PDF. 96 pages. Minimalist presentation.
DoubleZero is a percentile based, skill-driven tabletop roleplaying system. It is designed to emulate the action thriller genre, things like the Die Hard movies, Jack Ryan books and films, and the grittier entries in the James Bond franchise. It can be used for any sort of “realistic” modern setting that doesn’t lean into magic, the supernatural, or superpowers.
For a brief, shining moment in the 1980s there was an officially licensed roleplaying game based on Britain’s most famous secret agent. While other people spent their youth playing Dungeons & Dragons, I was playing that. It had a quirky percentile-based core mechanic, eschewed heavy rules for a flexible minimalism, and was groundbreaking in its use of Hero Points to mitigate random die rolls and give players some control over their characters’ success or failure. My friends and I used it to run everything from 1930s pulp heroes to gritty police procedurals, action movie pastiches to sweeping historical epics. It remains one of my go-to game systems for any setting that doesn’t have magic or superpowers,
With the original being out of print for decades, it’s become increasingly difficult to share it with new players. I’ve tried to fill the niche with other games over the years, but none of have scratched the itch in quite the same way. Lacking a definitive alternative, I finally gave up and set out to write one. DoubleZero is less of a straight-up retro-clone than an homage and spiritual successor. It is similar in tone, but not identical in execution to that game.