Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Firefly/Dollhouse (Andromeda) Campaign

Firefly has a ton of obvious parallels to BattleTech. Change the crew from small-time smugglers and scavengers to small-time mercs and scavengers, and you've got a ready framework for a campaign.

Blue Sun & Rossum: it may seem like the Alliance and the Blue Sun corporation are working together to hunt River and Simon, but Firefly was canceled before the archvillains were really defined; Joss Whedon's next project, Dollhouse, parallels Firefly in several respects (with interesting implications for the characters of YoSaffBridge, Simon and Book) and I suspect much of the plot carried forward as well. This implies that the government and Blue Sun are working opposite each other, and that Blue Sun is divided against itself as well.

Blue Sun & Mr. TV: Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda began before and ended after Firefly, and one of it's final story arcs took place in a pocket universe similar to Firefly's star system. There are interesting parallels between Andromeda's and Firefly's casts, and remarkable parallels between Andromeda and BattleTech (not least with a JumpShip named Andromeda, and another named Manassas); but mainly, since we don't get a ton of detail about Blue Sun, I want to substitute Virgil Vox (and the artificial sun) for Mr. TV.

Reavers & Miranda: you could say the Reavers were created by chemical weapons (connecting the dots between YoSaffBridge's second appearance and the explanation given in the Serenity movie), and you could connect that with the special peace-making lizard mentioned in the old Davion sourcebook. However, naming the Reaver homeworld "Miranda" suggests a connection with Miranda Jones and the Medusans - a race of aliens so alien that the sight of them drives folk mad. "Saw a vasty nothingness and went bibbledy over it" indeed.

Telepathy & Aliens: telepathy and demonic possessions aren't required, of course, but people in BattleTech are as superstitious as anyone else and I see no reason not to play up to it as much as possible.

Timing: the most obvious options are just after the Reunification War, Anton's Revolt, the Andurien Secession, the Federated Commonwealth Civil War, or various points in the Jihad. I'd probably set it between Anton's revolt and the Andurien Secession.

Place: I'd set it in and about Andurien- rebellious area, Capellans on one side and Parliament on the other with "pleasure circuses" originating from the Magistracy. The Hyades cluster in the Taurian Concordat would be a more literal match, with thirty-seven planets within transit distance of each other (JumpShips not required).

The Ship: Mammoths and Behemoths are what big cartels use, so anything from a Mule on down would work; Buccaneers are more flexible, which suits Firefly better; the DroST IIa was written as a deliberate homage; but I think an ex-military Leopard is actually the best match for what you see in the TV show.

Players: the players could be harboring the fugitives, they could be a government or corporate team (or bounty hunters) trying to retrieve rogue assets, they could be on the lam themselves with these other fugitives dumped in their laps, they could be the rogue assets themselves or the organization which extracted the rogue assets from Blue Sun.

NPCs: instead of using the cast from the show as PCs or NPCs, I'd look to roles those actors played in other shows and movies, and then also borrow supporting cast from those other shows and movies. (Easy also to borrow episodic plots.)

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