I picked up The Agency: A Roleplaying Game of Sixties Spies and the Supernatural in the same Doctors Without Borders charity sale that I picked up When the Moon Hangs Low. I’ve always been interested in espionage games because I am a big fan of the Spy-Fi genre and I wanted to use this one for the Character Creation Challenge. The world setup for The Agency is that the players play the part of 1960’s British spies that are trying to protect the United Kingdom (and the world) from supernatural horrors. Think James Bond and The Avengers vs vampires and evil cultists. The Agency would recruit witnesses to help them fight this threat. This usually resulted in a wide variety of characters
There is a one page character sheet and the creation summary starts on page 25. The first step listed is to create a concept. Basically a background and occupation for the character using the spy series and movies from the 60’s and 70’s as inspiration. This character will be a photographer who shoots both wild animals and wild women. The next step is to pick a name that a 60’s/70’s espionage action hero would have. It gave a list of possible first and last names to choose from or you could choose your own. Pulling names from the list, this character will be named Simon Steele.
A character sketch is the next step. While I didn’t actually need to draw my character (thank the gods) I did have to come up with three things that people would notice when they encountered the character. This would include fashion, mannerisms and a prop. For his prop he either carried a camera with him or a viewing lens to “get the shot”. When he wasn’t trying to get the best photo, he was trying to get under the skirt of a willing model. Steele always wore tight fitting clothing fashionable for the London swinging scene with tweed coats and looked like Michael Caine.
Finally we are coming to the skills of the character. There are two sets of skills. Action (fight drive, athletics, etc.) and Ingenuity: (evade, technology, wit, etc.). For Steele, I selected Persuade at 5 (he had to encourage his targets to pose the right way for the photo shoot) and Track at 4 (he had to find the subjects he wanted to photograph both in the urban and jungle environment. For those skills I didn’t select, they are assumed to be ranked at 3 dice.
What are the heroic bonuses and flaws that the character has. This was explained in the rules as “something that would set the character apart both in a positive way and as a flawed human. There is a list provided in the game, but I wonder if the player came up with a good suggestion if the Director would allow it? For Steele, his bonus is resources. He was born into a rich family that allowed him to turn his hobby into a career. Lustful is the flaw that fit this character to a T.
The rules explains that all characters start with one Karma point. This can be spent to power a bonus. Present on the character sheet are three status boxes (Dazed, Disadvantaged and Down, this sounds like the character’s health). There is also a section for Motifs. The rules explain that this is a player resource instead of one used by the character. It can be used to heal or aid a fellow player. The motif is a recurring imagery or fictional element associated with the character. The rules kinda cut off here “What do they do when (line ends)” so I’m not quite sure what this is exactly. Hopefully it explains a little bit better later in the book. Looking down, it appears that if you can incorporate the motif into the roleplay, then you can give an automatic success to another player like they had used a karma point or heal themselves. Looking at the sample characters there was “change of costume”, “flashbacks” or “party lifestyle”. I’m still not certain what to put here so I borrowed “riches & excess” from one of the sample characters. Here is the character sheet.
I’m not much of a “fashonista” so thinking of the look of the character was different for me. Do I go too campy and stereotypical? I tried to keep it within the spirit of the game.
Lots of good introductions to the world. I would have loved to seen a section of how the dice are used in the game. I know there are threat pools and the like but are the players attempting to beat a number or the Director’s rolls? I finally found the answer on page 49. When presented with a challenge the player rolls 3-5 dice (depending upon the skill used) and any roll of 4-6 is counted as a success. The Director rolls threat dice (number depending upon the difficulty) and if the player has more successes than the Director, the player has accomplished the action. For the total number of successes, the player can describer what happened. I guess that gives them some narration in the game as well.
I would be interested in play testing the game. After the play test, I’d probably know more if I wanted to play in a campaign or homebrew for this system.
It felt like I was very busy today besides creating this character. I was also trying to decide what games I was going to schedule for the upcoming Salt-Con. In one way it was sad because the lone Dune: Adventures in the Imperium table was quickly filled up. However, it looks like I might get a chance to actually play the James Bond RPG. That would be kewl.
Coming Up Next:
Cyber Generation 2nd edition
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