Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Piecemeal System Review: Top Secret / S.I.

There's not a lot I remember about this RPG. I think remember it more for the default setting it tried to create around it -- and I remember I was more interested in the F.R.E.E.Lancer setting which was more meta-human paramilitary operatives rather than movie-style espionage by the Orion Foundation against the evil super-agency called WEB.

I remember that I liked the percentile mechanic in combat -- regular roll tells you if you succeed or fail, the 1's dice in the same roll indicates the hit location.

I wasn't as much a fan of the full %, half %, quarter % mechanic that they advocated for handling skill difficulties, because I wondered why unskilled people didn't suffer as big a penalty in difficult situations as really skilled people did!

I mean, a guy with 80% skill is dropped by half to 40%; that's a -40%! Whereas a dabbler with a puny 2% skill is dropped by half to 1%; that's only a -1% penalty! The dabbler sucks so badly that increased difficulty in combat still gives him about the same chance?

Of course, at least in this game the martial arts rules were changed from the original table-based combat system for HTH. And I remember that I felt the font size (though I didn't know the term at the time) was too large for the book. I felt that I'd gotten less rules for what I'd paid for.


  1. This used to be my all time favorite RPG/game system. I've since moved on to the Chaosium BRP system. Very similar, but I think BRP is more tried and true.

  2. Yes, am familiar with BRP -- first introduction to it was Call of Cthulhu, then tried out RuneQuest (Avalon Hill) a couple of times. Like it a lot for percentile.

    As far as Top Secret /S.I., I realized that I loved the setting more than the system. Even if I didn't quite know how to separate system from setting at the time.

  3. James Bond 007 RPG by Victory Games was far superior.

  4. Hi Anony,

    James Bond 007 was not only superior, but it was also a watershed in terms of game design -- it actively struggled to emulate the genre it was based on!

    Check out Grognardia's retrospective at http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2010/04/retrospective-james-bond-007.html for more.


That's my side of things. Let me know what you think, my friend.

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