Preludes Guidelines and Rules
This is the 'verse as of 2506. The Anglo-Sino Alliance has been formed within the last few years, and the core is flourishing.
The rim worlds (and some border worlds) are all independent at this stage, and most intend to keep it that way. The Browncoats don't exist in that they neither have a military, nor a war council... at least not yet. Some rim worlds have a basic defense force or militia, most don't. Militias are forming, though, as tensions between Alliance and those-what-ain't-Alliance build. Political debates are increasing in fervor, as are demonstrations and protests on all sides. Thus is the state of affairs.
All characters will be built to Greenhorn level unless specified otherwise.
All characters must be civilian (the style of campaign prevents the use of active military or most law-enforcement types). Former military or law enforcement is perfectly do-able. Additionally, all characters must have an occupation, or at least a history of employment. A 'hired gun' is acceptable, but still needs some sort of resume. Even con artists need either a steady income or a front for the cops.
I will be using Tim Weber's absolutely awesome excel-based character sheets and utilities, so I must demand that final character write-ups use this sheet (which will be provided via e-mail). If you don't have access to MS Excel, let me know, and I'll berate you as I fill in the information for you.
Players must provide the following for their characters:
- A character description giving an idea of the character's hisory, psychology, motivation, etc.
- At least one long-term goal or desire. (Motivation!)
- At least one short-term goal or desire. (MORE Motivation!)
- Brief descriptions of:
- 3 friends
- 3 relatives
- 3 not-friends-at-all
i.e. Joseph Matlock, a 33-yr old banker employed at Persephone Second Financial, in Three Waters, hates my guts for sleeping with his youngest sister, and will make every effort within his power to offer me trouble, should he discover Iím in town.
- A reason to procure transport on a mid-bulk transport from Eavesdown Docks on Persephone to Beylix and/or Athens. (see more below)
I'm demanding a modicum of realism in character creation. I've required characters to have some sort of job experience simply for the fact that I want to build a greater drama than can be achieved with the standard comic-book badass character builds that often befall RPGs. Firefly had its share of archetypical characters, but it was their realistic depth and humanity that stole our attention. Similarly, I want to place normal people in extraordinary situations and watch the fireworks.
Now, that being said, badasses are welcome! I'd simply prefer them to be low-profile badasses... no one knew River could lay the proverbial smack down until without a second thought, she took down three of Niska's thugs. The other characters weren't the wiser until River laid waste to a bar in Maidenhead. It's the intrigue that makes a badass, not the skillset. Even judicious use of Plot Points can be the key to bad-assitude! Anyone dislike the term 'badass?'
I digress. The point is, my game will be about realistic characters playing out incredible stories, not about who gets to be the best pilot, quickest gun, most seductive, etc. We've all had plenty of those games, I imagine!
The game begins with all characters at Eavesdown Docks, Persephone. Characters must be seeking travel to Athens and/or Beylix aboard a Potbelly-class mid-bulk transport.
Reasoning for this travel is completely up to the players, but must be appropriate to the character. A core-world dandy would likely not procure transport aboard such a vessel, so such a character must have a specific reason to select such a ship. (i.e. this is simply the next available transport given a time-sensitive need, or the character requires a low profile to avoid paparazzi or the law, etc.)
Note: I will soon update the Astrogation page with information on Persephone, Athens, and Beylix for reference purposes (especially for those without the game book).
Each character should have an amount of luggage proportional to their reason for travel. You can own more, also proportional to the characterís wealth and station in life. This stuff may or may not come into play over the course of the campaign.
Donít bother documenting every article of clothing or standard toiletries. However, equipment, weaponry and the like must be reasonable for the trip (do you need an RPG launcher to find work aboard a tramp freighter?) and inventoried.
Donít be discouraged by the insistence upon realistic equipment load-out. If you donít go anywhere without your trusty switchblade, trusty 9mm, or trusty ballistic mesh vest, so be it, but Iíll call foul at the listing of trusty claymore mines. But don't dismay: just Ďcause you canít start with an automatic grenade launcher doesnít mean you wonít get to use one eventually. Yes, thatís a promise (though I canít say when).
A Disclaimer: All personal property and items may be lost or destroyed at any point in the campaign. While I donít make a habit of this, if such a scenario presents itself, I will make use of the technique for the purposes of good drama. Characters will get the chance(s) to re-acquire, or at the very least, replace, their lost, destroyed, or stolen property.
In order to cater the campaign to my players' interests, I will need to know which side of the impending war each character will favor. It is my assumption that each player will lean toward the Browncoats (note that this does not necessarily entail signing up with Independent militias), but a character who secretly supports (or spies for) the Alliance will not be out of the question; though I will not guarantee that character's survival when their identity is revealed.
Sidearms and personal defense weapons are encouraged but not necessary (no, Iím not referring to the submachineguns that are classified as PDWs). A small or large automatic pistol, any kind of revolver, knives, tasers, and the like are all fair game.
If you insist upon using a hand cannon like the Desert Eagle, Iíll tolerate it, but I encourage finding a more original big, honkiní gun (the AMT Automags, Wildley, and Coonan pistols are good candidates). As much as I love the look and capability of the Deagle, itís become everyoneís badass clichť. Plus, I am familiar with the drawbacks such a pistol presents, and would impose appropriate penalties in-game (the weapon takes longer to draw unless in a thigh-holster, is difficult to conceal, and requires d6 strength to fire without taking a point of damage). Of course, I would also provide the benefits of such a weapon, like bonuses to intimidation and the devastating effects of a hit in combat.
The GM will prompt perception rolls at certain points of the story, but perception rolls can be made at any time (equivalent to a character getting a weird feeling and looking/listening around them). After a spur-of-the-moment roll is made, its result lasts for the duration of the scene, or until another one is prompted.
As this is a Play-by-Post game, Initiative is loosely determined by whoever posts first. Initiative rolls will only be prompted in one-on-one encounters or other situations where it might be useful. I simply see no point in taking the time to see who goes first in this venueÖ react to a situation as you see fit the moment itís presented. As far as Iím concerned, the action roll determines success as well as order, unless we decide otherwise (like if a player wants to wait a turn and see what the opposition does, or if the characters are already on the defensive).
If you donít have any combat skills, you can still engage and participate in combat. Be creativeÖ throw stones, set fire to things, knock down something bigÖ you can contribute, should the character desire it. Similarly, if the character is badass, but nonchalant about the reason for fighting, then not engaging in combat would be just as excellent.
Post as often as you can! I realize life comes first, but I intend to check the game and respond multiple times per day. A post per day or a few times a week would be great (providing we can keep that pace). Weíll see what kind of pace we set once the game begins.
If you face a business trip or vacation or newborn child or biblical plague that will impede your posting, no problem! But please post a notice of absence in the Announcements thread when you can.