Firefly RPG based on Serenity confirmed

Margaret Weis Productions has confirmed what we’ve strongly suspected for a while now: that it will release a Firefly-related RPG. Based on the upcoming movie, the Serenity Roleplaying Game will employ a new system (ie, not d20) and will be a full-color hardback with images from the film. According to the press release (below), “It will provide rules for play, character creation, and a short adventure along with information about the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship, Serenity.” No release date is set just yet, but plans are already in the works for supplements and web support.

Margaret Weis Productions press release follows:


Margaret Weis Productions to Produce Roleplaying Game Book Based on Universal Pictures’ Upcoming Release Serenity

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, (April 26, 2005) — Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. is pleased to announce its agreement with Universal Studios Consumer Products Group to produce roleplaying game products based on Universal Pictures’ upcoming film Serenity. Written and directed by the OscarÆ- and Emmy-nominated Joss Whedon, (creator of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Angel), Serenity is scheduled for release on September 30th, 2005.

Like the film, the roleplaying game book is set in the future and allows players to either re-create the action of the movie or experience new tales of adventure. The core book, the Serenity Roleplaying Game, is a self-contained roleplaying game using a new game system specially created for the line. The game book will be a full-color, hardcover book featuring still images from the film as well as original artwork. It will provide rules for play, character creation, and a short adventure along with information about the crew of the Firefly-class spaceship, Serenity. A release date for the Serenity Roleplaying Game is forthcoming and will be followed by supplemental roleplaying game books and an interactive website.

“The universe created for Serenity is amazing,” says Margaret Weis, New York Times best-selling author and game publisher. “The movie presents a fascinating and intriguing view of the future. Serenity combines the best conventions of science fiction and westerns in a unique way, and is a natural fit for a roleplaying game.”

Vice President of Margaret Weis Productions, Jamie Chambers, who leads a team of game designers and writers, including Margaret Weis, James M. Ward, Tony Lee, and Andrew Peregrine, commented, “I could not be more enthusiastic about the new game. Everyone involved on this project has an excitement and passion for the material, one that shows in the quality of their work and the fun we’re having in early playtests.” Chambers continued, “Our goal is provide a game that is easy to learn, fast to play, and encourages the kind of fast-paced action, fun, and character development that fans will see in theaters.”

About Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd.
New York Times bestselling author Margaret Weis, author of Dragonlance and the Death Gate Cycle, leads her company into ventures for book and game publishing. The company has card and roleplaying games scheduled for 2005, with exciting plans for the future. Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. is based in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, the birthplace of hobby roleplaying games.

About Serenity
Joss Whedon— the OscarÆ- and Emmy-nominated writer/director responsible for the worldwide television phenomena of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel—now applies his trademark compassion and wit to a small band of galactic outcasts 500 years in the future in his feature film directorial debut, Serenity.

Based on Whedon’s cult hit television series Firefly (which has taken on a second life following its December 9, 2003, DVD release, winning new fans and critical praise worldwide), Serenity will continue and expand upon the adventures of the memorable characters launched in the series, who will be joined by new characters created expressly for the motion picture adaptation. Whedon will act as both screenwriter and director, with Barry Mendel (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and The Life Aquatic) producing and Chris Buchanan and Alisa Tager (of Barry Mendel Productions) serving as executive producers. The Serenity cast will include such returning Firefly cast members as Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm ‘Mal’ Reynolds, Gina Torres as ZoÎ Warren, Morena Baccarin as Inara Serra, Jewel Staite as Kaylee Frye, Adam Baldwin as Jayne Cobb, Sean Maher as Dr. Simon Tam and Summer Glau as River Tam.

The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity. He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family – squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

When Mal takes on two new passengers—a young doctor and his unstable, telepathic sister—he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl. The crew that was once used to skimming the outskirts of the galaxy unnoticed find themselves caught between the unstoppable military force of the Universal Alliance and the horrific, cannibalistic fury of the Reavers, savages who roam the very edge of space. Hunted by vastly different enemies, they begin to discover that the greatest danger to them may be on board Serenity herself.

This film has not yet been rated. †Please consult or for more information.

About Universal Studios Consumer Products Group
Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is responsible for global licensing and retail strategies as well as building brand recognition of the extensive catalogue of NBC Universal properties. Universal Studios Consumer Products Group is a unit of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates the No. 1 television network, the fastest-growing Spanish-language network, a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.

# # #

Dragonlance is a trademark of Wizards of the Coast, Inc. Margaret Weis Productions is a trademark owned by Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. [INSERT UNIVERSAL TRADEMARK AND COPYRIGHT NOTICES.]

Margaret Weis Productions
Margaret Weis/Jamie Chambers


  1. This is so mine. The release of the trailer yesterday already has me anxious for the movie!

  2. Yeah – but has Weis done -anything- game related since she beat Dragonlance to death?

  3. If you mean the Dragonlance titles from Sovereign Press, those are her most recent projects. She was also involved in the Sovereign Stone RPG.

  4. I wonder if they will try and get this out when the movie hits? Sure would be a nice tie-in…

  5. I’m hearing it’ll be a GenCon release, Chris, so that should be timed well to take advantage of movie hype.

  6. Ok, now that’s good thinkin’ on their part. I am looking forward to this one even more now.

  7. Does it inspire confidence that they didn’t proof their release enough to take out the ‘forthcoming release date’ quote when they stated the release date right at the start?

    Oh well… I guess I do things like that too, but I hope their product has better editing.

  8. The release date announced in the press release is for the movie, not the RPG. The “official” release date of the RPG is not announced yet, though my sources say it’ll be a GenCon release.

  9. Maybe they should release both film and RPG by GenCon. I need my Firefly/Serenity fix badly.

  10. Howdy all!

    We originally drafted the press release last fall, when the movie was still scheduled for April 22nd! Obviously things have changed, and for us it’s given us more time to make this a thoroughly playtested, visually beautiful game.

    Unless things change, we are scheduled to debut the game at GenCon and go on-sale in hobby and book chains everywhere on August 30, 2005 — exactly one month before the release of the film. That is the date already given to distributors and retailers at the GAMA Trade Show well over a month ago.

    Soon we’ll have a website up with previews and a “countdown to Serenity”-type thing. I’ll let Allan know so you Cave Ogres will be informed.

    Right now I’m lookin’ at the full-color deckplans for Serenity herself–and boy-howdy are they all kinds of beautiful.

    ** Jamie

  11. Hey Jamie

    Can you definitively say that your Serenity RPG license from Joss Whedon covers both film and Firefly TV episodes?

    Does the Deckplans include the shuttles?

  12. The rights to Firefly are owned by Fox, while the rights to Serenity are owned by Universal. I think their deal is with Universal – which is better, IMHO, because Fox certainly didn’t do anything productive with Firefly.

  13. Jamie,

    As a store owner, I TOTALLY apprecite this information. Gives me a total angle to tie into. Bravo!

  14. While FOX does own the Firefly episodes (after all, they ordered them), it is from those that I got into the newly born sci-fi western franchise in the first place. It would be nice to have [game] information that tied both film and TV series together.

    Unless Serenity is a re-imagined Firefly.

  15. Typical. An indie game publisher has been developing and playtesting a Firefly RPG for ages. His ideas were sound and the game looked like extremely promising. Now, some industry fat cat smells money, strolls up, buys the license, and plans to release the latest issue of Cosmo/the coffe table book/RPG. No doubt, one of Weiss’ trolls were rooting around the internet, saw that the idea was getting attention, heard the crunch of dollar bills and scuttled back to Weiss herself. Weiss pushes the on button on the widget/RPG assembly line and out is cranked another yawn inducing variant of every other mass produced RPG out there. Thanks, weiners. Why didn’t the troll and Weiss approach the indie-designer and ask them to spearhead the project for them? One question – Will Tasslehof Burrfoot make an appearance in the Weiss Firefly edition. BAH!

  16. Wow. Shame that rant doesn’t actually resemble reality in any sense of the word.

    I, for one, look forward to a nice, shiny Firefly RPG from a company who – obviously – understands how to score a license and apparently has resources to produce it.

  17. Yeah, it SUCKS to be you, JT and that unknown, unnamed indie game publisher who didn’t try and secure the license before someone else does.

  18. J.T.,

    Bitter much? Sorry to throw the bucket of cold reality on your rant, but I thought some actual information might be helpful. Margaret and I were following the show before it even came on the air. Check my posting history on the O.B. (the Fox official message boards — “Chambers25”) if you’re not inclined to believe me. I proposed the license with Universal and we know that other game companies were pursuing it as well. So if it wasn’t going to be us it would have been another “fat-cat” game company.

    Yes, I’m leading this project–as it’s important to me to protect the vision of Joss Whedon’s creation. I loved Firefly, and the film Serenity surpasses it. I put together a development team that includes long-time industry veterans (James M. Ward, Lester Smith) and relative newcomers (Andrew Peregrine, James Davenport).

    If the “indie” game designer you mention is Steve Darlington, you might be interested to know that he is on our playtest/review team. While our game is definitely not the one he has been publicly developing on, I’ve highly valued his point of view and ability to challenge some of my ideas.

    There is nothing stopping you from enjoying “indie” game systems published on the web, and they’re free! But for those who are interested in a full-color hardcover written by some really talented people who get paid for their work, check game and book stores everywhere come August 30th. Thanks, and take care.

    ** Jamie

  19. There is no industry.
    (That can be the title of Steve’s new game of indie game design.)

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