best maintained vessel in space, and it's starting to show.

Gum San (Gold Mountain)

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.
Don't make 'em like that: Step back the difficulty die when Fixing. Step up any Complications that result.

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.
Covert: When making a Sneak roll with the ship the pilot may spend 1 Plot Point to reroll.

Salvage Cutting Gear d6
Hull Crawlers d8

Episode (session) #7 - May contain Shooting Fish (Echoes of War) spoilers

(Sorry updates have been a bit....absent of late - will try to do better (consider wrist slapped)...there are two sessions to catch up on and a number of interesting rules discussions we had in game, NPCs to write up.....better get on with it hadn't I?)

Well our crew had won the race, and the day perhaps?

They helped the Cavendish crew out of the water and then Floris went to collect the prize (with the crew backing him up) - but no one expected the Mayor to give up easy.

The local band struck up a tune as they climbed the podium and the crew were taken a little by surprise when the Mayor smiled and presented them with their chest full of winnings. But his true colours were shown as he pulled Floris close and hissed "Spend it gorram quick..."

Our heroic crew hightailed it back to the Orphanage and presented the Shepherd with the winnings; the children were all over the crew, dying to learn of their daring deeds and heroism. The crew were a bit worried about resting on their laurels though and got the paperwork they needed from the shepherd and went straight back into town to get the debt paid and the orphanage signed over to Rust.

They found the Mayor "holding court" and drinking himself into a stupor in the tavern.  He and Floris traded words but what could he do in front of much of the town? The money changed hands, deeds were signed and more verbal threats levelled (giving Floris a Complication) but no blood was shed. The crew returned to the orphanage and set up a series of watches...they still didn't trust the Mayor...

Come morning some of the children were the first to spot the dust of the Mayor's Air Cav and a posse of riders heading up the hill from the town. The crew dove into action - Floris went to confront the mayor face to face, Judah took up a sniper position in the orphanage while Bean, Dr Norris, Leo and Shepherd Rust herded the children into the relative safety of the Bei Xiang.

Floris tried to talk the mayor down but "negotiations" soon became hostile.

Now it's been a while since we played this session and LOTS happened in the battle so things get hazy from this point (they ain't too clear before it either) but the main things were:
  • Floris got stuck in fightin' hand to hand with the Purple Gang and eventually Lake himself
  • Judah was swiftly (and unfortunately) taken out when the Purple Gang "up'd the stakes" on his roll to taken some of them out.
  • Bean realised some of the children were still playing out in the grounds and had been cut off from the ship by the Purple Gang horsemen. She headed back to rescue them and brought them back to the ship
  • Leo used a bunch of devices and mechanical wonders that he controlled from his workshop in the ship (e.g. Drones and smoke bombs - all Assets created on the fly) to take out a bunch of the Purple Gang
  • Dr Norris had Shepherd Rust call in the local Alliance Feds, advising them that the children were under attack
  • Floris whupped the enraged and bitter mayor bringing him to his knees as the authorities arrived. Lake was bound under law and taken away, cursing Rust, Floris and the crew as he went. 
The Orphanage was saved, the crew made a small profit from the remainder of the race winnings (half of which Floris convinced the crew to give Shepherd Rust for the children and the running of the Orphanage) and the crew had found a new ally and port of call in Rust. All in all not a bad few days work.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Bean writes....

"I remember some things very clearly, but large swathes are missing. If I look back, it feels like nothing is there, like something should be. It's like walking down a familiar staircase in the dark, where you know each step, which ones creak, where to swing silently round the smooth metal bannister, only to find one missing, your feet straying into empty space where a step should be. I can see that staircase now, can smell it, damp sandstone and great wooden slabs of stairs, worn down, spiralling down, the bannister metal but now smooth from all the hands. I know halfway up was a window without glass in it, a tiny crippled rowan tree growing in a crack in the sill where enough damp blew in. I know the doors off the stairs looked old outside, great wooden things, but really steel once they were open, with the smell of cloves and something sharp under it, weirdly discordant when mingling with the smell of the stairs.
I said I remembered this clearly. I remember the sound of reed slippers on the steps, and upper levels with rooms, rooms that had windows. I remember a regular, hollow sound like tubes of wood knocking, accompanied by the flow of water. I know there were stepping stones and a bridge and a platform, and long hours of practice. 

I don't know what I would have practiced.  

I said I remembered. 

But I've never been there."

Sunday, 3 November 2013

The Mysterious Mr Cole

When the crew boarded the wreck of the doomed Helse Bergen they found only one survivor: the enigmatic and, they soon discovered, obviously very lethal Eli Cole.  Or at least that's what he told them he was called...

We may soon find out a bit more about the cargo and fate of the Helse Bergen and exactly what part Mr Cole had to play in it all...

"Eli Cole"


Skills (all others at d4)
Fight (Swords) d10
Focus d6
Influence (Intimidate) d8
Know (Alliance Protocols) d8
Move d6
Notice d6
Shoot d6
Sneak d8
Trick (Undercover) d8

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.
Cortex Spectre: Whenever anyone uses an information based Asset against you, spend 1 PP to turn it into a No Data Found Complication of the same die rating.
Ghosts of Yesterday: Create a d8 Complication relating to your history to step up your Fight, Know, or Sneak for a scene. This Complication cannot be stepped back by spending PPs to activate Opportunities.

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.

Signature Assets:
Jian (Sword) d8

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Bean

Even she's not sure of her birth name but her friends in the slums of Beaumonde called her Bean.......

She was named by the nuns who originally fed her when she was on the streets - but she was too little to remember that name. In any case by the time she'd hit adolescence she'd left them, some might say that her spirits were a little bit too wild (to say the lest), but she made up for that lack of education by picking up one on the road....

She survived by using facilities like soup kitchens and taking advantage of all the not-too-many-strings attached education she could get her hands on (she doesn't like being bored and her gifts of observation have partly evolved from that - after all, while you are looking for something, memorising something or watching people, you won't be bored.)

I t's not clear when or how she came to the attention of the Alliance authorities, but she did, possibly on the basis of some medical testing in the course of her early life which was eventually flagged and fed back.  Of course there was no easy capture, because she was of no fixed abode. A number of good and bad things happened during those early years - but she was picked up for experimentation by the time she was 14 or so and had done all sorts of interesting legal and illegal things before then. She learned, and was treated, and learned some more, and showed more potential, which lead to further experimentation. Eventually, she got out and wound up with Floris by the time the rest of the crew had met them....he may have been the one to get her out, but for now they are both very tight lipped on the subject....

She is versatile, quick, streetwise, now extremely well trained and talented, but there are some things which are likely to set her off. Surprising or unsolicited touch is one of them.

Mental d10
Physical d8
Social d6

Skills (all others d4):
Fight d6
Fix d6
Focus d6
Influence (Seduction) d8
Know (Tactics) d8
Move (Acrobatics) d8
Notice (Intuition) d12
Operate (Ship systems) d6
Sneak (Hiding) d8

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.
Secrets, Secrets: When you are in the presence of someone who is trying to keep a secret, spend 1 PP to discover the secret with a Mental + Know Action. If your Action fails, create or step up a Paranoid Complication.

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.
Meddled With: Spend 1 PP to step up your Mental Attribute for the scene. Step down your Social Attribute for both this scene and the next one.

No signature Assets.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Doctor will see you now....

Due to illness at home we won't be having a game this week so the finale of "Shooting Fish" will be delayed.

In the meantime though here's a little look at our ship's doctor, Dr Wai Norris....

In a ship of lost souls, outcasts and people with secrets Dr Norris is currently one of our most enigmatic yet open characters. What the players currently know is that he was a very well paid and highly competent and respected plastic surgeon in the Core Worlds. But he doesn't head coreward anymore....

What is clear is that the Doctor is not the most moral of individuals and is more than happy to take whatever means necessary to turn a profit or come out on top.

He and Judah have developed a distinct rivalry, from acerbic put downs to open practical jokes.  They both take extreme pride in their images and seem devoted to being considered the more stylish, urbane, cultured or gentlemanly member of the crew. Who knows how far that will go or how extreme their antagonism may become. 

Floris has charged the Doctor with "Bean" (the Reader's) welfare and he regularly medicates her through the use of doped sweeties and candy. This has led Bean to become a little dependent on Norris and she often accompanies him on jobs. An unprincipled, deceitful yet very competent doctor with a "pet" telepath....I'm sure this can only end well......  


Skills: (all others at d4)
Influence (Persuasion) d12
Know (Medicine) d10
Operate d10
Survive d6
Treat (Surgery) d12
Trick d10


Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.
Gift of Gab: Spend 1 PP to double your Influence die for your next roll

Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8.
Looking Out For Number One: Reroll all dice in a roll. On the reroll, all dice that roll 1s or 2s are considered Complications.

Signature Assets:
Doctor's Bag d8
Personal "collection" d6

Monday, 21 October 2013

Episode (session) #6 - May contain Shooting Fish (Echoes of War) spoilers

We were heading towards the big race, the crew had entered, the boat was finished but due to the time line I'd established earlier in the story there was still a day to go. So I started the game by going around the table so each player could explain how their character was using the day. We then picked on a few bits to play out.

Leo spent his time playing with the kids at the orphanage, Floris took the dogs and Emery to scope out the race course (and built a d6 Plan ASSET off it) while the Doctor and Bean headed over to the Canterbury farm.

At the farm they met Theo Canterbury and were able to verify that he and his crew were only in the race for payback against the mayor - if the crew stay out of the firing line then the Browncoats will have no beef with them...but that does mean that our crew may need to keep the Mayor safe; a dead mayor ain't going to be able to sign the Orphanage back to the Shepherd.

The day of the race dawns.

Floris will "captain" the boat (in retrospect the players wished he'd taken one of his dogs for the potential Mutley gags....) and man the net gun, Emery will be there to lend a hand, Judah will drive (with a helpful d12 ASSET from Floris' "Lead the Crew" Trigger), and Leo will be on board to handle emergency repairs.  Leo turns up looking like Top Gear's "The Stig" having spent 1PP to create a "d6 Pit Crew Fire Suit" ASSET.  Meanwhile Bean and the Doctor head into the crowd to try to root out and immobilise any Purple Gang members they can find (I decided that they were dealing with a 5d8 "mob" of purple gangers scattered throughout the spectators).

And they're off!

(I'd drawn out the race track on one on my white boards and used thin "post-it" notes with sketches of the different boats on as markers in the race.)

There was lots going on so you'll forgive me for not recalling all the details but in summary:
  • Bean and the Doctor were extremely effective in seducing, incapacitating or otherwise inconveniencing the Purple Gang, removing the effectiveness of the entire gang before the race end
  • The Red Tide (the Red Saloon boat) was the first team taken out - feeling the wrath of the Cleetus family for stealin' Mee-Maw's scatter gun and sinking on the 2nd leg of the race
  • Our crew led from the start and made great use of ASSETS (from Floris' leadership, the plans they'd made, Bean pilfering opponents' plans from their minds and the Net gun Leo had built) to stay there for the rest of the race. The Warhorse (Mayor) and Gravedigger (The Canterbury's) followed with Mee-Maw's Throne (The Cleetus Clan) trailing behind taking pot shots at the closest enemy boats. 
  • The Net gun was used to great effect to pile Obscured Vision COMPLICATIONs onto the Warhorse, while the Gravedigger eventually sank under combined fire from the Cleetus Family and the Mayor.
  • The Orphanage boat wasn't without problems but the various COMPLICATIONs earnt (mostly from 1's rolled by Judah's Drivin' and Floris' Shootin') were very quickly repaired by Leo's exceptional skills.
  • With the Gravedigger sank at the platform stage, Judah then took his action to gun the engines to create a huge wake COMPLICATION to disorientate the Warhorse, with the Obscured Vision COMPLICATION already on the boat (and the positive narrative effect) I deemed it took the Mayor's boat out, leaving him spinning and stranded in the middle of the water while the crew zoomed easily down the final straight and over the finish line.
The big race sequence is the sort of thing I'm never comfortable running as a GM.  All the GMC action feels like it moves the focus away from the players a bit and after all it's *their* story. That said I never want to just "decide" what happens to non-player characters in that situation for fear of not appearing fair to the players so I made sure that I resolved the other crews' actions openly before the other players and let the "dice land where they will"

All that said I think things seemed to play out in a very heroic and exciting fashion and kudos to the MWP designers for the way they'd put the mechanics together for running the race.  The players seemed to really enjoy it and it supported the actions of those on the shore as well as in the boat.

So, the race is over and our heroes have won...but the adventure's not ended yet...