Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Adventures of Indiana Jones and TS/SI

The Adventures of Indiana Jones was published by TSR in 1984 with at least 8 books or box sets. Even a whole issue of Polyhedron was dedicated to the game. This game was out while the original version of Top Secret was also being published.

It appears that the game mechanics for the Adventures of Indiana Jones RPG was probably the father of what became the game mechanics that ran Top Secret/S.I. in 1987. Here is a quick look at some of the details of both games.

Many of the fundamental elements of the game mechanics are quite obvious.
Attribute Modifiers is a little different. AoIJ uses the 1/2 modifier and the 1/4 modifier, but also have a X2 modifier that must've been dropped in the development of TS/SI.
Lucky Breaks and Bad Breaks carried over. TS/SI added the double roll feature, however. Lucky and Bad Breaks in AoIJ have an interesting rule- no matter what happens with a Bad Break, the result cannot kill the player character.
Attributes themselves are a bit different, at least in name. In AoIJ we have Strength, Movement, Prowess, Backbone, Instinct, and Appeal. TS/SI's list resembles more traditional games- Strength, Intelligence, Reflexes, Willpower, Constitution, and then derived attributes- Movement and Dexterity.
Initiative was streamlined for TS/SI by having everyone simply roll a d10 and whoever rolled highest can go first. Reality rules can be used adding a bunch of modifiers making it more complex. AoIJ had each character making a Movement check- highest level going first. If you make it, you go. If you fail the next one gets to try.
Damage is completely reworked. AoIJ uses three levels of damage where TS/SI has hit locations and hit-points in each location.
The Instinct attribute had an interesting set of rules around it for surprise or traps. In TS/SI this was covered well with a couple of Advantages. Sixth Sense or some of the Acute senses duplicated this ability.

It looks like many of the elements of the Indiana Jones RPG would work pretty well as pulp resources for 1930's TS/SI or Agent 13.


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