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  1. PlatinumWarlock
    PlatinumWarlock at | | Reply

    Really quality post, cherie. Good insights on the genre.

    I love the idea of a Pendulum-implementation for a past-present spy thriller. Could be really cool, and easy enough to write via Time-Pendulum!

    Savage Worlds is a great little system for Pendulum-style games, simply because its easy to latch onto and easy to ‘grok’. But, you’re correct on its over-simplicity. If you’re looking to spend more time in the spy-genre, SW has some gaps, just as you (quite insightfully) list. The idea of additional, gambling-based mechanics to represent various spy skills: hacking, sneaking, interrogating, etc is really quality–a quick hand of Blackjack could make for a fantastic way to represent a “Before I kill you, Mr. Bond…” monologue.

    Oooh! I have it! For hacking…have you ever played a game called Mastermind? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mastermind_(board_game)

    It’d be perfect!!!

  2. edige23
    edige23 at | | Reply

    Two other resources to consider- take a look at Leverage for inspiration and I’d also recommend Oceans, which is free full rpg available from http://errantgame.blogspot.com/. You’ve got a ton of good ideas here- makes me really want to start thinking about a spy game. Pelgrane’s doing a take on espionage using Gumshoe which will incorporate the supernatural, but I’m just curious about how they apply the system.

  3. Lugh
    Lugh at | | Reply

    You should really check out Leverage. It has some really neat systems in it, and is all about running heists and cons.

    Spycraft 1.0 had extensive systems for duplicating gambling in your game (in the African Alliance sourcebook). IMHO, while nifty, they needlessly bogged down the game. I’m here to play the RPG, not baccarat.

    The dramatic conflicts that you found in Spycraft 2.0 can be used for a lot of the pieces you mentioned above. You can easily use them to duplicate gambling, sneaking, or any other complex task that involves competition and multiple checks. You just need to work out what a lead means (a certain percentage of your stake for gambling, locations achieved vs. guards alerted for sneaking). And, you need to get some ideas for maneuvers. Just renaming the existing ones to do similar effects gets you about 80% of the way there. It’s an incredibly useful and flexible mechanic.

    I know that Spycraft 1.0 had some suggestions for ways to make location matter. I think Spycraft 2.0 does as well. They might be tricky to find, as they are likely buried in the miscellanea of the GM section.

  4. Four Things Make a Post | The 20' by 20' Room

    [...] Jere Genest pointed at this article about espionage rpgs, which both discusses some currently-available available systems and some things the author would [...]

  5. Professor Coldheart
    Professor Coldheart at | | Reply

    The trick I’ve found with any stealth subsystem is to find a way to measure two spectra at once:

    1) How close am I to my goal?
    2) How aware are the “guards” of my presence?

    I’ve found that the One-Roll Engine (REIGN, Wild Talents, etc) is handy for this, in that it provides two dimensions of results with each roll of the dice. Width equals the number of “steps” you advance. Compare height to the Sense of the guards to see if you avoid tripping any alerts.

    Seconding the recommendations for Leverage. It also answers the above question (with Complications being guards twigged to your presence) and is a fun system to boot.
    Professor Coldheart recently posted..I don’t like your fashion business, misterMy Profile

  6. carl
    carl at | | Reply

    I was just about to research on spy games and like you looking at both Spycraft and Savage Worlds. SW is too bare but I still like the simplicity of it. I am working on a Spycraft conversion to SW now, Most probably taking the gadgets and social mechanics.

  7. Kristia
    Kristia at | | Reply

    Out of curiosity, have you checked out Reality Blurs’ Agents of Oblivion since you wrote this post? It looks like this was posted about a month before the PDF was released.

  8. Doc Rotwang!
    Doc Rotwang! at | | Reply

    …and I’m WAAAAY late to this party, but I just discovered this blog, and this post in particular, yesterday evening. But I thought of something to do about making location matter.

    Fate Aspects.

    Look, those things are great for…well, for everything, really. If you’re unfamiliar with fate, Aspects are a handle for giving narrative and mechanical weight to anything you want, even things you wouldn’t think to. Location is one of those things; so are theme and mood.

    You see where I’m going with this?
    Doc Rotwang! recently posted..On March 14th, Everybody Draw RoboCop!My Profile

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