View Full Version : "New World of Darkness" d10 system: Firefly supplement [Caution: LONG]

2008-03-11, 11:32 PM
Yes, I know Serenity already has a system. I put this together for fun, and as a rulebuilding exercise. I'd like some input from those who're familiar with the NWoD d10 system, especially on the subject of balance.

Oh, and just for reference, anything here that isn't owned by the owners of Firefly or by the owners of White Wolf is (c) me 2006. I don't own either of those groups' material, and I'm not trying to profit from it.

So don't sue me!

Turning the Screw
Part 1

Dusty was the first word that came to the captain’s mind as he looked around the cellar. Dust coated every trunk, shelf, and bottle in the place, as well as drifting in the air, highlighting the meager sunlight that made it through from the upstairs, as well as the beam from Zoe’s flashlight. “Likely we can ignore the most of this,” he said to Jayne and Zoe, who had come down with him. He had to hold back the urge to spit on the floor as the staleness of the airborne dust hit his mouth. He noted Jayne (who was never so good at holding back urges) hocking for a great big spit, and gave the man a suppressing stare until the big bu xun jia[i] swallowed it with a grimace. “The folks who owned this place probably kept what we’re after in an atmo chest to keep it good, so check those first.”
The three spread out, checking chests and boxes. It wasn’t long before Zoe’s voice rang out. “Here.”
She turned toward the captain, holding the lid of a chest open. The bottles inside glinted in the glare from her flashlight, dulled slightly by many years’ accumulation of dust. “No question, Sir, they’re early Alliance. Two hundred fifty years old, at least.”
“Still good?” Mal asked.
Zoe checked her hand sensor. “Should be, according to this.”
Mal nodded, satisfied. “This is worth to keep us in the sky a good six months. Nine, we find a buyer desperate enough to have ‘em.” He stood, brushing some dust off his knees.
Jayne stepped up to look at the box, and made a face. “Well, that’s worth a whole load of nothin’. Who’d go after a old box fulla old bottles don’t even have whiskey in ‘em?”
Mal rolled his eyes and turned toward the big man. “Jayne, I ain’t payin’ you to get in the minds of our esteemed paying customers. I’m payin’ you for…” he thought for a long moment and drew a blank. “…Well, it don’t matter. Folks’ll buy these.”
[i]“Hey, Mal,” said the vox at the captain’s side in Wash’s voice, “I’m seeing another ship parked down there. You might get some company soon.”
Well, this was a gorram mei zhong bu zu if there ever was one. “Any particular reason you didn’t notice this before we got ourselves shut up in a very cramped, very vulnerable basement?”
“Hey!” the pilot said, indignant, “they’d shut her down, let her go cold. Only reason I found ‘em at all without the drive running is I recognized the silhouette. She’s a Capisson 5-26 Bumblebee. Probably private freight.”
Private freight – to Mal’s mind, that meant smugglers. Probably after the same thing he was. “All, right – prep the boat, Wash. I want to be out of here in five minutes. Jayne, you move on ahead, keep an eye out for company.” Right, that was why he paid Jayne. He beckoned to Zoe. “Here, I’ll get the other handle. We got any luck in the ‘Verse…”
“Mal,” Jayne called from the doorway, dashing any hopes on the whole “luck” score. The captain looked up from the chest to see a quintet of well-armed men walking Jayne back into the cellar, with large and ugly-looking guns pointed in his direction. This did not look good.
“Cap’n, I got some bad news,” Wash said over the vox. “That ship is flagged on the Cortex. Looks like it belongs to the Larson gang. Watch your backs, they sound like real rough and tumble fellows.”
The newcomers grinned nastily at this, and Mal winced. Ta ma de.
Why couldn’t things ever just go smooth?

This game uses the Storytelling system, created by White Wolf publishing. The focus of this system isn’t fighting others (although conflict can and does happen in these games on a regular basis), nor is it in building powerful characters (although it is certainly possible to create very powerful characters in this game). The game focuses on telling a story, and character interaction and the drive of plot are of prime importance. The players control their characters, describing their actions and providing their voices. The storyteller provides the plot, portrays other characters, and keeps things organized.
There is a theme in all stories, whether based on gothic horror or on frontier action. The theme is the question you explore or the moral you wish to teach. There are many possible themes for a Firefly-based Storytelling game, from the nature of authority to the decline of good men in hard times. Tailor the theme of your game to fit your particular group and Crew; a hard-bitten group of hired guns might be less interested in themes of family than they would be in man’s brutality toward other men. On the other hand, the crew of gunmen might develop into a family of sorts themselves. It all depends on your crew.
The mood of your game can fluctuate almost as much as the theme does – anything from wry humor to utter terror and back again can (and often does) show up in the ‘verse. Try to vary your mood from story to story – if you’ve just finished a nostalgic look at Earth-That-Was, try for an intense encounter with bounty hunters next. If you’ve just let the crew escape from agents of the Alliance with barely a ship to their name and more holes in them than they have credits to their name (on the other hand), try injecting some whimsy into the next storyline; perhaps the crew runs into an interplanetary snake-oil salesman. Life in the Rim can run a man through every extreme of feeling humans can feel, and this game is a perfect way to explore that.

A character’s skills are the basic things she knows how to do: anything from picking a lock to bashing in a skull to riding the cortex to starin’ folk down falls under one skill or other. The majority of these Skills are listed in the World of Darkness corebook on pages 54-87. There are only two exceptions. The skill Occult no longer applies: It has been replaced with “’Verse Lore.” Pilot, indicating skill with the controls of a spaceship, has replaced Drive.

‘Verse Lore
Wash read the data from his scan on the other ship. “I read it as an older model, Trans-U.” He pushed back from the screen and looked up at the captain, confused.
“I didn't think Trans-U still operated,” the captain said.
Wash replied, “They don't.”
The captain’s eyes narrowed as a disturbing possibility revealed itself. “Get me a visual,” he said, and rubbed a hand over his mouth. If he was right…
Wash began working the controls. “They're still too far out to – “
“Get me something!” the captain interrupted, not in the mood for explanations.
Pushing his chair over to a more detailed scanner console, Wash pulled up what data he could get. “I'm picking up a lot of radiation.” The captain stepped up behind Wash to read the screen himself as the pilot continued. “They're operating without core containment, that's… kuang zhe de, that's suicide.”
His worst fears realized, the captain stepped over to the main cockpit window, watching the gleam of starlight on the other ship’s hull. For a moment, shock stopped his voice, but he managed a single word, all that was really needed.
A man can't wander the 'Verse without picking up a couple things about the worlds around him. This Skill reflects such knowledge of the 'verse. 'Verse Lore deals with "official" knowledge, such as which planets are being colonized by the Alliance, and also folklore and "urban legends," such as the Reavers or conspiracy theories regarding the Blue Sun Corporation. Those without this Skill are sheltered or ignorant. Those with high levels of the skill probably have knowledge (or at least conjecture and rumor) on any number of worlds.
Possessed By: Pilots, mercenaries, ship captains, criminals, law enforcement personnel
Specialties: Reavers, colonization efforts, Rim worlds, the Core

Roll Results:
Dramatic Failure: Your character remembers completely inaccurate information. He believes an area of space is a trade route when it's actually Reaver space, or thinks an unoccupied planet is actually a vital settlement.
Failure: Your character doesn't remember anything useful about the subject or planet.
Success: Your character recalls useful facts about the subject at hand.
Exceptional Success: Your character remembers especially obscure or relevant information. For example, not only does he recall that a planet was the site of a bloody battle in the war, but also that the Independent forces had a particularly large and well-equipped base there.

The Reaver ship snapped at Serenity’s heels like a rabid wolf. “They’re on us,” Zoe said, her voice tight.
Wash was in his element, guiding the controls nearly effortlessly. “Kaylee?” he said, but the com remained silent.
“…Come on come on come on come on…” the captain’s anxiety was palpable as the Reaver ship drew ever closer. Wash grimaced slightly at the proximity detector, where a particular number kept getting lower and lower.
“Okay,” came Kaylee’s weakened voice, and Wash ran with it immediately.
“Everybody hold on to something,” he said, and then, with more than a little taunt in his voice, he addressed the Reavers. “Here’s something you can’t do.”
He threw a control forward with all his strength, and one of the thrusters on Serenity’s sides rotated 180 degrees. The ship turned on its axis until it directly faced the Reavers. Wash reversed the thruster again, and as the two ships passed one another, shouted “now!”
As Serenity went into hard burn, the blowback started an inferno around the ship, knocking the Reavers away like the hand of the Almighty and pushing the ship into space and safety.
“Knew I hired you for something,” the captain chuckled.
This skill deals with the character’s ability to guide a ship rocketing around the cosmos, as well as driving smaller land vehicles. A character without the Pilot skill may be capable of driving a land vehicle, but he cannot pilot a ship – the controls and readouts are too complicated for the untrained. This skill also deals with “stunt” piloting, such as pulling a “crazy Ivan” to avoid a Reaver attack or guiding the ship perfectly so it lands in dock without power.
Possessed By: Pilots, ship captains, first mates, law enforcement personnel, mechanics,
Specialties: Land vehicles, pursuit, Hard Burn, scout ships

Roll Results:
Dramatic Failure: Your character loses control of the vehicle while attempting a maneuver. The ship might run into a convenient meteor or spaceship, or the engines might stall, or a blowback might damage the ship.
Failure: Your character doesn't complete his intended maneuver. The direction the ship travels (if it goes anywhere at all) is determined by the Storyteller rather than by your character.
Success: Your character completes his intended maneuver.
Exceptional Success: Not only does your character complete his intended maneuver, he gains much more ground than expected. Perhaps he cuts between two asteroids, executes a perfect three-sixty turn, and hits Hard Burn smoothly.

Merits and Flaws:

Merits are strengths a character possesses, beyond simple ability or training. Perhaps one character is well-connected in the Alliance, while another knows a bit about boxing or fencing. Most of the Merits listed on pages 108-117 of the World of Darkness corebook apply without changes or alterations. Listed below are any alterations to the rules in the corebook, as well as new, ‘Verse-specific Merits for the Firefly Storytelling System.
Also included is a new Flaw for use with the optional Flaw variant system, detailed on pages 217-219 of the World of Darkness corebook.
Certain Merits from other World of Darkness supplements might be applicable to Firefly characters; these should be evaluated by the Storyteller on a case-by-case basis. Fighting Style merits from Armory, for example, might be appropriate for certain martially-oriented characters, whereas psychics such as River might be constructed using some of the Merits detailed in Second Sight. While we invite players and Storytellers to purchase these books, as the information they contain can be quite useful, they are not essential to the creation or running of a Firefly game.

Unseen Sense: The merit Unseen Sense doesn't apply in the 'Verse. While there's all manner of unpleasantness can befall a ship or a crew, all of it's perfectly normal and human-like. 'Less you count Reavers. Or psychics. Or maybe those blue-handed men they keep rumoring about in the Rim. But other than that, nothin' supernatural as a vampire or ghost is going to affect the crew, so characters cannot (and probably won’t want to) take this Merit.

Alliance ID: (• to ••••)
Effect: Somehow, you’ve got your hands on an Alliance ID card with your name on it. It could be an expert forgery purchased off the black market. It could be someone else's ID, which you’ve had reprogrammed with your own info. It could even, heaven forbid, be your own honest-to-goodness ID, although that'd usually fall under the Status merit. However you own the thing, you find that it smoothes things out quite a bit when you’re trying to deal with official types. Note that these identifications are not cure-alls in Alliance space – an ID card with a crime on it is just as damning as an open warrant sent to the Rim.
The one-dot version of the merit will withstand a cursory inspection, but not a deep background check; it tends to shore up one’s standing in the eyes of “civilized” folk. In rules terms, the one-dot merit grants a +1 bonus to all Socialize, Persuasion, and Subterfuge rolls when dealing with Alliance officials or functionaries. An alliance officer attempting to recognize a false card for a forgery must make an extended Intelligence + Computers or Investigation roll, and achieve 11 or more successes for a one-dot ID.
The two-dot version is a standard ID with enhanced security – it can stand up to any investigation the Alliance throws at it. Anyone attempting to recognize the forgery must achieve 22 or more successes on the Investigation or Computers roll. This merit offers the same +1 modifier as the one-dot version.
The three-dot Alliance ID states that the bearer is special in some way – a military officer, government functionary, or some such position of importance. The card offers a +2 to Socialize, Persuasion, Subterfuge, and Intimidation rolls when dealing with Alliance functionaries. Any attempts to discover the forgery must obtain 11 successes, as per the one-point Alliance ID (it is difficult to access the high-level databases this sort of information is stored in, thus cards of this level tend to be less secure than some other cards).
The four-dot version of the ID is equal to the three-dot version, but with the security reworked (22 successes are needed to see through it).

Direction Sense (• or ••)
Effect: The single-dot version of this Merit functions as per the World of Darkness corebook. Dot two gives the character a basic facility at instrument-less navigation in space – he can’t point the ship directly at Beylix from a random location in space, but he can certainly figure out the general direction he needs to go by following the stars, and he’s always got a good idea where his ship is. He has an innate sense of position, and can also probably sense if the ship has come to a stop.

Mechanical Sensitivity (•••)
Prerequisite: Crafts •• (Mechanics)
Effect: The character possesses a deep, almost spiritual connection with engines and machinery. This connection allows her to subconsciously notice whines, rattling components, and other signs of potential malfunction before they can cause trouble. With this merit, the character is entitled to a wits + composure roll when in the presence of a machine which is malfunctioning, or will malfunction within the scene, as long as the circumstances causing the malfunction are already in place (so a character with this merit would have no warning before someone smashed the coffeemaker, for example). When regarding ships' engines, the entire ship counts as "nearby." A separate Crafts roll is needed to diagnose the exact problem.
Dramatic Failure: The character believes that the machine in question is in better-than-average condition, or that some other machine is actually malfunctioning.
Failure: The character fails to notice the malfunction until/unless it becomes evident.
Success: The character knows that something is wrong and may roll to figure out what the problem is, possibly pre-empting any malfunctions entirely.
Exceptional Success: The clues the character picks up are so detailed, they give her a vague idea what might be the trouble. The character gains a +2 bonus to rolls to diagnose the malfunction.

Licensed Companion: (• to ••••)
Prerequisite: Academics ••, Empathy ••, Persuasion •• (seduction), Striking Looks ••
Effect: You’ve been licensed by The Guild, and are free to practice as a Companion on most planets. This opens many doors to you: There are lots of people who’d accept a Companion in town before they’d accept a merchant (or a smuggler), and you have certain… methods… to persuade folks to see your side of things.
Drawback: Not everybody feels comfortable with a Companion’s duties. Certain old-fashioned or prudish folk, not to mention more traditional Shepherds, react badly to Companions – some social rolls performed against these people take place at a -1 penalty, to account for the distrust and dislike they feel.

Zero-G Training (••)
Effect: The character has been trained in negotiating null gravity. He can use a reflexive action to stop after moving his full speed, instead of a full instant action, and receives a +2 on the roll to avoid damage while stopping. He never needs to roll Resolve + Stamina to avoid nausea in zero gravity.

Ship (varies; special)
Effect: Your character has put money, effort, or both into maintaining and upgrading the ship on which you live. This merit is shared by each member of the crew – you all live on the same boat, and any effort which improves the ship helps the whole crew. Each dot placed in this merit grants you two Ship Points to spend on the ship, allowing you to improve it in any number of ways. Full systems for creating a ship are found below.
The Ship merit is purchased separately from other merits, and it has special pricing: every dot in this merit costs 3 XP. This applies no matter how many dots the character has already spent toward the Ship merit. These dots are pooled with those of other characters to create and improve the ship.
If a character dies or otherwise leaves the ship, all points he has spent on the Ship are lost, plus one extra Ship Point.

Flaw – Alliance Fugitive: Your character is actively hunted by Alliance Enforcement. Needless to say, this constitutes a considerable source of anxiety. An experience point is garnered when the character has to seriously sacrifice other causes to avoid Alliance attention.

Zero-G rules:

No matter what you see in the vids, mankind wasn’t built to live without gravity holding him down. That’s why folks came up with Grav generators in the first place. Human bodies move awkwardly without the counterbalance of Gravity, unless they’re secured in some other way. Zero-G disturbs our sense of balance and causes motion sickness in the short term. A lack of gravity also makes it hard to start moving, and once you’re moving it’s a lot harder to stop.
In game terms, a character endures a -2 to all Dexterity-based rolls while in Zero-G, unless she is secured via a harness, magnetic boots, a handle, or in some other way. In addition, each time a character leaves gravity’s influence, she must roll her Stamina + Resolve to avoid experiencing nausea. On a failure, she endures a further -2 to all rolls (this stacks with the Dexterity penalty). The Iron Stamina Merit applies to this penalty, but not to the Dexterity penalty.
When in Zero-G, a character’s Speed is effectively reduced to half normal (rounded up). If she wishes to move faster, she must take an instant action to stop, making a Strength + Athletics roll. If this roll fails, the character takes damage as though she had endured a fall
The Zero-G Training merit alleviates or eliminates many of these effects: see the Merits and Flaws section above.

Distances in Space

The main unit used to measure the distances between planets is the Planetary Measuring Unit, or PMU. One PMU is about 8,000 miles, the approximate diameter of the planet Londinium (which is nearly identical to that of Earth-That-Was). The distance between two worlds can be anywhere from a few hundred PMUs between a planet and its closest moon, to millions of PMUs between planets on opposite sides of the System. Distances of 1,000 PMUs or more are often measured in Kilounits of 1,000 PMUs, sometimes called “clicks.”

2008-03-11, 11:39 PM
Turning the Screw
Part 2

River’s pained cries echoed inside the medbay, the small space making them twice as loud. She lay on the bed, curled into a fetal position with her arms clutching her belly. She had been like this for five minutes; even after a thorough examination, Simon had no idea what was hurting her. “Damage to the small intestine and omentum,” she gasped before a spasm cut her off. “The pancreas has been grazed. Shock will set in from blood loss and pain…”
“River…” Simon was lost. “You’re not hurt at all.”
She gasped again, her muscles clenching one more time. “Not me. Him.”
Simon could only blink in confusion before Jayne’s voice rang out from the cargo hold. “Doc, get your ass out here, kuai!”
The doctor ran out of the medbay to the cargo bay and was greeted by the sight of Jayne and Zoe carrying an unconscious Mal between them. The front of Mal’s shirt was red with blood. “What happened?” Simon said, momentarily aghast.
“Gunshot wound,” said Zoe.
Jayne snorted. “Gorram idiot rushed a guy with a loaded rifle.”
Zoe gave him a pointed look. “Who was about to shoot you.”
“I coulda took him,” the big man said, prompting Zoe to roll her eyes.
Simon ignored the exchange. His training as a doctor had come to the fore. “We need to take him to the medbay – carefully,” he said, fixing Jayne with a look.
Wash stepped onto the catwalk above while they brought the captain up the stairs. “Zoe?” He noticed Mal. “Ban yuan qiu hou zi da bian…”
“Out of the way, dumbass!” Jayne barked, and Wash let the procession through.
Much to Simon’s relief, River had gotten out of the examination bed. She was seated on one of the port cabinets, absently fingering her stomach and staring through the captain.
They set Mal down on the examination bed, and Simon carefully inspected the wound. It didn’t look good. “He’s lost a lot of blood…”Damage to the omentum, probably the small intestine… looks like the pancreas might have been hit or grazed… He shook off an eerie sense of déjà vu. Time to get to work. “I need the extractor, Zoe – third drawer from the left, there.” He indicated the drawer in question.
“You won’t fix it,” River said simply. “Not until later.” She was on her feet now, behind Jayne, although Simon couldn’t remember seeing her move. “There’s trouble behind us, and it’s going to stop us and take us apart and take things out of the pieces.”
“Doc, can’t you shut your sang xin bing kuang sister the hell up?” Jayne said.
River spun quickly to Simon. “The angry men followed us,” she said, her eyes urgent. She reached up to a low-hanging beam and took a tight hold of it.
Jayne scoffed. “We got away clean. Ain’t no wa – ”
He was cut off by a concussion wave, which rattled the ship. Jayne, Zoe, and Simon were all knocked off of their feet.
River, with a firm grip on the support beam, barely wavered.
Ship Rules

Jobs and Running Cash:
Any captain knows that the most important part of having a ship is to keep her flying. To do that, a captain needs money – and to have money, a captain has to have work.
Running Cash represents money the crew has earned from jobs, which is used to fuel, maintain, and stock the ship for its journeys. Every job the crew takes on has a rating in Running Cash, from one to five. Upon the successful completion of the job – providing the crew gets paid, of course – the ship’s rating in Running Cash increases to match the rating of the job. Due to the costs of refueling and maintaining a ship, however, this trait is decreased at the rate of one dot per week of normal operation.
Heavy use of Hard Burn and other strenuous use can increase this rate, as can certain ship Quirks (see below). Because of this, it is important that a crew keeps a careful eye on their spending, and seeks out new jobs as often as possible.
The number of Ship Points a crew has spent on the ship affects amount of Running Cash required to run her. A ship with more customization and greater capabilities requires more fuel, more frequent mechanical checkups, and more cash to run. Any dots of Running Cash in excess of the ship’s required maintenance costs may be used as the equivalent amount of Resources for ship purchases; for example, if a crew that has spent three Ship Points (requiring two dots of Running Cash) completes a job worth four dots of Running Cash, the crew gains two dots’ worth of effective Resources for the next week, and one dot’s worth of Resources for the week after.
In an emergency, a character may use his own Resources dots to fuel and maintain the ship. This requires one more dot of Resources than it would require Running Cash; a ship with three Ship Points spent upon it, for example, would require Resources ••• or higher to keep fueled and maintained. While the Resources merit is being used in this way, the merit is inaccessible for other purchases.

0 Ship Points spent: Running Cash •+
1-5 Ship Points spent: Running Cash ••+
6- 10 Ship Points spent: Running Cash •••+
11-15 Ship Points spent: Running Cash ••••+
16+ Ship Points spent: Running Cash •••••+

The crew can attempt to run the ship at lower costs – fewer bursts of Hard Burn, coasting through journeys rather than running hot, shutting down nonessential systems, that sort of thing. If this is done, the ship can be run on a Running Cash rating of one lower than normal, but all of the ship’s Capabilities are at considered one lower than normal.

Sensor rules:
Sensors have three ranges: Long, Standard, and Short. Long range for most ships is about 10,000 PMUs, which is generally about fifty minutes' warning. Standard range is 1,000 PMUs, or about 5 minutes, and short range is 100, or about ten rounds. These times are all give-or-take, depending on the speeds of the ships in question.
If the character is not specifically searching for other ships or objects, he generally rolls Wits + Composure, modified by range. If he is actively searching, the dice pool is Wits + Pilot. One success allows the character to detect the object. More successes allow for greater detail, such as the ship's class or condition. If the opposing ship attempts to hide its passage, its pilot rolls Wits +Stealth, minus its Size. Successes subtract from the seeking ship's successes.
If a ship enters your Long Range, and is not attempting to hide its progress, there is a chance it will be seen. When a ship enters Long range, and every 15 minutes thereafter, roll the pilot's Wits + Composure (or Pilot) -3.
If the other ship is attempting to hide its presence, the roll becomes contested, against the opposing pilot's Wits + Stealth, minus the ship's Size.
When ships enter Standard Range, the ship's proximity detector will usually automatically alert the pilot, unless the other ship is attempting to hide its passage. Have the pilot roll Wits + Composure or Pilot, with no modifier. Successes show the degree of detail the sensors reveal (no successes will only reveal the presence of the ship). If the other ship is intending to hide its presence, the opposing pilot rolls Wits + Stealth - Size, with successes measured as in Long Range.
If a ship enters your ship's Short sensor Range, a proximity alarm goes off throughout the ship. There is no hiding at this range - this is the sort of distance where you can count the other pilot's nose hairs. Any rolls to discern details about the other ship are at a +2.

Hard Burn:
In an uneventful cruise, a ship's normal Acceleration is good enough for the task at hand. Sometimes, though - when that shipment has to be on Beaumonde on time, or when there's a ship full of Reavers breathing down your neck - a ship needs that extra oomph. Most ships these days are equipped for Hard Burn, for just that purpose.
A ship in Hard Burn has its Acceleration tripled, but its Handling reduced by two (ships in Hard Burn reach incredible speeds very quickly, but inertia tends to keep them going in a straight line). This can reduce a ship's Handling below 0. Hard Burn can be sustained for a number of rounds equal to 3 x the ship's Endurance. Initiating or ending Hard Burn is an Instant Action, performed on the pilot’s turn.

Most ships come equipped with at least one Shuttle, according to their Size. Acquiring more Shuttles than the ship’s Size can support costs 6 Ship Points, to represent the time spent retrofitting the ship and shuttle to dock. A shuttle is built using the same rules as a spaceship, except that all Shuttles’ Capabilities begin at 1, with no free dots to spend among them. A shuttle can have no more than 3 points of Quirks and 3 points of Assets upon creation. Ship points may be spent on any shuttles in the same way they can be spent upon the “mother” ship. Regardless of its Size, no shuttle comes equipped with another shuttle.
Shuttles are generally short-ranged vehicles, unable to travel more than 1,000 PMUs per dot of Endurance in a single trip without straining their engines. Their sensor ranges are considered half those of a normal vessel (and thus Assets or Quirks which alter the sensor ranges do so appropriately), and they are incapable of Hard Burn without purchasing a corresponding Asset.

Ship Combat:
Ship-to-ship combat isn't incredibly common in the 'verse, as few of the smugglers and lowlifes populating the Rim can afford big guns for their ships. Every once in a while, though, the characters will run across Allied Enforcement or some other battle-ready vessel.
Ships with weaponry can only attack objects in Short sensor range. If one ship is attempting to flee from the other, the contest is run as a Vehicle Chase from the main corebook. A ship in combat has a Defense equal to the lower of the pilot's Defense, Pilot skill, or the ship's Handling. The pilots roll Initiative as usual, modified by the Apparent Junker asset if applicable. Attacking ships roll Dexterity + Pilot + Handling as an instant action, minus the opposing ship's Defense. The defending ship's Endurance is removed from the resulting successes, and any remaining damage is marked on the sheet.

Specific Targets:
Sometimes you don’t want to destroy a ship entirely, just cripple it. Other times, you want to make a difficult battle into a massacre – in which you’re the one doing the damage. In either case, you would want to shoot a specific target on the opponent’s ship.
There are a limited number of specific targets which will result in specific effects. Attempts to damage these targets take a penalty to the attack role, due to the difficulty of such fine aim. The defending ship receives the benefit of its Defense and Endurance as usual. If damage is dealt, the ship suffers the listed penalties. Damage dealt to a target is cumulative, increasing the number of successes needed to perform a repair proportionally. An exceptional success (5 or more damage dealt in a single hit) on the target indicates that a direct hit has done even more damage than usual.

Engines: (-2 penalty)
Success: A hit to the engines knocks out the ship’s main propulsion, leaving it at the mercy of faster ships. A success on the attack roll lowers the ship’s total acceleration to its Handling score (minus its Size if the ship doesn’t have the Balanced Engines asset), as the ship is left with only maneuvering thrusters. The ship may still move at its current Speed, via inertia, but it will be very difficult to increase (or decrease) its speed. The number of successes needed to repair this damage is equal to four times the amount of damage dealt, and the repair must be carried out in the engine room.
Exceptional Success: The ship’s engines are completely destroyed. The ship has an effective Acceleration of 0, rendering it a flying brick. This damage is irreparable (although a good mechanic might be able to jury-rig the maneuvering thrusters in order to creep into dock) – the entire engine must be replaced.

Communications: (-3 penalty)
Success: A hit to the communications array cuts off a ship’s Cortex access. It is unable to receive or send any sort of transmission until the damage is repaired. This obviously makes calling for help difficult. Repair requires a number of successes equal to three times the damage dealt, and must be carried out in the cockpit.
Exceptional Success: The ship’s entire communication system is completely fried. Even ship intercoms no longer work. Any messages being sent between the cockpit and the engine room must be carried by hand or shouted across the ship, resulting in a -2 to the ship’s Handling due to the slowed reaction time. This can reduce the ship’s effective Handling score to -3 or below, in the case of particularly sluggish ships. The ship’s communications equipment must be replaced if the crew wishes to send or receive any sort of signal.

Sensors: (-3 penalty)
Success: The ship’s sensors are overloaded and stop working. This reduces the ship’s Defense and all Attack rolls by 2, as the pilot’s perceptions are limited to what she can see through the windows. The damage requires 3 successes per point of damage to repair.
Exceptional Success: The ship’s Navsat and computer system are completely toasted by the backlash from the damaged sensors. Unless the pilot has some other method of navigating, the crew has no way of knowing where their ship is headed. The Navsat, computers, and sensors must be replaced.

Ships and smaller objects in battle:
Damage done to a ship in combat by objects not intended to damage a ship, such as a handgun or knife, is divided by the ship's Endurance. Any remainder is discarded. For example, if a bandit wielding a handgun rolls 3 successes against a ship with 4 Endurance, the ship receives no damage. If the handgun garnered 5 successes, the ship would take 1 damage, and the leftover .25 would be discarded.
A ship weapon is considered to have the 8-Again property against lesser targets. Shuttles are considered ships for this purpose, but land vehicles are not.

Ship Creation

Ships have 5 different Capabilities - Acceleration, Endurance, Handling, Security, and Ship Size. A ship begins with one dot in each Capability, and 7 dots to spend between them. Alternately, some Capabilities can be lowered to 0 or lower, garnering 2 Ship Points per level dropped. These Capabilities are marked. Quirks can be purchased to gain extra Ship Points, but no more than 5 points of Quirks may be taken in this fashion. The Ship Points thus obtained, as well as those purchased via the Ship Merit, may be spent to increase ship Capabilities or purchase helpful Assets. Ship Capabilities cost two times the new level in Ship Points.

Acceleration: Acceleration indicates how swiftly a ship can get “up to speed.” Each dot purchased adds five to the ship’s total acceleration in PMUs per round (a ship with one dot has a base Acceleration of 5, whereas a ship with three dots has a base Acceleration of 15). A ship’s Size limits its acceleration somewhat, as inertia causes drag – any Size above 1 is subtracted from the ship’s total acceleration. For example, the previous ship with three dots in Acceleration has a base Acceleration of 15. If the ship has a size of three, however, this score is reduced to 13.
The ship’s total Acceleration is generally tripled in Hard Burn, unless this is altered by an Asset or Quirk.

Endurance: Endurance represents the ship’s ability to take punishment, whether inflicted via outside sources or through overexertion of the ship’s engines. The ship’s Endurance is subtracted from all damage inflicted to it in battle or due to crashing. A low Endurance also acts as a limiting agent to certain other actions or abilities. A ship can run in Hard Burn, for example, for a number of rounds equal to three times its Endurance. Ships with low Endurance scores tend to be rusted, broken-down, or fragile, and require constant repair. Ships with high Endurance scores are solid and stable, and can run for a while without a breakdown. Endurance can be lowered to 0 for 2 Ship Points. If this is done, the ship can remain in Hard Burn for only 1 Round.

Handling: Handling indicates the ship’s responsiveness, turning radius, and general agility. The ship’s Handling is added to the pilot’s Pilot skill for most maneuvers. Handling can be dropped by two levels to a -1, for two Ship Points per drop.

Security: Security indicates how difficult it is for others to enter he ship unnoticed. Ship Security is subtracted from the dice pools of anybody attempting to gain entrance. A ship's Security also counts as a bonus to Initiative for all crewmembers or passengers during combat aboard ship. This capability can be dropped to 0 for 2 ship points.

Ship Size: A ship's Size indicates how large it is, and thus how much cargo or personnel it can carry. Size also indicates how many shuttles a ship can dock with naturally. Size can only be purchased upon ship creation, barring exceptional circumstances and ST approval. Ships with small size tend to accelerate more quickly and are less noticeable, but can be cramped and uncomfortable. Ships with large size have a large amount of cargo and passenger space and can carry a larger number of shuttles, but are easily noticeable and accelerate sluggishly.

• A small scout or Alliance Enforcement Vehicle. Up to 2 passengers, and 150 cubic yards or 5 tons of cargo. No shuttle.
•• A low-bulk transport. Up to 5 passengers, and 300 cubic yards or 10 tons of cargo. One shuttle.
••• A Firefly-class or other mid-bulk vessel. Up to 10 passengers, and 450 cubic yards or 15 tons of cargo. Two shuttles.
•••• A heavy-cargo hauler. Up to 20 passengers and 600 cubic yards or 20 tons of cargo. Three shuttles.
••••• A High-bulk transport or liner. Up to 50 passengers, and 750 cubic yards or 25 tons of cargo. Four shuttles.

A ship’s Size is subtracted from all attempts to avoid detection by other ships.
Calculated Advantages

Integrity: Integrity is the ship’s “Health,” showing the amount of damage it can sustain before being destroyed or incapacitated. A ship’s Integrity is equal to its Size plus Endurance, multiplied by two. So a ship with Size 3 and Endurance 4 has an Integrity of 14. A ship with an Endurance score of 0 has an Integrity equal to twice its Ship Size. When a ship has damage greater than its Endurance score, all roles performed with the ship take a -1 penalty. When the damage exceeds twice the endurance score, the penalty increases to -2. If the ship takes more than three times its Endurance in damage, a -3 penalty is levied to all rolls. Ships with Endurance scores of 0 take a -1 penalty with 2 or more Integrity damage, a -2 penalty with 4 or more damage, and a -3 penalty with 6 or more damage. A ship with all of its Integrity damaged loses structural integrity and begins breaking apart.


Advanced Sensors
Cost: 2 Ship Points
The ship's sensors have been enhanced, increasing their range increments half-again. For example, a standard ship's sensors have a Short range of 100 PMUs, a Standard range of 1000, and a Long range of 10000. Ships with this Asset have ranges of 150/1500/15000.

Apparent Junker
Cost: 1 Ship Point
Regardless of its actual condition, the ship appears to be a dilapidated piece of go-se. Hull plates are rusted or rattle dangerously, essential wiring is exposed, and the ship looks like it'd be worthless in a fight. This gives the pilot a +1 to initiative rolls in ship battles or chases, as other characters underestimate the ship's capabilities. Under certain circumstances, this bonus may be increased to +2 at ST discretion, if the opponent seriously underestimates the ship.

Cost: 3 Ship Points
The ship has been retrofitted with armored hull plating, reducing the damage it takes from battle or collision. Count the ship's Endurance as two higher when resisting structural damage.

Balanced Engines
Cost: 1 Ship Point
Prerequisite: Endurance •••
The ship's engines are slightly more powerful than usual for the ship's Size, counteracting the drag of inertia. Ships with such modifications must be quite durable, to withstand the stresses involved.
The ship's Size score no longer subtracts from its Acceleration. This can give the ship an edge against other, comparable ships.

Cost: 1 ship point
The ship has the ability to land in water, as well as on land. This may grant the crew extra job opportunities, such as underwater salvage or fishing, and can also be a boon when the crew tries to avoid pursuit. This Asset is only available upon ship creation, barring ST approval.

Extra Shuttle
Cost: 3 ship points
The ship has been configured to hold one more shuttle than normal for its Size. This will allow the crew more mobility, and the possibility of renting the extra shuttle for some Running Cash. This Asset represents the effort spent to retrofit the ship with an extra shuttle airlock, docking system, and air circulators.

Forged Alliance Pulse Beacon
Cost: 2 ship points
Prerequisite: Rotating Pulse Beacon Signal
Through less-than-legal means, the characters have added a separate Pulse Beacon signal to the ship - that of an official Alliance vessel. This signal, when switched on, inspires the respect and fear (or at least wariness) which folks generally feel toward Alliance ships. This signal replaces one of the extra signals offered by the Rotating Pulse Beacon Asset (and thus, lowers the tracking penalty by one).
Those who wish to uncover this as a false Pulse Beacon must achieve 12 successes on a Wits + Investigation or Computer roll.
If the captain of the ship possesses the Alliance ID merit, the number of successes required to uncover the false Pulse Beacon increases to 16.

Fuel Efficiency
Cost: 1 Ship Point
The ship processes fuel more efficiently than usual. The ship can run with one fewer dot of Running Cash than normal and still maintain normal function. At low functionality, the ship can be maintained at a total of two fewer dots of Running Cash (although not for long).

Hidden Nooks
Cost: 2 Ship Points
The ship has been retrofitted with false bulkheads or otherwise altered to possess hidden smuggling compartments. These compartments decrease the cargo space by one tenth, setting that area aside for smuggling area. Those who wish to locate these compartments must achieve a number of successes on a Wits + Investigation roll equal to three plus twice the ship's Security rating.

Improved Reclamation System
Cost: 1 Ship Point
The ship’s systems use fuel much more slowly than usual. Rather than depleting Running Cash at one dot per week, the ship depletes it at one dot per two weeks. All other costs involving Running Cash remain unchanged, unless the ship possesses another Asset or Quirk to alter them.

No Pulse Beacon
Cost: 2 Ship Points
The ship's Pulse Beacon signal has been removed, granting 2 extra dice on attempts to hide the ship. This is, of course, quite illegal. A ship with the Rotating Pulse Beacon Signal can take this at a reduced cost (1 ship point), but it replaces one of the replacement Pulse Beacon signals (and thus, decreases the tracking penalty by one).

Rotating Pulse Beacon:
Cost: 2-5 Ship Points
The ship has been illegally modified with at least one false signal in its Pulse Beacon. This makes the ship very difficult to trace, levying a penalty to all Investigation rolls to track the ship or its doings equal to the number of extra signals installed, to a maximum of -4.

Side- mounted Engine Jacks
Cost: 2 ship points
Your ship, much like a Firefly-class transport or a Swallow-class scout, has side-mounted maneuvering jets, which can, in a pinch, be independently controlled to allow ultra-fine turning control. <<insert system here>>

Tinkered Hard Burn
Cost: 3 Ship Points
The ship’s engines have been altered from the mainline, allowing for much greater accelerations than normal. Rather than tripling the ship’s normal acceleration, a Hard Burn increases it by two and a half, rounding up. A ship with a normal acceleration of 10, for instance, would have a Hard Burn acceleration of 35, rather than 30.

Cost: 5 Ship Points
The ship has been equipped with a piece of ship-to-ship weaponry. This weaponry has a damage rating equal to the ship’s Handling. The weapons can be anything from a hull-mounted machine gun turret to missiles installed – the effect is the same.
Drawback: Attaching weaponry to your ship isn’t easy – and it offers enemy ships another target. An enemy can attempt to specifically target your weaponry system at a -3 to the attack roll. On a success, your weapons are knocked offline until repaired (requiring a number of successes equal to three times the damage dealt, with repairs performed EV). This repair must be done at the site of the weapon. An exceptional success against the weaponry port indicates ignites the weapons discharges while still in the bay, ripping the ship into pieces.

Wheeled Landing
Cost: 1 Ship Points
The shuttle is capable of running as a land-based vehicle, as well as air travel. This flexibility is useful in a number of situations.
Note: This Asset costs two ship points if the shuttle in question already has the Duck Asset.

Shuttle-Only Asset:
Cost: 2 Ship Points
The shuttle is capable of greater distance travel than most. There is no longer a maximum distance limit for the shuttle; it is essentially a smaller spaceship, albeit one which is incapable of Hard Burn.

Crossed-wire Comm
Cost: 1 Ship Point
The ship's comm system has a sort-circuit somewhere along the line. Because of this, communication tends to be an... interesting prospect. Whenever the ship intercom is used, the ST rolls a die. On a success, the call is misdirected to a different room of the ST's choosing. Subsequent calls may reach the proper room; the ST rolls on every call.

Factory Reconditioned Grav Unit
Cost: 2 Ship Points
The grav generator of the ship is old and faulty. Once per chapter, generally during stressful maneuvers, the ST rolls a die. On a success, the gravity goes out. See the zero-g rules for details. The characters may roll an extended Dexterity + Crafts (-1 for the zero-g) and achieve 6 successes to repair the gravity. Each roll represents an hour's work.

Faulty Compression Coil
Cost: 3 ship points
When the ship's engines are stressed, certain components have a tendency to fail. If the characters go to Hard Burn, the ST rolls a die. On a roll of 1, the ship's propulsion cuts out. 6 successes on an extended Dexterity + Crafts roll will repair the engines for one Burn. After that, the ST rolls as usual. If the ship attempts to land while the Grav is out, the pilot must roll Wits + Pilot. On a failure, everybody aboard takes 2 Bashing damage from being tossed around by gravity and turbulence.

Faulty Environmental System
Cost: 5 Ship Points
The ship's environmental systems are weak and unstable, which can lead to no end of trouble. Once per story, the ST rolls a single die. On a roll of 1, the ship's environmental systems fail. Unless repaired, the ship's oxygen and heat will run out in a number of hours equal to its Size times 4. Repair requires 10 successes on an extended Dexterity + crafts action.

Fewer Shuttles
Cost: 3 Ship Points
The ship is equipped for one fewer shuttle than indicated by its Size. This can be an inconvenience when the crew needs to be two places at once. Only ships with a Size of 2 or greater can purchase this Quirk. This Quirk may be purchased multiple times, up to the ship’s Size minus one. Simply purchasing a shuttle with Resources does not negate this Quirk; six Ship Points must be spent to allow the ship to properly dock with one more shuttle.

Gas Guzzler
Cost: 1 Ship Point
The ship's fuel systems burn more fuel than normal. The ship's refueling and maintenance costs are increased by a single dot. For example, an unmodified ship with this Quirk requires a single rating of dot four, a rating of dot three and a rating of dot one, a rating of dot two and three ratings of dot one, or so on.

Inaccurate Navsat
Cost: 2 Ship Points
The ship's Navsat is slightly... off. Whenever the pilot sets a course, the ST rolls a die. Each number that comes up is one-tenth of the distance which is added to the total distance the characters must travel. For example, if the normal distance is 100,000 PMUs and the ST rolls a 3, the Navsat comes up with a course that has a distance of 130,000. If the die comes up 0, the Navsat is spot-on (for once).

Inadequate Sensors
Cost: 2 Ship Points
The ship's sensors are weak and inferior, reducing their range by 1/4. For example, a standard ship's sensors have a Short range of 100 PMUs, a Standard range of 1,000, and a Long range of 10,000. Ships with this Asset have ranges of 75/750/7,500.

Inefficient Reclamation System
Cost: 1 Ship Point
The ship's systems are wasteful and inefficient, using up fuel much faster than normal. The ship depletes a Running Cash dot each five days, rather than each week.

Infamous Ship
Cost: 3 ship points
The ship is well-known throughout the system - and not in a good way. Whether folks think it's bad luck, or it was the ship an Alliance captain used to decimate a settlement, it has an ill name. Crewmembers suffer a -1 penalty on social rolls against anyone who connects them with the ship. As well, efforts to trace the ship receive a +2 modifier, as people are more likely to recall and talk about the passage of "that gorram ship."

Cost: 1 Ship Point
Your ship has been inhabited by some form of varmint, whether it’s cockroaches, rats, or black-market beagles gone feral. These creatures eat your food stores, startle people, squeak and rustle incessantly, and basically make themselves gorram annoying. Your ship loses 1/2 a pound of food a week to the critters, and the ST can levy a -1 penalty to three rolls per session aboard ship, because of the little nasties’ distracting noises.

Cost: 4 Ship Points
You purchased this ship at a used spaceship lot, and it turns out the hun dan you bought it from pulled a fast one on you. Nothing on the ship works right – at least, not all the time.
At the beginning of each chapter, the ST rolls a D10. The number rolled indicates which quirk manifests for that session, according to Table 2-1.
The ship is treated in all ways as though it possessed the Quirk in question for the duration of the Chapter. If the ship already has the quirk in question, the ST rolls again. If the Quirk in question is repaired (usually requiring an extended Wits + Crafts roll and the accumulation of six or more successes), the ST rolls another die – upon a success, he rerolls for a different quirk. On a failure, the ship remains quirk-free until the next session.

1 Crossed-wire Comm
2 Factory-reconditioned Grav Unit
3 Inaccurate Navsat
4 Inadequate Sensors
5 Outdated Computers
6 Faulty Compression Coil
7 Sluggish Hard Burn
8 Gas Guzzler
9 Inefficient Reclamation System
10 Faulty Environmental System

No Grav Unit
Cost: 5 Ship Points
Whether the ship was constructed without it, it had to be removed, or it just plain broke, your ship has no gravity generator. Zero-g rules are always in effect on the ship. In addition, landings tend to be a mite bumpier than normal. When entering a planet's atmosphere, the pilot must roll Dexterity + Pilot. On a failure, everybody aboard takes 2 Bashing damage from being tossed around by gravity and turbulence.

No Hard Burn
Cost: 5 Ship Points
The ship's engines are not configured to allow Hard Burn. While this doesn't cause much trouble in general cruises, it can be crucial if the ship is trying to catch that hun dan who stole the cargo - or being chased by the Feds.

Outdated Computers:
Cost: 2 Ship Points
The ship's computer systems and Cortex interface are old and clumsy. Computer rolls aboard ship take twice as long to complete than normal.

Sluggish Hard Burn
Cost: 3 Ship Points
Your ship's engines are weaker than normal, leading to relatively slow Hard Burns. Instead of tripling acceleration, Hard Burn increases it by 1 3/4 (rounded down).

2009-09-24, 01:50 PM

2009-09-24, 02:34 PM
Somehow this slipped by me. I've always wanted a better system for running Serenity, and nWoD does seem like one of the top two candidates (I'd personally lean more towards Deadlands for the flavor, but I do love me some nWoD, so I can't complain).

I'll look through this more in depth later, but I'd love to lend a hand if you want one.

2009-09-24, 02:40 PM
Awesome sauce. I know the Firefly rules only vaguely but am VERY fmailiar with WoD. I'd play, as a Mechanic who had a deep connection with the ship.

2009-09-24, 03:15 PM

Indeed. XD