Friday, October 14, 2011

Timey-Whimey : Serenity and Dr. Who

Margaret Weis Productions' Serenity and Dr. Who

An old schoolmate named Chris contacted me on Facebook, telling me how much she missed hanging out and how she missed gaming.  In a heartbeat, I asked her if she wanted to have a game come weekend and her excitement could only grow even higher when she was told it would be a game based on Firefly.

Before you know it, she and another old schoolmate named Charles were coming over for a Sunday game at the Sietch.  Character options were offered and Charles decided to go for Jayne.  Chris on the other hand reminded me of the fact her Plurk profile picture always shows artwork of Kaylee.  Finally, Rocky decided to join the fun and I told him his options were either Mal, Simon or Shepherd Book.  His choice would ultimately determine what time-setting the game would have.  He opted for Mal.  So the game was set post-movie (meaning yes certain people were going to be dead.)

Oh no Jayne, you're not doing it again?!?
But then I realized Chris, Charles and Rocky were also fans of Dr. Who.  So all I had to do was hit two birds with one stone.    I grabbed my DVD collection and decided the best episode to use was an episode where Jayne and Mal were at best odds:  Ariel.  In the episode, Jayne betrays the Tam siblings to the Alliance, and Mal nearly throws him out of the airlock for doing so.    To revisit that timeline would have been an awesome opportunity to embrace characterization and internal struggles.  For Kaylee, on the other hand, the best way to make a Kaylee player squeal would be to let her use her techie stuff big time.  Now imagine this:  Kaylee with a Sonic Screwdriver.   Kaylee (who in the RPG is given the ability to "talk" to machines) chatting with the T.a.r.d.i.s?

Everything quickly fell into place.  There were two doctors.  There were two Rivers.  All that was needed was a threat that would have the crew thrown into the past.  So imagine a job where Mal, Jayne, River and Kaylee have to transport a box and the client insists to open it.  The box shatters as it opens, revealing its walls were mirrors.  And then they black out and awaken in Ariel, confused and disoriented until they realize WHEN they are.

A Weeping Angel was the cargo.  And it had just thrown them to the past.

I quickly suggest River was the first to have been thrown into the past, and the PCs quickly decide to search for River.  They eventually discover a "River" who turns out instead to be River Song.  She explains about the angel and warns them not to try to change history.  But when their own actions threaten changing the past, can the crew do what is necessary to keep the past intact?  What if changing the past means Wash never dies?

Those were the questions the players had to tackle.  And trust me, they had fun!

A huge question though would be "Where did the weeping angel come from?"  Given how the Weeping Angels arc was resolved in Dr. Who, I had to simply connect the two Weeping Angel episodes to get my answer.  In the second episode, they introduced the idea that the image of a Weeping Angel is an angel as well.  In the first episode (the infamous episode called Blink), Sally Sparrow takes notes and photos of the Weeping Angels in order to create a file to warn the Doctor.  What if those photographs "woke up"?

So yeah, the Weeping Angels reawaken when the lone angel imprisoned in Serenity successfully lures River Song to bring the T.a.r.d.i.s. over.   The players are forced to fight around SIX of them, with them trying to "kill them while their eyes are closed, so they aren't unkillable stone."  And in classic Dr. Who fashion, River Song opting to help the players?  That's because she "remembers" in her notes that Kaylee someday rescues her from the Dark Ages.

All in all a fantastic timey-wimey game.

And noteably, Jovan was sad she wasn't able to reprise her role as Kaylee.

Imagine going against SIX of them!

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