8 Oct 2013

Test Run - Firefly RPG

Recently, I picked up the Firefly RPG preview by Margaret Weis Productions.  I've read through it, and it's a nice little system so far, even if incomplete.  I figured I'd try create a character or two in it.

Not too long ago, I posted a snippet featuring Tanya.  She could fit into the Firefly-verse with a bit of modification so that she isn't a lone wolf on a ship.  With that in mind, a step by step look at the Firefly character creation.

Step 0: (Not mentioned in the book) Concept.  Tanya is the family assassin, cleaning up loose ends.  Her family isn't in organized crime, though.  There's nobility involved, though that wasn't really shown in Firefly.  However, corporate execs may take that place.  Tanya isn't for hire; she kills people that have done her family wrong on orders of the head of the family.

Step 1: Choose Attributes.  By default, all PCs start with a d8 in Mental, Physical, and Social.  However, I want to step up Tanya's Social at a cost to her Physical.  She now has Mental d8, Physical d6, and Social d10.

Step 2: Choose Distinctions.  Distinctions come in three flavours, Roles, Background, and Personality.  A look through the roles doesn't come up with much that would define Tanya, but the Ship's Doctor role reminds me that Tanya needs to have a reason to be on the ship.  If she winds up being part of a group that isn't ship-based, I can swap out this distinction later.  There isn't an "assassin" or "paid killer" role; the closest is Mercenary and that doesn't fit Tanya.  Under Personalities, two look good right away, Alluring and Heart of Ice and Dust.  Alluring means that Tanya has good looks and can use them for her own benefit.  Heart of Ice and Dust refers to her being as cold as a comet, scarily accurate if you read what she did to Piotr.  With the backgrounds, Family Ties seems promising.  Pampered Upbringing can be considered, but being trained to be the family's own hitman doesn't sound pampered.  Shadows of the War is a possibility, but is meant to represent a character who served in the Unification War.  However, the listed triggers sound right for Tanya later, when and if she breaks away from her family duties.  For now, I'll take Ship's Doctor, Alluring, and Heart of Ice and Dust as Tanya's distinctions.

Step 3: Choose Distinction Triggers.  Triggers are events that can help get plot points, add dice, or modify an asset.  Each distinction has three, with "Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8," common to all and automatic choices.  I need to choose two more for Tanya.  Heart of Ice and Dust has one that's interesting; Best Served Cold which lets me spend a plot point to reduce a Complication based on a relationship.  Alluring also has an interesting one; Memorable, which gives me a plot point if I take on a d6 Complication because of Tanya's looks.

Step 4: Step Up Skills.  I now go back through the Distinctions I chose and step up the skills listed in each.  Skills all start at d4 and it is possible to get the same skill multiple times.  With Ship's Doctor, Tanya gets Know, Operate, and Treat.  Alluring adds Influence, Perform, and Trick.  Heart of Ice and Dust has Influence, Focus, and Trick; Influence and Trick both now go up to d8 each.  With that done, I now have nine points to spend.  One point raises skills related to Tanya's Distinctions one step; two points lets me raise the other skills one step.  Tanya raises Influence to d10 and Treat to d8.  Notice is a good skill to have, so for two points, it gets raised to d6.  Also good to have, some shooting skill, so two more pointes to raise Shoot to d6.  The last three points go towards raising Perform to d8 and Craft to d6.

Step 5: Choose Specialties or Signature Assets
I now have five points to purchase skill specialties or signature assets, items that are dear to Tanya.  If Know is at d6 or higher, I can choose a specialty for it without having to pay for it.  Tanya does have Know at d6, so I choose Poisons for the specialty.  I have five points to spend; specialties cost one point, as does getting a signature asset at d6.  I can also spend a point to raise an asset die type from d6 to d8.  First, I spend a point to get the asset "Tanya's Medical Bag"; it helps her with her duties as a medic and holds the extra gear like poisons without anyone getting suspicious.  I then add two specialties; Acting for Perform and Charming for Influence.  The last two points goes into the asset "Grandmother's Cherished Ring", raising it to a d8; the ring represents good memories of her grandmother, the one person who didn't see Tanya as expendable.

Step 6: Biographical Info.  That has been mostly worked out, though some details could be clarified.  Step 0 brought a lot of it into focus.

The chargen is quick, especially when the character concept is already there.  The roles help add a Distinction when a player isn't sure, and the personalities might inspire ideas.  Total time to create Tanya was about fifteen minutes; prepping the blog took another half-hour.

Tanya's full sheet:

Name: Tanya
Background: Family assassin and ship's medic
Mental: d8 Physical: d6 Social: d10
 Craft d6
 Drive d4
 Fight d4
 Fix         d4
 Fly         d4
 Focus d6
 Influence        d10 (Charming)
 Know d6 (Poisons)
 Labour d4
 Move d4
 Notice d6
 Operate         d6
 Perform         d8 (Acting)
 Shoot d6
 Sneak d4
 Survive d4
 Throw d4
 Treat d8
 Trick d8
Ship's Doctor: d8
   Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8
Alluring: d8
   Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8
   Memorable: Create a Memorable d6 Complication on yourself when trying to
     to execute a cunning plan.  Gain 1PP
Heart of Ice and Dust: d8
   Gain 1 Plot Point when you roll a d4 instead of a d8
   Best Served Cold: Spend 1PP to step back any Complication involving your
     emotions or personal relationships.
Signature Assets:
Tanya's Medical Bag: d6
Grandmother's Ring: d8

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