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Firefly Echoes of War: Wedding Planners Cortex Plus
by Megan R. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 10/10/2014 07:59:39
Designed to introduce players to the Firefly RPG as well as to give them a cracking good adventure, this work opens with an overview of how the game is played including an introduction to the Cortex ruleset. If you understand all this already, you can skip it, however it does make a good introduction if someone new to role-playing or to Cortex joins an existing group.

The adventure proper begins with full character sheets for several notable major NPCs including the would-be bride and groom. The assumption is that the players will be taking on the roles of at least some of the Serenity crew, but the adventure would work equally well with characters of their own creation if you happen to have the necessary rules. A neat trick is gamemaster hints scattered throughout the adventure, showing you how to maximise the fun.

The plot is simplicity itself. The party is hired to transport a young lady to her wedding. What could be difficult about that? Naturally there's more - far more - than meets the eye, with a fair few sub-plots and other twists along the way. Everything is laid out very clearly for the GM, indeed the whole thing is designed with a novice GM in mind, as well as being presented in such a way as to make it accessible for new players.

There are plenty of opportunities to use skills other than combat. The early stages, in particular, show the benefits of doing a spot of research on the people you'll be meeting and the places you'll be going to; with various snippets being available based on questions asked and how good your die roll is. Interactions are detailed well, with likely responses from the NPCs presented to whatever the party may say or do, often complete with a typical quote that you can use to make them come to life. There's a lot going on and nobody should get bored - at least, not if they are prepared to role-play. Opportunities for combat are limited during the opening stages... but as events unfold there is soon plenty of opportunity for heroics, with a boarding action to contend with before the Serenity reaches his destination, a rendezvous with a luxury liner.

Here the party will have to put on some good behaviour, but there still are plenty of opportunities for getting into trouble. There are lots of things that can happen, even alternate sequences of events based on what has happened so far or even what the GM prefers, plenty of scope to make this adventure your own. And shall we say that not all the guests at the wedding have peaceful celebrations of wedded bliss in mind? This is a wedding day that nobody will forget.

It's a nice adventure, well-rounded with plenty of opportunities to interact, investigate and scheme as well as occasions when violence is the best solution. Presentation is excellent, I only found one typo ('captures' instead of 'cameras' when the press turn up at an inopportune moment, but its easy to figure out what was intended!), and the layout is conductive to easy running. Good in its intended role as an introduction to the Firefly game, or indeed it would make a good adventure to add into an on-going campaign.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Echoes of War: Wedding Planners Cortex Plus
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Firefly Echoes of War: Wedding Planners Cortex Plus
by Todd C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/29/2014 21:38:11
Played through the first part with some people using FATE Core rules during lunch. Lots of fun. Really felt like we were in a Firefly episode with our characters and take on the Verse.

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
by Michelle F. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 08/08/2014 22:16:50
The great, the good, and the moderately irritating.

Love the system - Cortex Plus feels like a great fit for the Firefly 'verse. I think the complication and opportunity mechanics will really help to capture the tone of the show. The book is gorgeous and the content is comprehensive and throughly explained.

Not crazy about the layout - I didn't particularly need the inforced review of the entire series just to get the rules. Not to mention, a Chinese pronunciation guide, Serenity cockpit layout, what felt like *every* line of dialogue from the show, and no index? really?

Hate the language - dialect is great for dialogue, it's less fun to to slog through for hundreds of pages. I get the theme; I really do. I was heartily sick of the every kitchy "if'n'" by page 33 and gritting my teeth by page 64. The crew may have been backwater; I am not. I don't feel anymore connected to the 'verse for feeling like I picked up the rules on a moonshine run in Hazard County. That being said, I'm not likely to read it cover-to-cover ever egain, so its already moot.

Vernacular aside, I consider this a solid purchase and I will probably buy the companion volumes too. Along with post-it flags - lots of post-it flags. #indexme

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
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Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 06/03/2014 21:29:41
WHAT WORKS: The book is chock full of examples, within the episode guide and outside of it, making the system easier to understand than, perhaps, any other incarnation of Cortex Plus. They squeezed a LOT of customization options out of the Firefly universe, broadening the scope nicely. The Episode Guide is the best I have ever seen in a licensed RPG, worth reading even if you know the series by heart. The most "traditional" feel a Cortex Plus game has had yet, which should help make it more accessible.

WHAT DOESN'T WORK: No real treatment of Reavers, I guess? If the print version doesn't have an index, that's going to be rough in a book this size. I could have went in for a Random Episode Generator.

CONCLUSION: The clearest, most concise version of Cortex Plus yet, with no real complaints on my part. The episode guide is an epic thing of beauty, and I could see someone using this as a "gateway" to Cortex Plus and walking folks "back" to other Cortex Plus games once they grasp the basics off of this. I'll admit, I like Firefly, but the idea of a Firefly campaign doesn't fire me up, until I see *just how much* they were able to cram into this book. They even managed to squeeze in playing an Alliance Operative! I'm not really sure how much material they have to expand the gaming universe with, but given how tight and complete Smallville and Leverage were (*sniff*, poor Marvel Heroic, *sniff*), I don't know if that's a bad thing to create a "basically all in one" Firefly RPG. I give it a pretty high recommendation for gaming in the 'Verse, for sure.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2014/06/tommys-take-o-
n-firefly-roleplaying-game.html

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
by Miles P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/30/2014 12:18:59
Absolutely loved the TV series, and was a fantastic fan of Margaret Weis's when I was a kid, so figured I'd toss $20 at this even if it sucked.

It didn't, it's fantastic. The narrative playstyle of the game system makes gameplay a much more collaborative event where both the players and the GM are almost equally involved in telling the story. This makes it much harder for players to feel like they're being railroaded through the plot, indeed, this method results in them helping to determine the plot.

If your group is comprised of tactical combat simulationists who ignore the plot and get right to the action, then this may not be for you.

My only complaint, and it's not enough to pull down from the 5 star review, is that the order of the contents didn't work for me. The book jumps right into reviewing the setting and going through all 14 tv episodes and introduces you to the mechanics of them game in a more narrative fashion. This may work for some people, but for me I would have preferred the gameplay rules come first. I recommended all my players start with FIND A JOB and KEEP FLYIN' (the gameplay rules) on pages 234-273, and then go back and read the earlier portion.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly RPG: Wedding Planners Cortex Classic Set
by James B. H. J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/16/2014 16:57:48
I love all the Firefly PDFs, but this one is definitely a favorite. We have been playing the original Serenity RPG since it came out. It would be cool to see all the Firefly scenarios made for both.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly RPG: Wedding Planners Cortex Classic Set
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Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
by Matthew T. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/16/2014 04:37:20
As a RPGer of some thirty-odd years, brought up on systems like Traveller, BRP, Rolemaster and even (for a couple of early sessions) basic and AD&D, it's taken me some time to get my head around the Cortex Plus system.

I'm not new to narrative systems. I'm a big Fate fan, and I couldn't quite see why Cortex Plus seems to cling onto aspects of old-style RPGs (for example polyhedrals) which games like Fudge and Fate had long since eschewed.

Last year, I played a session or two of the Gencon preview edition of the *Firefly Roleplaying Game*, with one of my groups. The experience wasn't overly positive. I did urge Browncoats to buy the episodes, because they were cheap PDFs, each one comes a summary of the rules, and they are ... well, they are like a new series of Firefly. But I had my problems with the preview book itself - my group struggled with the rules, as GM (or game master) I felt I had to do too much dice-rolling, and I wasn't convinced by the design. I was particularly rude about the deep blue character sheets. These pages, which were expected to be printed out and given to the players would either drain your printer of blue ink, or were undreadable if you chose to print them out in greyscale.

The PDF of the finished Corebook has now been released, and the printed hardback edition is on it's way. I'm pleased to say my biggest gripe, the blue character sheets, has been addressed. In this edition they are a far more elegant design, with a mostly white background. It shows the company listens, and reacts, and so makes things better.

Since writing that review of the preview edition I've also had the chance to get to grips with the rules. I still think that, as GM, I have to roll the dice too much, but now I better understand why. And what I've come to understand informs what I am about to say:

You should buy this game.

Obviously, if you are Browncoat and a role-player, you were going to buy it anyway. You'll likely have pre-ordered the hardback already, and you are already enjoying the PDF. I'll warn you now that you might experience some difficulty in getting your group to play the game as written, but we'll come to that later.

Right now I want to speak to the Browncoats who aren't interested in Role Playing Games:

You should buy this game.

Why should you buy this game? Because if you are a Bowncoat who isn't into Role Playing Games, this is the game for you. Even if you are the Browncoat who has tried a Role Playing Game, and you *know*, honestly, that they are just not for you, then THIS is the game for you.

Because the Firefly Role Playing Game isn't so much as game as a Story Engine.

The roots of Role Playing in military simulation were evident. *Dungeons and Dragons* strived to simulate (an admittedly fantastic) reality with dice, using conventions that might have made sense in war gaming but were clumsy and frankly incredulous in storytelling. Hit points, for example, came from the concept of unit strength in war gaming, but don't make sense in one-to-one combat. If somebody hits you with a sword you suffer broken bones or internal organ damage. You don't say "Don't worry, I still have half my hit points left" and carry on. For a couple of decades, designers of subsequent games tried to address this problem by making the simulation more realistic, which often meant more complex but actually just as abstract.

But it doesn't need to be that way. In the Eighties, a game called *Toon* eschewed the simulation of reality to emulate the madcap antics of Bugs Bunny and the Loony Tunes cartoons. In the Nineties the game *Feng Shui* did the same for Hong Kong action movies. In *Feng Shui* if a character didn't have a name they wouldn't have any hit points. You could take them out with just one punch, just like in the movies. These were two early examples of narrative driven games, where the story you tell becomes more important than the tactics of battle.

In the new Firefly RPG, no-one has any hit points. You don't roll dice to simulate the effects of a gunshot on your opponent, you roll dice to explore the effects of a gunshot, or an argument, or a kiss, on the story. And anybody can be taken out of the scene with the effects of just one punch, or even just one kiss.

The Firefly rules are the first I've seen that can prompt the devastating effects on Inara of Mal's fling with Nandi *Heart of Gold.* Whenever a chance of failure might make the story more interesting, the player concerned rolls a pool of dice based on the aspects of their character that best fit the narrative. The two top scoring dice, when compared with the score on the GMs dice, tell you whether you succeed or fail. But if any of your dice roll ones, even if you succeed, things get more ... complicated. its not entirely bad news though. Not only does the complication add a twist to the story, the player gets a plot point, which they can spend on improving their future chances of success, buying off complications when the opportunity arises, or adding aspects of their own invention to the story. In high stakes rolls, like combat, everyone can be, *will* be, taken out with just one punch, or bullet. But if you have a plot point, you can use it to stay in the scene and take an injury instead. And that injury isn't just a number of hit points, it's something you can describe, like a cut across the chest, or a bullet in the gut.

Firefly isn't the only game that does without hit points. And lots of more modern games feature things like plot points, but in most they are rewards that give you bonuses in the game. In Firefly they are an integral part of the engine that transforms a session from one where the players might feel like puppets in a story game master has already written, into a collaborative storytelling environment, where nobody, NOBODY, quite knows what going to happen next.

More experienced gamers? I know you've already bought it, but I want to leave you with one warning. If your group is used to more traditional, tactical games like *Dungeons and Dragons*, they may react with horror at the lack of hit points, armour class and experience levels. Try and convince them that they are not playing a simulation, but telling a story. Tell them it's a story that gives them more control that they've *ever* had before, but one with all the twists and turns of their favorite TV show. If they are still uncertain, recruit some newbies into your group without any of the hang-ups of old-skool gamers.

Because you need to play this game. It's the next six seasons of Firefly.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
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Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
by Kevin S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 05/10/2014 13:42:07
The layout of the book is incredibly awkward. Presenting the majority of the rules in the context of the episodes without an index at the back makes it really hard to find the rules you are looking for. At least put an index in the back that tells you where to find a specific rule.

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
by Ron M. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/21/2014 14:50:46
Not a bad book, although the GenCon Pre-order's art was more impressive.
I'm still waiting on my Hard copy to be sent to me....

Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Echoes of War: Wedding Planners Cortex Plus
by Jamey J. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2014 17:57:35
Once again the pdf was very well done. The is a good game.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Echoes of War: Wedding Planners Cortex Plus
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Firefly Echoes of War: Wedding Planners Cortex Plus
by Caleb D. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/18/2014 13:06:54
Loved it. Great adventure for one of my favorite new rpg systems.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
by Stephen S. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/06/2014 09:23:38
The much anticipated Firefly-RPG is both excitingly innovative and disappointing. The book is laid out focusing on stories, including a highly detailed account of each of the shows fourteen episodes used as flavor text and to highlight the rules and how one can use them to achieve the feel of the iconic television show. This was a brave work given the cult following of the show.
PROs:
The basic rule system is simple, and elegant. All actions with potentially bad consequences are resolved in the same basic way. The player and opponent roll off using a dice pool. The pool can be modified in a bunch of ways, but all of them are intuitive.
Players has considerable control of the narrative using plot points and a variety of rules relating to their simple character sheets.
There are countless examples in the text of how to resolve various scenarios.
Also present are dozens of archetypes, distinctions, and ships to satisfy the players.
The rules eschew the asset management crunchiness of damage tracking, money and equipment.
Thoughtful insights on how to construct adventures and develop backgrounds.
The rules, examples, and suggestions for creating distinctions and triggers are well written and clearly laid out to give flexibility AND careful guidelines for keeping play balance.
CONS:
Unintuitive organization, reminiscent of Old White Wolf games buries many of the actual rules deep in the narrative of the episodes. No index to track down relevant rules.
Many scenarios have a variety of methods for resolution, and similar scenarios may be described differently in the episode guides. This flexibility offers a variety of tools, but leaves the GM in the unfortunate situation of having to generate house rules for a number of pretty common situations (assets, complications, teamwork, low stakes actions, big damn hero dice, and situation traits to name a few.)
The idea of using the familiar show episodes to explain rules is a great one. More attention though should have been put to (a) be consistent with the rules, (b) explain when they were fudging things to make the rules fit the scenario, and (c) explaining the game mind set versus the story telling of the show.
A good example of the latter problem is the description of the Janynestown episode. The translation of the story into games mechanics is relatively sound (except for one rule violation) but it never admits to the great fiction. That story would almost certainly not arise in the way they describe it. A GM and Player would have had to plan out the entire central point Jayne's previous visit well in advance, they pretend that it could have been a happy accident of a botched die roll.
The episode guide and associated rules sections could have been more effective if they owned the deceit that any attempt to translate the show would be implausible.
My main issue with the game is just that they don't seem to want to admit that it is a game. There is little attention to the sorts of things players are wont to do.
A good example is using the environment and strategy. The catch all rules mechanism for this is using a plot point to create an asset. Mechanically this is rarely a good use of plot points, but it is encouraged throughout the text. The problem is that, in the absence of using plot point there is little incentive to use strategy. There is no rules point in seeking cover in a combat if you don't want to spend a plot point for the Asset cover.
That said, scattered throughout the text and heavily used on the forums, are little tweaks to accommodate these alternatives. The GM can grant assets as rewards for good play (but is cautioned to do so sparingly), one can use other incentives to reward clever thinking, and good role playing, but again these are presented as options or house rules. There are numerous mechanisms to do this, but no effort was made to suggest what might work better, encourage good story telling, or keep game balance.
Overall I get the impression that the Rules are better described as Tools. They are good tools, but only for a GM who is willing to invest heavily in working out the consequences of their application OR unconcerned about consistency and fairness and willing to play fast and loose. I think the designers had the latter idea in mind when they designed the system. It does beg the question, if the rules literally don't matter, then why have them at all?

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
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Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
by John g. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/05/2014 00:06:04
I got to pre order and play this game at Gencon 2013. It was a great game then. I now own a copy of the PDF, and am setting up a campaign here in town. I have played serenity, and this is a different, updated, and way more in depth version of that wonderful game! They have done so much work to develop an entire Verse. The cortex system as always is close to flawless, and has super smooth game play, great for any beginner while allowing itself to be open and sandbox-y for any long term, veteran filled, campaign. And if that's not enough they have gone OVERBOARD with their character development. Yeah sure play as the original cast, but really they didn't stop there. They have core, boarder and special characters to choose from and work with, more then I care to count! This they either went crazy an made stuff up or got fox to deliver more information then I can take in. The planet systems, back stories on different players, how the worlds interact! It's crazy! Thanks MWP, you did good... real good!

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Firefly Role-Playing Game Corebook
by Franklin H. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/02/2014 16:00:12
Wonderfully edited and presented core rulebook using the proven Cortex Rules Engine. I missed the Serenity RPG but the Firefly RPG is evidence MWP is serious about giving the 'verse the love it deserves this go around.

Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Sete-Ka's Dream Quest
by Piotr C. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 01/30/2014 13:04:34
It is a quite nice, young adult novel/game, very similar to old Endless Quest books. It is a bit short - only 46 separate entries, 22 of them being The End. There is a route to finish this gamebook reading only 6 entries (and answering a riddle)!

Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Sete-Ka's Dream Quest
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