So this Saturday is the second session of the Firefly game I’m running for my family! They asked to return to the previous (one-shot) setup: a salvage ship and their particular crew.

Unfortunately, I feel like maybe I’ve painted myself into a corner. So let’s crowdsource this thing.

The corner is that … there aren’t a lot of options when your ride is a salvage ship. It’s designed to do one thing well: salvage wrecks. So, well, they did that last session. Seems kind of boring to expect them to, you know, salvage more wrecks every session.

That got me thinking about how cleverly open-ended Firefly the TV show was in that regard. I’d already decoded the secret sauce of the crew — lots of crossed lines and conflicting loyalties — but failed to notice that the Serenity is a multipurpose platform. They can fly around and land and salvage and carry cargo etc etc. Maybe in my head, “cargo carrier” feels somehow more flexible than “salvage vessel.”

So where is my crew off to next?

0 thoughts on “Firefly”

  1. It might very well be your headspace, hmm. I haven’t thought much about what a salvage carrier is/does. Ultimately, a specific class of ship is a tool that can be used in various ways.

    What notable features have been established on the ship already? What assets have come into play already? Those can be great hints towards the things they can use the ship for.

    What sorts of things does a salvaging-ship need in order to be functional? I’d imagine that it still needs cargo space to carry salvage, and it needs some tech systems to keep all the salvaging machinery operational. It has a specific sort of profile, which might make it a good fit for certain missions.

    How upgradeable is it? Could you slot in something like a Cortex station or a medlab?

  2. It’s almost certainly my head space!

    One thing that occurs to me is that I’ve declared, based on the illustration I pulled out of the aether here, that it’s not aerodynamic. They have shuttles. So like…genre-y stuff like The Train Job don’t work because they don’t have something like the Serenity to operate from.

    But then again a lot of the stuff that happens on Firefly happens because of the crew’s skills, attitude and history, not because of the boat they’re on.

  3. Indeed! And on the flipside, it seems tough and reliable and stable. Probably capable of handling itself in some dangerous places like asteroid fields and whatnot. Dunno what, exactly, maps to that in the Western genre, but maybe some sort of “survival trek” thing.

    The special knowledge of the crew is definitely something to consider! The ship doesn’t always have to be a staging ground for things, see Ariel and Shindig.

  4. Scene one: official approaches crew while in port, as they sell goods and troll the feeds for word of lost ships. Asks crew to take a couple survivors of a ‘meteor strike’ to the survivors home world. Half down, bonus in delivery, and hey, the might give up the coords of the wreck. Why them? They’re the only ship in port at the moment. The survivors are VIPs and need to leave now. VIPs of what? Umm… mumblemuble.

    Further questions (to others) would bring up a ‘mythical’ reavers attack in connection to the wreck. And you know how survivors of that sort of thing turn out…

  5. I love that picture! What about a distress call from a damaged ship in a dangerous situation? All those salvage arms and stuff might be useful making a rescue. Maybe if they make a rescue, they get salvage rights. But the people they rescued might not be excited to see their ship get chopped up for parts to someone else’s benefit.

    Ship like that might have lots of nooks and crannies to stash stuff. Maybe a former owner stashed something away behind a bulkhead and now someone’s trying to get on board to collect it. What about stowaways?

    Salvage ships can haul stuff right? What if some of that scrap they’re hauling has an unfortunate pedigree–like it’s evidence in a case of piracy, or it came from a plague ship and now nobody wants to let you dock with it?

  6. They salvage something that two or more factions really want, who are then trying to intercept them before they can deliver this cargo.

    They think they’re about to salvage, but it’s a pirate trap.

  7. They get a mail vid drop from a contact – known to wor k on the greyer side of the law:
    A deal has come up, a mining crew has two heavy lift shuttles needing emerg repairs on a rock in the middle of nowhere. A Salvage ships is pretty much a repair ship, no? It isn’t? So? The pay-off is you get to keep one of the shuttles. And since you’ve been having issues lately moving big loads dirt-side, I thought of you!

    The twist: the ‘miners’ are Alliance mutineers. They do need off that rock, but the shuttles are assault parasites, not civi-grade heavy lifters. And they don’t want anyone going about telling stories once thier ride is all fixed up.

  8. Give them a contract to smuggle something under the guise of transporting salvage. The authorities don’t usually bother salvage ships. All they need to do is pick up the contraband wrapped in a disguise of scrap metal, take it past Alliance patrols, and get it to the drop-off point on the fringe.

    (Of course, true to the show “all they need to do” is the first sign of things going very very wrong)

  9. Thinking just on the very edges of the box, a “salvage ship” is really a “mobile zero-g construction/deconstruction platform.” So even just staying in the main ship’s mission box, they can build things, modify things, and repair things as well as tearing apart and selling abandoned things. There seem to be an awful lot of undercrewed facilities in the ‘verse, so while we might expect a large space station to have organic repair and construction capabilities, in this setting probably only the largest civilian stations and the Alliance maintain those.

  10. Add some crew conflict: that salvage has a survivor in cryogenic. If they shuffle off the cryogenic pod, they keep the salvage. If they wake the survivor, they get bupkis. Survivor is (type one of crew favors, or Core official or parent of otherwise orphaned child).

    They really need the money for vital repairs, like life support.

  11. Salvage: How? Is it “disassemble derelict vessels and then sell the component materials” or is it more of a mobile repair ship or a towing craft of some sort?

  12. Eric Franklin I think they’re envisioning it more like “finder’s keepers.” Get a lead or do their own investigating, find something interesting, haul it in for sale.

    So far they’ve established that the captain/owner of the ship has a sister who runs a junkyard, and that’s where most of the legit scrap is fenced/sold through.

  13. Do they have any tools for analysis? What if you mixed in a little pulp archaeology for an episode? They find a weird artifacty thing on a salvaged ship and need to figure out how it works and who wants it and what are they going to do about these mad cultists?

  14. A salvage ship is also, pretty clearly, able to multi-purpose as a repair ship.

    (Not sure if the rules cover it, but…   Like, think about the tools available.)

  15. Well…it’s Firefly. So there are some established-ish facts about the setting. Like, the settlements aren’t that old (I don’t remember, just a couple hundred years since Old Earth?) And It Is Known there are no aliens. But there are Reavers, and very little is revealed about them.

  16. Paul Beakley: Might also be a freaky-weird bit of Alliance-funded tech, think something out of Fringe. They might have a shadow branch of R&D that left a device behind (or a lab that destroyed itself) and a legend grew around it. Depends on how soft sci-fi you want to go.

    EDIT: I mean, there are psychics in Firefly, so…

  17. pull one from the show…like “accidental” illegal salvage….or a trap left by the space boogie men who’s names I can’t seem to remember despite it being on the tip of my tongue….  Or they find survivors…  If you want them in a new ship, give them an option to upgrade!  They find a ship they can put a little bit of elbow grease into to get good as new.

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