In the latest spine-tingling instalment of their thrilling podcast (Improvised Radio Theatre With Dice episode 101: Fundamental GURPSiness) the sages of High Wycombe said flattering things about a James Bond 007 adventure that I ran for them for the purposes of scholarship, study, and review. Akademik Mike went so far as to suggest that I might publish it, but that is sadly impossible. Aside from there having been no actual causal structure to hold together the mere corroborative detail, the adventure is inextricably set in Jamaica and Gatun in October–November 1957. Almost no-one would be able to drop it into a campaign in any other setting than the British secret service after the Suez Crisis and before the resumption of the Special Relationship in July 1958.
So? There is an audience for everything.
The only question to consider is, would you enjoy publishing it?
So you can’t drop it into an existing campaign. It should still work as a one-shot.
I must admit that whenever I contemplate gamifying the 1950s, that long ago, dream-like, steam-powered (still!) time of my childhood, I find my thoughts going towards the fantastic and the strange. QUATERMASS and what have you rather than James Bond. Mind you even in the books Bond crossed over into the fantastic a couple of times: the British Space Effort in MOONRAKER and Blofeld’s dastardly plot to destroy Great Britain by hypnotising young women in ON HER MAJESTY’S SECRET SERVICE.
This may tie into something we’re going to be talking about next month if we’re spared.
This is certainly a 1950s espionage adventure with a strong bias towards the HUMINT side of things – it’s not something that can be solved by poring over intercepted communications or aerial photographs. Is it necessarily a James Bond adventure? The principals need to be able to move on from Jamaica, though if they were working for the station there it ought to be possible to wrangle things so that they’re in at the kill.
For me the realisation that
GRAPPLE was involved put me in a good mood quite early on, because that sort of tie-in to reality is a thing I love; then I was looking for more clues to that as well as playing the immediate game. (If you had said Green Grass you might have heard a grown man squee; yes, I’m aware that it was a few years later.) So if you’re trying to make it appeal to people like me, making it more generic would not be a direction I’d choose. (On the other hand appealing to people like me is usually a lousy way to increase sales.)
Well, the involvement of such fantastic elements as a hypnosis plot, independent British nuclear and missile research, an unrepentant Nazi ex-commando mastermind scheming vengeance against England, and an Egyptian project to destroy the Panama Canal with a hijacked experimental hydrogen bomb put it at least into Len Deighton territory. It’s a 1957 technothriller, not an espionage story.
The first rule of GMing: know your players.
I also landed an Easter egg squarely on Mike, who recognised Otto Skozeny by name.
@DrBob: did something in Operation Suplex land well with you?
Operation Suplex may have obtained elements of inspiration from Moonraker, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Thunderball, and Dr No.
I can guarantee you an audience of at least one — if we’re spared.
[quote=“Agemegos, post:6, topic:2722”]
@DrBob: did something in Operation Suplex land well with you?[/quote]
I had no knowledge of Skozeny or the other historic things which were making Roger squee. However, me being unaware of them did not detract from the flow of the adventure.
The whole thing was a nicely balanced mix of slightly bonkers Bond villain plans and stiff upper lip British civil service.