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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
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March 21 2006

New Serenity RPG volume coming in May. 'Out In The Black' (not to be confused with 'Into The Black' or AC/DC's 'Back in Black') is set in a wild mining town way out there on the Rim.

Okay has anyone actually played this game? Is it any good? Is there a Play By Email Serenity rpg out there or something? I'd like to give this a try.

...I don't wanna pay bookoo bucks on books and crap just to find out I won't play it. I still have books sitting around my house of RPGs I never got around to playing.

[ edited by ZachsMind on 2006-03-21 18:49 ]
It's largely adequate, and it looks great in terms of design, but could have done with more clarification in the editing - and little things like an index or character sheet.

(Note that the use of "little" above is sarcastic.)

I generally liked the background expansions, although they don't entirely tally with the version seen in the Serenity companion which comes straight from the Joss's mouth. (I've been waiting to use that line for ages...) This would make it a generally useful sourcebook for running a game with a different system, although a fairly pricey one.

The advantage and disadvantage system works okay and sparks ideas - using it for ships as well as people is pretty clever, and regaining "plot points" which can influence dice rolls by activating your disadvantages and getting yourself into trouble is a very nice touch.

Had it not come out I could still probably have run a decent Serenity game using another system, in my case Eden's Buffy, but I did snag some ideas from it as I converted the (by-now generated) player characters and looked through the system and setting info.

There's a good amount of unofficial online support from the likes of the RPGnet forum and especially Waves In The Black, but less official support than I'd like - and still no gorram index or character sheet...
There's a fan created character sheet here. Why they have 't done an official one I don't know.
An official character sheet is coming and will be available online, and at conventions. Jamie contacted me recently and we went over several things that will be created in connection with the Serenity Role Playing Game 'verse. So more things are on their way.

As to ZachsMind's question about whether the book is worth the investment... Well it's been selling extremely well, and many long time gamers really like the way the game is set up. Jamie himself is a RPGer from way back, plus he's a big fan of the 'verse, and it shows in the game. Plus I hear some other crazy FF/S fan did a lot of the graphics, and they don't suck... too much.

Considering how well it's been selling, and the positive feedback I've seen, it must have done something right.

Edited to reply to Gossi's post: The reason the book doesn't have a character sheet or index was due to space limitations. I remember at the time that Jamie wanted to include those, but we had an absolute page count limit. Jamie didn't want to sacrifice space from the game description or other reference material.

The plan was to have a character sheet and index available on the Serenity RPG website shortly after the book was published. But, life being as it is, he had several other projects take his time and the supplement stuff got put on the back burner... as for stoves, Jamie's been taking the heat for the missing items for quite some time now!

Anyway, the character sheet IS coming. We spoke about it a couple of weeks ago... then Jamie and crew had to go to a gamers trade show. When he gets back I'm sure things will start getting in gear.

I want that QuickDraw version of the game done! That thing is gonna be cool. Gotta cover, a character sheet, some other art, all waitin' on a home...

[ edited by 11thHour on 2006-03-22 00:30 ]
"This would make it a generally useful sourcebook for running a game with a different system..."

Heck, if I had time to GM I could pull a cool game out of my ass based just on what I know about the series. What I've read and what I've seen. Why would I need someone else to tell me about the 'verse? As for a game system, percentile dice would be easy enough. Keep It Simple. Everything starts at a fifty percent chance of success and players argue w/the GM as to what their character's capabilities are. You give advantages and disadvantages a numerical value (between 0 and 50 plus or minus) and do the math, if it hammers out to 0% or 100% you don't even need to roll. I always felt most game mechanics make ROLE PLAYING less fun anyway.

As for a character sheet, back in college we always had to make up our own sheets anyway. The ones in the books, from D&D to Toon to DC Heroes to Shadowrun, were never ideal. Each group of gamers is going to come up with their own system based on their own preferences and which rules the GM himself adheres to. I don't think I ever played a TRUE D&D game my whole time as an avid gamer. People always pulled things from the Grimore or Palladium or even Steve Jackson's GURPS system. You take what works for you and discard the rest.

The first edition of D&D was never adequate, and the 2nd edition was too rigid and convoluted. Toon was fun. Everything was six siders and very simplistic. The object was to just determine objectively what no one could agree upon. I could only ever appreciate Toon while drunk though, which is either a blessing or a curse depending on your perspective.

It's simple. You design a ship. Ask the players what they want to be. Come up with a predicament for the characters to be in, and let the players play their roles. Anything beyond that and you're risking an aneurism.
ZachsMind: Anything beyond that and you're risking an aneurism.

"A man's gotta know his limitations." Clint Eastwood

Edited to add:

For anyone who may be hesitant to purchase the full, hardcover Serenity Role Playing Game, there will be "streamlined" version of the game called the QuickDraw. This will be available for free, as a download or as a booklet at conventions, sometime this Spring or Summer.

[ edited by 11thHour on 2006-03-23 03:54 ]

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