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Old 10-17-2019, 08:54 AM
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Looking for ways to make this RPG Secret Agent Scenario more interesting...


Hi. So, for the next RPG scenario, my friend will play a British agent in London, tasked with protecting a teenage genius going to King's College who has invented a new type of nuclear reaction. Of course some bad guys will try to kidnap her and take her away on their yacht. If that sounds familiar, it is because it is. Luckily, my friend has never seen any of those movies.

It is a bit bland and needs some other ideas to spice it up. There is the usual: boss/co-workers turn out to be bad guys. I could also have the bad guys try to bribe the PC to look the other way.

I suppose I could change her discovery to be something else, such as a way to contact or visit aliens/alternate dimensional beings/the dead/deities/time/whatever. I could have them, bad guys included, get sucked into the whatever and end up in a different game genre. That might be fun... or not.

Anyway, I am looking for ideas and twists. Funnest one wins an imaginary internet cookie.
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Old 10-17-2019, 09:55 AM
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What RPG are you using? Is this a one-shot, the first session of a campaign, or the latest session in an ongoing campaign? What have you and your player discussed as far as expectations? I.e., are they expecting James Bond, Jason Bourne, Burn Notice, The Kingsmen, xXx, or something else? Are they expecting (and do they want) straight espionage/thriller/action/adventure? Just how much weirdness are they willing to entertain?

If you want to really pull the rug out from under your player, and if your player is game for this sort of thing, you might want to check out Night's Black Agents and Night's Black Agents: Solo Ops from Pelgrane Press. NBA is sort of "Jason Bourne vs. Dracula" - burned spies, mercenaries, and international criminals uncover a vampire conspiracy. NBA: SO is specifically designed as a one-to-one RPG. Even if you don't want to use the vampires, both games are pretty good resources for putting together an espionage campaign involving investigations and conspiracies.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:14 PM
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I am just using a simple, rules light system I made up.

The player has no preconceptions or expectations. Weirdness is fine.

It is a short mini-adventure.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Last edited by by-tor; 10-17-2019 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 10-17-2019, 06:28 PM
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I like the bad guy that was never really bad to begin with scenario. One of the ordinary "muscle" bad guys betrays them at the last minute. Not a double agent type of betrayal by someone who was already being suspected as a possible traitor, but someone who has been a member of the bad guys organization for a long time and who works on his own rather than in coordination with the good guys, so there would be little reason for the other bad guys to suspect that particular person of betraying them.
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Old 10-17-2019, 08:16 PM
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Possible twists:
-The nuclear reaction doesn't work, but the genius is trying to gin up support amongst potential buyers, and figures a kidnapping is just the way to convince everyone that her protocol is valuable. Midway through the scenario the PC figures this out (possibly by defeating a midlevel goon who surrenders, or by checking the phone history of a defeated good, or something), and suddenly his charge becomes his opponent.
-The nuclear reaction works too well, and the kidnapper is trying to prevent a universe-destroying chain reaction which the genius is too overconfident to believe will occur. The PC is confronted with the evidence, and has to convince the genius, or else abandon her; in either case, the reaction has already started, and it's a race against time to stop its successful and apocalyptic conclusion.

Last edited by Left Hand of Dorkness; 10-17-2019 at 08:17 PM.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Possible twists:
-The nuclear reaction doesn't work, but the genius is trying to gin up support amongst potential buyers, and figures a kidnapping is just the way to convince everyone that her protocol is valuable. Midway through the scenario the PC figures this out (possibly by defeating a midlevel goon who surrenders, or by checking the phone history of a defeated good, or something), and suddenly his charge becomes his opponent.
-The nuclear reaction works too well, and the kidnapper is trying to prevent a universe-destroying chain reaction which the genius is too overconfident to believe will occur. The PC is confronted with the evidence, and has to convince the genius, or else abandon her; in either case, the reaction has already started, and it's a race against time to stop its successful and apocalyptic conclusion.
I was going to suggest something very much like these 2 twists but was pre-ninjaed by LHOD.
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Old 10-17-2019, 10:09 PM
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oh wow, this sounds like TSR'S failed "top secret s.i " which is more known for having excellent sourcebooks on real-life spies and agencies and weaponry that the actual playing .....
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Old 10-18-2019, 08:59 AM
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Introduce cricket, driving on the left, the Royal Family and afternoon tea!
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:37 AM
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No one expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Forced to work in the shadows since their official disbandment in 1834, SPIN has become a God-fearing criminal organization with its hooks in the upholstery, furnishings, and other surprising industries. The new nuclear reactor is right in their bailiwick. Of course, the deeper reason they’re operating in Britain is to put a Catholic on the throne.

Play them as incompetent and out-dated but effective when not facing off directly with the heroine. Throw in weird British and Catholic themes for color.
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Old 10-18-2019, 01:58 PM
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Toss in a random NPC 00 from MI6 on their own mission London. Player character happens to notice a sniper that the 00 doesn't.
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Old 10-18-2019, 02:42 PM
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More possible twists:
-The genius is extremely distrustful of the government and the agent, believing that "They" are conspiring to quash the invention, and will attempt to run away at some point if the agent does not persuade them otherwise.

-The genius has secretly received an offer from the bad guys, making it an attempted extraction, rather than a kidnapping. Consequently, they will be subtly cooperating with the bad guys in ways that they can play off as being a naive or absent-minded intellectual.

-Riffing on LHoD's second twist: The genius knows the reaction is flawed, but is afraid that the government will take their notes and run with the plan--or that they are already doing so. The "bad guys" have an expert the genius believes can help solve the problem. (This combines several twists, leaving opportunities for the agent to win the genius's trust, switch sides, get backstabbed by either or both sides, and have a race against time.)
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