So, I got to thinking about the upcoming Firefly RPG, which will be based on the Cortex Plus system, much like Smallville and the newer Marvel RPGs.
Part of these mechanics is the emphasising of Relationships – a very important aspect in the Firefly series and Serenity movie. After all, they’re what define each of the characters, drive many of the plots, and allow us to gain some insight into why these characters are the way they are – and that’s far more interesting than laser beams and exactly how much fuel the ship goes through in a day.
So, I wanted to add some mechanics for Relationships into the MiniSix framework. These are a first-draft, so expect changes and such as I improve them.
Relationships are the defining building blocks of characters – dependents, people they trust, enemies, even their favourite gun. All these little things affect how a character views the world, and how they will react to various problems and threats. To provide a mechanical reward for bolstering these relationships, each one acts similarly to a Flaw – you gain one bonus CP per session when you either further your relationship, or it causes you problems. Some examples:
Dependant: a child, a non-combatant husband, or a sister who’s a little whimsical in the brainpan. Spend some time looking after them on a long journey, make sure you buy them something nice while out on leave, and you might earn yourself a CP.
Watch as they accidentally crawl into the middle of a firefight, have someone use them as leverage, or take out a bar full of people while the Alliance are already on your tail, you might get one too.
Partner: either your beau, or your (not-so) trusted partner-in-crime. Or both.
Remember an anniversary, chat to them about old times, spend some “quality time” with them (whether that’s romancin’ or goofing off), even have an argument about who does the dishes or how much you’re paying them, and the CP’s up for grabs.
Risk everything to save them, watch as they get themselves in big trouble, or help them deal with their demons, and you might get lucky too.
Equipment: the ship, she sings to you; or maybe it’s the gun you took off one of the five men sent to kill you. This little (or big) beaut is yours and yours alone.
Spend some time fixing her up, keeping her pretty, or expositing about your relationship, the CP’s in the bag.
Watch her get wrecked, spend way too much cash on upkeep, or have to go without, and see how you go.
The bonus CP is doled out by the GM – if two players take a Relationship with each other, and keep having the same arguments over and over (or try and swindle you with three anniversaries, 5 birthdays and a whole host of family bereavements), you are well within your rights to ask them to try something new, and withhold the CP until they can come up with something more entertaining. Similarly, if a Relationship and a Flaw (like Dependency, Greedy, or Skeletons in the Closet) would provide multiple CPs from the same event, it’s up to you whether or not to grant one, both, or neither, depending on how the players are playing it.
Characters can start play with as many relationships as the GM sees fit. I would recommend two – more than three can be complicated, difficult to manage, and can lead to some inflated CP gain.