Yesterday, I played a "pilot episode" of a seven-episode "season" of the Firefly RPG. It was my first time playing the game. I had six crewmembers-
-Enzo, an eccentric engineer;
-"Q", an escaped government experiment on the run;
-Sally, an ace pilot;
-Kitt, a grizzled Unifaction War veteran;
-Jack, a wanted Browncoat renegade.
This pilot episode would mark the first time these characters all met each other (Kitt and Jack being the exceptions, as they've been traveling together).
The episode began at the end. I opened up with Kitt holding a gun to a man's back and forcing him to fly a ship they just stole out of a canyon; Enzo dangling out of the open cargo hold by a rope, uncaring about the chaos around him as he tries to fix the engine's busted vacuum ignition coil; Jack holding onto that rope while Q was fighting three goons onboard the ship; Sally awakening from a concussion in a crate full of fruit, and Dr. Montgomery, in the medbay tending to a critically injured Alliance soldier as the ship rolls and spins through the canyon. I ended the scene with a shot of the ship emerging from the canyons, and the "camera" panned across the ship's bow, revealing its name: Serenity. I then cued the TV's show's music and took a lunch break.
After the break, the story of how this crew came together and ended up in this situation unfolded. Kitt and Jack were hired by a neurotic (and possibly insane) fence named Doc Fallenstien to hijack the Serenity, which had some special cargo on it that Doc wanted. Doc also hired Q to use her psychic abilities to find items at a bargain from the merchant square, where she was also to keep an eye on Kitt and Jack and assist in their hijacking, as necessary. The Serenity had somehow been sold in an auction on a backwater planet to a produce merchant named Simon Borroghs, nicknamed "Peaches" because of his product of choice. Peaches had hired Sally to pilot the ship, Enzo to run engineering, and took on Dr. Montgomery as a traveler.
It didn't take long for things to get nice and complicated. Kitt, Jack, and Q decided to go for the direct approach and just head to the ship. There, they were apprehended by the port authority who weren't allowing unauthorized personnel on the ship's landing. At the same time as this is going on, a group of thugs (who are later revealed to be working for Badger, who also wants the cargo on the Serenity) try to infiltrate the ship. They are scared off by Sally, who hung around the ship after the others left for the market. Meanwhile, the other players managed to talk their way around the port authority troops and end up having an intense stand-off with Sally.
Meanwhile, at the market, Dr. Montgomery was apprehened by Alliance soldiers and detained at a station where he is interrogated about the ship he arrived on. Turns out the Alliance is also aware of the Serenity's special cargo and they want it, as well. However, the Alliance, trying to avoid a spectacle, want to get the cargo as quietly as possible. So they enlist the good doctor's aid, and send him back to the ship. Dr. Montgomery informs Peaches of this, and the two of them head back to the ship, where they wander into the standoff between Sally and the others. Later, more Alliance soldiers show up at the market stall where Enzo is now working alone. Enzo, not really paying attention to what's going on, casually tells the soldiers that the pilot has run back to the ship. The Alliance follows, and Enzo stays in the market and turns a decent profit selling fruits and various knick-knacks.
As all the other crewmembers and Peaches are trying to sort out what the hell is going on, the Alliance shows up in force. When they see Jack, they immediately attempt to board the ship. Things are looking real bad but then the doctor shows up and informs the soldiers that he is on a mission for their commanding officer. The troops back off. Enzo returns after the Market closes, and the scene lingers for a bit as everyone aboard tries to figure out what's going on.
They discover that the special cargo is hidden in a secret compartment beneath the ship's engines. The compartment is rigged with heavy explosives that will set off a chain reaction in the engine, instantly blowing up the ship and killing anyone inside.
As Kitt and Jack break the news to Doc, Dr. Montgomery receives a call from the Alliance officer, informing him that the mission is off. Now that they know a known fugitive from the law is onboard the ship, they can easily justify shooting the ship down with missiles once they try to leave. The doctor informs the crew of this. They are displeased. Moments later, however, the doctor receives a second messge from an Alliance soldier. The soldier says he was a friend of the old owner of the ship (someone named Mal), and he has information regarding the special cargo.
While that soldier is en route to the ship, Badger's thugs return with new orders: blow open the ship and take the cargo by force. They arrive on the landing with a rocket launcher. The crew can't take off because the Alliance will shoot them down, so they come up with a desperate plan; they'll fly beneath the city into the canyon below, fly through the canyon until they're out of missile range, then emerge from the canyon and get the hell off the planet. They scramble to take off before the rocket launcher is ready to be fired.
As the crew is prepping for launch, Enzo notices that the vacuum ignition coil is broken and will need to be repaired before they can enter space. Enzo takes a part from the cargo door...however, he accidentially opens the door and, in removing the part, has broken the door. A firefight with Badger's thugs begins. The Alliance soldier shows up and makes a mad dash for the ramp. He gets shot repeatedly by the thugs before he makes it onboard. The doctor bravely runs down the ramp, grabs the soldier, and drags him into the medic bay to tend to his grevious injuries.
One of the thugs lands a lucky shot on Sally, knocking her into a nearby fruit container. With the pilot occupied, Kitt forces Peaches, at gunpoint, to fly the ship. The thugs successfully make their way onto the ship as it takes off. Alliance troops arrive just in time to see all of this. Three Allaince troops jump and are dangling off of the cargo ramp as the Serenity takes off.
The ship can't fly properly with the cargo ramp down, so Enzo tries to simultaneously fix both the ignition coil and the door. Unfortunately, a sudden lurch in the ship causes him to fall down the ramp. Jack grabs a cargo rope and successfully manages to lasso Enzo's feet, leaving him dangling from the ship with the ignition coil in his hands. While he waits for Jack to pull him back into the ship, Enzo works on the ignition coil. A thug tries to attack Jack, but Q fights him off, and proceeds to take on the other thugs.
And so the adventure ended the way it began, and the new crew of the Serenity began their adventures out in the Black...