Today’s entry is Espionage!: The Secret Agent Role Playing Game (1st edition). This was published in 1983 by Hero Games and is based off of the Champions super-hero RPG. While I’ve had a chance to play a few super-hero based RPGs, Champions had never been one of them. So this will be a new experience for me. I had picked up this game when I won an online auction that contained several different RPGs from the 80’s. Some of the other games will be used in future 2022 Character Creation Challenge entries.
In the 2021 #CharacterCreationChallenge I created characters for several different espionage based RPGs like Top Secret, James Bond, Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, Spycraft 2nd edition, and Top Secret: New World Order. I had tied all of those characters together in two methods. They were all inspired by characters seen in The World’s End movie and they were replacement agents for a depleted group known as UNITY from the video game series, No One Lives Forever. While I was thinking about making more new agents for UNITY, a read through of the character creation process dissuaded that idea. So I’m going to make a CIA agent since that is what the game is built around.
Devron Marcus was a college student trying to earn a degree in business management so he could follow in his father’s footsteps. Just before Marcus was planning to graduate, his father was killed in Europe in an armed robbery. During his personal investigation, Marcus uncovered evidence that his father had been targeted by East Germany’s Secret Police (the Stasi). A CIA agent, working on the case, took Marcus under his wing and assisted him in confirming the plot and allowing the CIA to respond. This lead to Marcus being recruited by the CIA after graduation. Officially Marcus works as a business salesman working in European markets for the company his father use to work for. Unofficially, he carries out assignments for the CIA.
The primary characteristics for an Espionage! character is Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Body Pips (think hit points), Intelligence, Ego, Presence and Comeliness. While the average person starts with 8 in all scores, the average character (being a little bit more heroic) starts with 10. Each new character starts with 50 Character Points to spend on stats and packages. You can gain additional points by lowering some stats or taking disadvantages. Different attributes had different costs (there’s a lot of math so far in this game) so I selected the stats that I felt a college graduate the age of 25 would have. From these you can generate Figured Characteristics which are Physical Defense, Energy Defense, Speed, Recovery, Endurance Pips and Stun Pips. Thanks to the power of math I come up with the base scores, which I can then improve with any Character Points if I so elect.
I added the skills/advantages/disadvantages from the two CIA packages that I took. I then used the remaining Character Points to add some additional skills that I thought that Agent Marcus should have. There is a section for equipment in the book, but no spots on the character sheet for it. So I skipped that part thinking it would happen in play.
So the breakdown of the system is roll 3d6 and try to get a number lower than a certain amount for a success. Getting that target number to roll under could be a little complicated depending upon the skill/stat level and other factors. It could be interesting to see in play. I wonder if there are any YouTube videos of the Espionage in an RPG session to watch? There are several other espionage RPGs I’d probably play first before this one, but I could have my mind changed. Here is the character sheet.
There was only one package in this edition to create characters, and that was for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). I wonder if the 2nd edition of the game had more packages for characters to choose from if you wanted to play MI-6 or an independent agency (like UNITY). Hopefully someday I’ll get a chance to find out. I could tell this was a first edition of a game, it was a little hard to read in some sections. While I know I played at least one session of Fantasy Hero by the same company, I don’t recall any big desire to purchase or play releases from Hero Games.
There is some player notes in the back of the book that advised against turning the game into a shooting fest. I was actually glad to see this. In other spy-fi games I’ve been worried that the game would turn into a merc/shooting-fest. I’d be more interested in actual espionage action instead of run-and-gun style action when playing an espionage style game. Yes some shooting can happen, but if it happens too many times, you’re not much of a “secret” agent are you?
The number of new blogs found seem to be coming up in twos. I’ve added the latest two finds to the Character Creation Challenge page. I appreciate those that have linked back to my site. Thank you.
Coming Up Next:
Star Trek Adventures- Klingon