Let's be Bad Guys
The only Character Type in Firefly is 'Bad Guy.' The Character Points available are
Attribute Points: 15
Quality Points: 15
Drawback Points: (up to) 10
Skill Points: 20
Drama Ponts: 10
You have 6 Attributes:
Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Perception, Will Power
You get 15 points to spread between your 6 attributes. '2' is an average score, so you are slightly above average.
You get 15 points to spend on Qualities. Qualities are just general stuff that will effect play, bits of background, special talents, extra toughness, etc. I will list some Qualities here.
You get up to 10 points to spend on Drawbacks. Drawbacks are like qualities that are bad for you. But, every point you spend on drawbacks gives you an extra point to spend on more cool Qualities. Here are some drawbacks. Drawbacks and qualities (and everything else for that matter) should be approved by the GM.
You get 20 points to spend on skills. Skills are broad categories for common actions one can take, like 'Computers,' which is used whenever someone is arsing about with computers. The skill list is here. You can make up extra skills called wild-cards which give you an extra sphere of expertise that is not open to the normal person. For example, 'Pilot' is not a standard skill. If you want to be a good pilot you have to make up the wild-card 'Pilot' and spend skill points on it.
You get 10 Drama Points. These are similar to Fortune Points in WFRP.
Life Points are hit points. There is a simple formula for these: 10 + (4*(str+con)). You can get extra Life Points by buying the 1-point quality 'Hard to Kill.' You get 3 extra life points for every quality point you spend.
If you look at the Character Sheet here, you can see where this stuff fits in.
Qualities and Drawbacks
Acute/Impaired Senses (2-point Quality or Drawback)
This reflects a particularly good or bad sense. If a perception roll relies on that sense then you get a +/-3 modifier to the perception roll.
Addiction (Variable Drawback)
The PC is addicted to some substance or other. We won't count coffee. Tobacco might work for a one-point drawback if it affects gameplay. Other substances can be designed by the player and the GM will decree how many points the drawback is worth. The only thng like this mentioned in the series was 'drops' whatever that might be.
Adversary (Variable Drawback)
The PC has an adversary who is out to get him. The power of the adversary and how dangerous they might be will determine how much is paid for the drawback.
Artist (2-point Quality)
The PC's an artist. He gets +1 to two of (Int, Per, WP) but he also had to flounce about and get stroppy for no reason, and tell everyone how artistic he is, over and over again.
Attractiveness (1-point/level Quality or Drawback)
This is your looks. Average looks is '0'. You can get it to +/-5. This is often used as a modifier when using Influence.
Brainiac (4-point Quality)
+2 Int, +1 to either WP or Per, 4 skill levels in something brainy-like. And, because it's TV, -1 to any interpersonal type skill rolls.
Can't Back Down (3-point Drawback)
You just won't let it lie. There is a specific part of your life, that if someone says the wrong thing about, you won't let it go until they (or you) are lying in a pool of blood, or they apologise to you.
Clown (1-point Drawback)
They seem to be giving away a free quality point for anyone who wants to arse around instead of playing properly. I might not allow this.
Companion (9-point Quality)
An important and uusual part of the setting is the way specially trained women are treated almost as royalty as they...sod it, we're all blokes and most of us are ugly. Forget I mentioned it.
Contacts (Variable Quality)
If you want to know useful and/or influential people who will treat you (mostly) right, then buy them as contacts. The GM will set the price. You also might want to chat with the GM about what contacts will work best in the setting.
Cop/Sheriff/Detective (5-point Quality)
You may have been a constable on one of the core worlds, or a sheriff with jurisdiction over a whole moon on the outer worlds, or something in between. The quality reflects some experience in the law enforcement services, knowledge of how the system works, and skills gained there.
You get +1 to a physical attribute, +1 to Crime skill, +1 to Gunplay skill, +1 to another relevant skill. You also get a 2-point Contact quality from back in the day.
You have now left the service. Drawbacks can be purchased for Adversaries and Wanted-ness to reflect the circumstances of your leaving.
Covetous (1 to 3-point Drawback)
You want something so bad that it will affect the way you play, and even put you in danger. The higher the price, the more seriously you want this thing, whatever it is.
Criminal (2-point Quality)
You're a member of the criminal classes, not just (semi) honest privateer bad guys, but real dirty criminals. You know about their methods and techniques. You know who's who and what's what. You get +1 to your most criminal attribute, +1 to Crime skill, +1 to another criminal skill.
But, being a criminal you sometimes can't resist taking stuff that doesn't belong to you. When faced with such an opportunity, as decreed by the GM, you must pass a WP test in order to resist pulling a fast one.
Dependent (2-point Drawback)
Someone close to you relies on you and you need to make sure they're gonna be ok. If it doesn't affect the game and it's not inconvenient and/or annoying then it's not worth the points.
Fast Reaction Time (2-point Quality)
You get +5 to Initiative tests, and +1 to WP tests for things like 'Fear.'
Gadgetmaster (3-point Quality)
You have an uncanny ability to construct complicated electronic or mechanical devices, often at short notice. If you can think of it, and it's pretty plausible (not magical!), you should be able to knock one up from spare bits around the place.
Hard to Kill (1 to 5-point Quality)
Each level gives you +3 Life Points, and +1 to Survival tests.
Honorable (1 to 3-point Drawback)
You live by a code that you just can't go against, no matter how expedient it might be. The first level, you won't lie or betray your firends. The second level, you always keep your word and do your very best to make good on any promise made. The third level, you live by a very strict code and will never do anything low down or remotely dirty.
Humorless (1-point Drawback)
You just don't get it.
Invisible Werewolf (10-point Drawback)
You get loads of bonuses whenever you want them for being invisible. But you don't suffer any drawbacks for being invisible, because you can change at will. You get loads of bonuses whenever you want them for being a wolf, but you don't suffer any drawbacks for being a wolf, because you're invisible.
Man of God (4-point Quality)
You're a preacher, priest, monk or nun, or something like that. Generally you'll be respected and treated well enough wherever you go. But you'll have to make an effort to minister to the flock, too. You'd also be expected to help the needy. You get +4 wildcard(The Good Book) skill, and 3 points to add to any social or knowledge skills. You might also want to tone down that wanton violence thing while you're at it, preacher. You get the Not a Fighter drawback.
Mental Problems (1 to 3-point Drawback)
Cowardice, Cruelty, Delusions, Obsession, Paranoia. Phobia, Recklessness, Zealot. Choose one of the above. You can have more if you want, but the rest are free. The 1-point drawback shows a mild problem and means that you will portray symptons but might overcome them when the going gets tough. A 3-point drawback means you are deranged and it will get in the way of things, annoyingly often. The rank also works as a modifier to relevant skill tests.
Mercenary (4-point Quality)
You've been trained for combat and use this training to monetary ends. You get 2 points to add to a physical attributes. 2 points in Gunplay skill, 1 in Crime skill, 1 in Barter skill.
Natural Toughness (2-point Quality)
4 points of natural armour against blunt attacks only, like punches, lead pipes, hit by a car, etc.
Nerves of Steel (3-point Quality)
You won't scare, either coz you're too cool, or too dumb. Note that in this setting, pretty much the only thing that causes fear is Reavers! So, essentially, everyone's afraid of Reavers (ie must take a fear test) unless they buy this quality.
Not a Fighter (2-point Drawback)
For whatever reason, you don't like to get involved in fights, fist-fights or fire-fights, or anything like that. You cannot start a ruckus. You can only join in in self defense or if your friends are in big trouble. If the situation is not altogether clear, then it may require a WP roll if you want to get involved.
Obligation (Variable Drawback)
You have an obligation to someone or some organisation. They tell you what to do and you do it. The level of the drawback dictates how much of a hold thhey have over you and how much you have to do for them, and how much it will interfere with your game.
Ornery (3-point Quality)
You're so stubborn you get +1 WP. You also get to say 'dagnabbit.'
Physical Disability (Variable Drawback)
Some sort of physical disadvantage that may effect your game. Discuss with GM as to the price for the drawback.
Rank (2-point/level Quality)
If you were a soldier, mercenary, man of god, cop or something similar, you can buy levels of rank that reflect your success in this field. This will give you extra importance among those remaining in that service and higher-up contacts, friends in high places, etc. You also get +1 Influence per level.
Recurring Nightmares (1-point drawback)
If you've had some trauma in the past then you might get haunted by it in your sleep. 10% of your nights are disturbed by serious nightmares, and then the following day you are at -1 to everything.
Reputation (2-point/level Quality or Drawback)
Your fame precedes you. This could be a good or a bad thing. This quality reflects how you will generally be received by the common folk wherever you go. Criminals and the government, etc, may have to make their own minds up about you. The more levels you buy, the more widespread and the more emphatic is your reputation.
Resources (2-point/level Quality or Drawback)
You get a ranking from -5 to +5 to indicate how wealthy you are and what sort of resources you can call on during the game. 0 means you have adequate equipment and clothes and enough money to live on for now.
Secret (Variable Drawback)
You have a dangerous and important hidden fact about your past life. That's dangerous. And important. Not, 'you used to wet the bed.' Dangerous. Important. Discuss with GM. Paul.
Showoff (2-point Drawback)
You just can't resist making sure everyone knows how good you are at stuff. Remember, if it doesn't affect the game, it aint worth the points.
Silver Spoon (3-point Quality)
You were born to a rich family, probably on the core worlds. You know how to act among the elite and they will know you're one of them. On the other hand, normal folk out on the frontier aren't always gonna like you for it. Add +1 to a mental skill, 3 extra skill points for educational skills, +3 Highlife skill.
Situational Awareness (2-point Quality)
+2 to many perception based rolls and bonuses for being surprised or theived on.
Soldier (4-point Quality)
You've been trained for combat and survival. You were probably in the war, 6 years ago, between the Independents and the Alliance, and you'll be biased to one of those sides. You get 1 point to add to a physical attribute. 2 points in Gunplay skill, 1 in Survival skill and 1 in Medical skill.
Spaceship (1-point/level Quality)
You have a share of a spacecraft. For every level purchased between the party you get 1 spaceship point to spend on your transport.
Sweety (3-point Quality)
You're just so nice that you get a +2 bonus whenever you try to influence someone, get a favour, or get stuff done in a pleasant way.
Talented (Skill) (5-point Quality)
For a given skill you get +1 bonus, you also get a natural talent and uncanny ability that ensures you get a roll even if you have no other reason to succeed with a particular task.
Technology (1 to 5-point Quality)
You own a cool piece of technology that is not normally available.
Wanted (1 to 3-point Drawback)
You're wanted by the law enforcement agencies of the Anglo-Sino Alliance. The 1-point quality simply means your listed as 'wanted' somewhere. No one is going to come after you and hunt you down, but if you happen to be checked out by the pooice, they may discover this and detain you.
The 3-point quality means that you're a serious and known criminal and some force somewhere is actively working to get you.
Although there are no aliens and no strange supernatural beings in the setting, probably, there is room for some sort of weird character premise. In the series this was the psycho-telepath-slaughter-nutter-failed-experiment River. She was essentially the plot hook for the entire series.
There's no room for everyone to be weird and important in this way, in the game, but if one player wishes to have this sort of character, then it can be accommodated. You will need a decent backstory and interesting abilities and be ripe for plot hooks, because this special sort of character will be important to the campaign. And we can discuss the quality points one of these unique characters will cost. They'll be expensive.
Here is a list of some typical wildcard skills that could crop up in the setting. Feel free to make your own up, too.
- The Good Book
- Planet ( )
- ZeroG Cow Juggling