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Monday, February 24, 2014

Savage Worlds - Firefly using High Space

The 'Verse. The Alliance and Browncoats. Reavers. Badger, Prentice and Saffron. You know it and you love it. I am running a game in it. This is the report from session one.

For the Savage Worlds setting rule set, I am using the High Space character and ship rules from Storyweaver. I know, why didn't I use the new Sci-Fi companion? Because it wasn't available when I started prepping. As it is, it was only out 2 weeks (or was it 1?) before I ran my first session. I am sticking to High Space for the duration of this mini-campaign. Yes, campaign, there will be more postings about this game in the future.

From the game that I run on the Last Thursday of every month at my local game store (Guardian Games) I had a lot of requests for a space game. Since I like Firefly the best, I decided to use that. So, a call out to the group for people to dedicate themselves to a character and the game. I got a good response, I ended up with 7 players (one more than I had planned for, but NPC turns PC is pretty cool). The way it worked was: The player sent me a character concept, and I worked them out. Then I sent the character to the players and tweaked them a little from player suggestion. I made all the characters Veteran level (40 XP). Overall, most of the characters are 90-95% how I made them, very little tweaking required.

The run of the crew is this:
  • Agent / Spy (Saul Bau - played by Terill)- The player wanted a Shephard Book / Simon Tam combo.. I ended up making a character that worked as a field agent for the Alliance doing low risk (re: low combat) errands. He didn't like the package contents, and is now anti-Alliance.
  • Computer expert (Leng Ping - played by Michael) - For covering tracks and seeing what folks are up to.
  • Mechanic (Lachlin "Lock" Elliot - played by Aaron) - Someone has to keep this thing safe and running!
  • Medic (Skeeter Osceola - played by John) - Folks are apt to get hurt, someone has to fix 'em up. This character has a Native American Indian background, who speaks Cherokee, English and Chinese.
  • Melee Mercenary (Elliot MacBride - played by Cameron) - For the times when ranged combat is not an option. Was a pirate with the Pilot, although this character felt better about it than the Pilot.
  • Pilot (Edward 'Steady' Rocksmash - played by Chris) - Someone has to fly this thing! Hopefully, he won't have to resort to piracy again.
  • Shooter Mercenary ("Bulldog" - played by James) - The subtle reminder of folks watching from afar. This character is also a bounty hunter.
No Captain! This might be interesting, no one is really in charge, or everyone is in charge. But, we do have a nice spread of skills and types. I also tied a few of the character backgrounds together.  The Bounty Hunter was the one who caught the Agent and two characters served on a Pirate ship together. They all have a common 'Browncoat' hindrance.

Plot Setup
All the characters are in a military space station as war criminals or criminals against the Alliance. Pirates, captured browncoats, spies, etc. The space station is near where the Reavers ran headlong into the Alliance fleet. I took some liberty and I changed the order of events. In my game, the Reaver recording blasted thru the 'Verse before the Reaver / Alliance clash. This allowed the characters to see the recording first, and then the space station they are on gets attacked. This forces the characters to perform a prison break. With no weapons. And with Reavers running around everywhere.

The Game
Now to the meat of the posting - the actual play. I'll try to keep this fairly succinct, but will try to get all enough of the details to fill in the gaps. In the middle of Skeeter's medical documentary show, the Reaver broadcast happens. The guards try switching channels on the common room vidscreen only to find it is on all the channels. The guards power off the vidscreen. But everyone in the room saw enough. About eight hours later (when everyone is in their bunks), there is a huge crashing sound. The station shakes and alarms start screaming. A few minutes later, the power and the lights go out. The cell doors default to an unlocked state under a power down so the characters can exit their cells to the common room. The two door system out of the cell block is still intact. Guards have flashlights and gather the prisoners into one area, watching them. Radio chatter is overheard by the prisoners as the situation deteriorates in the rest of the station. Using the guard's computer terminal, the characters start watching through the station's camera system.  They see empty military barracks, an empty ship bay (one ship remains), and a lot of fighting throughout the station.  The characters see Reavers.  A lot of Reavers, armed with hunks of metal and slaughtering anyone they come across.

After some time, the characters decide to escape the prison block.  They take guard with them who is reluctant to go. Armed with just a couple of stun batons from the cell block guards, the characters start their escape. They reach another two door system that leads from the prison section to the regular section of the station. The far door is open (looks broken) and there are two Reavers surrounded by dead Alliance guards. Then it happens, the Reavers spot the characters and rush the closed door.  They start to smash it down with pieces of metal in their hands.  The door opens and one Reaver rushes through. The Reaver hits the closest character and takes hits from the other characters.  This merely shakes the Reaver. The second Reaver also attacks, swinging wildly.  Several characters dodge past the Reavers to pick up dropped weapons off of the dead Alliance soldiers.

When the characters start grabbing up weapons, I gave them a choice of pistol or rifle, and then had them roll a die.  That roll determined the weapon card from the deck weapon cards I had (See the Weapon Cards section later in the post). Six characters manage to drop two Reavers and continue on. The corridors are noisy with the sounds of battle: gunfire, screams, and pounding. Outside of the prison area is a stairway leading both up and down with noises from both directions. Waiting to see where the Reavers may come from, the characters are rewarded with Reavers start running up and down the stairs at them.  One of the weapons the characters picked up is a massive machine gun, which helps them make their from a large number of Reavers coming down on them. As the characters move along, they run across ripped up bodies of Alliance soldiers, at which point they continue to arm themselves, including battle armor and helmets. First stop is the armory, which they find mostly empty. Next is the medical bay to pick up some patch pads, sell-able medications, and basic supplies.  One more stop at a storeroom for rations and other general supplies.  Then to the ship bay to see if they can abscond with the ship they spied earlier. They make it to the ship bay, get the ship ready for flight, and take off.  The ship bay doors are opened and they fly out into the middle of a big space battle.  That's where we ended for the night.

Unknown Ship
There is a ship that they can escape on, but it has a serious lack of markings on it. The players receive a blank ship sheet, and will have to figure out the details of the ship as they use it.  I thought that this would add some intrigue to the travel time in deep space. Plus, it will give the players time to learn some setting details and rules.

Paper minis
Weapon Cards
I bought a deck of Savage Worlds SciFi weapons cards from a company called Dramascape. They primarily make maps, but these cards were interesting to me.  I got them from ( and used the print-on-demand option.

Paper minis and a weapon card.

Toy spaceships I got off Amazon for this game (well, mostly for the sessions coming up):
Toys 1 | Toys 2 (I used these for bennies!) | Toys 3