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[Hell 4 Leather] Satanic Bikers + Manga KAPOWWW!

Started by Sebastian K. Hickey, March 31, 2010, 11:02:47 AM

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Sebastian K. Hickey

Hell 4 Leather is Joe Prince's Tarot game of satanic revenge. There were six players (including Joe Prince, Gregor Hutton, myself and Daniel Klein). It was nought-to-gaming in 60 seconds. This probably the most elegant game on the market.

Grab your Tarot deck and deal out the Fool, Death and the Devil. This determines who is the badass biker, how he dies and the resulting bargain with Satan. Suffice is to say that I got the Fool and the theme was "Akira."

Cue Shinichi, the enormous uber-biker with shoulders big enough to bust your door frame. He drove up the side of a skyscraper on his death-wheels, burst through the window of a secret drug cabal penthouse and shot up the occupants in a blaze of noise (all the while fucking the hoes and screaming his own name).

I'm not going to go into all the rules. You can pick up the contest submission here (which is only a couple of pages long).

If you're the Fool (the badass biker), you seem to be in charge of pacing. You get to decide when your character appears and when someone dies. Therefore, I'd caution against giving the Fool character to boisterous,  loud egiots like me. Sometimes with indie games, I forget I'm not the GM  and I take too many liberties. For example, during an appeal by Joe  Prince's character, I cut him short after he mispronounced one of the  Japanese character's names. In retrospect, that was probably too bold.  There's a danger here that the Fool player has too much power and, if  that is given to a cock, the game might end up cocked.

The conflict rules: Basically, once two or more players contest a piece of narrative, an independent party turns over a random Tarot card and uses the image to determine what happens. In our case, the image was a corpse strewn battlefield. The guy who draws the card interprets.

See how elegant that is?

Death rules: When the Death card is played on a character, you get these awesome tension-loaded moments—the Fool player must divine which card is which (flipping over a Tarot to see if it shows Death). Bam!! Every game needs moments like these.

Motivate! One last thing, as Gregor mentions here,  this game works best when the intentions and betrayals of each  character are explicit. At one point in the game I didn't know why I was  supposed to kill the gang members. I tried to push for some motive, but  I don't think everyone was clear that this was important. When you play  this game, remember that all the characters have been involved in the murder of the badass biker/Fool and try your best to express your character's involvement, betrayal and  motive.

I'd love to go into detail over every scene and pick out the gems, but I'll leave that for you guys to figure out when you play yourselves. There are significant, invisible elements of design here that help generate great story. Just like Hammer Falls, I'd play this again in a heartbeat.



I so totally and completely loved this. Your performance as Shinichi had a LOT to do with that.

I posted a tedious long-winded post over on detailing in unnecessary detail all the story we generated that night. It was a good story, too! Why on, you ask? Well, first of all I'd feel the need to do a lot more useful analysis if I posted here, secondly there's the larger audience that might discover the prince of darkness this way, and finally, wouldn't it be beautiful if we could get both Hell for Leathers banned there? Let's try!


"Detailing in unnecessary detail"? Go to bed, Daniel.