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Red Beret avatar 1:24 PM on 06.27.2010  (server time)
Ye Olde Alpha Protocol

The majority of my gaming time is spent with console games, but since I don't actually want to pay sixty bucks for the news games I want to try, and especially with some of the RPG-style games that are in the works and have been recently released (Alpha Protocol being one of them, Fable III being another), I've been getting back into tabletop RPGs. My most recent discovery, as far as these go, is one styled after the perilous adventures of none other than everybody's favorite secret agent, James Bond.

I'll admit, my introduction to 007 came through Goldeneye, but I have watched enough of the older movies not to care for the "grittier," more sociopathic Bond portrayed by Daniel Craig in the movies Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace. I've played several of the games as well (including the superbly re-made From Russia with Love, which brought Sean Connery back as Bond).

A friend of mine actually brought this to my attention (if he was a Dtoider, I'd link you to him... unfortunately, he isn't), and I've managed to get my hands on the core rulebook (it was easy enough to find a downloadable version), and it looks like a very interesting bit of work. It's different from most RPGs in that when played correctly, the game sets its focus on the incredible feats of the players, setting the odds against the GM instead. The players themselves may choose to play as canonical players, including James Bond himself, but also have the option to create their own agents, either from MI6 itself or allied agencies around the globe.

As with a lot of RPGs, creating a character can be very confusing the first time around. Each player gets a certain number of Generation Points to spend on their character. Thing such as general appearance, height, and weight are all determined by spending Generation Points, as well as their characteristics--Strength, Dexterity, Willpower, Perception, and Intelligence. Generation Points are also spent to acquire new skills and even weaknesses. This is actually the first tabletop RPG that I've seen where a player can level his character's chosen skills to their highest level at the very beginning of the game if he's got the points to do it with (though, it's fairly expensive to do it, costing 180 Generation Points to max out a new skill).

The GM can always make up their own campaign if they want to, but in case they don't, there are several pre-written campaigns that follow Bond's adventures over the years. These are based off both the books written by Ian Flemming and the movies, so players who saw the movies can still count themselves in for a surprise or two if they haven't read the books as well.

Actions are performed by making a percentile roll against a Success Chance. The lower the roll, the better the outcome. Combat is pretty standard, though the challenge can be increased depending on the situation--one of the examples the rulebook listed was a scenario where the player characters are being shot at while they attempt to climb a vertical surface.

I haven't actually had a chance to play it yet (what a shocker--there aren't that many people who are into tabletop games around here), but it seems like a normal campaign would play out quite spectacularly... once everybody got past performing their best Sean Connery impressions.

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