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Subject: New "Gear" idea -- Permanent changes rss

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George Krubski
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This is an idea that occurred to me a while back, but I came up with another possible application yesterday, so I wanted to throw it out there to see what people think.

So, I don't quite know what to call this, whether it qualifies as "Gear" or not, but it would be a Supply Card that creates a permanent change to a Crew card, possibly with some sort of requirement.

For example, I was thinking about it with respect to my Tong Crew in THE BLACK MARKET. I thought there might be some way to "recruit" criminals into the Tongs. Consider a card like this:

TONG LOYALTY: Keyword: Permanent. Requires Merc and Wanted. This Crew now count as Tong rather than Merc. Does not count towards Gear Limit.

Not that I would necessarily be looking to do it, but you could do a lot with it:

PILOT TRAINING: Keyword: Permanent. Requires 1 Tech. This Crew gains Pilot. Does not count toward Gear Limit.

For the record, the original thing I was thinking of was something like "NANITES" or "LEVEL SIX" (from DARK MATTER and KILLJOYS, respectively), which would allow the Crew member to get some sort of healing boost.
 
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Gerald Bocook
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"Tong Loyalty" could be a tattoo, which would explain the character change and explain why there wouldn't be a gear slot taken.

I'm totally a fan of the Training concept, and could be applied to just about any Job. Kaylee with Medic, for instance. Moral crew as Lawmen. The possibilities are endless, and maddening.
 
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Jay Johnson
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motosada wrote:
I'm totally a fan of the Training concept, and could be applied to just about any Job. Kaylee with Medic, for instance. Moral crew as Lawmen. The possibilities are endless, and maddening.


There's already "Inara's Guild Papers" from the Kalidasa expansion as a precedent. Though some sort of training makes more sense thematically than the papers. I would think that most job requirements/bonuses are tied into having the skillset of a Companion, not just forged documentation saying that you're a Companion.

Another option could be that instead of such training cards being in the supply decks, they could be "jobs". a Task for the legitimate professions, or Crime if it involves misbehaving, that would require going to a training site location, performing a work action, and instead of having monetary payout, the job card is placed with the crewmember in question to designate their new abilities.

Of course that would create complications (do crew members have to be paid their usual cut for such a "job" or become disgruntled?), and it may not be worth the extra turns/actions spent in such a manner, so maybe keeping it as a supply card makes more sense.
 
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George Krubski
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I think there are a number of different ways to implement something like this. I suggested the Supply decks for two reasons:

1) I was thinking mostly of "Tong Tattoos" or "Tong Medallion" or something like that when I posted

2) I figure you shouldn't get something for nothing, so making it a resource (where you have to spend money and/or luck into it) seemed right

The idea of a Job is interesting, but I think the problems becomes "Which deck"? It seems reasonable to me that a Crew member could "prove themselves as a Tong member" at the Black Market, or perhaps gain Pilot training at an industrial location like Beamonde.

On the other hand, without creating a new "side quests" deck, it's hard to imagine, most of the contacts offering something like this (and one one think that any benefit would be contingent on remaining Solid, which seems to complicate things).
 
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I think it's easy enough to go "permanent gear" if desired.

Have this rule (or something similar) in place as the first paragraph:
"When you acquire this Gear, place it on one of your Crew. This Gear does not count against the Gear limit, and may not be moved to another Crew."
 
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Jay Johnson
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Another alternative could be to not have them in any deck, But have it be a permanently available option.

Something like:
Medical Academy - Osiris
Any player may stop at Osiris, drop off a (non-leader) crew member with at least 1 Tech skillpoint and pay X amount. Y turns later, that crew member may then be picked up and will have gained the "Medic" keyword and abilities.

Maybe the turn requirement is a bit impractical, but I just don't see how you can learn to become a doctor overnight (or in a week, or whatever time a "turn" represents). Of course, no one is really going to commit a crew member for the equivalent of what it really takes to learn medicine (that would take most if not all the game), but at least a symbolic turn or two.

The player could drop off their person, fly off and do a job (or I suppose they could sit and "make work" or mine a nearby supply or contact deck), then come back and pick up their new doctor or whatever. Not sure if it should require an action for drop off/pickup/both or if just going there would be enough.

This notion might nerf the game a bit, in that those keywords no longer become a limited resource, nor would you have to rely on luck/deck-mining to find them. But sometimes I think that could improve the game.
 
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Gerald Bocook
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What about, "At the beginning of your next turn, you may retrieve the Crew"?
 
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Brett Lamb

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motosada wrote:
What about, "At the beginning of your next turn, you may retrieve the Crew"?

I don't know about anyone else, but I would be very nervous in a 'verse where you can become a doctor or a pilot overnight. I would also have to choose my mechanic pretty carefully.

None of these skills is something that can be legitimately acquired in the time-frame of a typical game.
 
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George Krubski
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I did not mean to imply that these would be quick and easy ways to pick up career keywords. I think it's reasonable for becoming part of the Tongs, and mentioned Pilot Training as sort of a "proof of concept."

Having said that, I COULD see that some of these elements might be viable in a certain sense. A while back, I explored the idea of "Crew Backgrounds," where you could tweak features for Crew members, possibly be requiring two things:

1) Access to the card (although at the time, I was toying with the idea of a Backgrounds deck)

2) Shore Leave

The idea here would not be that the character is suddenly gaining (for example) Medic, but rather that the crew as a whole is learning something new about the specific Crew member during downtime.

A few of the ideas I had at that time included things like:

HITCHED - Two Crew member share 1 Crew slot, but if one ever Jumps Ship or is Killed, Disgruntle the other.

CAPTAIN'S BEST FRIEND - Not Subject to A Better Offer. Not Fired if Leader is Disgruntled. Leader is Disgruntled if this Crew is Killed or Jumps Ship.

A CHANGE OF HEART - Requires non-Moral Crew. Crew becomes Moral. (And perhaps Cost is reduced by $100.)

ON THE RUN - Requires non-Wanted Crew. Crew becomes Wanted. (And perhaps Cost is reduced by $100)

There were maybe a dozen or so other ideas, but I don't want to get too deep into it.

This was related to my Relationships idea (Romance, Mentor, Rivals, and Secret), but sort of expanded on it.

Maybe the keyword I'm looking for isn't "PERMANENT" but "BACKGROUND"...
 
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Gerald Bocook
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Becoming a medic and becoming a doctor are two wholly different things, speaking as someone that was a medical first responder in the Army for about five of my eight years. The initial training was about a week with periodic refreshers or additional courses, and I was able to provide triage and field care; treat wounds, place I.V. lines, tourniquets, basic stuff, but basic stuff that could save lives. I wouldn't trust me to cut your liver out, but I could dig that bullet out of your shoulder and patch ya up no problem.
 
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Jay Johnson
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motosada wrote:
Becoming a medic and becoming a doctor are two wholly different things, speaking as someone that was a medical first responder in the Army for about five of my eight years. The initial training was about a week with periodic refreshers or additional courses, and I was able to provide triage and field care; treat wounds, place I.V. lines, tourniquets, basic stuff, but basic stuff that could save lives. I wouldn't trust me to cut your liver out, but I could dig that bullet out of your shoulder and patch ya up no problem.


Seems to me that most of the medical stuff on the show/movie tended to be more of the combat medic type. Of course a full-fledged doctor like Simon ends up with twice the likelihood of pulling off a successful operation.
 
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Thorfinn Skullsplitter
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This is really cool, and has HUGE potential. I think you could combine the idea of Supply Deck and Job.

Cards are found in the appropriate Supply Deck. The card has a cost of course, and that should be commensurate with the new 'career' in question. The card would have a Misbehave requirement, which could be "Draw x misbehave cards" which would be for the whole crew to 'work', or it could be an individual Misbehave built into the card, with lower target numbers as the character would have to do it themselves. There could also sometimes be a travel requirement. There could also be a requirement of Shore Leave, which thematically gives the character a day or so planetside to take a class or whatever.

If you botch, the card is lost, and the character may be Disgruntled, Killed, or lose attached gear, as appropriate.

If successful, you would place the card below the character, with the bottom end peeking out, which would have the new info, be it a keyword, or skill icon, or even a new special rule.

A variant type of this card could allow a successful character to search through a supply deck for a particular piece of gear instead of (or in addition to) giving them a new keyword or skill. For example, the card may, instead of 'teaching' a skill, reveal a secret past that the character is a Companion. Embracing that past life, the character starts wearing fancy clothes, so you may search through the Supply Deck for an item with the Fancy Duds keyword.

Some possibilities: You could train as a medic, mechanic, pilot(you might earn a Tech icon or keyword or both - could be result related, but probably better if some cards offer one and other cards offer others. That said, you could print the top of the card upside down with one possibility and the bottom with the other, such that depending on your success, you display one option or the other. You could learn how to be a Mudder or marry into a Hill Folk clan... You could learn some Kung Fu and pick up a Fight icon or take a class on public speaking and pick up a point of Talk. You could take the 8 hour course to get your Merc or Lawman certificate. You could find religion, and become Moral, maybe go so far as to become a preacher/shepherd of some denomination. You could take a cooking class, and pick up a special ability that lets you spend cargo to dedisgruntle (re-gruntle?) your crew. A variation on that would be a Moonshine class, and instead of Cargo, you would use Fuel. A CPR class could allow the character to add 1 to the Medic die roll, but not actually give them the Medic Keyword. So they could only assist a medic in reviving someone.
 
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Bill Saunders
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You could also make things like gained keywords have a pay increase for the crew member. Gain a keyword, their pay goes up $100 for each job.
 
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Gerald Bocook
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phideaux1 wrote:
You could also make things like gained keywords have a pay increase for the crew member. Gain a keyword, their pay goes up $100 for each job.


I like that idea!
 
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Jack Carlson
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I like this a lot, particularly the idea of crew gaining professions, especially as I play a lengthy modified solo game with a lot of ships on the board & a reasonably high random casualty rate, and so I sometimes run short of skilled crew.

That said, in regards to Brett's concerns about how quickly a hand might practically become a pilot or a mechanic, and Gerald's comments about combat medics, I think those of us concerned with the "Real Verse" practicalities behind a rule such as adding professions might rationalize it something like this:

Space hands, like current-day sea hands, would spend *a lot* of time in the Black. Passing that time would be a very real issue. One can easily see ambitious hands taking the equivalent of a "Cortex correspondence course" in a profession, combined with hands-on training at a flight school, or tech school, or the equivalent of a combat medics course, at whatever supply or contact planet their boat is currently using as a home base.

Such a crew member would spend their own money (b/c it's a skill they can take with them) over a number of months on course tuition to pick up basic piloting skills, practicing maneuvering their boat in the Black and working up to standard landings & take offs, supplemented by intense dirtside sessions during layovers at a supply planet flight school with a curriculum designed for itinerant space hands.

In that case, the ship's outlay to "buy" the skill might be imagined as the culmination of the training, with the ship paying the hand's final licensing fee in the profession. So acquiring the gear card for the profession wouldn't be "the hand magically acquires piloting skill" so much as the hand graduates from an extended low-residency licensing program he/she has paid for out of their own pocket, and the ship pays their licensing fee.

So far as the gear cards go, along with the permanently added profession it might be a good idea to include a $100 bump in the hand's pay, so there would be some cost to balance out the benefits the ship would gain.

Various professions might require certain basic skills be already present on the crew card in order to attach the gear to it: at least one tech point for pilots, mechanics, & medics; fight skill for soldiers, fight skill & moral for lawmen, talk skill for someone who wanted to take a "grifter" course.

Companions are harder to justify--that's a lifetime commitment, but characters like Nandi & YoSaffBridge who apparently never completed companion training still get the Companion profession in the game, so maybe there's the companion equivalent of a combat medic's course. Heh-heh. Still, the bar should be fairly high to qualify a hand to earn Companion--maybe it can only be bought for hands with Talk points & Grifter skills already (so only Grifters could upgrade to Companion), or requires at least 2 Talk points.
 
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Gerald Bocook
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So, basically, Nandi's girls? Er... Except Helen, I suppose.
 
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George Krubski
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Jack, I like where you're going thematically, although now we're shading into an area that goes a little beyond my original intention and basically sliding into "leveling up" Crew members. Which opens up a whole new set of questions. New professions are certainly reasonable, but what about skill points and special abilities?

And now my head hurts.

Companions present an interesting question because they're structured differently from every other Crew member. Although we also have Kaylee as an exception, every other non-Companion Crew member has 0 to 2 skills. All Companions (so far) have 3 skill points, 2 of which Talk/Talk. Additionally, each has a second keyword besides Companion.

Given the rigid training they receive, I suppose this general awesomeness is reasonable, and it may make sense to exclude the specific keyword.
 
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Jack Carlson
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Yeah, as usual, one can go right down a rabbit hole with these variants. I like the idea of gear cards to add professions, pretty much as you outlined in your original post, because it solves my skilled-crew shortage problem rather neatly. Beyond that, adding skill points & keywords makes my head hurt, too.
 
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Jack Carlson
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Thematically, I'm not sure Merc works for a buyable profession, as it seems more an attitude than a skill.
 
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George Krubski
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Agree. There are a few outliers that are more "backgrounds" or "attitudes:" Hill Folk, Mudder, Merc...
 
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Jay Johnson
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I thought the very definition of Merc was that it was a buyable profession
in that they are only fighting for you because you're paying them.
 
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Jack Carlson
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Mercs are buyable people. Soldier is a buyable profession. A soldier has been trained in weapons & tactics. A merc may well have that training, but they also have a willingness to sell themselves to the highest bidder w/o regard for loyalty or ethics. Thus, I'd argue the Merc profession is more an indicator of attitude, not of training. Wash or most of the crew of Serenity could theoretically train to be a soldier, bad as some of them might be at it (thus the requirement for Fight skill), but none of them except Jayne have the morally flexible attitude required to be a merc.
 
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Jay Johnson
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so the prerequisite for becoming a Merc would be:
- having at least one Fight skill point
- NOT being Moral
 
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Jack Carlson
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I was thinking the same thing when I was wrestling around with Merc. It makes sense mechanically, though I can't offhand call to mind any great advantages to adding the merc keyword to a crew member: "Hey, Cap, I'm mercenary and unreliable now! Can I have a raise?"
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Jay Johnson
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the only positive to adding mercs would be to keep your "Head Goon" boosted.

Of course, the downside is you have to worry about the Misbehave card where the Mercs cause trouble if they have the upper hand in terms of fight skill
 
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