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Top Secret [TSR]


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As a stand-alone one-thin-book complete game, too.    

So publish a small setting book featuring angsty pouch-riddled gun nuts and call _that_ Dark Champions.   Or ditch the name completely.  Given the last couple of decades of both and emo cult

If I had a big staff and plenty of energy, I'd want to put out more time period Champions books like Platinum Age Champions (Sherlock Holmes era basically), Silver Age, Cold War, etc.  Like War Hero,

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It has some nice background and setting stuff, lots of great ideas for play, but the game system was horrific.  All weapons did the same damage, they just had different chances to hit based on how powerful they were.  That's just one example.  I don't know anyone who actually played Top Secret, but a lot of people used it for source material and ideas.  For the time period its great info.

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I have copies of Top Secret but the game we played was Top Secret SI.  It has been years and I don't remember the rules very well except it had hit locations. 

 

We played it a lot for a while but that fell off as people transferred and fewer and fewer of the replacement players understood the the setting.  Few of them had even watched any Bond, or any spy movies for that matter.  It got to be too much of a hassle and we went back to D&D and other games.

 

Both versions of the game are great for source material.  Though I'd just use the Espionage rules and ignore try to "convert" rule and equipment, there is more than enough already existing in Hero.

 

Much of the organization and npc material can use already built Hero material with the old flavor text pasted in.

 

Another great resource is the old James Bond 007 rpg by Victory Games in the 80s.

 

 

 

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Rasmussen has come out with Top Secret: New World Order as a Kickstarter a few years ago. 

 

As for the differences I don't remember. I know we stopped playing it after a few sessions and went back to Danger International. 

 

I enjoy mining some of it for games at times. None of the "kids" have ever seen the stuff so it's new and the players my age get to have fun with new ideas for the setting.

 

I wish I could find the 1960s book for Spycraft. That along with this and Dark Champions would go a long way for some fun Cold War games set in the late 60s or early 70s. Especially if you mix a few low super-heroes into it. They way the SHIELD show was supposed to be...normal agents in a super-hero world.

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2 hours ago, Duke Bushido said:

Youre just the guy im looking for, then.

 

We played a little top secret way back when, right up until James Bond came out (just a better game, we thought).

 

What was the difference between Top Secret and Tip Secret SI?

 

I didnt even know SI existed until a few months ago (eBay spam).

 

Well it has been a long while. 

It was basically a % roll under system for skills, but held onto poly die  for damage and stuff.

My TS rulebook is 1980 and TSsi is 87. 

IIRC the differences between editions wasn't as much change as it was cleaning up presentation and rules.  If you plan to play Top Secret skip to the SI version :yes:

 

I was pretty stoked when I heard of Top Secret New World Order, and then I got a copy.  They went to a "die step" system like savage worlds with an Action Point system that reminded me of Feng Shui 2.  I never got past the first read through.

 

We found that the James Bond 007 RPG was too clunky for us in play, but the adventures they put out were fantastic, espectially for the 80's.  Maps, handouts and pictures for most everything.  They had a module for several of the movies plus more, their Locations source book included color pictures of the various places (casinos, restaurants, hotels, trains etc.) to augment the maps and illustrations which I still use to today. 

 

To be honest though, I'd mine the setting and story info and use another rule system.  Both games are 80's games and you can tell the heavy wargame influence. 

 

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If I had a big staff and plenty of energy, I'd want to put out more time period Champions books like Platinum Age Champions (Sherlock Holmes era basically), Silver Age, Cold War, etc.  Like War Hero, a sourcebook for playing Hero Games at war with sourcebooks for various military eras.  Start with WW2 and move from there to WWI, Korea/Vietnam, Desert Storm, back to previous times like Napoleonic

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We played quite a few sessions of TS, probably right around the time the game came out. We were in high school at the time taking a break from D&D and I recall it was pretty fun - more so because we were in high school rather than due to the game being stellar.

 

I was a bit thrown by the "all weapons do the same damage" statement but I went back to the rules and found this is true. We must have always used the optional rules which increased damage based on the caliber - I seem to recall having a bunch of modifiers that needed to be added before you finally got your result. Klunky by today's standards but great when you had all the time in the world to play eight hour sessions.

 

Three things that stand out in my memories:

  • Playing a game where the GM had me act as a double agent and I was working against the other players
  • Playing a game where I was an assistant GM where we rounded up about eight other people who wanted to play
  • Finally getting a pistol that fired gyrojet ammo

For us, the group dynamic had changed enough and we'd kind of run through all we could do with TS so SI never appealed to us.

 

Definitely a game that is best left in memories.

 

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  • 1 month later...

In my view, Dark Champions is misnamed today. It started out as a dork dark roleplaying tribute to the Image Comics superhero stuff hitting shelves in the '90s. But since then it has expanded to more general coverage of the modern action genre. I share the opinion of others here that it should be more accurately called Action Hero, and as such is as much a replacement for Danger International as it is a source book for comics like Shadowhawk or Wetworks.

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The name choice might have been partially to keep the copyright for it from being taken by another company. After all, Hero Games was able to use "Champions" because Marvel Comics had let the name lapse after their comic series ended. And we all know DC's "Captain Marvel" snafu. ;)

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So publish a small setting book featuring angsty pouch-riddled gun nuts and call _that_ Dark Champions.

 

Or ditch the name completely.  Given the last couple of decades of both and emo culture and sparkling vampires and the increasing occurrence of actual gun nuts...

 

Dark this and Dark that...

 

The name is more _embarrassing_ than it is enticing at this point.  Anymore, I pull my hat down low and look away from the cashier just to buy "Dark" chocolate....

 

 

 

Edited by Duke Bushido
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I think the biggest issue is while technically Dark Champs encompasses the game that was Espionage. 

 

They are completely different types of games.

 

Espionage was the silver screen style based on 60s & 70s Bond movies, The Man from UNCLE,  The Saint and The Avengers.  Suave and sophisticated tuxedo wearing agents plying their trade in glittering casinos consciously ensure regular people never realize anything happened.

 

Dark Champs is more wallowing in the mud gritty stab in the back Jason Bourne spraying bullets in the middle of the mall we don't care about collateral fatalities grim dark espionage. 

 

Of course some kind of campaign setting would help either of them along.

 

 

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