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Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
 
$49.99 $19.99
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
Ratings Reviews Total
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3 5
2 3
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Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
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Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/24/2016 23:08:36

The ruleset is interesting (I love the task resolution) but it reduces crunch a little too much and really runs counter to some of the things the show was really about.

The show featured a ragtag group of scoundrels struggling to get by. In this game, they have nothing to worry about since there is no money really and they can just make items appear from thin air with "plot points." This really rubs me the wrong way. Don't get me wrong, I like rules lite systems. I also like that this game gets rid of HP bloat and Monty Hall itemization. However, for a game about a group of folk out in the verse just scraping by, there needs to be more emphasis on basic equipment loadouts, trading, job payouts vs fuel/food costs, etc.

With some basic mods (particularly to how assets/signature assets are handled) and some additions (hack in a some stuff from Stars Without Number), the rules can be good. I would also consider tossing in Savage Worlds-like card dealt intitiative since it leaves turn order up to nothing but DM fiat.

If you play as is, the game is fine as something to occaisionally jump into but it won't do as good as other systems when it comes to more open space campaigns.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Jeff P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/03/2015 11:45:18

The 'Firefly' RPG is a great game with a strikingly different design philosophy from many other RPG's (and it's also worth mentioning that the game mechanic used in the 'Firefly' RPG is significantly different from the system used in the 'Serenity' RPG a few years ago, also published by Margaret Weis Productions). In fact, this game system is so different from most other roleplaying games that many experienced gamers struggle a bit with its basic concepts, while people new to roleplaying often 'get' it almost immediately. Essentially, the difference is that die rolls drive the game's narrative-- creating character advantages or complications in the process which can become major plot elements in their own right-- instead of simply determining success or failure and then leaving it to the GM to weave that result into his or her existing narrative. This very slight tweak does a couple of interesting things. First, the prospect of gaining complications actually makes the game better-- don't ask me how, but the game just seems to get more fun as your character gets hosed by multiple complications. This is the thing that veteran players seem to have the most difficulty with when they play 'Firefly' for the first time, but if you've ever seen the TV show, it makes perfect sense: the show is at its best when things don't go as planned. You don't get to be a big damn hero unless you face unexpected wrinkles and complications, and building random setbacks into the game somehow tends to make characters all the more epic. This runs against the grain of most gamers' previous game experiences, since the norm in roleplaying games is to try to stack the deck so that your character always has a winning hand. The other thing that this mechanic does is that the process of assigning assets and complications through gameplay gives the players a degree of agency within the storyteller's overall narrative, which isn't as disruptive as it might sound, but also invests players in the way that story develops and unfolds. This system has a unique feel to it, making roleplaying a much more collaborative experience, but admittedly it isn't for everyone. People who take a very analytic, numbers-oriented approach to roleplaying-- experiencing it as a game-- will probably like it less than narrative- or character-driven players who primarily see roleplaying as a story.

Because of this "not for everyone" factor, it's worth noting that another product in this game line-- "Echoes of War"-- contains most of the basic rules mechanics found in the core rulebook, plus four complete adventures in which players are assumed to play characters from the TV show (but can be run with the players' own characters, if desired). Picking up "Echoes of War" is a great way to give the game a try without too much of a financial investment. The core rules, on the other hand, add a system for character and ship creation, information on the planetary systems of the 'Firefly' setting, GM advice for running longer campaigns, and a number of additional rules that you'll want to have if you love this setting and system as much as I do.

Every now and then an RPG for a media franchise comes out which really captures the flavor of that setting. The 'Firefly' RPG does this almost effortlessly, with rules which make it seem like the 'verse is out to get you sometimes. Those are also the times when your players will get to be big damn heroes. Do yourself a favor and pick up the 'Firefly' game, so that you can do a job, get paid, and keep flying.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by David F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/29/2015 13:25:35

This book dose not disappoint. This is a great uses of the cortex system. It is newbie friendly, but has deep roots. This is a great way to introduce new players to Cortex, or even RPGs. Give this a try, it won't let you down.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Matthew H. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/16/2015 11:54:53

Hello,

Over the past few weeks I have been reading through the corebook for Firefly from Margaret Weis Productions and i do have to say, I have yet to find such a well made, easy to use, and fun way to create a character as this. The rules are fairly straight forward to understand and the book has the whole series of firefly as an example of gameplay plus a few extra adventures to go on near the back of the book as well.

The quality of the product is also very very good, not that i will purposely damage it but i know this book is going to last a very long time. the art also inside is very well done high quality and includes many shots from the series.

I really cant wait to see more from them and soon!

-Matt Hanna



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Dan C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/02/2015 10:07:13

Really loving this rule set, nice and simple to understand but flexible enough to do almost anything and open to adaptation. Can't wait to get a crew together and set out into the Black and the wider Verse.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 01/13/2015 08:41:27

This book opens by introducing the Firefly TV show, and does so well even if you have watched it before (likely you have if you are interested in a game based on that show... although the Leverage game from the same company actually started me watching that show, but I digress). This overview is linked neatly into what the game's about: you will form a crew similar to the Serenity one (if you are confused, Firefly is the name of the show, this game and the class of ship they went around in; Serenity is the name of the ship, the movie spin-off from the TV show and a previous RPG...), and have adventures similar to the ones in the show. Indeed, if you want you can play the characters from the show. The adventures will be new, though. It would be rather dull to play out ones you've already seen on TV! This opening section finishes with there's some background on the place you'll be adventuring in, the 'Verse, and basic notes on what you need to play.

The next chapter is an episode guide of all fourteen episodes of the show that were broadcast. Naturally it's a bit more than that, with notes on how things work in the game - e.g. what dice would be rolled by a given character to perform some stunt that he did in the show - ideas for adventures spinning off from what's already happened, stat blocks for people who feature and more. Weapons and items, for example, are both described and given their game statistics, should you want to use them yourself. It's all lavishly illustrated with screenshots - alas uncaptioned. Each episode ends with several full-blown adventure outlines you could use, and there's plenty and enough detail there that you could throw the episode itself at your characters and see if they can do any better than the originals!

This is followed by Find A Crew, a chapter that explains all you need to know to create your own character. It also has full work-ups in game terms of all the show's characters if you'd rather play them and a set of archetypes that provide a half-way house, most of the hard work has been done for you and all you need to do is personalise them for yourself. If you have Serenity Crew, you'll already have the show characters and archetypes, but here you also get to find out how to create a character from scratch, if that's your preference.

Next comes Find A Ship, which provides a similar service for working out the details of the ship that will be your characters' home, transportation and business. There's even a handy technobabble chart for those who want to sound like they know what's happening in Engineering! There's plenty of material here for you to design a ship from scratch as well as a range of ideas about all the other ships that are out there in the black... not to mention other modes of transportation that you'll find when you land as well.

Ship and crew sorted, all that remains is to Find A Job: and the chapter of the same name starts with the basics for novice role-players, explains how the game is played and how the rules work, and ends with more customisation, how to create your own options and how characters advance once they've been played a bit. This continues with the next chapter, Keep Flyin', which is aimed at whoever wants to be the Game Master (GM). This looks at the rules from the GM's point of view before delving into the running of adventures, how to keep the excitement high and the pressure on, and how to create and run the myriad NPCs needed - for Firefly is, above all, a game in which interactions with other people is central.

The penultimate chapter, Into the Black, looks further into that black art, game mastering, showing you how to use those gamemaster characters to best effect, create the atmosphere and the surroundings and bring it all to life. If it all sounds a bit hard at first, everything soon becomes plain - it's a good solid overview of the game master's art. These skills learned it is time to put them into practice with a complete ready-made scenario to run: What's Yours Is Mine. In this, the party's help is enlisted by someone wrongfully gaoled for murder who wants to get their company back from the individual who framed them... well, you would, wouldn't you.

There's an Appendix jam-packed with useful bits and bobs, including enough Chinese to sound authentic (but perhaps best not practiced on the local Chinese takeaway!), schematics for a Firefly-class ship, system maps and blank sheets for both characters and ships.

Overall, it's a fine introduction to the game - go enjoy yourself out in the black!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Francis D. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/12/2015 10:56:05

Firefly vs Serenity - because there are plenty of good reviews here but none go into the detail of the two systems. Production values and research are excellent for both, of course, and if you want a coffee table book then both work.

The obvious is that they are two separate licenses. If it was in the series but not the film there will be no official stats in Serenity. If it was in the film but not the series there will be none in Firefly. (Because MWP owns the system there are some dual-statted adventures). Less obvious is that Cortex and Cortex Plus are very different systems.

Serenity is a solid traditional RPG. One where the GM is in control of almost everything, and one where there's sufficient grit that leads dying occasionally is expected (which of course matches the film but not the series). Combat is moderately long with tactics and explicit rules for taking cover and the whole thing is if anything a bit grittier than the Serenity movie. Weapons are handled by stats such as range and reloading. Ultimately it's a fairly consistent generic system with a tone that's pretty good for the movie.

If Serenity is a stately waltz, Firefly normally starts with some idiot (normally a PC) setting fire to the third bar and the whole thing turning into a jam session. Things don't go smooth, and even GM plans should be cooked rare because they will be derailed. Scene assets and complications, frequently introduced by the players, are almost as important as the skill of the acting PC. That said, the system is designed to handle any wacky plans the players can think up to the point that making The Destroyer into something made of marshmallow is not a problem (seriously, Firefly is a near perfect system for 80s comedies like Ghostbusters or Police Academy or even more modern comedies like Guardians of the Galaxy where it's blatantly obvious the GM doesn't know what's going on although it does work for more serious games). PC death doesn't often happen except by consent in Firefly - but there are so many other ways for e.g. Saffron to leave Mal wishing he'd never met her with Complications (mechanical representations of in game problems) that this rarely matters. Combat is short and sweet, over in only a few die rolls that use the same system as everything else and weapons are handled with a single number each (with Vera being really effective, although Jayne's pretty good with any gun).

Which is better? What do you want? Something planned out in detail? Or high octane mayhem with everything going wrong and the wheels always on the verge of falling off the wagon.

Me? I prefer Firefly (both series and game). But they are different games, reflecting the different tone between the series and the film.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Sophie L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/02/2014 14:45:48

This is the game I had hoped the Serenity RPG would be, back in 2005. The thoroughly non-groundbreaking Cortex Classic system has been overhauled into the now quite interesting Cortex Plus system (also behind the Leverage RPG, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, and Smallville RPG.) The thick, meaty book contains a lot of information about the Verse, and useful game-mastering advice. A collection of customizable character templates provides lots of ideas and allows simplified character creation if you don’t want to play the original cast.

Characters have attributes, skills, distinctions, and assets, each assigned a die type from d4 to d12. The more important or beneficial the characteristic, the larger the die size. Whenever rolling to accomplish something, you roll at least two dice (one for attribute and one for skill), plus any number of bonus dice for favourable circumstances, distinctions and assets you can bring into play, keeping the total of the two highest in the roll Results of 1 on a die can be “bought” as complication by the GM by offering a Plot Point.. You can also earn Plot Points by taking risks or getting yourself in trouble in various ways; Plot Points can be used to do a variety of things such as keep more dice, add an asset, etc.

It’s all fairly intuitive in play, and allows for nice ups-and-downs as well as narrative power (every die added must be explained by the player’s narration). The downside is that all rolls are opposed, i.e., the GM needs to roll against every player roll. The system allows for five levels of NPCs, from most powerful and detailed to sketchiest and least threatening: Heavy, Medium, and Light Major NPCs, Minor NPCs, and Extras. But the necessity of rolling for every action made me want to stick to Minor NPCs and Extras, which have fewer mechanical bits to worry about.

In general, I prefer games that lighten my task as GM since I throw in a lot of improvisation, for example games that require no rolls on the GM’s part (like Hollow Earth Expedition, and Apocalypse World and its many hacks) or games that have streamlined stats (like PDQ, Fate, and many story games.) If I ran this for a series, I would probably use the mean roll values to create flat scores, like in Hollow Earth Expedition so I would not need to roll. For example, an attribute at d6 and a skill at d8 would result in a score of 8 (mean value of rolling d6+d8) against which the player’s roll result would be compared. So all in all, not a system that actively promotes letting go of the plot since you may have to scramble to find NPC stats and other info, but not one that opposes it either.

Visually, the book is very attractive, and the paper and binding are of high quality. NPCs that were not in the original television show are portrayed using photographs that are given a visual treatment similar to the show stills, providing continuity. I appreciate that a serious effort was made to add a lot of female and non-white characters this way, and especially Asian-looking characters, something that was always underplayed on television. The writing is good, though it periodically tries too hard to sound like Malcolm Reynolds. For example:

Equipment in the FIREFLY RPG is only important if’n it affects the outcome of an action you want to take. It’s easy enough to fall in love with the ’Verse, but spendin’ all your time describin’ a fancy six-shooter don’t amount to a hill of beans unless its pearl handle and monogrammed initials matter to your story.

I get rapidly tired of this but once I get past the mannerisms, the writing and advice are solid, as Adelai Niska would say.

One of the cleverest features of the book is also a source of a bit of trouble for the GM. A sizeable section of the book walks through every one of the 14 Firefly episodes and treats them as if they were games run using the system, showing how the rules would have been used to produce this particular result. Each episode is followed up with a collection of ideas for future episodes that would tie back into the story, thus rooting an on-going campaign in the Verse background. It’s an excellent way to introduce a fan to role-playing, and provides tons of useful examples of rule use. Unfortunately, it means that many of the examples, NPCs, plot ideas, and rules adjudications are scattered through that section and hard to find in the middle of an adventure, especially without an index.

At $50, the book is not exactly cheap but it’s reasonably priced for the overall quality. MWP offers the PDF free for those who purchased the print version through their Preferred Retailer Program. The PDF is of high quality and fully bookmarked, something not all publishers have grasped is a necessity. However, it will not allow to re-print pages to a new PDF, such as if you want to upload the character sheets to a place like FedEx Kinko’s.

Overall, it’s a very good book, well written and well laid out, but a tad tricky to find things in during play. Highly recommended for fans of the show.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Michelle F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/08/2014 22:16:50

The great, the good, and the moderately irritating.

Love the system - Cortex Plus feels like a great fit for the Firefly 'verse. I think the complication and opportunity mechanics will really help to capture the tone of the show. The book is gorgeous and the content is comprehensive and throughly explained.

Not crazy about the layout - I didn't particularly need the inforced review of the entire series just to get the rules. Not to mention, a Chinese pronunciation guide, Serenity cockpit layout, what felt like every line of dialogue from the show, and no index? really?

Hate the language - dialect is great for dialogue, it's less fun to to slog through for hundreds of pages. I get the theme; I really do. I was heartily sick of the every kitchy "if'n'" by page 33 and gritting my teeth by page 64. The crew may have been backwater; I am not. I don't feel anymore connected to the 'verse for feeling like I picked up the rules on a moonshine run in Hazard County. That being said, I'm not likely to read it cover-to-cover ever egain, so its already moot.

Vernacular aside, I consider this a solid purchase and I will probably buy the companion volumes too. Along with post-it flags - lots of post-it flags. #indexme



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 06/03/2014 21:29:41

WHAT WORKS: The book is chock full of examples, within the episode guide and outside of it, making the system easier to understand than, perhaps, any other incarnation of Cortex Plus. They squeezed a LOT of customization options out of the Firefly universe, broadening the scope nicely. The Episode Guide is the best I have ever seen in a licensed RPG, worth reading even if you know the series by heart. The most "traditional" feel a Cortex Plus game has had yet, which should help make it more accessible.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: No real treatment of Reavers, I guess? If the print version doesn't have an index, that's going to be rough in a book this size. I could have went in for a Random Episode Generator.

CONCLUSION: The clearest, most concise version of Cortex Plus yet, with no real complaints on my part. The episode guide is an epic thing of beauty, and I could see someone using this as a "gateway" to Cortex Plus and walking folks "back" to other Cortex Plus games once they grasp the basics off of this. I'll admit, I like Firefly, but the idea of a Firefly campaign doesn't fire me up, until I see just how much they were able to cram into this book. They even managed to squeeze in playing an Alliance Operative! I'm not really sure how much material they have to expand the gaming universe with, but given how tight and complete Smallville and Leverage were (sniff, poor Marvel Heroic, sniff), I don't know if that's a bad thing to create a "basically all in one" Firefly RPG. I give it a pretty high recommendation for gaming in the 'Verse, for sure.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2014/06/tommys-take-on-firefly-roleplaying-game.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Miles P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/30/2014 12:18:59

Absolutely loved the TV series, and was a fantastic fan of Margaret Weis's when I was a kid, so figured I'd toss $20 at this even if it sucked.

It didn't, it's fantastic. The narrative playstyle of the game system makes gameplay a much more collaborative event where both the players and the GM are almost equally involved in telling the story. This makes it much harder for players to feel like they're being railroaded through the plot, indeed, this method results in them helping to determine the plot.

If your group is comprised of tactical combat simulationists who ignore the plot and get right to the action, then this may not be for you.

My only complaint, and it's not enough to pull down from the 5 star review, is that the order of the contents didn't work for me. The book jumps right into reviewing the setting and going through all 14 tv episodes and introduces you to the mechanics of them game in a more narrative fashion. This may work for some people, but for me I would have preferred the gameplay rules come first. I recommended all my players start with FIND A JOB and KEEP FLYIN' (the gameplay rules) on pages 234-273, and then go back and read the earlier portion.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Matthew T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/16/2014 04:37:20

As a RPGer of some thirty-odd years, brought up on systems like Traveller, BRP, Rolemaster and even (for a couple of early sessions) basic and AD&D, it's taken me some time to get my head around the Cortex Plus system.

I'm not new to narrative systems. I'm a big Fate fan, and I couldn't quite see why Cortex Plus seems to cling onto aspects of old-style RPGs (for example polyhedrals) which games like Fudge and Fate had long since eschewed.

Last year, I played a session or two of the Gencon preview edition of the Firefly Roleplaying Game, with one of my groups. The experience wasn't overly positive. I did urge Browncoats to buy the episodes, because they were cheap PDFs, each one comes a summary of the rules, and they are ... well, they are like a new series of Firefly. But I had my problems with the preview book itself - my group struggled with the rules, as GM (or game master) I felt I had to do too much dice-rolling, and I wasn't convinced by the design. I was particularly rude about the deep blue character sheets. These pages, which were expected to be printed out and given to the players would either drain your printer of blue ink, or were undreadable if you chose to print them out in greyscale.

The PDF of the finished Corebook has now been released, and the printed hardback edition is on it's way. I'm pleased to say my biggest gripe, the blue character sheets, has been addressed. In this edition they are a far more elegant design, with a mostly white background. It shows the company listens, and reacts, and so makes things better.

Since writing that review of the preview edition I've also had the chance to get to grips with the rules. I still think that, as GM, I have to roll the dice too much, but now I better understand why. And what I've come to understand informs what I am about to say:

You should buy this game.

Obviously, if you are Browncoat and a role-player, you were going to buy it anyway. You'll likely have pre-ordered the hardback already, and you are already enjoying the PDF. I'll warn you now that you might experience some difficulty in getting your group to play the game as written, but we'll come to that later.

Right now I want to speak to the Browncoats who aren't interested in Role Playing Games:

You should buy this game.

Why should you buy this game? Because if you are a Bowncoat who isn't into Role Playing Games, this is the game for you. Even if you are the Browncoat who has tried a Role Playing Game, and you know, honestly, that they are just not for you, then THIS is the game for you.

Because the Firefly Role Playing Game isn't so much as game as a Story Engine.

The roots of Role Playing in military simulation were evident. Dungeons and Dragons strived to simulate (an admittedly fantastic) reality with dice, using conventions that might have made sense in war gaming but were clumsy and frankly incredulous in storytelling. Hit points, for example, came from the concept of unit strength in war gaming, but don't make sense in one-to-one combat. If somebody hits you with a sword you suffer broken bones or internal organ damage. You don't say "Don't worry, I still have half my hit points left" and carry on. For a couple of decades, designers of subsequent games tried to address this problem by making the simulation more realistic, which often meant more complex but actually just as abstract.

But it doesn't need to be that way. In the Eighties, a game called Toon eschewed the simulation of reality to emulate the madcap antics of Bugs Bunny and the Loony Tunes cartoons. In the Nineties the game Feng Shui did the same for Hong Kong action movies. In Feng Shui if a character didn't have a name they wouldn't have any hit points. You could take them out with just one punch, just like in the movies. These were two early examples of narrative driven games, where the story you tell becomes more important than the tactics of battle.

In the new Firefly RPG, no-one has any hit points. You don't roll dice to simulate the effects of a gunshot on your opponent, you roll dice to explore the effects of a gunshot, or an argument, or a kiss, on the story. And anybody can be taken out of the scene with the effects of just one punch, or even just one kiss.

The Firefly rules are the first I've seen that can prompt the devastating effects on Inara of Mal's fling with Nandi Heart of Gold. Whenever a chance of failure might make the story more interesting, the player concerned rolls a pool of dice based on the aspects of their character that best fit the narrative. The two top scoring dice, when compared with the score on the GMs dice, tell you whether you succeed or fail. But if any of your dice roll ones, even if you succeed, things get more ... complicated. its not entirely bad news though. Not only does the complication add a twist to the story, the player gets a plot point, which they can spend on improving their future chances of success, buying off complications when the opportunity arises, or adding aspects of their own invention to the story. In high stakes rolls, like combat, everyone can be, will be, taken out with just one punch, or bullet. But if you have a plot point, you can use it to stay in the scene and take an injury instead. And that injury isn't just a number of hit points, it's something you can describe, like a cut across the chest, or a bullet in the gut.

Firefly isn't the only game that does without hit points. And lots of more modern games feature things like plot points, but in most they are rewards that give you bonuses in the game. In Firefly they are an integral part of the engine that transforms a session from one where the players might feel like puppets in a story game master has already written, into a collaborative storytelling environment, where nobody, NOBODY, quite knows what going to happen next.

More experienced gamers? I know you've already bought it, but I want to leave you with one warning. If your group is used to more traditional, tactical games like Dungeons and Dragons, they may react with horror at the lack of hit points, armour class and experience levels. Try and convince them that they are not playing a simulation, but telling a story. Tell them it's a story that gives them more control that they've ever had before, but one with all the twists and turns of their favorite TV show. If they are still uncertain, recruit some newbies into your group without any of the hang-ups of old-skool gamers.

Because you need to play this game. It's the next six seasons of Firefly.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Kevin S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/10/2014 13:42:07

The layout of the book is incredibly awkward. Presenting the majority of the rules in the context of the episodes without an index at the back makes it really hard to find the rules you are looking for. At least put an index in the back that tells you where to find a specific rule.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Ron M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/21/2014 14:50:46

Not a bad book, although the GenCon Pre-order's art was more impressive. I'm still waiting on my Hard copy to be sent to me....



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
Publisher: Margaret Weis Productions
by Stephen S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/06/2014 09:23:38

The much anticipated Firefly-RPG is both excitingly innovative and disappointing. The book is laid out focusing on stories, including a highly detailed account of each of the shows fourteen episodes used as flavor text and to highlight the rules and how one can use them to achieve the feel of the iconic television show. This was a brave work given the cult following of the show. PROs: The basic rule system is simple, and elegant. All actions with potentially bad consequences are resolved in the same basic way. The player and opponent roll off using a dice pool. The pool can be modified in a bunch of ways, but all of them are intuitive. Players has considerable control of the narrative using plot points and a variety of rules relating to their simple character sheets. There are countless examples in the text of how to resolve various scenarios. Also present are dozens of archetypes, distinctions, and ships to satisfy the players. The rules eschew the asset management crunchiness of damage tracking, money and equipment. Thoughtful insights on how to construct adventures and develop backgrounds. The rules, examples, and suggestions for creating distinctions and triggers are well written and clearly laid out to give flexibility AND careful guidelines for keeping play balance. CONS: Unintuitive organization, reminiscent of Old White Wolf games buries many of the actual rules deep in the narrative of the episodes. No index to track down relevant rules. Many scenarios have a variety of methods for resolution, and similar scenarios may be described differently in the episode guides. This flexibility offers a variety of tools, but leaves the GM in the unfortunate situation of having to generate house rules for a number of pretty common situations (assets, complications, teamwork, low stakes actions, big damn hero dice, and situation traits to name a few.) The idea of using the familiar show episodes to explain rules is a great one. More attention though should have been put to (a) be consistent with the rules, (b) explain when they were fudging things to make the rules fit the scenario, and (c) explaining the game mind set versus the story telling of the show. A good example of the latter problem is the description of the Janynestown episode. The translation of the story into games mechanics is relatively sound (except for one rule violation) but it never admits to the great fiction. That story would almost certainly not arise in the way they describe it. A GM and Player would have had to plan out the entire central point Jayne's previous visit well in advance, they pretend that it could have been a happy accident of a botched die roll. The episode guide and associated rules sections could have been more effective if they owned the deceit that any attempt to translate the show would be implausible. My main issue with the game is just that they don't seem to want to admit that it is a game. There is little attention to the sorts of things players are wont to do. A good example is using the environment and strategy. The catch all rules mechanism for this is using a plot point to create an asset. Mechanically this is rarely a good use of plot points, but it is encouraged throughout the text. The problem is that, in the absence of using plot point there is little incentive to use strategy. There is no rules point in seeking cover in a combat if you don't want to spend a plot point for the Asset cover. That said, scattered throughout the text and heavily used on the forums, are little tweaks to accommodate these alternatives. The GM can grant assets as rewards for good play (but is cautioned to do so sparingly), one can use other incentives to reward clever thinking, and good role playing, but again these are presented as options or house rules. There are numerous mechanisms to do this, but no effort was made to suggest what might work better, encourage good story telling, or keep game balance. Overall I get the impression that the Rules are better described as Tools. They are good tools, but only for a GM who is willing to invest heavily in working out the consequences of their application OR unconcerned about consistency and fairness and willing to play fast and loose. I think the designers had the latter idea in mind when they designed the system. It does beg the question, if the rules literally don't matter, then why have them at all?



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