Sunday, June 29, 2014

Reactions to Firefly the RPG

I ran Firefly today for the first time and had a blast - I just ran a one shot from the Echoes of War series (Bucking The Tiger) - and despite none of us knowing the rules, and me being the only one who had read the rules, everything went smoothly. We modified some of the archetypes (we had a Law Dog, Former Companion, Natural Reader, Dishonored Politician, and a mechanic/doctor "parts is parts, fluids are fluids,") and played through the adventure is about four and a half hours.

Mechanically, the system did everything I wanted the system to do. Generating the dice pools went fairly smoothly; though using the distinctions was a bit rough for the first hour or two, and didn't smooth down right away - the various abilities that the distinctions gave were used frequently, remembering that those distinctions also could give you a d8/d4 to your pool didn't go so well.

Complications flowed like water on both sides of the "screen", and in time I think we'd all become far more comfortable creating and using them. I probably thought of something interesting to do for 75% of them, and we still had them flowing back and forth.

Asset creation wasn't really touched - not sure if it wasn't understood as well, or if with how the players were rolling, they were just rolling hot. The doctor definitely kept trying to create advantages with stimulants and sedatives that I needed a better grasp of the rules to take advantage of.

When I think about what I loved so much about the game, I keep coming back to the flow of the game, there were points that things did stutter - basically anything that had to roll against the group, I want to take a look at the rules and see if I "should" have done a single base roll and then let everyone roll against it; or whether just going around in order was what I needed to do; but I have yet to see a game that handles that perfectly.

And everyone at the table had their share of failures, but even with those failures no one got discouraged - the complication mechanic - receiving a reward when your dice hate you took the sting out of "I wanted to do this action, but I failed miserably," as it became, "I wanted to do this action, I failed miserably, but I got a plot point for it AND this nifty complication."

The system favors short quick engagements, whether it was a knife fight or a game of cards - I think I at most had two or three rounds of going around the table and getting actions; otherwise, everything moved smoothly and quickly getting back to the players making more interesting choices and causing more problems.

Having sung the praises of the system, the adventure itself was amazingly well written. Being a one shot, I skipped how to integrate into the original series as well as any need to tie the triggering NPC's history too closely with the players - they were good sports and rolled with "yes you know her and she was a nice person." Each of the five acts were well written and for me, sufficient information to run the scene, and while not requiring a certain outcome, the adventure covered all the traditional bases of solution sets, so that even if my players pulled something out of left field, I felt I had enough structure to know how things would work given those actions.

There was at no point I felt like the plot had to ramrodded down the players' throats, each step felt fairly natural from the step before, and I did keep it fairly linear in nature because it was a one-shot, we did have a time limit, and I didn't have a lot of external hooks to tie things to; whereas I could see a game definitely spacing it out to where the adventure plots would have taken 2 sessions to complete from just all the subplots abounding.

In conclusion, I'm thrilled with my purchase. I always thought that I would enjoy how the Cortex Plus system would play, and this game said "Yes, this was the game I want to run." Now to just fold time and space to create the necessary time in my schedule so I can do it all.