Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Superage (or maybe Levernatural)

So, I had reason to sit down and do character creation for Supernatural last week. Still a solid game, but character creation frustrates me, and underscored some of the decisions made for Leverage. So, naturally, I started doing the conversion in my head. So with that in mind, I present "Hunters", a Leverage hack for dealing with supernatural threats.

I. Character Creation
Step 1: Attributes
I shortened up the attribute list on principle, though I recognize and such list is pretty arbitrary. It mostly let me err on the side of choosing stat names that people might actually use in conversation. They are:
Characters have 6 attributes
(Sharp is probably the only one that really requires explanation, and it covers awareness and perception. Stubborn is what more fancy-pants people call willpower.)

Take 1d10, 2 d8's and 3d6's and distribute it among those. At your option, you may drop one of the d6s to a d4, and either increase a d6 to a d8, or a d8 to a d10.

Step 2: Weapons
I went round and round on this for a while, trying to map roles to hunters, but I realized there's an essential difference between hunter's and the thieve's of leverage. While the thieves may have a unified purpose, they do different things. Hunters all do the same thing (kill monsters), just in different ways. So rather than roles, hunters have WEAPONS. These are skills and abilities they apply to the hunt.

Every Hunter is armed with five weapons that help keep them alive in tough situations. These weapons are more important than any knife or shotgun, they're the essential strengths of the hunter, and they break down as follows.
Fists - Whether it's back street brawling or seven different black belts, this is the ability to throw a punch or kick.
Books - Research is not the most exciting part of a hunter's life, but it can be the most important. weapon in their arsenal. When it come time to find the right arcane antique or incant the correct exorcism ritual, this is the weapon to bring to bear.
Guns - Shooting things. It's kind of amazing how well this can work as a strategy.
Tools - The toolbox or lab may not be as dramatic as the arsenal, but there are times when bullets aren't going to do the job. Building or repairing things may not seem too dramatic until you realize that things include bombs and cars. (Oh yeah - this covers driving.)
Charm - Sometimes you can talk your way out of things you can't shoot your way out of.

Take 1d10, 1d8, 2 d6's and 1d4 and distribute it among these weapons.

Step 3: Distinctions
Each player picks three distinctions. Distinctions are descriptors like "Army Brat" or "Friends in Low Places" and they work the same way they do in Leverage (that is, if it would help, add a d8 to the roll, if it would create a problem, add a d4 to the roll and gain a plot point). It's worth noting that specific gear (like, say, a car) probably deserves to be a distinction.

Step 4: OPTIONAL Mark
The player may pick a fourth distinction which has some magical significance. It might be a curse or a bloodline or a destiny, or most anything else. The TV show provides no shortage of examples of this. Mechanically, this works just like any other distinction, but for the GM this is basically a big cosmic "kick me" sign. By marking your character, you're guaranteeing that the mark will come up a lot over the course of play, specifically, bringing in supernatural interest.

Players may remove marks if they are resolved (assuming that's possible) or may add a new mark during a season break. A character may only have one mark at a time.

Ok, so that's the opener, tomorrow we'll get into combat and monsters, and meanwhile I'm chewing on some scenario tables.


  1. I love when your blog contains an entire workable game in +/- 500 words.

    Furthermore, (not a surprise to me at this point) I am truly amazed at how many diverse incarnations of CortexPlus there can be, and how each fit a different need/desire/type of play. My excitement grows with each different C+ game that's created because it turns around to inspire yet other ideas and unexplored iterations. It's beginning to feel like a big, endless toolbox of powerful yet accessible options that can largely be mixed and matched at will. What's more exciting than that?

    Attributes and Weapons is a tight, vivid combo that makes me itch to use it for other types of stories as well (especially since I'm not familiar with Supernatural)

  2. Really, the hardest part of hacking Leverage into another game is coming up with a good name.

    That, and getting the Leverage theme song stuck in your head.

  3. It's a beautiful thing, this hack culture that's growing up around Cortex Plus. :)

  4. Oh, nice. I'm new to the Leverage game, since I wasn't particularly fond of the Cortex system prior to Cortex Plus. These sort of hacking ideas are golden.

    Just sayin', but "Supernatural Leverage" (stripped of the TV baggage associated with the two words) sounds like an awesome game. Faustian bargains? Magic in the modern-day halls of power?

  5. Wouldn't a cool "thing" like a car be better served as a Signature Asset? The Impala helps get from point A to point B, and has an arsenal in the trunk. Less Distinction, more Asset in my opinion.

    Other than that, I likes it!

  6. @Rob - Gotta say I was bucking against the idea of "Weapon"... not sure why as its stil a way to defining the method of action just like a Role... its just me I am sure. really looking forward to read the post on Unfair fights!

    @Christopher - Actually the Impala works better IMO as a Distinction since it is a moving asernal i.e. it generates Assets for the situation rather than being brought in directly... well I think it has actually been used to ram some things, but in general you pull an asset(s) out of it

  7. The damned and arcane take what they want

    We kick their ass and steal it back for you.

  8. Well, after reading your series about Stress Tracks, I began to work on my own Leverage / Supernatural (Leverage without Flashbacks, a little more skills, and more combat-oriented). As a french guy, I began by translating some Leverage parts, and your Stress Tracks posts.
    Now, I see this series, and with your redefinition of Attributes and Roles, I think : yes, it's great ... I think I'll pause my writings, read this series, and "steal" from it.


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