Leveragin’ the Black – Quite the Experience

Characters need to grow and mature over time, else the drama has less impact, and in the case of a roleplaying game, players don’t get any new “toys” to play with.  So for this post of Serenity Plus, lets look at gaining and spending experience points.

Experience and Achievement

Our character progression and “experience points” derive from the idea of an “episode list” detailed on page 51 in Leverage, complete with the benefits of Callbacks being used in place of Plot Points.  You may decide to lift the idea whole and as is, with an actual list of episodes to reference, make Callbacks to, and spend as experience (perhaps even using the Leverage title format of The ____ Job).  The alternative suggested here is to have a list of Achievements detailed on the character sheet.

Having a list of Achievements is an idea based on an aspect of the Wolsung RPG, but essentially works exactly like Leverage’s Record with the exception that instead of episode names, your Achievements would have a list of noted successes such as “stole a Lassiter laser pistol” or “saved a village of mudders”.  There are definite advantages to this method if your gaming doesn’t naturally fall into discrete stories separated into “episodes”.  It also allows a group discussion at the end of a session regarding the high points for each character that should get recorded on their Achievements.  Or such discussion might be a good way to handle the recap of events at the start of the next session.

Additionally, by using Achievements, the GM can decide to give extra experience for particularly dramatic sessions, or where the game runs significantly longer than usual.  We suggest that you give additional Achievements to the group uniformly, even if the heightened drama focused on just a couple of players, but ultimately that comes down to a decision made by you and your group.

Spending Achievements

As with Leverage, your Record or Achievements can be spent (no longer available for Callbacks) in order to gain improvements to a character.  The number of achievements required to spend on each improvement are listed in the following table.

Gain a new d6 rated Resource 1
Gain a new d8 rated Resource 2
Increase Starting Plot Points by 1 New SPP level
Add a new tier of a Distinction 3
Add a new Aspect (to a maximum of 4) 4
Add a new d6 Refinement 6
Step up a Refinement (to a maximum of d12) 6
Step up a non-d4 Stylin’ (to a maximum of d12) 8
Step up a d4 Stylin’ 10

Note: You can increase your number of starting Plot Points by spending a number of Achievements equal to the new Starting Plot Point value, so it would cost two Achievements to raise it to 2, then three more to raise it to 3, and so on.

You may consider allowing new Resource dice to be added to existing Resources (making a Doctors’ Bag 2d8 or a Toolkit d8+d6, for example).  Again, we’ll leave this up to your groups preference, but you will probably want to set a limit on the number of dice able to be pooled in this way, with a total of no more than three or four probably being an ideal number.


That concludes the character building portion of our rules, so we now move on to mechanics, and what better place to get things rolling than with just that: dice rolling mechanics.

About craggle

Despite being born tone deaf in one ear, Craig has risen above his disadvantage to achieve the lofty position of spending most of his free time mucking around on the Internet, tinkering with RPG rules, and failing on at least seven occasions to finish writing a novel.
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