Monday, September 10, 2012

And The New Retro-Clone Is...

Classified. It is a retro-clone of the James Bond 007 game. I've made a few changes (and will have to update much of the equipment to the modern-day), but it'll be eminently compatible with the old adventures and supplements. I've loved this game ever since it came out. It runs like a finely-tuned machine during play and does a great job of genre emulation. If you have not played it, it really plays like a dream.

I'm opening up the system a bit to include all sorts of covert operations, not just the super-spy genre. I think there are a lot of different things that the system works well for, and I'll be trying to make sure that it covers different takes on the subject.

I've been working quickly on this and hopefully it will see the light of day soon. I'm on the Skills section and only expect to slow down when I come to the equipment section. That could be a major slowdown area, so we'll have to see.

I've also started plotting out the first adventure, tentatively titled The Bucharest Libretto.

In 1787, right before the beginning of the Russo-Turkish War of 1787-1892, Antonio Salieri visited Bucharest. During his visit he composed the opera L'esaltato (The Exalted) celebrating the proud spirit of the Russians and Austrians. For the only time in his career, Salieri also wrote the libretto while residing in his hotel in Bucharest. Returning to Vienna a few months later, he put the finishing touches on L'esaltato and it was performed to moderate success. During WWII, the original hand-written copy of the libretto was “liberated” by the Soviets to Bucharest and it has remained there ever since.

The original copy of the Libretto has recently been stolen and the Austrians are very interested in returning the work of Salieri to the city that was his home, Vienna.

25 comments:

Johnathan Bingham said...

Sweet! I never did play James Bond but I was a Top Secret fan and like the genre.

joseph browning said...

You should really check it out Johnathan - I think it is a better system than Top Secret. It puts a lot of emphasis on non-violent interactions like persuasion, seduction, and stealth. Like I said, I really love the system and once you get the basic concept, everything falls into place pretty quick.

As an aside, I also really enjoyed Top Secret. I spent a lot of time reading the adventures, especially Operation: Fastpass.

Johnathan Bingham said...

We used to actually use Top Secret to play a Miami Vice inspired game that we called... LA Vice. Yeah, it was the mid 80's. What are you gonna do ;)?

joseph browning said...

That's awesome! I can't really say much as I've been watching a lot of Mission Impossible, The Rockford Files, and Columbo.

I never watched Miami Vice when it was on and wonder if it would hold up. Same thing with Magnum P.I. I suppose I should give it a look given that I think they're both on Netflix now. I'll probably be able to determine if they're any good fairly quickly.

Johnathan Bingham said...

Heh, I have the first two seasons of Miami Vice on DVD. They're pretty much 1 hour long music videos. Lots of hammy acting and pathos. What can I say, I still dig the show as a guilty pleasure ;). My favorite episode was in the second season and based on Poe's Tell Tale Heart. I just checked and the episode's title is Out Where the Busses Don't Run.

I really enjoyed Top Secret since it was excellent at emulating undercover vice cops fighting drug wars as well as spies. So yeah, I'm excited for your clone of James Bond. I'm itching for some gritty undercover vice cop gaming... whilst driving a Ferrari and Cigarette boats and living on a yacht ;).

Dan of Earth said...

It's not really super well known but this has already been done:

http://index.rpg.net/display-entry.phtml?mainid=9813

Tim Knight said...

The James Bond RPG is one of the treasures of my RPG collection and one of the great games I've never really played (except for a handful of times) properly. Really looking forward to seeing what you do with Classified.

Dan of Earth said...

Just also wanted to add, not that this should stop you. Having a polished version in print would be awesome.

joseph browning said...

I wasn't aware of this. I'll have to check it out and see what's come before.

joseph browning said...

It won't, because as with all retro-clones, the goal is to get people playing the game. It's a way of reminding people that good games don't have expiration dates.

Shane Mangus said...

I think this is great news! Is it too early to mention if Classified will be OGL or not?

joseph browning said...

Yes, it will be OGL.

joseph browning said...

We all gots our guilty pleasures. I love Thundarr The Barbarian and lord knows that show isn't really anything to sing about... :-)

sirkerry said...

here's a link to the SRD for it: http://livingfree.wikidot.com/doublezero-srd

sirkerry said...

so we're going to able to use Classified to play modern spy action stuff like Burn Notice?

joseph browning said...

That is one of the goals. I've put forth 4 different styles of Classified and I think Leverage would probably fall in the Heroic style, and I'd put Burn Notice in the Cinematic style with perhaps some Adventurous style as well.

-Heroic (slight chance of failure): Heroic Classified campaigns are just that. The player characters are almost guaranteed success in their missions and the fun and interest comes from determining how the mission succeeds and the interactions between the player characters and their environment and non-player characters. “We ensure the world remains safe, and we do it with style and panache.”

-Cinematic (very slim chance of failure): Cinematic Classified campaigns share much with the Heroic. The player characters will probably succeed in their endeavor, but the threat of failure is significantly more possible. The cinematic campaign often has a “victory, but with a cost” ending wherein something or someone of tertiary importance manifests the majority of the failures. “We’ll always remember Agent Williamson. He was a good agent and a good …friend.”

-Adventurous (moderate chance of failure): Most Classified campaigns are Adventurous ones. The risks are more real, the rewards more real, and the player characters have a slimmer advantage against their antagonists. “Success lies in good intel, a good plan, and a group of people capable of pulling it off.”

Johnathan Bingham said...

Cool, I'm officially excited then. Especially OGL. This sounds like something I'd want to do a scenario or two for in my Old School Zine Delve!

Sniderman said...

A spy game I always thought would be fun to play is the "civilian embroiled in super-spy capers" genre ala Chuck or Scarecrow and Mrs. King. Players would be a super-spy team, but -- for some macguffin reason -- they have an untrained civilian on the team. Classified sounds like a hoot. Loved the Bond game growing up!

Brutorz Bill said...

I was close! I said Top Secret! : )

nedpatrick said...

I want it now!

grodog said...

Great news, Joe.

I agree with Jonathan: the first 2-3 seasons of Miami Vice are worth checking out, if only for inspirational vibes.

Have you given any thought to the setting for Classified yet? I may know someone who knows someone you'd do well to talk to, if setting work was in your future....

Allan.

joseph browning said...

Heya Allan, I'll definitely have to check out Miami Vice then. I was planning to just have the modern day be the assumed setting and let various GMs customize as they need.

joseph browning said...

Working as fast as I can... :-)

Hedgehobbit said...

There's also a sci-fi version of James Bond called Starfarers. It's been dormant since 2000.
http://hawk_wind.tripod.com/sfrpg/Starfarer.html

I remember emailing the guy who wrote Double Zero and he pretty much asked for someone else to take over the project. This was back in 2008.

Somewhere I have a list of suggested changes I'd like to see such as changing the quality of success from Q1 being the best to Q4 being the best (so you can add them together) and changing the quality break points from 10%/20$/50% to 10%/25%/50% so Q4 and Q3 don't have the same chance. That sort of thing.

joseph browning said...

Didn't know about Starfarers. Have ta check it out.

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