Thinking On Verge, Season 2

I’ve been trying to get into the right headspace for working on my upcoming game – that’s part of the reason I’m going camping over the Memorial Day weekend, so I can unplug and hopefully focus on the important stuff – but something one of the players said to me a while back keeps coming to mind: “I wanted Firefly problems in the Expanse universe,this player said. That conjures up a fascinating mix of settings …

Unfortunately, where I left off with season 1 – all of the PCs but one arriving at a gulag, with that last PC … somewhere else – leaves me in a bit of a pickle. I was originally planning on running the Prison Planet adventure, but several of the players (including the guy mentioned above) commented about how that wasn’t entirely what they signed up for, which is accurate. I did sort of railroad them into that scenario; in retrospect, I should have just ended the season on a big cliffhanger: the massive space battle that we still haven’t played out…

More recently, I’d been thinking of pushing the characters into a heavily modified version of Pirates of Drinax … but now, I’m second-guessing that as well. I’m thinking that I’ll probably still raid from that, but will ultimately do it slightly differently. Which still leaves me in a quandary about what to do next. In my original Original Plan for season 1, I’d intended on running a modified version of Tripwire (albeit, set in one system and with all the serial numbers filed off) and I think I’d still like to do that … but I still have to figure out what to do about the gulag. I also like quite a lot about the Abzu’s Bounty mini-campaign for the Expanse RPG (although, obviously, a lot has to be tweaked since there’s no protomolecule in the Verge universe) which begins, like the Expanse series, with the main characters as crew aboard an ice hauler…

One of my more recent season 2 thinky-thoughts was to begin in media res with the PCs already out of the gulag and about 5 years having passed, sort of like how the Firefly pilot played out, with the opening scene being the Battle of Serenity Valley and then skipping ahead several years. In this scenario, I’d have the Players all roll an additional Term for their characters – most would roll on the Prison career, two would not for story reasons – and we’d move on with the presumption that Bad Things Happened, but that’s in the past. It’s the ship that is really the issue right now, I think.

During season 1, I introduced the Sayyida al-Hurra as a potential “hero ship,” but “Firefly” problems make it a bit more heavily armed than I’d like. At the same time, though, in the Expanse series, quite a lot of the ships are armed. I’m going to have to review whether giving them that ship will work or if I go the Abzu’s Bounty route and have them serving as crew aboard a ship before things go sideways again.

Clearly, I need to do more thinky-thoughts…