Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spotlight - Leverage RPG - What is Leverage?

OK, let's define Leverage shall we.

S: (n) leverage, purchase (the mechanical advantage gained by being in a position to use a lever)
S: (n) leverage (strategic advantage; power to act effectively) "relatively small groups can sometimes exert immense political leverage"
S: (n) leverage, leveraging (investing with borrowed money as a way to amplify potential gains (at the risk of greater losses))

Thank you Google for helping us out with that.

The show, and the RPG, are a play on words. If you've seen the show, or played the RPG, you probably know why.

Leverage is about Con Men (and women) who join together to do their thiefly duties and steal lots of cool stuff.  Sometimes its money, sometimes its artwork, sometimes its horses... (no really, watch the show).  Leverage is kind of like watching Oceans 11, but with only 5 people, and they do it for an hour every week.  Some of the "Jobs" are rediculously over the top and involve the theft of hundreds of millions of dollars.  In fact, the first episode of the TV show has the characters making off with so much money that they could all immidiately retire from a life of crime, settle down somewhere, and enjoy the good life... but, none of them would be satisfied with that.

The show's underlying premise is not only are these people Thieves, but they are also Robin Hood's.  It is kind of hard to say which one of them would actually be Robin Hood (I mean you could make the clear argument that Nathan Ford, the mastermind behind the group, is their leader, but... not sure about that... I like me some Christian Kane for that part... ).  Every character in the show has his or her own specially defined role.  Let's go down the list:  Smart Character - the Mastermind, Nathan Ford; Strong Character - the Hitter, played by Christian Kane; the Hacker, Hardeman; the super flexible, but super crazy burglar - the Thief, Parker; and the charismatic - Grifter, Sophie.

The Leverage RPG is an RPG simulation of the Leverage TV Show.  The Players take the role of one of the Leverage TV Show characters (or make up their own) and play through a variety of Jobs, adventures, if you will, which the Fixer (GM) leads them through.  The game is based on the Cortex Plus rules system and leans toward the story-telling side of RPG's rather than the Tactical Combat Side.  If there was a scale of RPG's with OSR at one end and D&D 4e at the other, the Leverage RPG would be much closer to the OSR side of that diagram.

Next time, in our Leverage spotlight, I'll get into some more detail regarding the Cortex Plus system, how character creation works, and also talk a little bit about how I think you can apply the rules set to run games that exist in a non-"let's go kill everything and steal the loot" kind of world.  Using this rules set, you'll be stealing much more loot, but you won't even have to wash your sword afterward.


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