Savaging Joss Whedon’s Firefly/Serenity Part One
While I have a very special fondness of my first subject on this series, Babylon 5 is not my favorite all-time sci-fi show. That would belong to Firefly. The crew of the Serenity, headed by the enigmatic Captain Mal is possibly one of the most well written series I’ve had the pleasure to see. And like many other things I’ve fallen in love with, it took several friends over the course of a couple of years to get me to even give the show a try. Once I got my stubborn butt to sit down and watch the show, I became hooked. Not right away. In fact, it took roughly 45 minutes into the first episode until I was hooked. The opening battle scene is not my favorite, though it does a great job of setting up Mal & Zoey’s background. After that, as we jump to the present and see the introductions of the other main cast members, it got more interesting. By the halfway mark of the pilot episode (it was a double length episode) I found myself drawn in and not wanting any distractions pulling me away from the show.
Firefly is a great setting for a role playing game, and, in fact, there is a good role playing game out there already! While I do like the system the official game is built on, it is not a favorite system of mine. This is a setting I think savage worlds can really do well in. The cinematic feel of Savage Worlds fits nicely for Firefly.
Now, when I went looking for a good Savage Worlds translation of Firefly, I came across this conversion on the defunct savageheroes.com site. I tried to pull it up with the internet archive’s wayback machine, but it would not pull up. So I’m posting it here.
This was done by J.L. Herbert, I am posting it without his express permission, though I hope he won’t mind me sharing his creation.
This conversion does a pretty good job with bringing the flavor of firefly to savage worlds. The hindrances and edges introduced are pulled right out of the show and are not unbalanced. The gear section includes rules on currency in the ‘Verse and includes just about all the little bits of gear that is in the T.V. show. It’s pretty complete!
The ships section lists ten spaceships, providing their stats. One thing I wish it included was a picture for each to help with the visualization. There is also a small ships weapons section and a decent little section on upgrading your ships.
The setting rules introduces asphyxiation, hull breach, trade & commerce, and life aboard ship(cabin fever!).
The last two sections, the gazetteer and glossary of slang round out this 27 page pdf. These are nice, but all this information can be found by doing some online searches for fan wikias on Firefly.
The one thing that is missing is more information about the Alliance and the experimentation done on River Tam. I would have liked to have seen more on the blue hands and on River’s powers. Though, everything shown in the show and in the comics that followed could be done with the powers in the SWD book and trappings. So, 95% of the work is done, that’s very nice of Mr. Herbert!
Now, two resources I make use of and would recommend are:
Firefly Fans: A very well put together fan site and info dump.
Firefly Wikia: Not as complete, but still some good info to be found there!
All you need is the Savage Firefly pdf, the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition book and the two links above (or your own knowledge of the Firefly setting) to get going! The Sci-Fi Companion would be helpful but is not needed. The biggest thing I would use from the that book would be starship creation rules.
Next up, I will discus how you can do Firefly with fewer rules changes than what are in the Firefly document above. I plan on building out a similar translation that will be closer to the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition. Taking my cues from the Savage Worlds GM’s Podcast of keeping it simple, I hope to create a more GM friendly version of Firefly for Savage Worlds!