View Full Version : You Can't Take The Sky From Me

Deth Muncher
2010-03-03, 11:21 PM
So, a friend of mine is talking about doing the Serenity RPG. Having basically only seen it twice (once at the local nerd shop, and once at Felicia Day's table at ComiCon this past year), and from what I hear, it's kinda like HERO System. What're your experiences with the system?

2010-03-03, 11:28 PM
I've only played it a few times, but seems great for conceptuals but weak in crunch.

You're either the most badass...or pretty sad.

Zeta Kai
2010-03-03, 11:37 PM
Very lethal combat, very Verse-specific fluff, somewhat delicate balance issues (as Seff said, it's easy to make a PC that sucks). All in all, it's fun, tense, & action-packed, so if you're into Firefly, then it's pretty awesome. If not, then it's just not for you.

Deth Muncher
2010-03-03, 11:44 PM
Very lethal combat, very Verse-specific fluff, somewhat delicate balance issues (as Seff said, it's easy to make a PC that sucks). All in all, it's fun, tense, & action-packed, so if you're into Firefly, then it's pretty awesome. If not, then it's just not for you.

Well, I mean, I've seen the show, I saw the movie (and promptly purged it), and am fairly good at channeling Nathan Fillion, so I forsee good things. However, high lethality scares me, as I'm primarily a D&D player - you know, that game where dead means you'll be back when your teammates have found ten thousand gold's worth of diamonds. (Or is it a thousand? I never can remember.)

Other than being really lethal, how does combat work? Is it like HERO, or something else entirely?

2010-03-04, 02:01 AM
Other than being really lethal, how does combat work? Is it like HERO, or something else entirely?
Serenity is the not-d20 system -- i.e., it uses all other dice instead. All abilities increase by dice size, from d2 (a coin flip) to d4, d6, d8, d10, d12. After d12 you keep that and add another d2 and repeat the process. You roll all your dice for each pair of attribute and skill, and the pairing isn't always the same. All 1s on on the dice you roll is a flub roll, so boosting a skill to the point where you get a 3rd die is a significant decrease in your chances of flubbing and thus highly desirable.

Advancing anything (attribute or skill) gets more expensive as any stat increases. On the other hand, the cost of initial character creation is linear. Thus it's much more effective to create characters with just a couple of highly trained specialties, and gain breadth of coverage across the whole crew rather than in each individual member.

So how does this relate to combat? Well, following this basic optimization system means you'll only have a couple of people on your crew who will be any good at a particular combat scenario, which has different skills for ranged and close-in fighting. Other crew members basically are more liable to get hurt than provide effective support. And since combat is highly lethal, the risk/reward mix has got to include getting the Kaylee types out of the line of fire as top priority. So all unprepared combat starts as a mad scramble for safety, pretty much the opposite of D&D where the emphasis is on closing with the enemy.

2010-03-04, 02:24 AM
It's the Cortex system, right? I've had a look at some of the materials and it's a bit of a mindbend, in my opinion is much easier to get another sci-fi system you are comfortable with, and give it that Serenity feel.

Reminds me a little bit of the old Star Wars d6 system, with lots more dice.

Here's a quick summary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_(role-playing_game))

Deth Muncher
2010-03-04, 02:47 AM
Here's a quick summary (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serenity_(role-playing_game))

>_< Huh-durr. Thanks. I should have consulted Wikipedia in the first place.

At least you didn't "Google That For Me." That's just degrading. 'preciate it though! :D

2010-03-04, 02:57 AM
From what I saw of it, it had the makings for a great system but was never completed. It's just an idea for an RPG. The book is full of mistakes and omissions, for example a paragraph hits the end of one page, and when you flip the page it's a new chapter with whatever was supposed to be there missing entirely. The entire system is based on a stat+skill mechanic for determining how well you do at things, but the stats aren't tied to the skills... the DM is supposed to figure out what stat goes with what skill. As such, your character may not be good at what you thought he was good at when you made him. For example, you might think that piloting a space ship is about intelligence, so you make a high intelligence high pilot skill character. But when you get into game play the DM decides piloting is based on agility. Now your character isn't nearly as good.

Plus it's missing critically important details. It's a space adventure game (at least in part), and while it mentions ship to ship missiles it never gives rules for them. You're supposed to be fighting for enough fuel to keep flying, but there are no listed fuel costs or any kind of gauge for the price to get from one planet to another. In fact, there's generally no way to figure out the prices of most things (such as replacement ship parts), which is sorely missing from a game where staying afloat money wise is supposed to really matter.

And then the other issue... you get experience for causing roleplay drama, not completing anything useful. Making your character have messed up quirks and minor insanities gives you more build points. The combination means that an optimized crew is one that's completely insane and trying to kill each other. In fact, I know of one gaming group that optimized their Serenity party by having one character with a flaw that made her never forgive a slight and always want to fight about it, and another character that had to chronically backstab people and do practical jokes on the crew. Instant free exp, but the gaming sessions were just two people yelling at each other.

So yeah, much as I love Firefly, the game system just wasn't built right. It feels like a nice alpha concept for an RPG, but I'd rather just use Shadowrun rules or something.


2010-03-04, 03:24 AM
+1 because just seeing that thread title made me start grinning uncontrollably as I clicked on it.

Also, Curmudgeon's description of the game appeals to me.

Deth Muncher
2010-03-04, 03:32 AM
@ JaronK - I haven't seen the book itself in a while, though I'll have it in my grubby little mits come this weekend, so I'll be able to see all these glaring mistakes you've pointed out. Hopefully on one of the forums dedicated to the game people will have figured out what's supposed to go there. Also, on the "what stat does what skill" jiggy, my DM and I were talking about it, and we're both pretty much of the same mindset on what's what. I.e. You want to pilot the ship? Depending on what you're doing, it could be Alerntess, Agility, etc. But mostly we've reached an accord on what's what, I think. >_> <_< On the roleplay drama aspect, yeah, it's a system that encourages drama to give you extra points to build your d00d - like HERO, it encourages you to build ugly, moronic, insane brutes in order to make them the most awesome fighter, or what have you. On the subject of HERO, I stole a flaw from there, and I think it'll work nicely: the Rival flaw - basically, my character now has a rival. He'll show up from time to time, generally when we don't want him to. He also helps the plot, since he explains how we got a ship, pilot, etc.

@ Math_Mage - You're welcome. :smallbiggrin:

2010-03-04, 07:23 AM
I can with a high enough diplomacy check....oh wait wrong game.....err I could use an Imperial Apocalypse class battleship to blast said sky away...errr.....I could drop the oxygen destroyer...oh darn it!

Deth Muncher
2010-03-04, 02:29 PM
Bad mechanics, incomplete rules, and poor (wrong) source material.

What, then, do you feel needs to be changed? If there's glaring omissions that aren't touched up in any of the expansions, I need to let the GM know so we know how to deal with it.

2010-03-04, 02:47 PM
I had the same thoughts thumbing through the book(though I missed the fumble mechanic). The setting is sufficiently awesome that I might give it a go regardless, though.

2010-03-04, 03:09 PM
Y'know, if the setting is good but the rules are bad... you could always just swap in good rules and use the same setting.

I've had a DM that ran a couple of short campaigns this way - a Superhero RPG using 4E rules and a Survival Horror system-in-a-box using the d6 Adventures system.

Deth Muncher
2010-03-08, 03:39 AM
So like yeah. I have the books now, though not the spare time to go through them. I was flipping through Sixshooters & Spaceships, and realized that most of the Reaver weapons struck me as Space Marine weapons. Coincidence? I think not.

2010-03-08, 09:33 PM
Honestly the best way to do it is to steal the rules from another system and adapt it to the fluff. The game is just so incomplete (there's no ship to ship combat rules at all, for example, nor are there listed costs for stuff you really need to know, nor is there a good gauge of distances) that it's just not done. Better to take a working system. I was actually considering using Shadowrun, with different costs for ships and a few other modifications.


2010-03-08, 09:35 PM
In response the thread title, you can if you're an anti-spiral and control the moon.

2010-03-08, 09:58 PM
Played in a Firefly game using SWSE, sorkead alot better in my opinion.

again, just my opinion.