Though I might try it some time with Whartson Hall…
Though I might try it some time with Whartson Hall…
One of these days (ha!) I should get back to my “Other Fellas” idea, where the suave secret agent is actually a charismatic but clueless buffoon and the PCs are agents who have to secretly shadow him and get the job done while he attracts all the attention.
I’ve heard something similar mooted for a RuneQuest campaign. We have here the verifiably prophesied Prince Argrath. Yay! Problem: he’s completely inept. Solution? The PCs are a coterie of coming-on-for-rune-status followers of the Lightbringers, and their mission is to make this guy fulfil all the prophesies and not die trying.
In another leg of the trousers, one of the things that I have found effective in James Bond 007 is that one of the players (two in a very large party) should generate “Clunk”, a maximally tall, Sensational-appearance, male character with maximum prior experience (i.e. generated for maximum fame), who is Speed 3, Strength 14, has PCSs of at least 25 in Fire Combat and Hand-to-Hand Combat. Any character points left over go into Seduction or Gambling. Clunk carries a pistol with three shots per round, and doesn’t mind if it isn’t very concealable (I liked the Ruger T-512 .22 target pistol). Meanwhile, everyone else generates a competent expert at something (driving, burglary, undercover infiltration, surveillance…) who has less than 50 points of Fame (women are best).
Clunk is a terrible spy: he almost always gets Recognised. He is, however, extremely deadly. His Fame is already over 150, so he doesn’t care about killing people, and he can generally make three people’s heads explode at the beginning of each combat round. So Clunk struts around getting Recognised and acting as a trigger for the random encounter system (i.e. as bait*). The others travel separately, doing espionage and setup, or just in overwatch. When Clunk gets captured the rest of the party follow the kidnappers to the Major Villain’s Secret Lair, break in, re-arm Clunk, and watch the heads explode.
* My usual players in the late Eighties got pretty adept at playing a thriller without necessarily solving the mystery. They catalogued the gambit of investigating conspicuously while looking weak and hoping the oppo would reveal itself by attacking them, as the Quiller gambit. “The big mistake that criminals always make is to over-estimate how smart we are and drastically underestimate how fucking dangerous we are.”
I had an idea for a Transhuman Space adventure in which the PCs were the luckless human tourist’s various servitor AIs, trying to keep him safe… never managed to develop it into anything playable though.
I suppose it does all risk turning into Rincewind looking after Twoflower in The Colour of Magic.
That’s viable for a one-off, though probably not for a campaign.
There is a copy of the JB007 basic game bundled with a copy of the Q Manual gear catalogue on eBay, which got passed in at US$24 and have been re-listed¹. The description says they are complete but have slight water-damage to the covers. https://www.ebay.com/i/293443535022
I’d snap that up except that I already have two copies of JB007 and one of the Q Manual, seldom get to play RPGs these days, almost always prefer ForeSight to JB 007 because it’s not a miracle of genre emulation, and would face a probably steep shipping charge. For a person who wants to check out an excellent if limited RPG from 1983 and has scruples about downloading an illegal scan (and, perhaps, who is in more forgiving part of the IPU) that could be a good buy.
¹ I “watched” the item during its previous auction as a bookmark while I was waiting for a reply from a friend as to whether he’d like it as a present, so I got notified of the re-listing.
I had the rule book (and, if I recall, a settings supplement) back in the 80s. It was a better system that Top Secret was, and one of the nice things about it was that it was well suited for doing one or two session games, with a single player.
There goes another year!
I really do think that a report on play and a review of James Bond 007 would make good content for a podcast episode. But I suppose that if the Sages of High Wycombe agreed they would have done it already.
I remember playing this rpg back in the mid to late 80s at a convention in London. Don’t recall much about it other than my character managing to shoot down a helicopter with his pistol. Shortly afterwards, my school gaming group got into Ninjas and Superspies and we played that a lot, being fans of other Palladium System games (especially TMNT).
I think at the moment I’m skating on the edge of running-too-many-games and trying to retrench a bit. But JB007 is still in my mind.
Would it help if I were to run a stand-alone adventure for you?
If you fancy it and if we can line up schedules (or PBF), sure!
Well, I’m in UTC+11 until the 4th of April, and you’re in UTC+0 until the 28th of March. So if I started a three-hour session at 8 AM that would be 9 PM to midnight in Blighty. Whereas if I started a three-hour session at about about 8 PM it would be about 9 AM to noon in the old country. After the SAN-busting contortions of the begending of daylight saving I will be in UTC+10 and you in UTC+1. That makes it completely impractical for me to GM in the morning for you to play very late at night, but makes the time-slot between my finishing an early dinner at 7:00 PM and my turning into a pumpkin at 11:30 correspond to a 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM window of opportunity for you.
For me to GM during your evening would be marginal if we did it before the end of March and impractical after that. So the plausible possibility is from me to GM after an early dinner for you to play before a late lunch.
When I was in form, with confident and decisive players it used to take me about four and a half to five hours to get through as much material as a typical thriller or action feature movie. We would probably need two three-hour sessions to complete a stand-alone adventure by way of videoconferencing or whatever and because of our unfamiliarity with each other’s play. And we ought to do character generation beforehand.
So, as The Great Sages revealed in episode 101 of Improvised Radio Theatre with Dice, we carried out the plan outlined above. I was not in form, and my familiarity with JB007 was very rusty, and the character-players were not confident and decisive because they were learning the rules and not familiar with my style. So we didn’t manage to get through a whole adventure in two three-hour sessions. Nevertheless I think a good time was had by all, and I did get a couple of things to stick their landings when the players recognised Operation Grapple and Obersturmbahnführer Otto Skorzeny.
My main regret is that I did not get to demonstrate the awesomeness that is the James Bond 007 random encounter system to anything like the extent I would have liked. Many of the genre conventions, such as being captured so that the villain takes you to his lair and explains the plot, are built into the encounter system. In terms of the rules, movie Bond succeeds in his missions despite (perhaps even because of) being a bad secret agent because of the way the encounter system works (or can by made to work, if you spend hero points judiciously).
I still find myself quite tempted to try running it at some point. Perhaps with pre-gens.
In which case my work here is done.
Definitely with pre-gens. Playing other SIS agents would be good too, some of the female agents could be allowed to reclaim their competence and prove Bond to have been a mysogynist git! For an edge how about one player being (randomly so even the GM doesn’t know) the “you secretly work for the villain/GRU/CIA/DGSE, find an appropriate time to betray SIS or your employer as you see fit… card”…
As.opposed to Paranoia, where they’d all get the note.
They may still…
I love, as GM, not knowing which one is the traitor