It is a different life, a different feeling… those who live with earth under their feet, even those who travel a little, can’t understand it. When you choose life on a space ship, it is a leap of faith. Not only to freedom, but to a risky existence with few guarantees, the emptiness of space only inches away from you, for your whole life. Can you imagine that?
(Crewman Hobart, trying to pick up a passanger.)
Herein lies a smattering of plot hooks for the Firefly setting, gathered from the dirty corners of forums and minds, in the hope that they would stop haunting them. If anyone wants to game in this setting, then plot hooks will they need.
A campaign of this kind doesn’t have a stable home base. The intrepid crew truly lives on their spaceship, roaming through their part of universe, braving adventures, and trying to get paid (and not shot… too often). Theirs may not be the most epic of adventures, but they do have their own charm.
Note: many of the plot hooks listed below can be adapted for a naval campaign or adventure.
Additional Ideas (18)
A moderator of a small radio station has the chance to make it big on a central planet. The chance for an interview will be soon over, but his boss keeps finding excuses why he can't leave his workplace. The smart fellow will but hire the crew to fetch his equipment, and give him a ride. (Fetching the stuff may be a little illegal, btw.)
Due to contract restraints, however, he must stay live on air the whole time. And he will - the spaceship he is traveling on becomes his station. He requires permanent, uninterrupted power (may not be so easy on those not-quite-new vessels), and his transmissions can easily lure unwanted attention. Let's just hope he gets the job, and the crew survives the constant noise.
The crew is asked to fetch the stray old preacher, who, in search for enlightenment, ran off into the desert (could be easily on the other side of the planet).
When he is finally found, he will tell beautiful sermons that touch the hearts of everyone. However, he will come to recognize the darkness in one of the crew, and will secretly attempt to purge him or her with fire... which is BAD on any kind of ship.
Every few years, in irregular intervals, comes the Treasure Hunt contest. Somebody hides the "treasure" pretty well, and hands all contestants cryptic instructions. Often, they will speak of alignment of planets or stars, and of other ways to find the right coordinates; that may involve only one planet, or be a chase across the whole sector. The reward is a good sum of money and a little antique, a tiny artifact of ages past. (Those who get their hands on the instructions of others have more chances, of course, but conflicts take time, and allies will want a share.)
This year, the crew is hired by someone to get the little item at any cost.
- the group may not want to draw attention to itself, and so allow others to officially claim the prize
- in case of winning the contest - no matter who is actually announced as a winner - the crew may get a job in the future from the organizer of the contest (insert mysterious NPC)
- since they very likely step on a few toes in the process, you can bet some of them will come back for a payback, or will be needed by the crew for something
A blind, harsh man arranges for the transport of his folk to a better place. They are a dispossessed people, and he is their leader. While he loves them as his children, he keeps them under permanent command, so much that they really can't take care of themselves. And they better learn fast, for his health is slowly failing, and it won't last long until he dies. He, the stubborn type, won't tell anyone and will just push on until he's finished. Perhaps a little psychology would help?
A young, finely built man comes on board, and sweeps everyone off their feet. He aggressively enjoys everything to be had, and quickly becomes either friend or rival with everyone (those that won't fall in either category will be most likely ignored). If there's even a slight possibility of a quick romance, he will jump on it. The fact that he makes money in illegal fights, will stay a secret for a day at most.
While shaking things up, he won't do anything really important; instead he will draw events to himself:
- He may come into a 'fair fight' with soldiers during a routine check.
- Or could just forget the little statue his friend asked him to take along... which the rightful owners will want back.
- Or he will come back later, when he gets into real trouble.
Another top-secret Alliance experiment has escaped. It is no killer this time, but a mutated chameleon-like creature, that can amazingly adapt to its surroundings, designed to be an excellent spy. Barely sentient, it escapes from holding and somehow ends up on your ship.
Now, all ships from a certain ports are to be searched, while strange things start to happen around you... and somebody has eaten your lunch! A sillier take on the theme of River Tam.
You find out that the quiet man travelling along just for business is a contract killer, and has dropped a guy or two on each of your stops.
Bad option 1: You find it out while he's still aboard. He knows.
Bad option 2: Somebody else has put two and two together. Now you are suspect.
Bad option 3: Both options join together and have some fun.
Someone on board contracts a highly infectious, but quite harmless disease... until the affected is exposed to Zero-G, getting violently sick. But that xxxxx-iser needs to be repaired outside! All of you are probably infected, too. And you still need the medicine, and escape quarantine laws.
An old colonization ship is found drifting slowly into known space; damaged, but most systems are still functional, there are even people still sleeping inside.
Unfortunately it was first discovered by Reavers, that use it as comfortable hunting grounds, waking up a few people at time and chasing them for the sport, or more likely, reviving the whole crew to have one great bloody orgy.
Option 1: the PCs discover it with their ship, and decide to search it for salvage or out of interest - or both. The implications are obvious.
Option 2: the PCs are woken up as prey, and have to survive the chase and flee the ship; this would be a way to start in this universe.
Because of some big bruhaha at a space port, yours is the only ship that a fairly reputable horse breeder/ racer can use to move his prize racing horse. So the job is to get the horse to the racetrack in a shape ready to race.
A trainer will come with him. Of course there will scenes of "horse primadona", as the horse will be treated better than most of the crew.
The ship will be challenged in space, but will be easily run off (the bad guys will realize if they traumatize the ship, they will kill the horse).
At the spaceport, the ship will be unloaded. The trainer will step away from the ship for a bit. A representative of the racetrack will come up with a horse trailer and load the beast in. After they drive off, the trainer comes back and "squeels like a stuck pig". Ching Gao! you (insert chinese profanity) just gave the horse to the first person who came up? You didn't check ID? You didn't think I might need to go along?
So now the crew has to go to retrieve the horse. Usually some form of procured transport (probably horses, but it could be anything they can steal), will be used to create a chase scene to retrieve the horse.
But really, all the bad guys want is a little semen, so they might be able to come to an agreement with then.
Eventually the horse should be returned to the stables.
A young man, with the education of an accountant, and same manners, will board the ship to get from A to B. While on board, he will constantly get on the crew's nerves asking about their profits and costs, about maintenance and paying the personnel. Annoying, but harmless, he will exit the ship at last.
Now, the man is a young financial prodigy (or his agent), that made lots of money on the stock market, and now seeks to invest it. With his eye for undervalued capital, he is quietly picking and choosing worthy ships that look like trash. In a few months he will start contracting and all of sudden will own a large commercial fleet.
And this crew will too get an offer, that is hard to refuse - join, and get a much better pay, more certainty, better access to service and more. Whether they do so or not, this company will change the landscape for a while - possibly for very long.
On an outlying moon, that was not (yet?) terraformed, or a strategically positioned asteroid, lies an abandoned base. It should be only found by accident, through a navigation mishap or a chase that took the ship way off its route.
The place is a mess, and was clearly looted before, but there is always something left behind... let's take a look. The life support systems can be activated, and yes, here and there are things worth taking if you take the time to sort them out.
And now comes the But. First there will be feint noises, than some trash will be misplaced, then a door they thought was closed will be found open. There's even a few bodies in some dark corners!
The trouble may not end at the exit. Soon there will be noises, too. Some may be unusually drawn to the base, others will probably suggest to get out as fast as they can.
And the truth? Quite simple. It seems that the life support system was rigged to disperse an insidious hallucinogen into the air. Those who don't turn it on, or don't stay for long won't be affected.
In a small backwards colony, the foreman has decided the general life would be easier if the locals had access to a spaceship. Regular trading would boost their economy strongly, and even the scrapyards of central planets could supply valuable materials. (Whether this will be profitable, ie the ship would earn enough for fuel and maintenance, is something he might or might not have considered. They may just take it apart in the end.)
Now your ship comes along... and one of the crew is charged with a serious crime, theft, rape, or manslaughter. The quickly assembled kangaroo court will of course consider him guilty. Unless some extreme measures are taken, the crew will somehow find itself sharing his fate, and be dumped in a mine, the ship confiscated and manned by the foreman's cronies.
"But we have traded with him before!"
Approaching your destination, a fleet of military cruisers come in sight. Their messages are clear. Nobody enters the quarantine zone. It turns out that the destination has been swept with the lengthy Crimson Cough, a disease which, at first, resembles a normal Hantavirus. After a long period of pain and 10-12% mortality, however, the victims begin to recover, albeit with modified personality, characterised by extreme aggressiveness. Unlike the typical "Zombies", however, the victims retain all superior cognitive function, making any outbreak extremely dangerous, since victims will retain skills and knowledge of weapon use as well as full capacity for complex stratagems and tactics. It is also noted that they show a distinct lack of sensitivity to pain, most likely due to the inhuman hormonal discharges caused by the disease.
Of course, you have to get inside.
What happens next, is up to you.
The last time they docked, the crew was wrongfully handed a crate of little harmless animals, with an incredible breeding rate. Honest mistake from the dock authority (the crate was meant to go somewhere else), and which could have been easily remedied by leaving the crate behind. The problem is, in their incompetence, the dock hands broke the crate when loading it on board. Now, the party shares their ship with a multitude of little critters. making it worse is the fact that the little animals (here the GM should make them cute as possible) are completely unafraid of humans, and will be found in every corner of the ship! Worse, tehy feed mostly off the electromagnetic radiation from the engines and so will shun away most poisons, except the very rare Unboro tree sap. Of course, that is at the other side of the region...
Thanks to KOTOR
"... they are born pregnant." ~ Dr. McCoy
An older man and his much younger companion are asking for a no-questions ride asked to a specific place. They're willing to pay a great deal of money upon arrival, but they're being hunted by the authorities.. who massively out-run-and-gun just about anyone.
Both extraction and insertion at the destination will require the skills of a smuggler, and may mark the PCs as 'allies' of the men, who are involved in an armed insurrection. At least the initial meet will probably occur in a wretched hive of scum and villainy. After all, aren't all Freelancers scum or villains?
It is a new hit out on the Cortex, a traveler braving all the planets, enjoying what is there to enjoy, try some of the local risks and pleasantries, then cutting it together into a short edutainment episode.
And of course, he needs to travel, so he may easily end up on your ship to visit a few planets. Then he will need some guides with local knowledge to poke into every corner and step into some sensitive places. You know you will be glad when he finally gets off.
This guy is easy money, but may effortlessly destroy all your contacts and turn whole worlds against you. "Didn't he say we were simple people who sleep with their horses? Yeah, right, a joke."
Far off any regular route, a small, desert-like planetoid is the last stop of a massive freighter which appears torn to pieces. It has been scrapped and pieces of the aft appear burnt and exploded.
There are a number of shaded caves and people who come scrabbling into the light when the PCs touchdown.
"Thank God, we thought you'd never come"
The crew has been here for a long time, some are slightly mad from the heat, but are so thankful and see this as there way off and back to civilization.
The Captain of the Crew however doesn't want anyone to leave because he will lose control and loves having his own planet to rule.
Do the Pcs have enough room for this lost crew?