Monday, 29 September 2014

Hell 4 Leather, part 5

A Role-Playing Game of Bloody Revenge on Devil's Night

Post-Game Discussion

In this episode, we discuss our playthrough of game of Hell 4 Leather, a Tarot-based game of vengeful murderous undead bikers. There are no spoilers here, so listen away as you please.

As always, be aware that the podcast is not really family-friendly, if that sort of thing bothers you.

Episode 5

The Episode

It's interesting listening back to this and hearing us all say basically we wouldn't bother playing it again, because right now it's kind of tempting. I know it sounded silly earlier, but I genuinely quite like the idea of doing a version based around a band of Speed Freeks whose dying outcast is saved by Mad Dok Snikbatz, to the point that I'd added it to my Games Wishlist sticky. Dan's suggestion of one themed around an adventuring party is also very appealing. This makes me wonder whether putting out a supplementary PDF of hacks for H4L might add a lot to the value; it's hard to say, though, because maybe with experiment I'd decide that the mechanics aren't satisfying enough to play multiple times anyway.

Despite what we say, I actually suspect you could mash together the Fiasco reality-building rules with the Hell 4 Leather scene-building rules to get something playable. I don't have either ruleset, so I can't try it. The point is that the Fiasco mechanics are basically roleplaying prompts, so all you'd be doing is helping players flesh out more usable characters for H4L.

Copyright and suchlike

Hell 4 Leather is copyright and/or trademark Price of Darkness Games. The podcast theme music is Vltava from Smetana's Má Vlast as taken from Wikimedia Commons under the CC0 licence. The episode intro is Hell Bent for Leather by Judas Priest. The outro is Bat out of Hell by Meat Loaf.


  1. I know what you mean about listening to these podcasts making you feel much more positive about actually playing the game again. Although I'm still not sure "Ork Speed Freeks" really works, because the Orks aren't really the most *vengeful* of people.

    1. I think the thing is, they remind you of the fun you have hanging around with mates doing Macguffin, plus you get reminded of the stuff that's actually funny or cool, but it smoothes over most irritating or awkward bits. You don't *feel* awkward in the same way you do when you're (as GM) trying to work out how you actually handle something and do so fast enough not to break the flow, or improv something to handle whatever googly your players just spun you; or (as player) trying to get into character or second-guess the designers or just feeling kind of insecure about this game you don't really understand. Or indeed, hanging around waiting, because either that airtime is filled by someone else, or (hopefully) it's edited out. So I think in some ways, the games you were least keen on benefit most from podcasting. If something was immersive and lively and you enjoyed yourself throughout, it probably doesn't get much of a boost, and in fact you probably lose some of the benefit you had by actually being there.

      I'm sort of torn on orks, mostly because I really like orks just in general. I can definitely see an ork getting patched up and then tearing strips of people, and they do have some canon vengefulness (venge, surely?) against specific enemies, but I agree they probably don't hold grudges against each other, or indeed betray each other. The boyz bonding thing is pretty strong, and I suspect selling out your own boss just doesn't occur to them. Either you beat them up and take over, or you don't. I think they probably lack the social structures that prompt stuff like sneakily betraying and murdering your boss, because why not just shoot him if you care that much? But even that feels a bit wrong.

      I like how this requires a serious discussion of hypothetical ork sociopolitical structures and social mores.

    2. So I think in some ways, the games you were least keen on benefit most from podcasting.

      I think that's likely. Put together like that, it's quite a damning summary - "Roleplaying games, better in retrospect!"

      Although I'd point out that I was *relatively* positive about Hell4Leather - I believe that I suggested that it was better than other Storygames IMO in that I potentially *would* choose to play it instead of a boardgame.

      As for Orks, you raise a good point - and obviously some Orks *are* sneaky so there *could* be some kind of betrayal vibe, although I sort of think that it's the "working together to betray the boss" thing that is hardest to work with - Orks are kind of a funny mix of very loyal and very disloyal. You'd expect either a personal challenge or ... not really.

      But as you say, we *might* be overthinking this.