Idea Board: Agents of RPG

My wife and I both came down with a pretty nasty cold, so we’ve been spending a lot of time on the couch. Yesterday, we finished Season 1 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I always imagine everything I watch or read as an RPG, so that of course happened during watching, but it wasn’t until later that night, while falling asleep, that I was struck by a sudden idea. I have foolishly neglected to leave a notepad by my bed, so I trusted the memory to fate and decided to write it down first thing in the morning. As it turns out, fate was on my side.

What I have so far is just a first thought at character creation. It’s probably inspired mostly by the MechWarrior Roleplaying Game. The first thing I thought of was providing special abilities by enrollments in programs. I actually had a specific program in mind that I did forget, but for an example I’m generating right now: “I was enrolled in the Icarus Program, so I know how to use this experimental jetpack.”

Projects and Programs could be infinite and they would cost character points of some sort to purchase.

The character points thing made me think of GURPS, but I’ve always really liked the aging your character and developing your background character creation method that I first encountered in MechWarrior. There might also be a little Numenera in there. This is what I ended up writing down this morning:

I’m a…

  • Human

With a knack for…

  • Psioncs
  • Marksmanship
  • CQC
  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Computers
  • Alien Tech
  • People Skills

Trained as a…

  • Scientist
  • Engineer
  • Technician
  • Specialist
  • Leader

For a while, I was involved in the…

*Programs and projects provide specific bonuses in exchange for character points.

Obviously more or less of any of those steps could be available, or more or less steps could be available. If you wanted to get complex I would add steps for how you grew up (on the streets vs fabulous wealth) and what kind of education you had (None, BA, PhD, Boot Camp, West Point, etc.)

You could overlay this on to pretty much any system you like, too. The easiest way would be to just provide bonuses for all the choices e.g. if we’re talking about 5e DnD “With a knack for Alien Tech” would give them advantage any time they’re working with alien technology. Or it could be more complicated. Trained as a… could be custom classes in the DnD example. Honestly, most of my ideas end about here, but if I were to run this I would probably use a custom GURPS-like system for it. I like the dis/advantage system of 5e, and I could use that to modify In Nomine’s d666 to roll 2d6 to measure success and 2d6 for degree of success, high or low winning out depending on your background. Character points are awarded instead of experience, and the players buy new programs or upgrade their very simple stats. As far as settings go, it’s open ended enough for any paramilitary organization. It also doesn’t have to be all for the same organization. If I’m sticking to settings I’ve used before, it’d make for a nice modern day or near future Malleus game.

As always, gentle reader, I am interested in your thoughts.

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