Unknown Armies meets Firefly

This weekend, I had a chance to play-test a Firefly game session using a stripped-down version of Unknown Armies 2nd edition. (Details on chargen are over here, but basically I just stripped magic out entirely and used the street-level campaign.)
Anyway, the game went reasonably well (though, damnably, we didn’t get a chance to finish up what should have been a one-shot session, due to interruptions) and the system seemed to work pretty well. There are, however a few tweaks I would make (or have already made) to the chargen.

  • More skill points. Using the ‘street level’ points for stats seemed to give scores that felt realistic and accurate for the characters (both those from the show that I was using to ‘calibrate’ the system and those that the players made up — however, using the street-levels for available skill points meant there just weren’t enough to go around and really flesh out the characters. We were using 15 bonus skill points — I think that in the future, I’m going to go with the same number of Stat Points, but change the ‘extra’ skill points to somewhere around 70 to 100. (Basically, I think the characters we see in Firefly have Stats that fit Street-level, but I don’t generally feel like I’m doing justice to their skills.
  • Passions can be invoked multiple times in a session instead of once-per-passion. This is the thing that will let a player get those cinematic moments when they need them — it also reemphasizes the Firefly conceit that a person is more effective when they really care. Mal’s a decent shot with a pistol, but when you’ve betrayed him and you’re threatening one of his crew, at that moment he can put a bullet in your brain from twenty feet away while at a brisk walk, without aiming. Cool.

I’m also pondering using Conflict- instead of task-resolution. Rather than rolling for each little task in the middle of combat or major conflict, I’d move to a Sorcerer/Fate type of resolution where a roll represents a short-ish series of related actions. Rewrites to optional skills like Fast Draw might be necessary, but it would still probably be quite viable.
We’ll see. I’ve been wanting to mess around with this system for Firefly for awhile now and I was glad to give it a whirl… I think it offers a lot of features that emphasize the parts of the show and characters that deserve emphasis — it’s not perfect by any means, but there’s some really good stuff there.
That said, I’m looking forward to a chance to try out Dust Devils in the ‘verse as well.


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