When I original came up with the concept of the Character Creation Challenge, I had intended to do a character write up for the Top Secret S.I. role playing game. However as I searched and searched through the boxes in my garage, I could not find the game. I had purchased many of the game supplements when they originally came out and I’m really hoping that they are still in an unopened box somewhere. However I was lucky enough to discover that the PDF version of Top Secret: New World Order role playing game was free on DriveThruRPG. At the time of this blog post, it is still free to order so I figured that it would be a good way to learn this new game from the original Top Secret designer, Merle “The Administrator” Rasmussen.
This will be the last espionage game that I will be using in the 2021 challenge. And for this entry I will be creating the character of Peter Page, another new operative to help refill the depleted ranks of UNITY. He joins agents Gary King, Andrew Knightley, Steven Prince and Oliver Chamberlain in the active field. If those names sound familiar, they are the names of the main characters from Simon Pegg’s 2013 comedy movie “The World’s End” which was the last movie in the Blood and Ice Cream trilogy.
The game uses five different types of dice. d4 (Weak), d6 (Average), d8 (Healthy), d10 (Robust) and d12 (Paragon). Sometimes the player may be instructed to “step up” or “step down” the dice depending upon the situation they players find themselves in. It also utilizes a type of exploding dice called Burst & Blowback. The burst is the highest roll of the die, and you get to roll again and add all the rolls to get the total. A blowback is rolling a natural 1 and it may or may not lead to bad results.
Characters have the following attributes. Nerve, Suave, Pulse, Intellect and Reflex. You roll percentile dice and consult a chart. Agent Page ended up with Nerve- d10, Suave- d12, Pulse- d10, Intellect- d6 and Reflex- d6.
For a random background I rolled Actor. That almost makes sense with the high nerve and suave. There is an optional rule to have an impairment selected or randomly assigned to the character. If you do this, your character also gains an additional specialized skill. I let the dice roll and Agent Page has Vertigo. Next comes languages. Again random roll stated that he knows three other languages besides his native English. These came up as Burmese, Chinese-Canton and Arabic.
The Tradecraft skills are the same as some of the attributes other than one that is the “weak area” of the agent’s training. I chose Tech as his weak area so his final Tradecraft is Human Intelligence (HUMINT) d12, Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) d6, Technical Operations (TECH) d4 and Combat d6. It appears for a skill check you will roll your attribute die + tradecraft die + asset bonuses to obtain a result that must match or exceed a certain target number. Other situations such as combat or perception will follow similar patterns. There are specialized skills your character can also obtain which will result in higher die rolls when your specialized skill matches the task. These can be improved with character advancement. I selected the specialized skills that a master-of-disguise would need to help the team.
Starting characters can purchase equipment for $3,000. There was a lot of really interesting gadgets. It referred to real life costs, which would help in a modern game. Since these characters are based in the 1960’s, I guesstimated what my character would have. Specifically a disguise kit. Here is the character sheet.
I like how the character sheet looks like it is being read out of a folder. I also like how the attributes have grid-lines that connect it to the tradecraft that is being used. Very good design.
This was my first deep dive into the game rules. I’m really curious on how this comes out in play. I could see myself using these rules and probably homebrewing some stuff for this game.
No new additions to the link of participants in a while. But there has been a steady stream of new characters coming out on the blogs and on the social media hashtag of #CharacterCreationChallenge. Keep it up.
Coming Up Next:
Doctor Who Roleplaying Game by Cubicle 7