Monday, August 18, 2014

Firefly RPG, Episode Seven (Finale) Recap: "Play it Again, Sam"

Yesterday afternoon, we concluded our Firefly RPG campaign with our seventh episode, "Play it Again, Sam."

The episode took place several years in the future. The new crew of the Serenity had discovered the secret of the Reavers (as detailed in the Serenity movie). The outrage across the 'Verse resulted in a second Unification War. The crew split up and went their seperate ways across the Black.

Being Kitt's episode, the finale began with her. Once again a commander of a Browncoat cell, Kitt's mission found her on the colony of Ilsa, where her group was supposed to receive a prisoner (Colonel Kensington!) from another Browncoat cell. Kitt was with a fellow Browncoat named Cole. It turns out Cole is Kitt's lover. We find out in a flashback (technically a "flash-forward," since it's still happening in the future but not in the future of the OH YOU GET IT) that Jack and Kitt were on the Serenity as it was being shot down by Alliance gunships. Kitt was blown clear of the explosion and landed in a lake, but Jack was still on the ship...

Kitt arrived at the rendexvous point where she'd meet the other cell's leader, Lucy. The point was a bar called Rick's. The bartender, to Kitt's surprise, was Peaches. In a conversation with Kitt, we discover Peaches left the crew several years ago to be a "straight" businessman, and his ventures eventually landed him on Ilsa. When Alliance cronies show up to capture the Browncoats, they escape and hide at Peaches' place.

Cole, however, got captured, and ended up in jail. His presence sparked the attention of Ilsa's ruling council, one of the members turning out to be Cricket. Cricket went AWOL from the crew in the months following the Miranda scandal. She'd grown weary of all the violence and chaos surrounding the crew, and just wanted to settle in to a quiet, constructive life. After years of farming, she earned the trust of the people of Ilsa and began to represent them on the council.

The council, however, were divided. One of the council members wanted Ilsa to throw in with the Alliance. One of the members was in favor of supporting the Browncoats. The others were dedicated to keeping a neutral stance. Hoping to get evidence one way or the other, the council interrogated Cole. At the same time that happened, Kitt and Peaches showed up at the jail to try and convince the authorities to release him.

Cricket kept her knowledge of these folk a secret, for the moment. The following morning, she went to Peaches' place and had an argument with Kitt. Kitt was angry about her leaving the crew. Cricket just wanted peace and quiet, and demanded that Kitt and her Browncoats leave Ilsa before someone gets hurt.

Meanwhile, Q and Ira arrived on Ilsa. Hearing that Colonel Kensington was on the colony, the two were eager to question him themselves. Their crusade to expose the Academy was going poorly; in the years following the Miranda scandal, the Alliance pulled a bold PR stunt with the Academy, exposing a few of their agents and painting the Academy as this wonderful place where the potential of the human mind gets unlocked. Hoping to get solid evidence of the insidious nature of the Academy from the Colonel himself, the two arrived on Ilsa and hoped to get him for themselves.

But they weren't the only ones looking for the good Colonel. Kensignton's two most loyal agents...Echo and Yankee...arrived on Ilsa looking for them, as well. The four ex-students met each other soon after, where a psychic kung-fu battle was waged across the streets of Ilsa. The brief fracas ended with Ira and Q in jail, prompting yet another visit by the council.

With the Alliance everywhere and the Ilsa militia in disapproval, Kitt and her Browncoat crew needed a safe location to do the prisoner hand-off. Reluctantly, Kitt reached out to Cricket for help. Cricket knew exactly where they could go: a scrapyard outside of town, run by Enzo. Enzo had become an anti-social recluse after being beaten nearly to death by an angry mob for his involvement in the Miranda scandal (Enzo had built the distribution systems that administered the chemicals, although he had no knowledge of exactly what he was doing).

The episode climaxed, of course, with chaos and battle. The handoff was humped from the start; Echo and Yankee learned the location of the drop, and ambushed the Browncoats with the help of a few dozen Alliance units. Enzo was ready for them all, however; in his paranoid brilliance, the scrapyard was a clockwork fortress of defenses, right down to an automaton army to engage the troops!

Kitt was surrounded by Alliance troops...it looked like she was going to fall...and then, Jack showed up. Turns out he was one of the Browncoats in the other cell. He had cleared the explosion too, and thought Kitt had died when the Serenity went down.

So the crew, reunited, fought their way out of the junkyard, made it back to Ilsa's ship bay, where Enzo had even managed to put together a new(ish) Firefly-class transport for them to fly away on. The end!

I'll write more later on my final thoughts about the campaign, but I'll say now that this was hands-down the best game I've ever run, for some of the best players I've ever known.

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