A Lord and Lady Become Serene
Or rather, Chad and Stephanie play the RPG Serenity for the first time. We were invited to play with our friends Jeff and Sarah of Gamer Chick Show fame. They just released their 8th episode about 2 weeks ago. You should all check it out. They had their first production meeting for their second season last week!
Jeff was the Game Master. Sarah was the captain, who tried not to kill people in a fight. I was a kind of Jayne character. But I made him more of a stealthy sniper type. Stephanie played a Zoe type of character who had horrible flash backs due to a tramatic even in her childhood, which is probably how she ended up being an orphan. She wrote a really nice back story. I hope she posts it up online sometime.
We got this job to take a reporter, Whip, to this jungle planet where he wanted to cover an Alliance raid on a drug ring. We had to get him to the location and back safely to get paid. It was a good pay day that would keep us flying for about three months. Plenty of time to find another job right?
Once we got to the planet we found ourselves walking on a bug infested jungle path for about two hours. We barely got across a pit someone dug as a trap on the path. Then we found an alliance sentry, which my charater sleathed up behind and put the sleeper hold on him. Then I tied him up.
All hell soon broke loose and we quickly realized that Whip was an adrenaline junky and he ran head first into the battle that was starting. There was an explosion and Wren (Stephanie's character) freaked out hard core. Whip got hit, but it turns out he was wearing a vest. Then alliance thugs were charging right towards us.
We noticed a jeep nearby and made a run for it, shooting behind us as we ran. We barely got to the jeep where I managed to hot wire it. We sped home. Whip got the footage he needed. We got paid. It was just another day in the 'Verse.
I've played a bunch of different RPG's in my life. However I haven't played anything other than D&D for the last 10 years at least. The move from 3.5 to 4E showed me the same thing that playing Serentiy did last weekend. I can enjoy any RPG as long as it has a good story or hook that let's me role play. But most importantly we got to have a great time with friends.
Serenity recently went "out of print". I had purchased the main Serenity RPG book from RPG DriveThru last year. It was in their Haiti Earthquake fund raiser. Recently I saw that it was going out of print and all of the books were being sold for a huge discount. So I purchased 5 more supplements for about $26. Not too shabby! <rant>How in God's green earth can a PDF go out of print? What the heck! Its digital. Its forever. I can understand if they only had the rights for a certain amount of time. But if that is not the case, then just keep selling the PDF version for ever! If 10 people buy them that is 10 more than nothing. It costs nothing to keep those up forever.</rant>
They books are a little hard to follow. They are put together very much in the flavor of the TV show and movie. However, I found all that crap very distracting. I'm a fan. I know all about the 'Verse. Just tell me the rules. Captain Mal doesn't have to "narrarate" the rules for me. There was a new suppliment that game out later that seems to lay things out a little better. Also, let's be real. People like to read black type on a white background. I can't imaging how much more expensive acutual print costs are for they way this book is laid out. It just seemed over done to me.
Looks aside, the rules are pretty cool. I like the Traits rules. You have to choose minor/major assets and complications. The complications are great for Game Masters to use for twists and turns in the story line that will affect your character. Essentially, the better your skill at something, the higher the die you use (from d4-d12). These often combine with a die from your abilities as well. For instance you need to swing over a pit. That could mean that you add your Strength and your Athletics dice together for the role. You could also talk your way into using Agility instead if your character is better at that. There always seems to be at least two ways to combine things together. This keeps you on your toes as a player to find the best combination of rolls.
All of the actions you take that have a role have a difficulty rating. This ranges from Easy (a three) to Impossible (a 31). One of the issues that we had as a part is that neither Stephanie or I had very good piloting skills. Stephanie's character had just a slight advantage in piloting because she was more agile than I was. So she flew and I assisted. I was able to add just enough so we could actually land on the planet instead of burning up in the atmosphere or cratering the spaceport.
This leads me to plot points. Everyone gets 6 plot points to start with. You can use two plot points before a dice roll to increase one of your die roles from let's say a d8 to a d10 instead. Or you could use a plot point after a role to add +1 to it. This came in handy a few times during the game session. This is kind of like action points in 4E D&D, but not exactly. Its something I may look at to add some flavor into the games. Jeff would give out plot points for good role playing or just amusing him in some way. This encouraged me to be creative and ham it up at times. It was fun and I want to figure out how to incorporate this into my D&D games.
I have some rules about converting Serenity to d20 Modern. I think it would be fun to try that sometime and see what its like in a format that I'm a little more used to. But I'm conflicted about that. Playing something different and having to use my brain in different ways is a fun challenge too.
Stephanie and I had a great time. The story was fun. We had some good times role playing. We had great side conversations and silliness. We will be getting together with Jeff and Sarah again soon, hopefully in March to play again. Maybe I'll broadcast it live like we do for our other Lords of Tyr games? Thank you to Jeff and Sarah for having us over!