Vulcan Stev's Database

It's a BLOG Captain, but not as we know it.

Gaming in the Universe of… Super Spies

spy-vs-spySpy movies reviewed by the family:
Quantum of Solace
Get Smart
The World is Not Enough

Victory Games published the James Bond RP in the mid-80’s.  When I think of gaming with super spies this is the one I remember.  Although out of print, I have found copies still for sale at online RPG stores.  I also found the basic game available as a pdf.  There is a Savage World conversion of the Victory Games Bond RPG.  Top Secret, the super spy game from TSR ceased production in 1992 before TSR was bought out by Wizards of the Coast.  Sadly I could not find any RPGs based off of The Wild, Wild West; The Man from U.N.C.L.E.; Get Smart; Jason Bourne, or any other spy genre.  I’ve heard rumors that Evil DM Productions has a Savage Worlds spy genre scheduled for this summer.

Spies as a concept are timeless.  Your side/country/kingdom is always wanting to know what the opposing forces are up to.  Going back to the Bible (whether you accept it as historically arcurate or as an example of literature), we find that Joshua sent spies to scope out the tactical situation for the upcoming battle with Jericho.

So how to include spies in your adventure, aside from running a spy game that is?  One way that I’ve always wanted to try.  If one of your players is becoming dissatisfied with their character, you could take them aside and tell them that they are a spy for the opposition.  Between you and the player start dropping subtle clues that not everything is kosher.  Don’t think this works? Star Trek Deep Space Nine went for a few episodes in which Doctor Bashir had been replaced by a Changeling.  It might be a way for the player to become interested in the character again.

Agent Barret, Stargate SG-1’s reccurring CIA Agent is proof positive that I could easily add spies to my ongoing Stagate campaign.  Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow and Nick Fury are recurring characters in the Marvel universe and could be dropped into any superhero campaign. 

Another method of incorporating spies into your campaign is to have your PCs infiltrate the opposition for a game or two.  It might be fun to see if the PCs can pull off an infiltration.

Savage Worlds stats for not one but two super spies for you to use.

james_bondJames Bond: Legendary
Race: Human
Attributes: Agility d10, Smarts d12, Spirit d8, Strength d10, Vigor d10
Skills: Boating d6, Climbing d8, Driving d10, Fighting d12, Gambling d12, Guts d10, Intimidation d10, Investigation d10, Knowledge (about whatever the scenario is) d10, Lockpicking d10, Notice d10, Persuasion d10, Piloting d8, Shooting d12+2, Stealth d10, Streetwise d10, Survival d10, Swimming d6, Taunt d10, Throwing d8, Tracking d10
Charisma: 30; Pace: 6; Parry: 8; Toughness: 7;
Hindrances:  Arrogant, Overconfident, Heroic, Quirk – Womanizer
Edges: Charismatic, Alertness, Very Attractive, Marksman, Level Headed, Steady Hands, Harder to Kill, Nerves of Steel, Trademark Weapon (Walter PPK), Connections
Gear: Walter PPK, Hi-Tech Aston Martin (with the usual refinements), whatever Q has given him for thmission at hand

maxwell_smartMaxwell Smart: Veteran
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d10, Strength d8, Vigor d8
Skills: Driving d8, Fighting d8, Investigation d6, Notice d6, Shooting d6,
Charisma: 10; Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 6;
Hindrances:  Overconfident, Clueless, All Thumbs, Quirk – catch phrases “Sorry ’bout that Cheif” – “Missed it by that much” – “That’s the second biggest …. I’ve ever seen”
Edges: Great Luck
Gear: Shoe Phone, Hi Tech Swiss Army Pocketknife

March 31, 2009 - Posted by | Fluff/Inspiration, Gaming in the Universe of..., Other Systems, RPG, Savage Worlds | , , , , , , ,


  1. Spies are fun.`Espionage’ and `Covert’are lenses that can be applied to any kind of story. Double agent stories make great for great drama. If you have ever played Paranoia you will have seen the highs and lows of where that can lead.

    Comment by matt3rh0rn | March 31, 2009

  2. The Dire KIng hissownself was working on a OGL clone of one of the spy rp systems. I think he called it Double Zero. He MAY be prevailed upon to discuss it at some future time….

    Oh, and nice use of the SPY vs. Spy image. These guys are my favorites!

    Comment by Hank Harwell | March 31, 2009

  3. Oh, and no love for Napoleon Solo, Ilya Kuryakin, Our Man Flint, Austin Powers, or even Sydney Bristow? I’d love to see writeups of some or all of these….

    Comment by Hank Harwell | March 31, 2009

  4. In the games I play in I’m usually the spy because operating that way usually requires some critical thinking abilities that are outside the box, and I’m pretty far outside the box in most cases.

    One thing I suggest before any of your players want to tackle any sort of spying activity is watch the series Burn Notice. On top of being entertaining as hell it’s also the perfect instruction manual for doing spy work or just being a sneaky troubleshooter in general, I’d go so far to say that even the most narcissistic know-it-all player would be able to at least take some valuable learnings from that show.

    The thing is spy techniques aren’t just relegated to “spy games” any game where you’re required to go somewhere where you shouldn’t be or get information that people aren’t readily giving out requires some creative espionage techniques. I can’t recall a game I’ve played in or ran in the past decade that didn’t require some of that at some point during play.

    Comment by Helmsman | March 31, 2009

  5. I’m with Helmsman on the Burn Notice plug. It is one of the best spy shows on TV ever.

    Comment by Hank Harwell | March 31, 2009

  6. @Matt – precisely. espionage can be added to any game system.

    @Hank – I had forgotten Double Zero. Thanks for the reminder. Honestly I’ve never watched The Men from U.N.C.L.E. so I couldn’t write them up. Hadn’t thought about Sydney Bristow and I DON’T consider Austin Powers a “super spy”. Besides this post was sitting on hold long enough waiting for me to get Bond and Max written up 😎

    @Helmsman thanks for the tip. I’ll look up Burn Notice.

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | March 31, 2009

  7. At the risk of disgusting you with my shameless self promotion; I refer you to my new Blog: Bandit Country. It focuses on espionage and covert roleplaying.

    Comment by matt3rh0rn | March 31, 2009

  8. @Matt: I don’t speak for Stev or the others, but I personally see no problems with you promoting another RPG blog, especially if it’s topical to the post. We gotta tend to our communities after all.

    Comment by Helmsman | March 31, 2009

  9. @Matt plug away. So long as it’s germain to the topic at hand (ie don’t go plugging your blog on updates about my wife 😎 )

    @Helmsman Tru ’nuff

    Comment by Vulcan Stev | March 31, 2009

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: