How they roll – Jin

While I prep for the next episode to release in the March hiatus, each day this week I’m going to release the RPG stats on the crew and ship.  I’m going to be using the Cortex classic (or the “Cortex 1.5” as I like to call it) system described in the Supernatural and Serenity RPG book (especially the Big Damn Heroes book).  Once the new Firefly RPG corebook releases this year, I’ll see how much can be adapted into Cortex 2 (or “cortex plus” if you want to use the proper naming).

Ministry of Intelligence Communique

(for authorized eyes only)

Jin [redacted]

Rank: Pilot
Ship: Echo Trail

Latest medical data [attributes]

  • Agility – d4
  • Strength – d12
  • Vitality – d8
  • Alertness – d6
  • Intelligence – d6
  • Willpower – d6

Observed proficiencies [skills]

  • Covert d6
  • Guns d4
  • Heavy Weapons d4
  • Knowledge d6 (Culture d10) (Military d8)
  • Linguist d4
  • Perception d4
  • Pilot d6 (Starships d12)
  • Survival d6
  • Unarmed Combat d6 (Brawling d10)

Distinguishing characteristics [assets]

  • Blastomere Implants d4
  • Born Behind the Wheel (starships) d6
  • Uncommon Knowledge (the Alliance) d6

Possible vulnerabilities [complications]

  • Illness d12
  • Wisecracker/Smartass d4

ERROR

You do not have clearance to review the full record.

Retrieval of subject is high priority.

Survival of subject is optional.

By natewinchester Posted in RPG

How they roll – Kris Argento

While I prep for the next episode to release in the March hiatus, each day this week I’m going to release the RPG stats on the crew and ship.  I’m going to be using the Cortex classic (or the “Cortex 1.5” as I like to call it) system described in the Supernatural and Serenity RPG book (especially the Big Damn Heroes book).  Once the new Firefly RPG corebook releases this year, I’ll see how much can be adapted into Cortex 2 (or “cortex plus” if you want to use the proper naming).

Ministry of Intelligence Communique

(for authorized eyes only)

Kris Argento

Rank: Cortex Tech
Ship: Echo Trail

Latest medical data [attributes]

  • Agility – d8
  • Strength – d6
  • Vitality – d4
  • Alertness – d8
  • Intelligence – d10
  • Willpower – d6

Observed proficiencies [skills]

  • Artistry d6 (Poetry d8)
  • Covert d6 (Disable Devices d10)
  • Guns d6 (Assault Rifles d8)  (Pistols d8)
  • Knowledge d4
  • Lore d4
  • Technical Engineer/Tech d6 (Hacking d12) (Technical Repair d10) (Technical Security Systems d10) (Jury Rigging d12)

Distinguishing characteristics [assets]

  • CompTech/Tech Expert d6
  • Cortex Specter d10
  • Religiosity/Faith (Catholicism) d4

Possible vulnerabilities [complications]

  • Phobia (crowds/open spaces) d6
  • Traumatic Flashes d4
  • Shy d4
  • Socially Awkward d6

Investigations into Miss Argento haz re\/ealed t#at teh agen(y haZ 4 hge (rush o|\| h3r.  N factss, she’z wide|y c0nsidered t#e mostest beaut1ful wo|\/|an n teh v3rs3 &* (ertainly $mart 3nough 2 c1rcumvent wut r 4gency |aughably ca11s ”security”. ^_^ a11 bazez r beLongs 2 h3r;;1Md1sap01nt

By natewinchester Posted in RPG

How they roll – Mikey Wesson

While I prep for the next episode to release in the March hiatus, each day this week I’m going to release the RPG stats on the crew and ship.  I’m going to be using the Cortex classic (or the “Cortex 1.5” as I like to call it) system described in the Supernatural and Serenity RPG book (especially the Big Damn Heroes book).  Once the new Firefly RPG corebook releases this year, I’ll see how much can be adapted into Cortex 2 (or “cortex plus” if you want to use the proper naming).

Ministry of Intelligence Communique

(for authorized eyes only)

Michael “Patch” Wesson

Rank: Doctor (2nd in command)
Ship: Echo Trail

Latest medical data [attributes]

  • Agility – d6
  • Strength – d8
  • Vitality – d10
  • Alertness – d6
  • Intelligence – d12
  • Willpower – d6

Observed proficiencies [skills]

  • Covert d4
  • Discipline d6 (Concentration d10)
  • Guns d2
  • Influence d4
  • Knowledge d6
  • Lore d6 (Mythology d8) (Symbols d8)
  • Medicine d6 (First Aid d8) (Surgery d10) (Pharmaceuticals d8)
  • Perception d6 (Empathy d8)
  • Science d6
  • Unarmed Combat d4

Distinguishing characteristics [assets]

  • Highly Educated/Higher Education d4
  • Devoted (Lori) d6
  • Sawbones d6
  • Sensitive d6
  • Steady Calm/Cool Under Fire d6

Possible vulnerabilities [complications]

  • Credo/Duty (Hippocratic Oath) d12
  • Dark Secret d8
  • Hooked (alcohol/self-harm) d4

More commonly referred to as ‘Patch’ by his crew-mates, observation has uncovered the doctor’s name to be “Michael Wesson”.  Although not a popular moniker, it is not uncommon either; the Ministry is still investigating all records of persons by that name.  Thus far, none fit this individual’s profile nor show any signs attending a medical school able to train a person of his proficiency.  It is highly likely that his name is a fake, and judging by his drinking habits and tendency to self-harm, his real name hides something unbearable to his conscience.

By natewinchester Posted in RPG

How they roll – Lori Walker

While I prep for the next episode to release in the March hiatus, each day this week I’m going to release the RPG stats on the crew and ship.  I’m going to be using the Cortex classic (or the “Cortex 1.5” as I like to call it) system described in the Supernatural and Serenity RPG book (especially the Big Damn Heroes book).  Once the new Firefly RPG corebook releases this year, I’ll see how much can be adapted into Cortex 2.0 (or “cortex plus” if you want to use the proper naming).

Ministry of Intelligence Communique

(for authorized eyes only)

Lori Walker

Rank: Captain
Ship: Echo Trail

Latest medical data [attributes]

  • Agility – d8
  • Strength – d6
  • Vitality – d6
  • Alertness – d10
  • Intelligence – d8
  • Willpower – d10

Observed proficiencies [skills]

  • Covert d6 (Streetwise d8) (Stealth d8)
  • Discipline d6 (Leadership d10)
  • Guns d6 (Pistol d12) (Shotgun d8)
  • Influence d6
  • Knowledge d6
  • Lore d4
  • Perception d6  (Investigation d10)
  • Pilot d4
  • Survival d2
  • Unarmed Combat d2

Distinguishing characteristics [assets]

  • Good Name/Reputation d2
  • Leadership d6
  • Light Sleeper d4
  • Mighty Fine Hat/Signature Possession (revolver) d6

Possible vulnerabilities [complications]

  • Credo/Duty (to crew) d8
  • Nosy/Insatiable Curiosity d4
  • Superstitious d2

Records indicate that, as a young girl and before the Unification War, Lori spent a lot of time with her father who operated a small shipping company.  When he died at some point during the war, she took over the operation and continued running supplies for us and – according to reliable sources – the Independents.  Sometime at the close of the war or soon after it, an incident occurred that wrecked her father’s ship (and possibly some of the crew though numbers and identities are currently unavailable).  The Echo Trail resulted from her efforts to rebuild the wreckage.  We are still investigating how she recruited her current crew.

She is extremely loyal to her crew yet is known to seek out unexplained happenings heedless of the danger.  Exhibits signs of superstition and a belief in mythical beings.  Recently Captain Walker has been getting too close to classified secrets.  Recommend a trap be set using either “classified” information or “rumors” about a monster.  It is preferable that one of her crew be captured.

By natewinchester Posted in RPG

Serenity – Leaves on the Wind #1

Yes, the Firefly-‘Verse lives again in comic book form.  I’ll assume that if you’re reading this by now, you’ve probably already picked up a copy.  Or I doubt my review is going to influence anyone on their purchasing decision of this issue, so be warned: here be spoilers.

I will admit, though my efforts, that Whedon’s ‘Verse is very much a visual work (hence why I’m now trying to find an artist).  TV/Movie is the best form for it, but comics are a worthwhile third choice (an animated TV/Movie series – the mix of the two – would be the 2nd).  A quick refresher on all the comics:

  • Those Left Behind – The transition between the series & the movie.  Not bad but being only 3 issues hurt the narrative, especially with the revelation of the Hands of Blue.
  • Better Days – An “extra” story of season 1, again only 3 issues but with a lighter, self-contained story the pacing is much improved.  However some parts of the story might be offputting to some fans.
  • The Shepherd’s Tale – The backstory of Shepherd book which was released in graphic novel form first thing rather than individual issues.  This is… very debatable.  Like some, I’m content with leaving Shepherd’s story unknown.  However if it must be told… I must say I slightly favor the “what if” episode 217 origin over this one – but that’s a discussion for another post.
  • Miscellaneous issues – There have also been 4 single issues released in either digital or print format.  The one that was an extended funeral for Wash (Float Out) is by far the must read.

Leaves on the Wind is the first real story post-movie (even Float Out was more flashback) so of course we’re all dying to know what happens in the ‘Verse after the signal got out (*cough*).  So far the first issue is just set up.  We see where the crew, other characters, and our crew are at this moment.  Inara and Mal are together… Zoe is having her baby… all groundwork this issue.

If I had any complaint, it’s sort of about the artwork.  As I said, this property is one heavily relying on visuals and while the artist is quite good most of the time, periodically one is baffled by what one is supposed to be picking up from a panel.  It’s ironic because Dark Horse’s free comic last year had a Serenity story in it with a very stylized art, meaning that I could often tell characters and action easily at a glance.  This issue, with a more realistic art style, can baffle at times.  The first time we see River, I wasn’t sure if it was her or Kaylee, not even from the dialogue until a page later.  Some characters I’m not sure if I’m supposed to recognize them or if they are new to this “season” of the show.  The art isn’t so baffling as to make the issue unreadable, just enough to shake you a hair out of the story a time or two.

Still, I eagerly await the next issue.  (and will give the entire saga a grade once it’s finished)  Here’s hoping nothing I’m writing has to be junked. 😉

By natewinchester Posted in Reviews

Firefly card game review – Out to the Black

Firefly has been enjoying a bit of renaissance lately.  Last year we got a board game based on the show with its first expansion out earlier this year.  Last week, we finally had the release of the Firefly Out to the Black Card Game.  So how is it?

Overview

While the board game did a bang up job of exploring the verse – the “outside” of the ship – some have remarked that there is little action going on “inside” the ship, and what happened within the ship & between the characters was as much of a part of the show as the wider adventures on the frontier.  So how do you fill this gap?  Well you could play the Firefly RPG – but since that’s still a month away, this card game gives you a quick filler.

The game engine is largely simple: 3-5 players assume the role of the one show’s characters (main crew only right now).  Each character has 3 stats and several abilities.  Each turn one of you gets to be the “leader”.  After prepping, you see which job you’re going to get and who – if any – are coming along to help you.  Ya’ll aim to complete the job, only for things to go sideways, then you see how much of the job you completed.  This is a co-op game meaning that you only win or lose as a team.  Like most quality co-op games, you have 3 possible ways of losing, and only 1 way to win.

Pros

The cards do have a look and feel to them evocative of the ‘Verse.  The cards themselves are generally easy to read with few confusions ever arising from the first time any of us played the game.

There is a lot of flexibility in the game set up, you can play on almost any surface and on the whole it doesn’t take up much space (though the board game is a space hog – exceeding a basic card table).

There’s more balance to the game then first appears.  For example, Kaylee, Wash, Simon, Jayne, and Mal all have their stats total up to 4.  River & Book are the only two with stat totals of 5 while Zoe & Inara have totals of 3.  However, they also all have a variable starting hand size: 3 cards, 5 and 7.  As you’ve probably guessed, the higher/lower their stat total, the fewer/more cards they get to play with.

The jobs you go on have a neat “completion” chart on them.  Depending on how well (or poorly) you do on a job determines how rewarded (or screwed) you are from it.  Pass none of the 3 requirements, you’re in for a world of hurt.  Pass one of them… slightly less hurt.  This led to a few interesting moments in our game where we couldn’t go for a “pass all” (best outcome) and had to aim at deliberately failing a requirement while trying to pass another.

Finally there’s lots of untapped design space in the game, meaning that the makers could release expansions for the game for awhile (heck, the crew of my story could fit in pretty well).  Oh wait…

Cons

The last pro mentioned above is also a con as the game in general feels very “bare bones” with lots of potential left unused.  For instance, one game that I quite enjoy playing with both of my friends is Shadows Over Camelot (in fact, this game feels very much like a stripped down & streamlined version of that game with a FF skin on it).  One of the things in the game you can do is look at and rearrange the top few cards on the decks.  In this game?  No such ability exists on any card or crew.

But when it comes to games, I always have 2 big criteria which makes an analog game worth playing or not to me: Does it take very long to set up? (and does the game play take less time than the set up?)  How easy is it for players to violate the rules of the game unintentionally?  What I mean by the latter is how easy is it to make innocent mistakes in the game?  Yahtzee is a popular positive example as the rules are incredibly simple (roll dice 3 times) and the scoring is all right there on a piece of paper in front of you.  Chess would be the popular negative example as it can be easy to forget which piece can move where, how much and the dozen of odd case rules (like castling).

Now this card game takes almost NO time to set up, so it gets a big thumbs up in that regard.  However some of the rules and gameplay are unintuitive enough that new players will make lots of mistakes (as I just know we did).  Notice earlier that I said the CARDS themselves were easy to read, it’s the game rules THEMSELVES that cause the most confusion.  There’s entire rules on when you can and can’t show cards and how much you can tell the other players, but when you’re in a group going up against the game itself, it gets easy to start blabbing.  The exact rules on when you get to draw cards or not are also a bit confusing

Other

What hits middle of the road between Pro & Con is the player interaction.  Usually if I’m playing a game I want to actually be interacting with other people, not playing a fancy version of solitaire. (otherwise… why wouldn’t I play solitaire?  Or on my computer?)  See the deal with the jobs is that each one has a listing as a “# man” job.  Anywhere from “single person” to “5-man” (obviously you are to take out the number exceeding your number of players beforehand).  If you hit a 1 or 2 person job in a game with 5 players, that means 3-4 people can all go take a coffee break while you go through your turn.  Yes there’s some cards that allow you to aid your crewmates while you’re not technically helping but there aren’t many & the positive cards in this game (36 total) are as a precious resource as the money and honor.  Keep in mind that the job cards break down as 6 1-man, 4 of every other meaning that in a 5 player game, you can have players getting stuck “off on the side”. (in our first game, one player got a 1-man job BOTH times he was leader)  Of course if we were supposed to take out 1-man jobs before playing… well that’s just an example of what I said earlier with innocent rule breaking.  One can only hope that maybe in future we can get an expansion encouraging more player interaction.  Perhaps one where other players could split up to form a competing crew (perhaps an alliance crew hunting them down?) and let two teams get in games screwing each other over?

All in all your enjoyment of this game is going to be very subjective.  If you REALLY love Firefly and/or co-op games and you have a few friends who do too, this is a nice, “RPG-lite” filler to fill your FF need.  Moderate fans and players not big on math calculations will probably want to avoid or at least wait until a few expansions have fleshed out the game and then you can pick it up in a package deal.

You can purchase the games below:

Now if ToyVault could only hold a contest for fan-creation crews to be added…

By natewinchester Posted in Reviews