View Full Version : Anyone still play Top Secret?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
06-12-2009, 10:38 AM
Anyone still play Top Secret?

I have some fond memories playing Top Secret, when i was young. I scored a pile books of said game last year, and now that my move is pretty much complete, and never mind that i will be moving to Texas soon to be with my childhood sweetheart, i look forward to playing said game, once again. In fact, i'm thinking of writing a few novels in the world of Top Secret, down the road, but that is a discussion for another day.

Here's a link to wiki to explain said game in more detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Secret_(role-playing_game (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Secret_%28role-playing_game))

When searching for this link, i was pleasantly surprised to find that there are numerous fan-based site links still supporting said game. Cool.

So my question to everyone here on P&PG is: Who else had played said game? Enjoyed it? Still play it? Thoughts? Opinions?

Or has my old economics professor liked to end each and every class with: Questions, statements, protests, rebuttals, remarks?

Be sure to share stories from your adventures in Top Secret with the rest of us.

What share you?

06-13-2009, 10:29 AM
I haven't DM'ed a game in ages. I'd like to, but there are a few factors holding me back - time and interest from players.

I remember one game where one of the players was so cheap, he'd count his bullets because he had to pay for them. It reminded me of that James Bond skit on SNL with Steve Martin as Bond.

06-13-2009, 10:54 AM
I recorded my last effort in this area... i think we were still using the same materials i had bought in high school.


06-13-2009, 12:25 PM
I'd read through this game a few years ago, but I was already enamored with Spycraft at the time. I like what I saw, but I thought Spycraft did it better. But then again I like d20 and that isn't a sentiment everyone shares.

06-15-2009, 09:48 PM
I played it a couple of times and liked it. Convincing others to put down their Flaming Bastard Sword of Justice +5 and playing Top Secret just wasn't an easy task to accomplish.


06-22-2009, 01:51 PM
Never played it, never interested, but I do enjoy Thoth's poll's

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
06-22-2009, 02:55 PM
I do aim to please.

06-22-2009, 03:24 PM
Had a friend that ran it from time to time several years ago. It was a nice break from our usual DnD game. We did some cool things. By the time we put it down we had our own secret base on our own private island with a yacht, helicopter, oodles of weapons and all kinds of cool stuff. We started out working for some government agency but eventually went into business for ourselves taking on whoever we wanted to suit our purposes. Pretty awesome. I was so used to playing DnD though that I kept wanting to cast divination spells when we got stumped and healing spells when we got all shot up. Never could get used to the idea of having to spend six months in intensive care after every mission!

07-15-2009, 03:32 PM
Not to resurrect an old post - but Top Secret was pretty much my favorite game system back in the day. I bought the original boxed set - and I still have the rules book somewhere buried in all my stuff, along with most of the original modules.

I stopped playing Top Secret when the rules were updated to the Top Secret/SI rules - I didn't care for the changes, and they guys I used to play with switched to it. As a result, I haven't played it since.

I'd actually be interested in playing - or maybe even putting together a Play by Post game of the original edition at some point...

07-15-2009, 04:08 PM
Yeah, I wasn't a huge fan of the SI rules myself... although moving was what pulled me from my Top Secret group.

07-15-2009, 06:05 PM
Most of my friends didn't like the game but I sure did fun times.

07-15-2009, 11:42 PM
Yep - I have a lot of good memories in that game.

I had an incident once that was just too weird. I'd been playing for several years - both as a player agent and the gamemaster, and every time I was a player, the thought never even occurred to me to equip a bullet proof / body armor vest - either over or under my clothes. And the true irony there was that most of the type of games we played tended on the paramilitary type.

Throughout the entire time I played the game, I was only grazed once or twice. I was never hit with a serious wound. And no - it wasn't all skill - lots of it was dumn luck. :P

Well, one day, we decided to play a game and the group I was with were guys I hadn't done a lot of playing with before. While we were equipping ourselves, I noticed they both had purchased body armor. I thought to myself "Wow - now that's a damn good idea - why haven't I ever thought of that before??" I picked up one and equipped it under my outer web gear.

Well... off we go. We infiltrate the compound and enter the warehouse building. We pop a couple guards with silenced weapons, and then I moved down a hallway - and some guard saw me and started shooting. I was hit once - in the chest. The hit was serious - and after the damage rolls, it probably would have killed me. But the body armor vest saved my character's life.

What are the odds of that?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
07-16-2009, 01:03 AM
Nice to see my thread getting some action. I have some really fond memories of my spy/assassin-dying, LOL. Good times, each mission.

07-16-2009, 09:39 AM
I never got into Top Secret at all. I had it way back in the day, but never had any inclination to actually play it, nor did any of my friends. If it wasn't RQ or D&D in the late 70's early 80's, it was Gamma World or maybe even the odd game of Star Frontiers.

07-16-2009, 11:27 AM
Played a few times back in grade school- couldn't get into it. All I'd seen of secret agents at the time was Bond, and it didn't quite match (What bureau was Bond in? Well, all of them, right?). Percentile dice have also never been my favorite- 1d20 or 3d6 is about as granular as games need to be IMHO.

07-16-2009, 02:04 PM
Bond was an assassin, totally.

07-16-2009, 08:18 PM
No - Bond was in MI6 (which doesn't exist anymore). There were rare occasions where he worked with other countries' intelligence outfits like the CIA and Mossad (and even one bit where he worked with KGB and GRU agents).

Top Secret certainly isn't for everyone - especially if you are really into the fantasy genre. For me, especially at the time it was released, it was during the Cold War, and I was planning a military career (and was intensely interested in the military, military history, modern weapons, intelligence and covert operations, etc.). So it was the perfect game for the group I played with at the time.

I think I'd gotten a bit tired of the D&D deal where high level characters can be hit by arrows so many times they look like porcupines and it hardly scratched them. A system whereby a single shot could bring a character down was the anti-thesis to that and added "risk" back into gaming for us (I didn't know about RuneQuest until several years later).

I personally prefer a percentile dice system - because I feel it adds more possible variability to the game system. That's just my opinion though. D20 systems are really just percentile systems themselves - they just lump it up into 5 digit increments essentially.
--- Merged from Double Post ---

Bond was an assassin, totally.

Well, not really. He was in the MI6 division (I forget the name Flemming gave it now) that was highly specialized for extremely dangerous operations... there were only ten agents in it at any given time (001 - 009), and each of them were given a "License to Kill" - which simply meant that during their job should they require the elimination of people they were above the law of Britain because they were "serving the crown".

Bond (and all 00 agents) primary mission was intelligence and espionage. I can't think of any situation in any of the books where he was specifically tasked with deliberately killing a target in the typical sense of the word "assassination", but in several instances he was give fair leeway by having orders presented in such a way that he could interpret them that way.

Bond's personal ideology typically lent him to shoot first and ask questions later simply because in his line of work leaving a live enemy behind him could get him killed. In other situations, such as his run-ins with Ernst Blofeld and SPECTRE, the feelings were personal due to the murder of his wife.

I guess it shows that I'm a rather heavy Bond fan... lol.

07-16-2009, 08:48 PM
I think you may just be thinking of SIS, which is the true name of the branch called MI6.

And Bond isn't NEARLY as gun happy in the books as he is in the movies. In the book "The Living Daylights" he actually IGNORES a kill order because he found a better way to resolve the situation.

And Bond does get several kill orders: He earned 00 status in the first place by completing 2 assassinations, and there's also The Living Daylights, and You Only Live Twice off the top of my head.

07-16-2009, 09:09 PM
SIS - right, MI6 was just what it was referred to in passing.

Definitely in the movies he's way more trigger happy - but then that's Hollywood, and the desire to spice everything up with explosions, gun battles, etc. My favorite book is actually Icebreaker... I'd love to see them make that into a movie (they'd have to change some plot elements though, as there's no USSR any longer - but they wouldn't have to change TOO much). He actually gets in a bit over his head in that one, and pretty much gets rescued. And you're right - I'd forgotten about the 2 assassinations prior to his 00 status. In regards to You Only Live Twice - I haven't read the book for that unfortunately, but I don't recall in the movie him being presented with an assassination order... was there one in the book? At any rate, I stand corrected on him not being specifically ordered to assassinate individuals - I hadn't realized it was more common that I surmised.

I haven't read a lot of the "newer" Bond stuff - I wasn't a fan of Dalton or Brosnan (I grew up with Connery and Moore - even though Moore, and the Bond movies he was in, were a little too campy for my taste). I never saw the Living Daylights. I know that may sound strange as a fan of Bond - but I'm pretty picky. Same thing for me with Batman - as far as I'm concerned, the Michael Keaton and subsequent line of movies up until Batman Begins "don't exist".

I haven't had the opportunity to see the "reboot" with Craig yet - but I've heard they are very good.

07-16-2009, 09:36 PM
That's the one with MI6 and the KGB and Mossad allying and backstabbing the hell out of each other, right? That could be awesome... but I could also see it being too convoluted for your average moviegoing audience.
Actually, other than Dalton I like all of the James Bond actors. Brosnan was decent (and I think the closest to the description of the character from the books) undermined by some very meh scripts. Craig is totally awesome, but I was also a huge fan of him before he was Bond. He definitely has the Bond swagger spot on, but whether or not you like him will be based on your liking of the Bourne movies, because they lifted a page or three from the Bourne movies pacing and style. Though, in a sad turn of events, Quantam of Solace may have the worst Bond girl ever in it... the girl is somewhat attractive but annoying as hell. That made me especially sad after Vesper Lynd from "Casino Royale" (http://www.ugo.com/movies/best-bond-girls/images/entries/lyndgreen.jpg) who is by far my favorite.

07-16-2009, 11:12 PM
Yep, that's the one. Bond is co-joined by agents from the KBG, Mossad, and the CIA to determine, and eliminate, the source of several terrorist attacks perpetrated by the same group against political targets worldwide with no apparent motive. It wouldn't be too convoluted if good attention was paid to the script to make certain that the audience stays aware of all the backstabbing - really wouldn't need much more than subtle innuendo for the most part.

Drivvic the Southlander
08-07-2009, 10:00 AM
It's hard enough to find players from a D&D game down here where I am and it's even harder to convince the few player I have found for D&D to attempt to play any thing other than D&D.

10-13-2009, 07:08 PM
I think I own everything ever published for original Top Secret, but haven't played in years. I've been thinking about setting up a game for a local gameday.

I love it, but I used it for more realistic espionage plots than the over-the-top antics of later Bond movies. Combat could be pretty deadly, and for a while I amped it up even more by using TSR's old Bio-One hit location rules.

TS's core mechanics were later adopted and expanded by Louis Porter for his "Haven -- City of Violence" game.


10-13-2009, 11:47 PM
I really enjoyed Top Secret back in the day. The original system had a few quicks, such as:

-If you were an investigator, and you get assigned a combat mission, expect to get no experience.
-The Tommy Gun was the best weapon you could buy.
-If someone is standing 10 feet away from you with a revolver, and you're an unarmed boxer, you're almost guaranteed to kill them when they try to shoot you with three unanswered Rabbit Punches.
-If you had a sword cane there was serious trouble trying to cross reference any defense moves your opponent could do if they didn't have a cane.

The last two points were quirks of their unarmed combat system which was really ambitious, but not well play tested. In retrospect, I really enjoyed how deadly combat was (with the above caveats). I feel Spycraft is a much better system, but still enjoy the nostalgia of the old TS system.

I played a demo at Gencon So Cal of "Haven: City of Violence" by Louis Porter. 5 minutes into the demo, he's showing me how the percentile stats get averaged into secondary stats, which get averaged into tertiary stats. I said, "You used to play a lot of Top Secret, didn't you?"

He fessed up that Haven was basically using the old TS system. So fans of that system should check out the original Haven.

Black Vulmea
12-19-2011, 09:10 PM
I tried running a Top Secret play-by-post last year, but I never really got it off the tarmac. I'd still love to run the campaign, Cold Warriors (http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaigns/cold-warriors), as a face-to-face game if I could find interested players.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
12-19-2011, 09:43 PM
I have many of the games, and would love to get a campaign going again - it's been years. As it is, finding reliable, consistent players has become an "epic" challenge these days, no matter which rpg is advertised.

07-27-2012, 07:14 PM
Okay, you have me nostalgic about running Top Secret again. Problem : the character sheets never survived, including the one at the back of the book.

So, you have any idea where I can find copies of the old character sheets, the ones with all the possible knowledges on the sheet?

05-05-2013, 08:10 AM
I used to own this. Never got a chance to play it, though. Now after so many years, I have no idea where my copy is. :(

05-06-2013, 01:56 PM
hmmm, i played it twice, once with and once without the weird "supers" rules. don't recall which edition it was... the equipment lists were awesome, but i recall not enjoying actual gameplay very much. at this remove, i don't recall if it was a player-unfamiliarity, dm presentation, and/or ruleset issue or issues.

i think i'm more the sci-fi/fantasy/supers type anyhow - i'd likely not get too interested unless it was over-the-top with abilities. (like nano-augs or something near-future tech in the spy area.)