This is the second adventure in the Echoes of War campaign, which serves to introduce you and your players both to the Firefly RPG and its setting. As such, the first section explains how the game is played - in terms simple enough for people new to role-playing, never mind this game - with the assumption that you either have characters from Serenity Crew or created using the full core rulebook. This includes advice for Game Masters, so even if it is your first time running a game you have some guidance about what you should do to get everything to work well for all involved. If you are an experienced GM but new to Firefly there's plenty of detail showing you how to both apply this ruleset's game mechanics and how to run a session in a way that catches the essential flavour of the game. Most of this first section can be shared with players if they need to learn how to play this game.
All that out of the way, the next section is called 'The Way of Things' and tells the GM exactly what is going on in this adventure and a likely course of events once the crew takes on the initial challenge. It also introduces two key NPCs, Shepherd Mordecai Rust and Roscoe Lake, complete with full character sheets as well as notes on how to play them. Other lesser - but no less important to the overall adventure - NPCs are also given in less detail, with notes on how to play them and embed them into the adventure as well.
So on to the adventure itself, with a Prelude in which the crew meets up with Shepherd Rust who asks for their help - an orphanage he supports is under threat of being closed down by Roscoe Lake, to whom they owe a fair bit of money. The good Shepherd has come up with an idea to save them by entering a speedboat race and winning the substatial prize on offer, but he needs some help - like people who can maintain and pilot a speedboat, for example! He's got one, but it is in a state of disrepair and needs a lot of work before it will float let alone give a good showing of itself in a race.
The adventure continues from there with a sequence of four acts that take the crew through getting ready for and participating in the race. Naturally, it's not quite as straightforwards as that. Suggestions and options are well-highlighted along with ideas about what would happen should the characters decide on a certain course of action. It all makes it a very dynamic adventure with a lot going on and plenty of scope for using a range of skills and role-playing... and of course some fighting as well. The way the text is written assumes that the players have chosen characters from the Serenity's crew, but there's nothing that cannot be tweaked if they have different characters. The adventure ends with some suggestions for further action.
It's a fast-paced interesting adventure with plenty going on, presented in a way that should make it easy to run with loads of options and suggestions at every turn so that it can appear tailored to the crew's actions - neat. Even so, make sure that you have read it thoroughtly beforehand, it is probably too much to try to run straight out of the box. As an introduction to both game system and concept, it's excellent.
Return to Shooting Fish page.
Reviewed: 7 January 2015