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July 09 2005

An eyewitness account of the Serenity tabletop RPG on the RPGnet forums, with a link to a site giving a look at the game's character sheets and an art preview (now reposted here).

[ edited by Craig Oxbrow on 2005-07-12 04:31 ]

Hopefully the official site will go online sometime before the game rulebook is published in August.

Excellent. I was just thinking the other day that I was interested in more details on the Serenity RPG.

I'm very glad to hear that the feel of the 'verse makes the transfer well. I think that's the part I was most worried about. I'm also interested in this encouragement for playing a character's weaknesses and engaging in plot. It's just too yummy a reward for a player to ignore, and I bet it'll keep people true to their characters. I hope that works well in general practice.

I bet I buy the book and end up never having anyone to play with. Always the way.
I love the system as it is described. I don't know if the setting really works for running a game, but I love the system and how it sounds.
Very happy to see it's not a D20 system. Sounds quite playable.
Next time anyone would like to share a URL that might get overloaded, use the "coral cache" first.
Simply stick in the URL in the form on this page here:

The page is back up now, yay! (try this direct link if it's not working for you)
cached copy just in case

[ edited by TaraLivesOn on 2005-07-10 10:36 ]
Looks sort of interesting, although I have no idea what so ever what you're actually suppoded to do. I wish I did...
Yeah, no-one has been able to explain to me so far how a tabletop RPG works.
Yeah, no-one has been able to explain to me so far how a tabletop RPG works.

Played a lot when I was younger. It's fairly simple. A group of people either play the original cast or make up characters themselves. These characters have stats to reflect their speed/smarts/strength/skills.

A single player makes up a story for the characters to go through (think, fan fiction). As the players progress through the story, they roll dice to see if actions they choose succeed or fail. The story moves forward according to the choices of the players (like one of those which way storybooks you read as a kid).

Because the story can go just about anywhere, there is no "standard" game board. Instead the game system and the player running the game provide maps that function as temporary game boards for that particular story.
A quick 500 or so words on how tabletop RPGs work

In a "typical" RPG (as opposed to an experimental system) a group of players each have a 'character sheet' in front of them (see the examples for Serenity on the site) with numbers for things like the character's Strength, Dexterity, their skill with Piloting or whatever. This affects your chances to 'succeed' when rolling dice for that character. Jayne has more Strength than Kaylee, f'rex.

Maps are optional. Actually, depending on the game being played, so are the dice. (The Serenity game uses dice, as do the Buffy and Angel games from Eden Studios, so never mind that.)

Anyway, the other person at the table is the Games Master ("GM") (or one of however many other titles the game uses - Buffy and Angel use "Director") who instead of one character controls everything else.

If all the regulars on Firefly were player characters ("PCs"), the GM would control characters like Badger, Niska, Random Alliance Soldiers 1 Through 10... and also adjudicate whether or not our Big Damn Heroes succeed or fail in their tasks, describes what they see and hear (and so on). Essentially, the players improv how the "stars" react to the plot of the episode, the walk-on characters, and the scenery...

By way of an example:

I'm the GM, and for the sake of simplicity my three theoretical players are referred to as their characters - Mal, Wash, and Simon.

GM: We open on the bridge of Serenity. Wash is flying -
Wash: Well, actually I'm reclining.
GM - Wash is reclining and keeping an eye on the proximity alert when it goes off.
Wash: I hunch over and take a look, and yell over my shoulder "Hey! Getting a ping!"
Mal: I head up to take a look.
Simon: I do my best to ignore it, then sigh and go to look.
GM: Zoe comes along as well. By then (to Wash) you've had time to do a closer scan.
Wash: Then I'll do a closer scan.
GM: Okay, make a roll to see what you see.

(Wash's player rolls some dice, looks at the result and smirks.)

GM: It looks like there's a derelict ship up ahead, drifting across the trade lane. The distress beacon is intermittent, stuttering like it's losing power.
Wash: I say that, and add "this is a pretty busy lane, it can't have been there more than a couple days..."
Mal: "What kind of ship is it?"
Wash: What kind of ship is it?
GM: An Alliance security services gunboat.
Wash: "It's an Alliance security ship. One of the ones with lots of guns on it."
Simon: "And it's just sitting there?"
Mal: "... how fast can you get us out of here?"
GM: The proximity alert goes off again. There's another ship coming in, fast, on an attack vector.
Wash: "Uh... the news isn't getting better."
Mal: "Gorram..." Maybe I should phone Jayne and Zoe's players and ask why they're so late...
GM: Good idea.

For a more solid example, download the introductory rules and sample adventure .pdf for Eden Studios' Buffy RPG, here. This is also available in HTML pages on BBC Cult, for a few more days before the site disappears, here.

[ edited by Craig Oxbrow on 2005-07-12 01:02 ]
I've been one of the playtesters for the Beta. There are some things I quite like about the game, and some things I felt they could have done better, especially in translating the feel of the series to a game. Having said that, though, it is quite playable. More than that, I don't think I can say, given NDAs and such.
Thanks for that atmospheric recreation, Craig O. Had quite the flashback to my youth there . . .

Yeah, no-one has been able to explain to me so far how a tabletop RPG works.

Razor, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading that (as one who has never played any other form of RPG). A precursor to the day my daughter asks me to explain what LPs, non-wireless phones, and good Star Wars movies were like . . .
You're very welcome. And my post now lacks typos, which is nice.

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