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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 26 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Leap of Faith - A Cinematic single-session gaming system  (Read 800 times)

Posts: 3

« on: October 10, 2011, 01:02:04 PM »

Hello All,

There was a particular style of RPG I always wanted to play. Since I was never able to find the experience I decided to make up my own rule set in order to do so.

I call it Leap of Faith, and you can find the documentation here: http://proleary.com/other-projects/leap-of-faith/ (a little rough of course)

Here are some basic notes on the game and why I designed it:

  • I was tired of genre-specific systems (This is a style-specific system)
  • I wanted to play single-session games that had clear endings
  • I wanted fast character creation that was more focused on traits than stats
  • I wanted sandbox type gameplay where the paramaters were laid out from the beginning but complete freedom was given to the players during gameplay
  • I wanted to encourage unique and interesting characters

Basically I wanted to create a cinematic experience. The players create character concepts based on the scenario. The introduction clearly gives the players a goal. Game play starts and the players are allowed freedom to accomplish that goal. Think Die Hard. The player creates the down on his luck cop, the goal of stopping the theives is clear, the confines of the location (the building) are clear, and the characters can do whatever they want to get it done.

The Fate Chip mechanic encourages players to stay true to their character concept, and to try to accomplish things they normally wouldn't be able to do (hence the title). That's the core of the game. Using lots of Fate Chips is the key to making this work.

And here is what feedback I would like:

  • Is there another game similar to this (or with mechanic similar to this) that I might be able to study and learn from?
  • In the rules am I clear in explaining the style of gameplay? That's most important in this game. The rules are simple, but the intangibles are hard to get across.
  • Am I asking too much of the GM? It's a tough game to run because of the combination of concise goals and freedom of gameplay.
  • Is the included scenerio too vague? It plays great, but that's because I made it and know the details.

Thanks for taking the time to look at it. If you have any questions or would like more detail please let me know. This has been play-tested successfully with my group, so anyone wants to try to play please do so, just let me know how it turns out.


Posts: 4

« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 01:59:30 PM »


I read through the rules and I have to say that overall I like them. A few thoughts that bumped into my mind when I read it:

-Choosing the character's skills during the game is a design choice I like in this kind of a fast game. The character creation rules and rules overall seem compact and easy to understand. There is another game with a mechanic like that, but I can't remember the name.

-I feel that your choice to emphasize the Fate Chips by putting them first in the rules actually does the opposite of emphazing. It's good to mention them if you want to summarize the rules up front, but I would recommend putting the actual rules to be introduced later in the document. I found it hard to understand them before I knew the actual core mechanics.

-In some of the examples you talk about having d6's or d10's as stat dice (i.e. Charisma of d6) although earlier rules for the stats implicate that you can only have stats with either 2d8 or 3d8.

As for the feedback you specifically asked:

-Savage worlds has some aspects that resemble this system, but it has different, heavier rules (although they are pretty light rules regardless). The Beanies in that game have some resemblance to you Fate Chips.

-I think the rules are simple and straightforward, but I have a single issue that I would like to raise (more on that later).

-I don't think you are making this too hard for the GM. Almost everything seems to be handled as a single roll, so a GM that wants to run a fast and furious sandbox game should do fine. The rules are simple enough to make this possible and a GM that chooses this kind of a game probably already has a knack of creating things on the fly.

-The scenario is a bit vague in its description, but I think that can be fixed by adding some short descriptions (just a few sentences) of the four main locations. It's nice that you added dead end breakers, but you might want to add some generic reality show characters or just a few more quick NPC concepts for the GM to utilize quickly if needed.

As for the issue I have:
-Choosing a difficulty seems something that's easy to understand and manipulating the Chart using the Fate Chips is intuitive enough, but there is a bit of a problem here. You say that "The GM narrates the outcome based on the difference between the roll and the target number." In my opinion this is a bit too vague. For instance, if someone is attempting a formidable task and rolls 9, there is a difference of 23. What's the difference between that and rolling the same result on a daunting task (difference of 17) or an improbable task (difference of 41)? Obviously it's a worse result for the character, but how much worse in narrative terms?
What I'm asking here is: are there levels of failure and is there a "Maximum level of failure" after which everything just fails horribly regardless of the difference between the roll and the target number?
(i.e. if you roll fails by a margin of 1-2, it is a very close call, but fails, if the difference is 3-5, the failure is obvious, but the results are not negative, if the difference is 6-10, the results are negative, if the difference is 10-15 the results are are severely harmful, if the difference is over 15 the results are devastatingly harmful)
I'm saying this because, in my opinion, if there is no reference scale for failure, it might be hard for GMs to evaluate the narrative difference between the results of some rolls especially on the high end of the chart. Having a scale or a chart would be helpful, but I would recommend a very short chart (something like 3-5 "levels of failure") for the sake of simplicity. You could use that scale for successes as well if you want.

Hope this helps you forward.

Posts: 3

« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2011, 06:38:57 AM »

Thanks Hoffren for your detailed notes! I appreciate your time. Here are some quick comments for those interested:

-I can move the Fate Chip section towards the end of the rules and just put a small paragraph about their importance to the front of the rules. That should help.

-Some of the examples in there with different sided dice were left over from an earlier version. I must have missed updated them to the new values. Thanks for catching that.

-I wanted to keep the scenerio vague to allow the GM room to manuever. But maybe I did that too much. I'll look into adding some more descriptions to help whoever runs the game to get started.

-I now agree with your point about using the difference between the roll and target as a measure of success. That is vague, and there are no hard rules written to help the GM. I don't know if I want to make a chart that the GM has to reference in gameplay. That might slow things down too much, but I will try it out in my next playtest session and see how it goes. My only other option is to ignore that rule and have the GM describe success or failure based on the current in game conditions, regardless of the magnitude of the difference.

-I'll look into the game you mentioned (Savage Worlds) and hopefully get some other ideas.

Thanks again for your notes! These were very helpful.
Josh Porter

Posts: 58

I want to be old.

« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2011, 11:16:32 PM »

I like it.

This is the kind of game I am drawn to create.  Quick char-gen, single-roll mechanics, it seems like a lot of fun.

This is kind of a minor thing, but THE CHART seems a little counter-intuitive.  Starting with Hard, and going toward the higher numbers, the descriptors seem a little out of order.  Improbable, especially, seems like it should be much lower, and Unobtainable seems like it should be the 50.

I am especially curious as to how YOU, the designer, GM the game.  How do you balance spotlight time, create stakes, and give meaning to the players actions.  I assume you've playtested it some, based on your posts.  Would you be willing to share your secrets?

I am playtesting Flawed and Caterpillar.
I am playing Dresden Files.

Posts: 3

« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2011, 06:59:41 AM »

Thanks Josh!

It was a lot of fun once the kinks were worked out of the scenerio.

To answer your questions:

Yes, I should re-evaluate the order on The chart. Of course, the magnitude of the text is subjective, so its good to hear how someone else other than myself reads it.

As to creating stakes, spotlight time, etc. It's just like any other game. The GM needs to know the basics of how to do those things.

Stakes are pretty easy to do. I just think of it like a movie. If the action is worth watching in a film, then its worth rolling for. The stakes are made clear by both the player in GM so the player can then use his Fate Chips if needed.

Giving players the spotlight depends on the group. I would not play this game with more than 3 players. And if you facilitate character creation you can make sure that each player has some skills that would be useful in the scenerio, and that not all the people make the same character so the are fighting over tasks.

Since the goal of the scenerio is made clear, and the stakes are set, then the actions of the characters have meaning and determine the outcome of the story. At least, that was my experience with the latest play-test.

Anyway, thanks for checking out the game, I appreciate your thoughts.
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