By Frank Gori
Aside from gaming, I was a chorus nerd growing up. By sophomore year I got into the audition based group in my high school that entered into national competitions, and we brought home national trophies in my junior and senior years. When we were at our best my heart would beat faster, my back would stiffen a little, and I’d get a rush that’s hard to describe unless you’ve felt it. For a moment life was transcendent and better than normal.
I get it sometimes watching other people perform as well. I’ve seen Tom Petty perform live three times and got that vibe at least five times during each performance. I’ve had the vibe in the most exciting moments of UFC pay-per-views like the first time I saw John Jones fight Stephan Bonner. Hamlet when performed properly has that magic. Reading Moby Dick gave me that feeling, and a few episodes of firefly give me that feeling as well.
It is difficult to single out the element of Firefly that makes me feel something. I like that most of the characters are flawed. I like that they are always on the run. I like that they are revolutionaries of a sort. I like that the frontier stories of our past somehow collided with the sci-fi genre. Maybe I’m just a sucker for characters that are fighting against being totally doomed. Eureka!
A really good GM does exactly what Firefly does. Picture a game where you’re characters are always on the edge of disaster but never quite fall off. Some die, and sometimes you gain a measure of victory, but the threat always looms. Ravenloft was like that. Dark Sun was like that. Firefly was like that.
Make of that what you will.