Serenity: Out in the Black

By on 23 February 2008

I have just finished reading through this having bought it at the weekend. To be fair my expectations weren’t high but as I’m running a game in the ‘verse at the moment (albeit using different rules) I felt it might be worth owning a copy for supplementary information. The blurb on the back also tempted me with the ‘suggestion’ that it might be of value when I run ‘historical’ Wild West games.

The book is primarily split in to four sections; The scenario proper, The setting of the town of ‘frisco, Stats for the major players in the town, Some special items that relate to the scenario. There is also an (incomplete) index of characters and a double sided Serenity RPG character sheet.

The scenario is adequate, it is laid out in Acts and Scenes and while it is fairly linear does allow for some character freedom in a couple of the Acts, specifically when the Characters are left to their own devices in the town to get acquainted with the various factions. I think the way this is handled, mainly using items from the ‘Town’ part of the book, is nicely done.

The book as a whole suffers from very poor proof reading, minor facts change between the two sections, at least one character name changes inexplicably within a couple of paragraphs, some actions set up at the start of the scenario don’t actually occur later on. Aside from that there are plenty of niggling typos throughout the text.

The background of the scenario itself also has a flaw in its logic which probably won’t effect it in play (it’s unlikely the Players would get that deep in to what is really happening and why) but jars. GM’s running with a group of players who know the Firefly series may also want to rename one of the NPC’s.

There are a fair number of footnotes, although the majority of them only serve to give the historical source of NPC names. Having said that it wouldn’t take too much work to convert the town and scenario to run in a pure Old West setting.

I will probably make use of this in my game, I was always going to have to restat the NPC’s but I think having all of the stats together (rather than spread through the book) would be useful anyway. The book has a reasonably in depth description of how the mine would of worked, which is useful and four pages dedicated to the rules and playing of Faro, the much more common forerunner to Poker in the Wild West which I will almost definitely make use of somewhere. There are a five maps (two of ‘Frisco) which I will probably make use of too.

Value for Money 4/10
Layout 7/10
Game Use 5/10
Overall 6/10

Reviewed by w00hoo

About Guest Reviewer

Guest isn’t a real person, but this review has been written by one (a real person that is). They kindly submitted it for publication here. Their details are contained in the body of the review.

One Comment

  1. Cthulhu

    6 August 2008 at 1:34 pm

    ouch !!

    the text is rather too big to be anything but shouting.

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