You Can't Take the Sky from Me
People, places, and things
Firefly is fairly vague on the concept of what exactly the ‘Verse is. There’s talk of flying around the galaxy, there’s talk of moons and planets and terraforming, but there’s no real indicator of cosmology. No discussion of FTL technology or specifics on travel times or methods, other than “flyin in a spaceship.” So, I’m going to take a two-part strategy for this.
The first is to use the supplemental info that came out with the Firefly RPG book. It placed the setting in a single solar system. It was a binary system, with a central star and a second smaller star orbiting like a planet. There was a large number of planets and two stars, along with terraforming tech, gave it a very large habitable zone. In addition to the planets, it was described as having “hundreds” of moons as well as two small asteroid belts. So in this case the Central Planets are those toward the center of the system, while the border planets are those on the outside.
The other strategy, which I think is more representative of the TV show, is to say “it isn’t really that important.” Because it wasn’t. There were places, they were scattered around. Travel times, actual distance, how FTL works, how communication works, it’s not that important. Firefly is a “sci-fi” show, but it’s non-typical in that the setting, normally a huge part of any scifi show, isn’t that big of a deal. It’s a space for characters to interact and stories to happen.
So what does this mean to you as players? It means you don’t need to take it too seriously. I’m from a planet or moon, which is Border or Core or someplace in between. The system is big and fragmented and there’s lots of different places. Old West style towns? Sure. Fancy high-tech cities? Yep. Exotic oriental opium dens? Them too. Sinister abandoned science labs? Sure thing.