Archive for the 'Serenity Articles' Category

Free Savage Serenity Adventure Posted

Last summer I wrote a Serenity adventure using the Savage Worlds Deluxe rule set called The Price of Success. I ran it twice for friends and now four times at the recently concluded Origins convention here in Columbus, Ohio. After making several tweaks and improvements, I’ve posted it as a free Savage Worlds Fan adventure for anyone to run.

Click to Download the Price of Success

The zip file includes a map of the city of Lost Ways on Paquin, business-card sized Object Cards, and Savage Serenity GM Screen Inserts. There are also other items useful for running this particular adventure. It is all free and distributed under the Savage Worlds Fan rules, courtesy of Pinnacle Entertainment Group. You can pick up copies of the Savage Worlds Deluxe rules and much more at their site.

Enjoy the adventure and let me know what you think.

Cheers,
Jim

Dragonlaird Gaming gearing up for Origins 2012!

Apologies for the several month quiet period here at the sprawling campus of Dragonlaird Gaming but things have not been at a stand-still. I’ve got two major pushes coming to fruition and a third just (re-)beginning.

1) I’ve been working with Josh Minto of Minto Illustrations and Savage Worlds veteran Simon Lucas (Board Game Geek Page) who has worked on almost every Savage Worlds product out there, on a new Savage Worlds product. We’re in the stage of getting licensing approval, but I hope to have a sample version of the product with me when I go to…

2) Origins 2012! Once again, one of the top gaming conventions in the U.S. is being held in my current home town, Columbus, Ohio. I’ve gone steadily since 2005 when I was on the Serenity RPG development team and always have a great time. This year I’ll be running a Savage Worlds Serenity adventure called “The Price of Success” in four time slots including Savage Saturday Night. I’ve run the scenario twice with local gamers and I think players will have a lot of fun with it. Stop by one of my games or catch me at Savage Saturday Night.

3) Gaming the Movies. This well-received series of columns in Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine has reached 34 entries. After a semi-hiatus over the last year, I’ll be renewing my activities with KODT either with a continuation of the GtM series or with direct Gamemastering articles of general interest. Drop a comment if you’d like to see one more than the other, or if there is a favorite movie/TV show you have in mind that I haven’t covered in the column to date.

Cheers!

Jim

Savaged Serenity Characters! Shepherd Derrial Book

Character #5 of my Savage World takes on the Serenity crew. The man with the book and the past of secrets.

(These are free of charge (M*tant En*my please don’t sue) and using the Fan version of the Savage Worlds license. You will need the Savage Worlds rule book to use the characters (and hey, they have an awesome new deluxe edition out new this summer!))

Here’s Book: Shepherd Book

Savaged Serenity Characters! Hoban “Wash” Washburne

Character #4 of my Savage World takes on the Serenity crew. Say hello to the leaf on the wind!

(These are free of charge (M*tant En*my please don’t sue) and using the Fan version of the Savage Worlds license. You will need the Savage Worlds rule book to use the characters (and hey, they have an awesome new deluxe edition out new this summer!))

Here’s Wash: Hoban Washburne

Savaged Serenity Characters! Jayne Cobb

Character #3 of my Savage World takes on the Serenity crew. Say hello to the Hero of Canton!

(These are free of charge (M*tant En*my please don’t sue) and using the Fan version of the Savage Worlds license. You will need the Savage Worlds rule book to use the characters (and hey, they have an awesome new deluxe edition out new this summer!))

Here’s Jayne! Jayne Cobb

Savaged Serenity Characters! Zoe Washburne

Here’s the next Savaged Serenity Character, our favorite first mate: Zoe Washburne.

(These are free of charge (M*tant En*my please don’t sue) and using the Fan version of the Savage Worlds license. You will need the Savage Worlds rule book to use the characters (and hey, they have an awesome new deluxe edition out new this summer!))

So here’s Zoe: Zoe Washburne.

Serenity Edges and Hindrances

In support of the Savaged Serenity characters I’ll be posting soon, I created some new Edges and Hindrances compatible with Savage Worlds. Check them out here: New Edges and Hindrances.

Savaged Serenity Characters!

About a month ago I ran a six hour Serenity adventure for some friends of mine at an annual gathering we call “The Ohio Game”. I play almost exclusively Savage Worlds these days so that’s what I ran the adventure under. I’m intending to run that adventure again at Origins in 2012 so look for “Price of Success” in the game grids if you want to grab a seat at my table.

Anywho, I figured it was time to get some more goodies up on Dragonlaird Gaming so I’m posting the Serenity crew in the Savage Worlds rules system. These are free of charge (M*tant En*my please don’t sue) and using the Fan version of the Savage Worlds license. You will need the Savage Worlds rule book to use the characters (and hey, they have an awesome new deluxe edition out new this summer!)

So here’s the first installment: Captain Malcolm Reynolds.

Serenity Articles : Reach for the Sky

Someone asked me about my Reach for the Sky play-by-post game. In particular, they were interested in its origins during the Unification War. I thought it would make a good opportunity to lay out the concept. If it someday becomes a full-fledged adventure module, all the better.

So, the name. Reach for the Sky has two meanings. First, the old west command to put your hands in the air. Tags into the Western theme in Serenity pretty nicely. Second, flying in the black is presented as the ideal way to maintain your freedom and live true. Using Sky for Space is reinforced by the theme song line “You Can’t Take the Sky From Me”. All in all, I love the phrase as a handle for a series of Serenity adventures I’m writing and running with a play-by-post group.

The original overall concept was a three adventure series.

Adventure 1 is set during the final days of the war. The moon of Harrow, orbiting Hera, is the sight of a months long protracted battle between Alliance and Independent forces. Spacecraft which normally would have established air superiority for the Alliance troops are allocated to Hera proper. Independent forces launch a crazy, surprise attack hoping to crack the Alliance buildup over Hera and win a decisive battle. This touches off the hot war on Hera. An Alliance cruiser is caught off-guard by the small but swift Independent attack fleet. A freak strike cripples the cruiser over Harrow and it begins to break apart. A very large chunk of the cruiser falls quickly to the surface of Harrow.

The impact of the crashed cruiser includes earthquakes, a firestorm, an atmosphere choked with ash and dust… basically a major disaster on the moon. Caught in the middle of the disaster are the player characters. Some were aboard an Alliance prison ship struck by Independent fire and which crashed prior to the disaster. Other PCs are Browncoat troops who survive by sheer luck in the near-impact zone. Other ideas are possible.

The PCs stumble on to one another as they try to escape the disaster zone. One might have water where the other has a compass. In an [i]Enemy Mine[/i] situation, even Browncoats and Purplebellies might need to work together to survive.

Reaching the only town that survived the destruction, they have to find a way to get passage on one of the only ships available, doing long favors for various factions and wrestling with their own loyalties and goals.

Lifting off planet and surviving the danger of ash choking the engines at the wrong moment, the PCs “win” the first adventure. Depending on the ship they chose, they might be dumped back into the military or they might slip away from the battle zone free people, their past lives buried in the ash of Harrow.

Adventure 2 was intended to tell the story of how these people who met and bonded in the disaster of Harrow’s Moon strive to find a home together, a ship they can fly, make money, and stay free. Leveraging old friends, making new contacts, doing jobs to raise money (risky-type jobs for the high return). The end of Adventure 2 would leave the PCs with a ship they obtained by hard work.

Adventure 3 would be their first adventures with their ship. I imagined very ship-oriented challenges including making critical repairs and improvements in their new home.

So the adventure started at the very end of the war, but it doesn’t give a proper model for others who want to set a campaign during the course of the war. Here are my thoughts on that.

A war-time Serenity campaign might take on some of the structure of the Star Wars films (4 through 6). There the Rebel fleet is always outgunned, outmanned, but elusive. The Alliance (a’la the Empire) is hunting them, driving for a real battle which the Browncoats fondly wish to avoid.

Characters could be special ops types, working undercover in Alliance territory. They could be a a military unit on one side or the other. You could use the TV show Band of Brothers as your model for a series of adventures. Look in books about the U.S. Civil War to get ideas about battles and ways the sides struggled against each other (and to maintain that connection Whedon made to the Old West post-Civil War.)

Movement is key, so they could have their own ship, disguised as a merchant vessel that they use to do their Special Operations. Or they could be ’stationed’ on a larger Independent warship and let that transport them from adventure to adventure (more like Starship Troopers).

I think it would be vital to impress on the players that what they do, what the Independents do, could change the course of the war. There has to be a chance (even a slim one) that the Browncoats will win and the Alliance will sue for piece.

While it would be easy to say that the Alliance would easily have numerical and technological superiority over the Independents, I don’t think that is strictly the case. I think the Alliance has more worlds to defend, merchant convoys to defend, etc. I think they would be stretched thin, unable to quickly marshal overwhelming advantages versus their opponents. The Independent worlds have some manufacturing which could be creating new spaceships, new weapons, and the ammunition needed to fight the war.

As with any game, judge what your players are interested in. You could have spies and political intrigues dominate, or a hard, gripping tale that requires players to develop military tactics to solve most problems. What flavor do people want to get out of the campaign?

Those are my thoughts about my Reach for the Sky campaign and about running a Serenity game during the war. I hope they are helpful and please drop me a comment.

Serenity Articles : Hobbville

Fifty miles north of the teeming city of Eavesdown sits the plantation known as Hobbville. Established by Cletus Hobb with special backing of the Governor of Persephone, the plantation lies on two thousand lush acres of farm land. They grow a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to supply the tables of the rich and poor in Eavesdown.

A dedicated rail line runs from Hobbville to Eavesdown. Every night a train rolls south to deliver fresh produce and every morning, it makes its way back to Hobbville. Hobb owns a series of warehouses in Eavesdown at the south end of the rail line as well as a commercial market for selling the produce to restaurants and other buyers.

The population of Hobbville runs around 500 people including Hobb’s personal staff and a cadre of muscle called the Cousins. The rest are little better than indentured workers. The workers are kept in dormitories and not allowed to leave Hobbville until their debts are paid. A small street of company stores does a good job draining their meager pay away.

Adventure Ideas

Cletus Hobb doesn’t allow visitors to Hobbville so word about conditions of the plantation only leak out slowly from the train operators or the warehouse workers. The latest rumor? There is some sort of illness in the town. Cletus Hobb doesn’t admit there is a problem and will turn away any nosy doctors, including those from the Long Reach.

What Cletus isn’t saying, is that the Right Reverend Lawkins from Parson City is trying to muscle in on Hobbville, get the produce heading north to Parson City to be canned and sold to Eavesdown at a big profit. The Right Reverend snuck some of his followers into the workers and they are fomenting some sort of action against Cletus. Where there are two powerful forces against each other, either side might see the advantage of using some ‘independent contractors’ to tip the balance.