Serenity Role Playing Game is a science fiction role-playing game released in 2005 and set in the universe of the movie Serenity and television series Firefly. It is produced by Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd, and its mechanics are the first iteration of the Cortex System.
The themes of Serenity are similar to those presented in the original film as well as its precursor, the show Firefly. The science fiction setting is tempered by the feel of an old western movie, as aspects of high technology mix with frontier life on newly terraformed planets. The primary focus of the game is on constantly moving to the horizon and avoiding being tied down. Secondary themes are created through character interaction and there is plenty of leeway to allow for a Game Master to create their own themes within the setting.
The Cortex System is based on the Sovereign Stone System. The system described here is the one detailed in the Serenity core rule book. Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd refined and expanded the system for their Battlestar Galactica role-playing game.
The system uses dice with 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 sides, described with the standard role-playing game notation of d2, d4, d6, d8, and so on. Each of a character's attributes and skills is assigned one of these die types, with larger dice representing greater ability. So, for example, a character might have Strength d6, Intelligence d8, Athletics d4, Guns d10, and so on. When a character attempts an action, such as piloting a spacecraft, shooting a gun, or punching someone, the player rolls the die for the character's applicable attribute and the die for his/her appropriate skill, adds the results together, and compares the total against a difficulty number. Tasks of greater or lesser difficulty are represented either by increasing or decreasing the difficulty number or increasing or decreasing the dice the player rolls by "steps," with each step raising or lowering the die type by one. So a d10 with a two step penalty becomes a d6, a d12 with a one step penalty becomes a d10, and so on.
The game uses a system of Assets and Complications to round out characters and give them various bonuses and penalties. This is similar to the special abilities and character flaws used in a variety of other role-playing games, such as Merits and Flaws in White Wolf's original World of Darkness, Advantages and Disadvantages in Steve Jackson Games' GURPS, Qualities and Drawbacks in Eden Unisystem, and Edges and Hindrances in Pinnacle Entertainment's Deadlands and Savage Worlds games (to which the Serenity system bears a strong resemblance).
The Cortex System also includes Plot Points, which increase characters' survivability and give players greater control over events in the game. Players can spend Plot Points to gain extra dice when making a die roll, reduce the damage from an attack, or even make changes to the storyline. Some Assets also require the expenditure of Plot Points. At the end of a game session, excess Plot Points are converted to Advancement Points, which a player spends to improve his or her character's abilities.
Video of GameplayEdit
|This video was created by the Quilt City Ogres and uploaded to their youtube channel here|
Chapters that PlayEdit
The following chapters are know to play, previously played, or open to playing the game: