Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Spy Games: Or good rolls for bad results
Back in the day, the day being the early 1980s, we would take the occasional break from dungeon delving to explore a more modern genre, the espionage game. Now back then, in the area where we lived the two options were TSR's Top Secret and Victory Games' James Bond 007 RPG. I can't recall exactly why we played Top Secret, but it was probably the fact that it came out first.
Now I secretly suspect that my group favored Top Secret even over D&D. I was a lot more into fantasy than the rest of them and I think they found the world of spies and saboteurs a bit more cool. It was after all the Cold War. In any case, Friday evenings would often find us knee deep in some spy shenanigans. The players were employees of the M.S.O. which stood for the Mysterious Spy Organization, headed by the mercurial spymaster known only as J. The Mysterious Spy Organization was famous for it's ever moving headquarters, which was once found to be hidden in secret tunnel concealed beneath an ice machine in the middle of the desert.
The party consisted of Keith, who was the most straight up James Bond type spy, Ross, who really liked to shoot guys (more on this later), and Len, who would probably have sold out his mother to the enemy for the right price. Now Top Secret, unlike D&D had hit locations, which were the source of endless amusement to us, particularly to Ross. Ross's character always carried a 9mm P-08 Luger, and he shot everyone in the foot. The left foot. This was not intentional, but rather just the way that he rolled. In order to determine hit location, the players just had to make a simple percentile dice roll modified by certain factors like movement and cover. Ross had the dubious luck to frequently roll in the 98 to 00 range, which is generally a range associated with good things like head shots and critical hits. Not so in Top Secret though, for in that system, the range was reserved for the lowly left foot.
We had a lot of fun with that game, like the time that Keith's character beat the party's recurring nemesis Nelson to death with the porcelain cover of a toilet tank. The there was the time when Len, in order to prove his loyalty to the villains during an infiltration mission, shot Keith in the head. And of course, there were all those villains who were found limping after being shot in the left foot by Ross.
Our adventures weren't terribly original. Most of them happened in casinos, or remote alpine ski resorts, or exotic Caribbean islands, and were thinly veiled rehashes of our favorite spy novels, but we had a blast. Man, those were some good times.
So who else has some fun spy adventure stories from their youth that they would like to share?