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DoubleZero: What It Is, What It Isn’t


DoubleZero: What It Is, What It Isn’t. Allow me to be up front about one thing: don’t expect the James Bond setting (book or film) with the serial numbers filed off. Fight scenes, chases, and investigation, yes. International espionage, possibly, but also police procedural, crime drama, and heist adventure. The system is being set up to play anything that doesn’t place magic, superpowers, or anything paranormal into the hands of the characters. You can do whatever you want with it.

A System, Not a Setting

Which means that yes, you can run a campaign inspired by the Mission: Impossible movies, the Fast and the Furious franchise, and the John Wick canon. Build your dream Ocean’s 11/Jason Bourne crossover, or your own personal pastiche based on who you thought should have been in The Expendables.

My tastes skew a little differently. I prefer my spy stuff to be more like The Sandbaggers or Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. That chatty John Le Carre stuff. But I also want to be able to run Sons of Anarchy, The Wire, or The Sopranos. Fewer car chases and gunfights, sure, but the danger is real.

You should be able to cobble together dark British detective shows like Luther, Broadchurch, and Sherlock. American procedurals like CSI, Law & Order, or Bones. Run an investigative journalism adventure in the spirit of All the President’s Men, Spotlight, or The Post. Even science fictional things, like Orphan Black, The X-Files, or Mr. Robot, are possible because advanced technology is more of a plot point than cool weapons or special abilities wielded by the player characters.

Not a Retro-Clone, Nor a Basic Roleplaying Hack

DoubleZero is not intended to be a direct retro-clone of Victory Games’ James Bond 007 roleplaying game. I’m not just saying that for legal reasons. Was it inspired by that? Absolutely. Could you, with a bit of effort, convert material between the two? Sure, but with a bit of effort you can do that with any two game systems. I say this all up front, because inevitably someone will leave a comment along the lines of “but the 007 game does things this way, and you do things that way” as if my design choices were a) unintentional and b) wrong.

Let’s call it an homage and move on.

The system is built on GORE™, which is an Open Game Licensed system bearing a strong resemblance to and a high degree of compatibility with the Basic Roleplaying system. DoubleZero is likely not going to share that compatibility, if for no other reason than I’ve completely changed the core mechanic and fiddled with a lot of other rules. Again, can you convert material between the two systems? Sure. Is it meant to be the BRP version of 007? Nope. I picked it because it’s a percentile system with an open license. That gave me a foundation to work with, and did a lot of the heavy lifting for me.

DoubleZero: What It Is, What It Isn’t

When I listed my design goals, they weren’t “I want that game” (looking at 007). It was “I want a game that does that“. I was looking at the sorts of things the 007 system can do, and the types of movies and television shows I think would be fun to run as tabletop roleplaying games. That’s the mission.

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