Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

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Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

- Feng Shui
5
10%
- James Bond 007 by Victory Games
6
12%
- Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes
2
4%
- Ninjas & Superspies (1987)
10
20%
- Night of the Ninja
0
No votes
- Over the Edge
1
2%
- Spycraft by Alderac
6
12%
- Top Secret by TSR
15
30%
- Twilight 2000
5
10%
- Leverage
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 50

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Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by shesheyan » Sat Jul 07, 2018 3:14 pm

Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

In the case of a game with more then one edition please specify which one in the comments. The poll is limited to 10 options. If a game is not in the list please feel free to mention it below. I did not put generic systems like GURPS, D20 Modern or Savage worlds in the list on purpose.

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by RobJN » Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:21 pm

The high school gaming group had some awesome Top Secret/S.I. adventures. two great Admins, who did one session back-to-back, playing clandestine agents hunting spies at Disneyland, and then the Titan team that had to mop up that mess. Another memorable session was the hunt for the various zodiac-themed assassins.
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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Havard » Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:36 pm

Top Secret/S.I.
James Bond
MasterBook (New York Mafia Homebrew)
Feng Shui
Unknown Armies

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Khedrac » Sat Jul 07, 2018 8:59 pm

Top Secret SI
The Laundry Files

I haven't played much in this genre...
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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:50 pm

I played old school Top Secret (the Merle Rasmussen version), but my group didn't care much for Top Secret/S.I. (we tried a session or two, but we preferred the original.)
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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by agathokles » Sat Jul 07, 2018 9:57 pm

None. We generally put some level of supernatural or horror in our modern games.

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Tim Baker » Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:43 am

The only game that comes to mind that I've played in this category is Ninjas & Superspies.

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by snorri » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:12 am

None of the list.

I played a James Bond themed game recently, using dK (French d20 redux).

I played a few Morrow Project back in the times, which is in-between post-apo and military game.

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:10 pm

This is one of the areas of tabletop gaming that really doesn't do it for me.

I guess that I like to use roleplaying to get away from the real world, rather than emulate it.

I have met a few people who played a LARP game (or maybe ARG) called Killer, where the players are all assassins and are tasked to kill each other with various things. (I believe they used bananas as a gun or somesuch.) From what I recall, the game was run in real-time and in the background of your normal life, so you could go out on a date and have another player turn up to point a banana at you and say "bang". (Or your date might point a banana at you and say "bang"! LOL)

I don't think people could play a game like that these days. It's far better to do LARP games, where you are not in the middle of members of the public who could misunderstand what you are doing and get alarmed.
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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Havard » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:41 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:10 pm
This is one of the areas of tabletop gaming that really doesn't do it for me.
I think I would always prefer to include some element of the supernatural into such a game, but I could see various action movie inspired games being quite fun and significantly removed from the real world to keep it from becoming too close to home.

I would probably prefer modern games set in a somewhat exotic part of the world though. Like an Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider/Uncharted campaign set in remote places around the world like South American jungles, Egyptian Pyramids, Isolated Pacific Islands etc.

I would probably also include made up organizations both as allies and villains of such a campaign.

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:45 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:10 pm
I have met a few people who played a LARP game (or maybe ARG) called Killer, where the players are all assassins and are tasked to kill each other with various things. (I believe they used bananas as a gun or somesuch.) From what I recall, the game was run in real-time and in the background of your normal life, so you could go out on a date and have another player turn up to point a banana at you and say "bang". (Or your date might point a banana at you and say "bang"! LOL)
Ah, yes, Killer. One of (if not "The") original "pre-LARP LARPS." I remember this one from my college days (and hearing of it before then). The banana thing is not one I've heard of, but it sounds like it might be a change due to fears over fake guns in public (as opposed to the 70s/80s when kids would chase each other around the lawn with fake guns shouting "bang bang!")

One of the fun things about Killer, as I recall, was coming up with creative ways to take out the other players. My friends and I used to play a similar version of it growing up among ourselves; one of our favorites was slipping salt into our target's drink to simulate them being poisoned. :lol:

As to the OP, oftentimes my group's Top Secret games would turn more from espionage to military-style action as we ended up in massive shootouts with the bad guys that would doubtless be frowned upon by real Intelligence agencies (and the public!). This problem only seemed to get compounded with the addition of all the cool military style hardware that were introduced to the game in Merle Rasmussen's Top Secret Companion and Dragon Magazine articles (I particularly liked the H&K article from Dragon #115).
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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by agathokles » Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:45 am

Havard wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:41 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:10 pm
This is one of the areas of tabletop gaming that really doesn't do it for me.
I think I would always prefer to include some element of the supernatural into such a game, but I could see various action movie inspired games being quite fun and significantly removed from the real world to keep it from becoming too close to home.

I would probably prefer modern games set in a somewhat exotic part of the world though. Like an Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider/Uncharted campaign set in remote places around the world like South American jungles, Egyptian Pyramids, Isolated Pacific Islands etc.

I would probably also include made up organizations both as allies and villains of such a campaign.
In modern games, I often like to start close -- I've set two campaigns in the city where my party is based, Milan, and I'm planning another one. Actually, since we all went to the same university (and a few of us still work there), that particular place (and other places where most of us have worked or visited for various reasons) featured in these campaigns. I usually also add some exotic location. However, as I mentioned above, much like you I also include some supernatural elements -- indeed most of these campaigns where based on WitchCraft and/or Conspiracy X, which fall in the supernatural/horror spectre.

I did also play Dracula Dossier (originally Night's Black Agents, but we played it with Classic Unisystem, basically an adapted version of Conspiracy X) without explicit magic, but of course being a spies vs vampires game, it fits only partially here. In this particular iteration of Dracula Dossier, the vampires were bodies reanimated by extremophile bacteria in this version of the game, and their supernatural perceptions and abilities where due to their ability to tap into a network of such bacteria in volcanic areas, as well as to the bacteria's interference with electricity, etc.
This is more or less the lowest level of supernatural/pseudo-science I'm likely to have in a campaign.
The next one is going to feature alien stones (in the wake of Tim Powers' The Stress of Her Regard) as the vampires :-)

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Coronoides » Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:02 pm

Hmm. I have never played in this genre in 36 years in the hobby. Is this genre less popular than others or is it just me?
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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Khedrac » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:12 am

Coronoides wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:02 pm
Hmm. I have never played in this genre in 36 years in the hobby. Is this genre less popular than others or is it just me?
I think it is much harder to write for and to GM. It's one of the few areas where all players are going to be reasonably knowledgeable about technology and product availability. This means that the adventure can be reasonably well written but get completely derailed when players pull out knowledge of something the autor/DM hasn't heard of.
For example, suppose the plot hinges on the decorative plant also being a deadly poison - being rare the PC's won't have heard of it and will have to do research after the cause of death is eventually isolated to realise the source - then one PC pulls out a smartphone with the genuine app that will identify plants from a quick photograph... There's a good chance they can now stop the murder from even happening!

The less people know about a setting the more they can use their imagination and accet GM rulings - which is where SciFi and Fantasy reign.
Modern horror and super-hero are less affected by the problem as what people know matters less, but it still matters.
But for a modern action game it matters - and is terribly easy to get wrong.

So, not less popular as a category, but less easy to make enjoyable which has the same effect on actual play.
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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Angel Tarragon » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:27 am

I've played Spycraft, Top Secret and Twilight 2000.

However the most memorable 'spy' game I played was using Mutants & Masterminds playing non-supers characters.
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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Havard » Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:34 am

Coronoides wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 1:02 pm
Hmm. I have never played in this genre in 36 years in the hobby. Is this genre less popular than others or is it just me?
I think this genre/these genres have a few things working against them. For GMs, I think the main challenge is that playing in a more or less realistic setting gives you fewer tools in your tool box. This might lead to GM's feeling burdened by the idea that everything has to make sense. There is no way to handwave things as just "magic" or super tech etc. You also have a lower "special effects" budget in general. You can create spectacular scenes like something out of a Mission Impossible movie, but these require a bit more planning than something in a fantasy game. For me personally, I also have a lot more tropes, story cliches etc to work with in say the fantasy genre or even some of the other genres than this one.

I think the d20 Modern Menace Manual was incredibly useful as a tool for running games like this. I'd like to see other RPGs make similar products.

For players, I think that's up to the games. Players often want kewl powers, spells,cyberware or things that make their characters unique etc. I think that a massive gun selection, martial arts rules, James Bond-esque gadgets etc can compensate for that somewhat.

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by agathokles » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:43 pm

I'm not sure this is the case. In the end, games such as Night's Black Agents and Conspiracy X rely on supernatural elements to a limited extent, especially player side -- the opposition has supernatural elements, but the players rarely do, and in any case to a much more limited extent. Yet, these games fall in the modern supernatural/horror field, much like Cthulhu 90ies.

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by Havard » Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:53 pm

agathokles wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:43 pm
I'm not sure this is the case. In the end, games such as Night's Black Agents and Conspiracy X rely on supernatural elements to a limited extent, especially player side -- the opposition has supernatural elements, but the players rarely do, and in any case to a much more limited extent. Yet, these games fall in the modern supernatural/horror field, much like Cthulhu 90ies.
True. It really depends on what games you include in the category. I am generally more at ease with the genre if it does include some elements of the supernatural even in a limited capacity than if you don't include them at all.

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Re: Which Contemporary action/adventure/espionage/military RPGs did you play?

Post by agathokles » Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:56 pm

Havard wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:53 pm
agathokles wrote:
Sat Aug 17, 2019 12:43 pm
I'm not sure this is the case. In the end, games such as Night's Black Agents and Conspiracy X rely on supernatural elements to a limited extent, especially player side -- the opposition has supernatural elements, but the players rarely do, and in any case to a much more limited extent. Yet, these games fall in the modern supernatural/horror field, much like Cthulhu 90ies.
True. It really depends on what games you include in the category. I am generally more at ease with the genre if it does include some elements of the supernatural even in a limited capacity than if you don't include them at all.
Same here. What I was trying to point out is that these elements do not necessarily have to do with players wanting some "cool powers", as in many cases supernatural powers in modern supernatural/horror games are more of a liability than a bonus.

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