Like the rest of the Echoes of War adventures, the beginning of this book is devoted to explaining the Cortext Plus system in sufficient detail to enable you to play the adventure without reference to any other rules. You'll need characters - Serenity Crew provides both the leading characters from the TV show but a dozen 'archetypes' ready-made, or if you do have the core rulebook that has all the information you need to create characters from scratch. The odd comment and quote appear to assume you are playing Serenity's crew, but it doesn't really matter provided that the characters you're using have a similar range of skills and a ship. The rules notes are clear and easy to follow, and explain the role of the Game Master (GM) well enough that a first-time GM ought to be able to run the adventure without too much difficulty. Novice GMs are further supported by side-bar comments throughout the adventure that give hints and tips on running it to best effect: indeed, even experienced GMs could benefit from them. This is the only part of the book that players should read, the rest is GM territory.
The adventure proper is organised with an introduction - The Way of Things - which presents an overview and a clutch of NPCs, a Prelude and four Acts, with some closing notes (Roll Credits) which include ideas for follow-up adventures. The NPCs come in two sorts, the main ones get a full-page write-up and a complete character sheet whilst lesser ones come with more condensed information. Throughout the emphasis is on giving the GM what they need to role-play each and every NPC as an individual.
The plotline involves a reformed thief whose past includes stealing ships from one side in the recent unpleasantness and selling parts to t'other side which means there are bounty hunters as well as the authorities on her tail - the 'reformation' is only in her mind, she wants to start a new life without any of that tedious stuff like answering for past offences. Oh, and her Mama's not too well and there are hospital bills to pay. She claims she has the money and a ship, but needs help to access them... it gets complicated but to cut a long story short, can the crew help? For a fee, of course. On the other hand, the bounty might look like a better proposition.
A really neat part of the briefing for the GM is a collection of subplots aimed at characters who are playing the archetypes from the Serenity Crew book. There's something to hook each more more closely into the adventure, so there will be a lot more going on than just aiding the former thief (or collecting the bounty on her head). Of course if the characters being played are from the TV show, there are a set of sub-plots tailored to them as well. Read them thoroughly and incorporate them to have a mulit-level adventure that all your players will feel really involves them. Even without this, there's a lot going on and plenty to keep them occupied with interactions and the possibility of a brawl at virtually every opportunity.
It's a good adventure and one which captures the spirit of the original TV show well.
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Reviewed: 9 January 2015