Rethinking some things

So I’ve been working on the Agents of Intrigue combat system for a few days, and I’ve hit a snag.  This is the same issue that many such efforts have encountered.  Guns hurt.  The main issue is that IRL a gunshot will kill and super bad marine, 10th degree black belt, or maybe even Chuck Norris (!).  One stray shot and your are toast.  No such thing exists in fantasy games, outside of Power Word: Kill or something similar.  So I did some research.

I discovered some projects that have ran parallel to my own.  One to convert d20 Modern to 5e.  Here it is: https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/0Byx44op3KqQ2flhIV1pKSzRIbFBtbjk4T0xOTlNzVi0yTEpRREV4ZnZCNjJWd25GOFR5VW8  I found extensive information about how to update the d20 system for 5e.  Well done!  But that system has the same issue as the rest.

I also found this: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1D_HK8iKaIrfpaKcCXd3gOoR239zDAzhwE5ViIpXNvyw/edit?usp=sharing  It’s basically putting together  Top Secret S.I., Get Smart RPG and some Fate elements into a 5e system.  Despite all the good work that went into this concise, 20 page, document, the same problem exists.  Point blank hit from a 9mm doesn’t necessarily kill you.  In fact, a high level agent can get pumped full of all kinds of lead before he goes down.

So I hit the web and read how others were dealing with the issue.  Sadly, most people said “switch to Cyberpunk” or some other game with better rules for ranged weapons.  The main problem with that is, I don’t want to learn another system :/  I didn’t like Cyberpunk when it came out.

What are my options?  Well, I’ve got my thinking cap on.  One, sort of complicated, way that I thought about was expanding crits for guns.  Some guns may have a higher crit rating (such as a sniper rifle), and when you crit with a gun, you roll again on a special crit chart.  Rolls 17-20?  Headshot.  x10 damage.  Roll a 1 or 2?  You clip them in the love handle, x2 damage.  One flaw that I thought of is that it still might not kill you.  Roll a 2 on 2d6 damage and your headshot does 20 damage.  That’s survivable by many people.  This is one of the ideas I will be kicking around this week.

AoI Player’s Guide Progress

So Christmas break is upon us.  My four boys and I will get to spend much time together over the break.  I plan to spend a decent chunk of time working on Agents of Intrigue.  This is my update log for the Player’s Guide.  I decided to make the guide on my roll20.net site.

Here is what I have so far:

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Your Agent  – I got a lot done on the theory behind your Agent, and how to create their backstory and personality.
Chapter 3: Your Gear – Generally skipped this for a bit.  I’m kind of hung up on what types of weapons categories to have.  I will come back to it later.
Chapter 4: Factions – This is mostly done.  I may come back and include some fictional factions later.
Chapter 5: Missions – Very little info about this
Chapter 6: Combat – Figuring out how to manage the modern era damage issue is a problem my subconscious is chewing on.  I have some ideas.  Basically, the problem is that one bullet from one gun can kill any one person in real life.  How do we make the mechanics of 5e fit this reality?

Here is a sneak peak at Agent classes as they stand now.  This will change, a lot.

Soldier
Brawler
Assassin
Infiltrator
Hacker
Technician
[Wheelman]
[Career Agent]
[Faceman]
[Professional]

Turn their swords into Glock 19s

D&D was my first love.  It was my first role playing game and, as a teenager, I couldn’t imagine paying anything else.  Then Top Secret came along.  A really old guy in our group had the original Top Secret game as well as Top Secret S.I., the second edition.  These were TSR games, so they were well made.  I loved the setting.  Flying down the city streets in a tricked out Tahoe while my buddy, Brian, shot at bad guys through the broken back glass.  It was fun!

Once life got rolling I started to miss those days.  The Top Secret stuff was hard to find and, when I did manage to find it (thanks eBay), it was hard to get people excited about playing it.  Then came Spycraft.  It was interesting, and nuanced.  I was able to get a group together and play a few games.  By the time I found Spycraft, Spycraft 2.0 was being released.  It was crazy!  Tons, and tons more detail.  You could play any character, in any setting, in any genre.  Pulp fiction, 60s Bond style, high concept, sci-fi campaigns, aliens, super tech, whatever.  The only trouble was, it was hard.  Hard to learn, hard to play, hard to run.  It came along at the time of D&D 3.5 , d20 OGL, and was, like many games of that era, very cumbersome.  It was tough to get new players interested in the game.  But their was hope.

Crafty Games began to talk about a simplified Spycraft, version 3.  Simpler.  More streamlined.  Very sleek.  Some information was teased out.  Life was good.  Then Brandon Sanderson had to go and ruin it for everyone.  His fantastic Mistborn books sparked an interest in playing a tabletop RPG in that wonderful world, and Crafty jumped on it.  Most of their efforts have been focused on that game, and understandably so.

The reality is that Crafty is in no hurry to produce Spycraft 3, and we are stuck.  So we are back to square one.  Like a lot of people that I know, D&D 4, and 4.5, and Pathfinder, were a heavy load.  I felt like I was too stupid to play the games I enjoyed, or that I didn’t have the time to play, especially if there was a chance of combat!  Then D&D 5e dropped.  Wow!  This is a very slick and sleek system.  Much like AD&D 2nd Edition, with some of the improvements that Wizards has made along the way, D&D was fun again.  I started to wonder what it would be like to play a spy game with 5e rules.  As you can see on this site, I did some work to adapt some old 2nd Edition modules to 5e, and that went well.  Then I basically recreated Menzoberranzan in 5e, circa 1470 DR, for my sons, and their friends.  Pretty smooth.  This was pre-Out of the Abyss, by the way :/

AoI

Agents of Intrigue

Then, kind of unexpectedly, WotC released the 5e SRD.  Now we are cooking!  So, with the help of my two teenage sons, and some excellent reference material, we are creating Agents of Intrigue.

Agents of Intrigue is a story heavy, mechanics light, spy tabletop RPG.  Players will work as Freelancers, or part of one of the many world Intelligence groups, to save the world from all the stupid stuff it gets into.  Our goal is to make a game that scales well for small missions, like stopping a psycho band of ex-Pro Baseball players, turned drug dealers, to tracking down a mobile group of Russian super hackers, bent on crippling the US economy.

Should be fun.

Jack