Savaging Firefly Part Two: The Savage Workshop

Welcome back!

Last time, I talked about J.L. Herbert’s Savage Firefly. He did a great job in my humble opinion. I would use his pdf as is. But I’ve also been listening to a few podcasts that talk about how Savage Worlds works best when it is kept simple. So this time up, I’ll review the pdf and present alternatives to some of the new rules that keep to the core rules and either use existing trait checks in new ways or utilizes trappings to reskin things to the Firefly setting without any real need to make any big changes.

Let’s start off with what’s in the PDF from part one.

The character’s section is great as is. It provides flavor on how you would run a particular archetype for the game. This doesn’t need any changes.


Browncoat (Major): This is simply the outsider hindrance. No need to create a new hindrance! Every hindrance in the game requires some exposition and story on how it relates to the character taking it. Just take outsider and the story is, I’m a brown coat and Alliance friendlies don’t like me.

Tinhorn (Major): This is the clueless hindrance. A core worlder in a rim campaign would be clueless out in the rim. The same is true for a rim worlder in a core world campaign. No need to create a new hindrance.

Debt: This can easily be done with the Wanted hindrance and the exposition of I owe “X” money.


Companion Training: This is just Charismatic with some exposition and flavor text for the character. Probably be good to also take attractive.

Shepherd: This is a very specific edge. It can also simply be done with Charismatic maybe paired with quirk trait. They are respected and gain the +2 bonus in most rim areas. But some might find the constant religious talk annoying!

Hacking: This can be worked out two different ways. Simply use the Hacking rules found in the Sci-Fi Companion (Page 27). Or just use Knowledge: Computers as a skill. When using computers to do investigation and the player has the investigation skill, give a +1 bonus to the roll.

Bounty Hunter: I would not even include this. You can build a bounty hunter character, you don’t need an edge for this.

Alliance Connections: Just use connections. Your connections are within the interstellar alliance.

The gear section is actually very well done. You could use that section of the PDF as a guide for other items in the ‘verse.

Keep in mind that a platinum piece in Firefly is a dollar in the Savage Worlds books. 400 platinum is worth 400 alliance credits. This is one of the things in the Firefly setting that can come into play when the GM wishes to add some setting flavor, but should not be so ever present that the players are keeping calculators out to run conversions of plat to credit.


The weapons section is decent, but not needed. Remember, there is very little change in weapon stats. All you really need is to use the Savage Worlds Deluxe book or the Sci-Fi Companion for baseline weapons and armor.  Just remember: Lasers are very rare in this setting!


Just use the Sci-Fi companion for all your starship needs. The ships listed in the PDF look to have been made using the Sci-Fi companion, at least as a guide. The same is true for the spacecraft weapons section.

One thing I really like from the PDF (I know, this is supposed to be how to do it without the PDF, just bare with me!!) is the used ship quirk table. Similar to the used vehicle table from East Texas University, this is a great little table and I strongly recommend you use it!

Setting Rules:

Asphyxiation: This is part of the Atmosphere rules from the Sci-Fi companion. You can also just use the established suffocation rules from the Savage Worlds Deluxe book.

Hull Breach: This is something I feel works best as a GM fiat, running it very dramatically. “You are struck and immediately you sense a hull breach. The drop in pressure in the ship and the terrifyingly loud screaming sound of atmosphere bleeding into the vacuum of space. You need to find out where the breach is and plug it fast!” The players need to find the breach and then decide, do they seal off that section or try and patch the breach. If they try and patch it, have some strength or agility checks to avoid tripping up and falling toward the breach. If they fail, they get sucked closer to it, whatever is dramatically appropriate. If they roll double ones, they take some damage in the fall. If they seal off the room, does that cut off important areas of the ship?

Basically, keep it dramatic. Heck, this could be a dramatic task. Success one locates the breach, the others are to get the breach sealed.

Trade: I would keep this a story driver. Just like in the show, mention lack of money or need for repairs as the story calls for it. No need to have a firm set of rules.

Life aboard ship: This again, is something I think works better as a GM fiat to be done as needed. A normal trip between worlds would have no issue. Running off the normal space lanes that adds weeks to the trip may mean the GM asks for spirit rolls to avoid cabin fever. Or the ship can suffer a major mechanical failure….

Gazetteer of the Verse: This is a good section, but you can also google “The Verse by Numbers 2.0” This is a free pdf companion to the official map of the ‘verse. It details every planet, moon and satellite in the setting. It is big and a dry read. But it can offer tons of ideas for adventures!

Remember that many things that happen in the show, movie and comics are often unique or rare events and situations. River is unique in the setting. Though there could be others, they would likely have different builds. Rather than codifying River’s abilities as new rules. Create her as a psychic with 20-30 XP by the end of the film.

The Savage Worlds GM Podcast briefly mentions how to build River Tam in Season 15, Episode 12. If you don’t follow them, you should. They discuss this topic of using the core material to run various settings with minimal rules changes. This method of bringing your settings to Savage Worlds helps keep things running smoothly and fast with few hiccups and hurdles that new rules, edges and hindrances can inadvertently create.

Hope this helped!

If you liked this, let me know. If you think I missed something, please let me know!

I know I’m far from perfect and I likely missed some obvious items or rules.

4 thoughts on “Savaging Firefly Part Two: The Savage Workshop

Add yours

  1. I would use the Noble edge to represent Companions. They get Charisma and a steady income but have to earn it.

    For Sheperds I’d use a hindrance rather than an edge, some sort of obligation or oath.


    1. I like the idea of the Noble edge for companion.
      For shepherd, I could see doing both. I like the idea of him being charismatic but with a quirk. But I could also see just using the quirk hindrance where his preaching grates on the nerves of others.


  2. Interesting thoughts though I don’t think I’ve seen the original document you reference. (Link?) I agree with the simplifications. So much can be done with backstory and trappings. I do run into situations (in this example and elsewhere) when something in a movie/tv setting really demands a combination of Edge and Hindrance. Like Shepherd with Charisma effects but also Obligations. Someday it would be interesting to see an official discussion on pairing Edges and Hindrances.


    1. Thanks for the feedback! The link is found in my previous post, Savaging Firefly part one. It was originally hosted on But it is now, sadly defunct. Luckily, I did have a copy saved.
      A discussion of pairing edges and Hindrances does sound very cool! I might need to reach out to the Savage Worlds GM’s podcast to see if that could be a future discussion for them.
      Thanks for the idea!!


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