A GAME OF SPIES, CRIMINALS, AND OTHER VIOLENT MEN
Created for the NUGGET rules by Tim Gray, published by Silver Branch Games (www.silverbranch.co.uk). Tim Gray is not responsible in any way for the content of these materials unless specifically credited.
You’ll need pencils and paper and about 10 six-sided dice. Characters are described with Advantages and Disadvantages compared to an average, untrained person. If a task is neither trivial nor impossible, you roll a “pool” of a variable number of dice to see whether you succeed. The pool is made up of a number of dice equal to one die per Advantage (Adv) from an Attribute (natural talent) and a Skill (knowledge and training), minus one die per relevant Disadvantage (Dis); e.g. Calculation + Research - 2. Base Difficulty (BD) determines the difficulty of a task, which is measured in dice of Disadvantages. If anyone can have a decent try it’s BD 0 (probably the most common). A task that needs a professional is BD -2 (subtract 2 from your Advantages). If only the best can pull it off its BD -4. Near-impossible tasks are BD -6. The GM can give an extra Adv or Dis for special situations. If you end up with no dice it’s just too hard. Count each die that shows 4, 5 or 6 as one success. A single success means you just barely do it, though not very well; 3 successes is a good, solid result; 5 or more successes is truly impressive. No successes (all rolls 1, 2, 3) means failure. If they’re all 1’s that’s a fumble: you messed up and the GM describes the awkward consequences. Exceptional success can be handled in one of two ways. For a realistic or gritty style run the game “lid-on”: if all dice come up as 6’s you get one extra success. For high energy, unpredictable action, run it “lid-off”: each die that shows 6 can be rolled again for a possible extra success, and further 6’s give further re-rolls. Deniable Assets is run mostly “lidon”, with one exception, noted in the Skills section. Opposed rolls happen when two characters come into conflict - a physical fight, interrogation, haggling, arm-wrestling or a chess match. Both characters make appropriate rolls. The one with more successes gets their way, and the difference tells you how decisive it was. Ties usually go forward (dramatically!) to another roll.
and only for that AoE. speed. You also have 4 levels of Skills to allocate as you wish. the Agent gets an extra point to spend on another Attribute. and are assumed to have 1 Advantage in any other endeavor that falls under their occupation (as spies. remembering. all the players will be playing the same type of Agent. Some are particularly poor. the average point. all rolls are considered “lid-off”. Skills are fairly specific. Furthermore.
AREA OF EXPERTISE AND SKILLS
These are areas of knowledge. The Areas of Expertise are as follows: Area of Expertise Command Manipulation Violence Stealth Technology Title Leader Faceman Hitman Spook Fixer Description Leaders organize. When both a Skill and AoE apply. criminals or whatever). Your Agent gets several advantages in their Specialty. are very broad. Some are talented at 3. a team of professional criminals. you must pay 2 Skill points per level. use the higher one. covering a narrow application of training and knowledge. like Fighting with Swords. choose a single Area of Expertise in which to specialize. for that AoE. Professional. Finally. investigation. There are two kinds. self-control. To begin with. Tradecraft covers several different Areas of Expertise. add them together before rolling!)
. stealth and B&E Fixers are the tech experts and gearheads Possible Codename/ Classification Saturn King Mercury Queen Mars Knight Pluto Bishop Vulcan Rook
Now. rated 4. stamina Coordination (Agility) – agility. they get that AoE at level 2 (Professional). In most games. such as field agents for Intelligence organizations. Piloting Planes. each AoE has an ability associated with it that can only be activated by a Specialist (this is covered in the Mission Points section). A few are exceptional. If you reduce one Attribute to 1. toughness. command and coordinate others Facemen are masters at lying to and manipulating people Hitmen are hard men. training and experience. covering a variety of more specific skills under their umbrella. or the like. rated 1. AoEs. (For a truly over-the-top game. flexibility Calculation (Brains) – noticing. or split them between two Attributes at 3. on the other hand. Spend both on one Attribute to get a 4. killers and masters of violence Spooks excel at the arts of paranoia.DOSSIER:
CREATING AN AGENT
These describe natural talent at general kinds of things: Conditioning (Brawn) – strength. Areas of Expertise (AoE) and Skills. but they are more expensive to raise. To increase an AoE. They go in levels 1-4: Basic. You begin with all Attributes at 2. Agents receive 1 level in each AoE. but you should use a specific Skill if you have one written down. Agents are well above average. All Agents are assumed to be proficient at Tradecraft. They can be new hobby or other specific Skills (the spy might be skilled at sleight of hand). Chemistry or Investigation. and then have 2 points to raise Attribute levels. Both Skills and AoEs are rated by the number of Advantages they give you when they apply. charisma Most people are rated at 2. working things out Confidence (Will) – determination. and Master. Expert.
Unarmed. Sword. Goals and Drives help generate Mission Points for the character.e. Geophysics. since they generate Mission Points only when they have an effect. This is only a sample list.g. Law. which could be people. Plane) Engineering (specify . Write down Mission Points. it can go negative. like having only one arm.e. Physics) Research Search Social Science (specify . a musical instrument. objects. Tough (Conditioning) and Hardened (Confidence). Electronics. add the levels of your Violence or highest Fighting Skill.beyond that it depends on the game. Construction. Bow) Hide Intimidation Language (specify .e. Mechanics) Fighting (specify . Flaws can be as narrow or broad as you want.
. Psychology. Chemistry. level 1 is “tourist” proficiency) Leadership • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Medicine Move Quietly Natural History Observation Occult Physical Science (specify . organizations. Sociology) Socializing Subterfuge Survival Tactics Theft
Write down 1-3 Missions/Goals/Drives/Flaws – Goals and Drives are things that are important to the character.g. Boat. principles or things they want to achieve.g. Biology. Motorbike. Knife. Write down your Initiative bonus: take the total of Coordination and Calculation.) Write down your physical and mental resistance.e.g. (Disadvantages subtract. Car. Painting. Gun. or being greedy. Staff. You start with 3 points.e.e.each is a separate skill.g. and finally subtract 4. Sculpture) Athletics Bureaucracy Business Computer Drive/Pilot (specify . neither too broad nor too narrow: • • • • • • • • • • • • Arts (specify . with space for it to change over time.g. History. Flaws are qualities that may often be considered disadvantages.EXAMPLE SKILLS
Here are some suggestions for common skills in a modern setting to help you along for character creation. You have ordinary items of equipment to allow you to perform your Skills . you can name your own skills.
each takes 1 off Initiative and gives a Disadvantage for all rolls except Resistance. After phase 1 the next round starts. claws and teeth sword.
Add the difference between attack and defense successes to the base damage.COMBAT
When it comes to high-speed action. Characters acting on the same phase go in order of Initiative bonus. Base Damage 0 1 2 3 4 6 8 Example unarmed knife. shooting).
Hurts are bruises and cuts that slow you down .each subtracts 1 from Initiative for future rounds and takes 5
minutes of rest to disappear. drawing a weapon. picking something up or running a short distance. small club. You can delay an action till later in the round. Hand-to-hand attacks add Conditioning Advantages as well. polearm. punching. like parrying or dodging. A total less than 1 means you’re too confused to take an action this round. (A fumble adds 1 to damage!) Read the result off here: Total Damage 1-2 3-4 5-6 7+ Status Hurt Injured Injured and Unconscious Injured and Dead
Note Hurts and Injuries on your character sheet: they build up and give penalties while they last. You can also do one simple thing for free each round any time after you’re ready for your first action (Phase 1 if you can’t act) . axe. If the attacker gets more successes it’s a hit and does damage.
. are similar but use any close combat Skill (e.e. Injuries are serious wounds . .
ATTACK AND DEFENSE
Attack rolls use the relevant Skill plus Coordination.g. Unconscious and Dead are self-explanatory. one roll counts against all attacks in that phase. shotgun machine-gun tank gun
The target rolls Physical Resistance to withstand the attack. 14 => 10. things happen in rounds: chunks of time a few seconds long divided into 10 phases. you can defend against an attack at any time. 4). Defenses. The GM counts down from 10 to 1. and takes a day of rest and care to recover. with successes taken away from the total damage. not Gun). until the fight is over. arrow big sword. throwing. and your initiative total tells you when you can take your action (e. big club. Remember. SMG rifle. otherwise it misses. More involved actions like all-out sprinting take an action. usually BD 0.g. one roll counts against all attacks in that phase. below.g. You can defend against an attack at any time. A total over 10 means you can act once on 10 and again on the remainder (e. spear. At the start of a round everyone rolls one die and adds the result to their Initiative bonus. handgun. and against projectile weapons are BD 0 to BD -2 depending on cover.g.
Apart from combat. Shields give an Adv to defend. which is opposed by the appropriate Resistance and applied as above. give opponents the abilities they ought to have rather than trying to balance points. blinded by a flash. Even one Hurt takes them out of a conflict. due to differences in sheer size and mass. aliens. characters get exposed to all sorts of things that can do them physical or mental harm. "Dead" gives a permanent condition . falling. plus other advantages like henchmen or fiendish
devices. Combat details. Firearms with spray/burst firing give an Adv to hit.g. This is most common with Conditioning.often one point per PC . Major Villains work like PCs. but heal independently.g. deep ocean)
Record mental damage separately: Hurts and Injuries add to those from physical damage. e.
In general. etc. drowning) Deadly (strong electricity) Extreme (space. Surprise. Base Damage 1 3 5 8 10 Threat Irritating Painful/Tiring (desert) Damaging (ordinary fire. if an opponent has successfully sneaked up. Each round the patient and healer do nothing else. An "Unconscious" result from a Threat either knocks the Agent out.and can get more for advancing their plans. fleeing in mindless terror. Put them all on
initiative (3 + bonus). Any Armor worn subtracts from damage: 1-3 points for archaic types. They’re all handled the same way: the GM gives a damage rating from the table below. can have Attributes beyond the normal range. poison. Animals. possibly up to 5 for modern types. They start with Mission Points .
.Someone with medical supplies can try first aid: roll Medicine + Calculation. or gives an impairment lasting about a scene. means no defense roll is possible. monsters. or terrifying monsters.
Henchmen have higher stats and are taken out by an Injury or 3 Hurts. BD 0. with abilities as good or better. e.curing it could be a story seed.
Minions are low-level riff-raff with an Occupation and low or no Attribute and Skill bonuses. like fire. one success can be spent to heal a Hurt. Unseen opponents turn attack and defense into Fighting + Calculation rolls. BD -2.
Buying a level of AoE or Weird Stuff (explained below) costs (new level x 10) Mission Points (they can go up or down.) Gain a point if a Flaw seriously or dramatically hinders you during a scene. for (new level x 20) Mission Points. Gain a point if the character takes an important step toward one of their Goals/Drives in a scene . Spend a point to add an advantage (i. but this is optional. Use counters for Mission Points during a session and write it down at the end. as well as giving the GM Mission Points for the opposition. the GM gains one to a general pool for the opposition. The GM may even allow you to raise an Attribute between adventures. or points left over that didn’t earn interest. After this. Spend a three points to force the opposition to make a re-roll and keep the less favorable result (but they can spend their own Mission Points first if they wish.
. or go to the players in order of highest Confidence or Calculation. they can stay in the bank until they do. an agent may bank Mission Points to improve themselves. if a player goes into debt to keep from dying. you must wait for one mission to pass. Banking Mission Points. Attributes and Weird Stuff. Being a specialist in an Area of Expertise gives you a specialist ability which can be activated by spending Mission Points. Specialist Abilities. Mission Points may have further uses. depending on the kind of agents/plan).Special rules: THE MISSION
These are a mixture of adrenaline. but you must supply a cool detail or description for each one. If the game seems unbalanced by these abilities. but are unavailable during a mission. Once interest is earned. or split evenly if no-one has the Command AoE (excess points are either gone. where the players plan their mission and add details to the plot in order to garner more Mission Points. Gain a point for doing something cool like beating an enemy.but a point can also be taken away if a Goal is seriously thwarted. one extra die) to a roll. You may add several advantages. Some GMs may allow you to go into debt with Mission Points. like establishing a minor. you don’t get to re-roll those without re-spending points). They cannot be withdrawn except to improve Skills. since they already represent disadvantages. Gaining Mission Points. This should only be used for in-game expenditures of Mission Points. you earn an additional Mission Point. where they stay until you spend them. Flaws will never take away points. After a mission. as explained in their section). the Mission Points earn interest. plausible coincidence. good planning and self-esteem. the Mission Points and their interest are moved out of the Bank and into the Vault. and it’s possible to get into an extended bidding war). If there are less than 3 points. they may have to pick up a flaw related to what would have killed them. Spend three points to make a roll again and keep the result you prefer (If you added advantages. The GM will award a bonus of 1 to 10 Mission points for this. but usually heroes can survive all sorts of harm). Spending Mission Points. karma. luck. Unlike Goals or Drives. like your beloved aunt getting hurt or the CIA capturing you! (If you are already at zero and would lose a point. which will be distributed to the players by the Leader. For every 3 points in the Bank. The GM may also allow a “planning” session. Going into Debt. given by the GM during play and spent to direct the character’s path. or it may have other consequences. performing a dangerous stunt. or getting one die to roll when you have none. Spend 10 to be unconscious instead of dead (some games should be dangerous. For example. Buy a new level of a Skill between adventures for (new level x 5) Mission Points. or just making everybody laugh.e. simply limit their use to once per mission. not for raising Skills or Attributes. Once you have banked your Mission Points. Going into debt may simply add to a GMs general pool for the opposition. Mission Points in the bank earn interest.
They don’t need to be conscious or involved in the scene to do this. without rolling. a Spook may spend Points to get “clues”. Fixers are either packrats or extremely well prepared for every contingency. and Major Villains will be x 3 if the GM allows this to be used on them. These clues can include things like whether someone is lying. 5 for a complex or improbable item. Finally. and 10 points for a highly improbable item. If the clue exists. High tech 6-10 points per device/area bypassed.Area of Expertise
Description A Leader may lend Mission Points to teammates on a 1 for 1 basis. the right tool/device/weapon for a situation. or something more physical. The Faceman can convince anyone of anything. By spending Mission points. the Spook finds nothing. they may remain unseen by spending Mission Points equal to the higher of the target’s Calculation + any skill/AoE (like Stealth) that seems pertinent. In addition. or move it into a lower cost bracket. Mooks are x 1 and Henchmen are x 2. by simply spending Mission Points equal to the higher of the target’s Coordination or Conditioning + any skill/AoE (like Violence or Stealth) that seems pertinent. or quickly obtain. and if the Spook meets it. In some cases. or the subtlety of the surveillance. the Fixer can have on their person. multiplied by their importance to the story.
Spec. the GM gives them the clue. These are bid blind. The Hitman can kill any target. They may stipulate any conditions for doing so. Spooks have mastered the art of stealth and seem to posses an uncanny sense of perception. which must be adhered to in order to get those points. One Kill
Spec. For 3 Points. This costs 3 Points for a simple. Normal security systems are 1-5 points per device/area bypassed. multiplied by their importance to the story. if freely given. Henchmen are x 2. allowing a team with a Leader to always apply the maximum amount of Mission Points to any situation they want. a Spook may negate the effects of Surprise. The Spook bids a number of Points.
One Shot. If not.
Strength in Numbers
The Perfect Con
Spec. If the Spook knows someone has spotted them. These are used to avoid any surveillance the Spook doesn’t know about or see in time. at least for a little bit. a Spook can spend Points to remain unseen. even if they don’t have it listed. Giving the GM a cool explanation for how the Fixer has this device may be worth a Point or two rebate.
. Mooks are x 1 and Henchmen are x 2. although a cool flashback or training montage where the problem/contingencies are addressed would be appropriate. The Hitman is a master of killing. plausible item. Leaders may also receive Mission Points from teammates. especially if they come in hordes (like 1 Point/kill). the GM may rule that Mooks cost less to kill. Mooks are x 1. the GM will set a cost for it. multiplied by their importance to the story. by spending Mission Points equal to the higher of the target’s Calculation or Confidence + any skill/AoE that seems pertinent.
rolled normally but costing a physical or mental Hurt for fatigue unless a success is spent to be good enough to avoid it. Possibilities include “Telepathy”. If you want to add psychics and mages and the like to your game. The players and GM need to agree how much or little these can do. The way those abilities work makes a big difference to the feel of a game. or just a roll with Confidence.WEIRD STUFF
This includes things like magic and psychic powers. Mind-based attacks use Calculation with (Confidence –2) as base damage. “Moving Objects”. “Fire Magic” and “Illusion”. feel free. One simple way is to set them up as Skills.
. and that needs detail.