[Hell for Leather] One Frame to Rule Them All!

edited July 2010 in Story Games
Hi! I was thinking about Hell for Leather and what sorts of stories you could tell with it, and I think I came up with an interesting frame, based on Lord of the Rings and other high fantasy sagas.

Since the game is about pursuit and insurmountable opposition, the spine of the Lord of the Rings series (the Ring of Power and the Fellowship's flight through Middle Earth) would make a bitchin' frame. LotR takes itself too seriously, though, so I wouldn't advise, y'know, actually using scenes, locations, and characters from LotR. More like stoopid fantasy archetypes who have stumbled upon some ridiculous artifact and they need to book it fast, 'cos like, that wizard fellow is fuckin' creepy and he keeps tellin' us we're pretty much hosed if we don't get the hell out of town before Lord Foul finds us.

So! Here we go:

Prologue: Mythic/high fantasy world, ancient evil returning, minions spreading across the Earth, on the hunt for the Artifact of Power.
Adversity: LORD FOUL! (cf. Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever)
Gore Threshold 6

Connection: A group of heroes who stumbled into possession of the Artifact of Power.
Drop-off: The Hamlet of Innsdale
Destination: The Floating Fortress
Checkpoints: Get onto the floating island (out in the middle of the Sea of Sorrow), kill the Gaoler (master of intelligence, security, and torture), infiltrate the fortress (where the forge of power, the only thing that can unmake the Artifact, is located).


  • I have been mulling this very thing over for some time. I think that it works quite well. I think that Eye of the world could be done this way too, and potentially quite a few of the Wheel of Time books. I haven't been able to test it yet, but I am sure that it could produce a lot of the feel of some of our favorite fantasy literature. Good game.
  • Hi Joey and Lee,

    First of all, that's an awesome frame! I'm going to put it on the wiki as an example to new players. Thanks Joey!

    Also, Lee, I'm really interested in doing an Eye of the World frame. However, to get it right, I'd really like to use the new Footprint rules (not yet released). Brief overview: Basically, Footprints will replace Violence in a customised game of Hell for Leather. So, instead of you committing Violence to gain extra dice, you might use the One Power (for example). Footprints are a way for you to earn favourable odds in the short term, but which eventually hurt you in the long term. In the Wheel of Time, when men use the One Power, they get super awesome effects now, but end up going insane and burning themselves out after prolonged exposure. Short term vs. long term. I think this fits AMAZINGLY with the Footprint system. So much so, in fact, that I intend to base the HfL: Sorcery mini-pack (an example frame using the Footprint rules, coming out as a free supplement some time early next year) on this Wheel of Time model. Thanks for the inspiration!
  • edited July 2010
    The Eye of the World would make a fantastic frame, especially with the Footprint rules. I'm excited to see the frame for that.

    Where is the wiki located?
  • Dude! Sebastian, quit reading my mind!

    I have been thinking of HfL hacks and that is basically exactly what I was thinking. The other thing that I was thinking was that for less violence oriented games, adding a mechanic to dissipate that built up "tension" through hitting keys, compels, refresh scenes, or whatever. I had actaully been imagining writing a Lady Blackbird style preset schenario game with the additions of keys and some form of compels that essentially uses HfL as a strong backbone. HfL really hits at a theme that is central to a lot of my favorite literature. The flight into darkness from an overwhelming but mysterious enemy, while learning more about the wider world. This is a really fertile ground for RPGs I think. Fellowship of the Ring is my favorite Tolkein book, and the first 6 Wheel of Time books are basically the same thing. Engineering that in my other RPG campaigns has seemed artificial, and I have never had an opportunity as a player to experience that sort of game. HfL pretty briliantly captures this theme, and with some minor adjustments, it could easily be made into the perfect game for what I have always wanted to create.

    I can't wait to see what you come up with.
  • I had actaully been imagining writing a Lady Blackbird style preset schenario game with the additions of keys and some form of compels that essentially uses HfL as a strong backbone.
    Great idea. I think that Rest Scenes nearly do what you're suggesting, but a little more focus needs to be put into it, and maybe even a little more fluidity. Rest Scenes help to alleviate pressure by reducing the height of the Heat, but their inclusion is very formal. Perhaps there's an easy way to include keys/compels/etc on-the-fly, which both offer a short term solution and a long term obstacle, sympathetic but perpendicular to the new Footprint rules. That is, it might be worth trying out an optional "take a trauma" clause at any time, reducing the Heat for X dice, removing the built-up tension, and at the same time creating fallout. For example, a character may have "brave but stupid" trait which, when he demonstrates it during the scene, allows him to get the group out of trouble (reduce the Heat) but at the same time creating a problem (giving the character a Trauma). Food for thought. Thanks again.
    I can't wait to see what you come up with.
    Cheers for your support Lee.
  • Where is the wiki located?
    Nearly forgot to reply to this one Joey. The wiki is obscured for now, due to maintenance. It will be back up again sometime tomorrow I hope.
  • The wiki is back up.
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