I recently started a Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse campaign with my friends using Google+. I was excited to see the changes/updates I made to my game and try to get over the hurdles/issues I have acquired with the AGE system.
We made characters and played the first session and it went really well! All the little doubts that I had about AGE seemed to have gone away. However during the second session my players came up with some really great ideas that just aren’t facilitated in the rules and thus I had to make some snappy decisions on the fly (luckily I’m good at improv). The doubts started creeping back into my mind.
Aside: It is important to point out that I do not fault the AGE system for the above statement. AGE was made for fantasy role-playing and not sci-fi. I took it upon myself to create Firefly using it, so honestly any failing for not having rules/advice in a certain area lies solely on my own shoulders.
We ended the second session on a high note and everyone seemed to be happy with how the adventure turned out. I sat down and started really thinking about Firefly, the goals of a crew (players), adventures, and all the minutia of running a campaign in this awesome setting.
The Creation of Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse
First I needed to look at why I created my Firefly game. It was for my now disbanded NJ gaming group. Most of my players in that game are extremely casual gamers, and I don’t fault them for that. Everyone has a different play-style. We had tried Dragon Age RPG and liked it and I knew I wanted a simple system for them for Firefly and that is what the AGE system is: Simple.
I took the foundation of the AGE system and created Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse for them. We played several sessions before we disbanded and we had a ball! It worked great for them.
After a bit of contemplation I realized that the problem I was having lied with my current group (most of which are in Montana, where I’m from- I’m now in NJ while my girlfriend get’s her PhD in Toxicology). My players, while being casual, are slightly more into the minutia of a game (some of them even more so) and they like deconstruction shit and McGuyvering everything and coming up with some truly awesome ideas on how to beat/tackle the challenges in front of them (as was the case in the second session).
The AGE system, for sci-fi, just doesn’t have rules to facilitate these kind of situations. I’m not talking about becoming rules heavy or anything.
That was the first issue. The second was trade, passengers, cargo, etc. My players were wanting to get into the nitty gritty of that (where my NJ crew wouldn’t have thought twice about it- again not a slight on them- just different play styles). I didn’t have rules for this in my game, because it was unneeded for the group I made it for, so that presented another problem. I have to make calls on the fly all the time, hope that the players don’t find the discrepancies between calls annoying, and then build and make rules for these situations.
The third issues was my players WANTED to trick out their guns with scopes or have rules for detailed explosives or pimp out their ride, the Lynx. Again I didn’t have rules for this and to facilitate what the players desired I’d have to create rules for it.
Same Campaign Just Different Flavor
I have a rule about homebrew/Hack game design (this is just my opinion): If you are taking a system and changing it to fit your needs that is awesome, but if you are taking it and altering it beyond the point of recognition to suit your needs and “do something better” it may be time/worth to look at a different system.
To keep using the AGE system for Firefly I would have to create several subsystems and rules to do what I now my players and I wanted. Doing this would defeat the simplicity of the AGE system. I realized that I just needed to put down the AGE system and begin the search for something that did what I was desiring.
Luckily with very little work I found it. The Traveller RPG, Mongoose Edition. I found several older forum posts about people thinking Firefly was inspired by Traveller and that with very little work you could easily play Firefly using the system.
I bought the core rule book and read through it and was immediately impressed with the system and the level of customization for the characters, ships, and equipment. Not to mention the rules for trade, travel, ship fare, etc. It is fairly rules-lite and very open. I found what I was looking for.
We have converted our characters over from AGE to Traveller with little issue or confusion. We haven’t gotten to play the new system yet, hopefully that will be the case this week or next. We’ll see.
I’m looking forward to seeing what my players do with this system and the challenges placed before them. I like that there are rules for cyberware and ships without being overly cumbersome!
Firefly: Hurtlin’ Through the ‘Verse is still going on strong. Just changed course.