On Twitter, someone asked about a suitable RPG for running games set in the world of “The Persuaders”, an action adventure series with Tony Curtis and Roger Moore, one of many from production company ITC, some serious, some, like this, with comedic elements. I immediately thought of Crooked Dice Studio’s 7TV, a skirmish wargame set up to have heroes and villains battle in scenarios of the sort to be found in programmes like “The Champions”, “Jason King”, “UFO” with a side order of Bond. The system was originally created for a free set of Doctor Who miniature rules but, with Warlord having obtained that licence, the free set seems to have gone. There are still a couple of bits of Doctor Who still in the rules.
These are, as I said, wargame’s rules, for a skirmish game, so why would I point someone to this as the start of trying to run an RPG. For a start off, and never mind that skirmish wargames are the start of RPG systems, the 7TV rulebook is choc full of references to the inspirational source material in the form of script excerpts and “Radio Times” style TV Listings with programme and people names that are obviously lightly changed from the originals, write “Ken Troy-Martin” instead of “Troy Kennedy Martin” or “Department X” instead of “Department S”, that sort of thing.
The wargame scenarios are designed to be created with themes from the shows, which makes them a useful way to set up the framework of an RPG adventure and sets of linked episodes are part of the game. Add to that both the synopsises of the fake TV programme listings and the wealth of the real, original TV to mine for inspiration and any GM has a lot to work with in terms of framing adventures.
Characters, both heroes and villains, are made up of archetypes, with special abilities, with, of course, a few background extras to make up the numbers. Their profiles are not just combat stats, they have intelligence and can have special abilities. Tests of their statistics can be modded into a skill system, add a few skills to give boosts to chances to succeed, though the resolution system might be a bit too gritty, being based on a single d6.
The game has “Audience Appreciation” as a balancing mechanic for the side that loses initiative in combat, that could be changed into a Fate Point like system for dice boosts/re-rolls, for aiding allies or summoning extras to aid you.
There are plenty of gadgets, weapons and vehicles for characters to use, traits and special effects to give characters some differentiation and you can see that this is 90% on the way to being an RPG already, and it should not take much effort to put in that last 10%