Leveragin’ the Black – The Value of a Man

The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.

– Albert Einstein

As mentioned back in the post Rollin’ Roles into Stylin’s, the themes we are concentrating on as our main pairing for our Serenity Plus game are “Why are you doing it?” and “How do you do it?”  Stylin’s and Refinements are how we handle the latter, and Values are how we handle the former, which are pretty much the system from Smallville with some different categories, and one less to give us five Values in total: Honesty, Loyalty, Might, Renown, and Enlightenment.

Putting a Value On It

Values all start out at d4, and you have eight steps you can apply between the five attributes to increase the die size.  Just as with Smallville’s Values, high dice assigned to a Value doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a strong alignment with that Value, just that you have a strong belief regarding it.

Honesty

Chances are good in a Firefly/Serenity game that at least some, if not all, the Crew are of… shall we say, less reputable employment?  But most of the crew of the Serenity are the kind of honest thieves, much as the Leverage crew become.  So, how important is Honesty to your character?  Where do they draw the line?  Are they open about their history and background, or highly secretive regarding where they come from?

Example Statements for Honesty:
You shouldn’t (and couldn’t) hide things from your friends.
An honest man would soon starve.
– Some secrets are best left buried.
– Only your family should know everything about you.
– Be honest as far as it can take you…

Loyalty

A big theme of the show is the bonds between the characters as the ship comes together throughout the series as something close to family.  Does your character put much stock in these sorts of relationships, or are they much more of a loner?  How much loyalty is there amongst thieves?

Example Statements for Loyalty: 
– A crew is a family… for better or worse.
– Stand by your friends ’til the end.
– I’ve always felt like an outsider looking in…
– My only loyalty is to my own gorram self!
– Better to stab your friends in their back before they stab yours.

Might

How much does your character believe in using force or control?  Where does might come from: Respect?  Money?  Titles?  How does your character view those that throw their own weight around?

Example Statements for Might: 
– Might makes right.
– I’m in command, but because I’ve earned that respect.
– No one should be leaned on by those bigger than them.
– Best to control things from the shadows.
– If you have strength, it should be used to aid those who don’t.

Renown

How does your character view being known throughout the ‘Verse?  Would they prefer to fly under the radar and not make waves?  Or do they want people to tremble at the very mention of their name?

Example Statements for Renown: 
– I want to go where everybody knows my name, and I plan to go everywhere!
– It’s harder to do what I do if people know who I am.
– Mine is a name people know they can trust.
– People know not to cross me.
– Even my own family barely know my name.

Enlightenment

This could cover religious or spiritual beliefs, or the broadening of ones mind to new experiences.  Does your character put stock in “learnin'” or is experience the only teacher?  Have you found faith?  Or perhaps it was the other way around?

Example Statements for Enlightenment: 
– A mind is a terrible thing to waste.
– Divine force guides my path.
– Nothin’ worth knowin’ can be taught.
– I only put faith in myself.
– You mean you want me to put a brighter bulb in?

Next post: we look at challenging your own beliefs, and using the values of other’s to your advantage.

About Craig Payne

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.