There is a war going on every day. Its soldiers don’t march in lines or report to a large obvious pentagonal building. It is a shadow war where information and bullets hold equal weight, and enemies don’t always wear uniforms. This game is about clandestine Special Forces parachuting behind enemy lines to carry out a discrete mission that no government will claim ever happened. It is about special agents receiving their missions from men and women whose names and identities won’t turn up on any database. It is about mercenaries. It is about spies. It is about secrets, seduction, stealth, deception, assassination, bribery, infiltration, action, and adventure.
Welcome to Covert Ops, a role playing game of espionage and paramilitary adventure. This game takes advantage of the d00Lite system, a fast and simple set of game mechanics created by DwD Studios. Those of you familiar with BareBones Fantasy RPG will find the core mechanics familiar and the learning curve minimal. Those unfamiliar with our fantasy offering will find a game that somehow manages to be comprehensive, lite, and fun all in a tiny 6″x9″ package. Everyone is sure to have a fun time.
This purchase includes a lot of material, all for a low price. It’s the design philosophy of DwD Studios to bring you quality games at an affordable price, after seeing how other games burden you with having to shell out hundreds of dollars and haul around a dozen or so books. We accomplish that through application of categorical thinking and by leaving much arbitration in the hands of the Game Master, where it belongs.
This book may be small but the game is not. Within these pages you’ll find all you need to create, play, and develop an operative:
- 20 origins, each with several options, to help define what your character did before becoming an operative.
- 10 skills representing archetypical modern character abilities: academic, detective, leader, martial artist, medic, pilot, scout, soldier, technician, and thief.
- Robust system for equipping your operative for a mission, complete with weapons, defenses, gadgets, vehicles, simplified equipment packs, and more.
- 32 martial arts maneuvers to fully define the fighting style of your operative.
- System to create and maintain a base of operations for your team.
- “Bones” (luck or hero points) integrated into this incarnation of the d00Lite system to add cinematic flair to your action scenes, certainly a must for proper representation of high action espionage adventure.
- Rules for vehicles in combat and chase sequences.
- A broad brush-stroke setting: SECTOR, a counter-intelligence and paramilitary organization devoted to fighting tyranny and other foes across the globe.
- Systems to help the GM prepare for a session or an entire campaign: random master villain generator, enemy organization generator, henchmen generator, minions, security systems, and even entire random mission generation to get your creativity flowing.
GMs Operations Manual
We originally had a much bigger book in mind for the Covert Ops rulebook. Much of it has been reduced, streamlined, or removed entirely as a direct result of play testing. Some of it was just too cool or too difficult to part with; most of that is in the GM’s Operations Manual. Covert Ops is a lite role-playing game. Some folks define “lite” differently than we do, but in our opinion page count has at least something to do with it. So that’s why we decided to create this separate book. We hope it helps you become a better Game Master… or entertains you at least. It is packed full of modular optional rules, detailed step-by-step examples, clarifications, GM advice, and even a fun lexicon of espionage terms to help you learn the lingo.
- Guidelines to help you arbitrate Operative Creation, along with a detailed example to use as a reference when clarity is needed.
- An optional rule for prioritized ability score determination to help build the operative.
- An optional rule for operative training centers to say where your operative trained to become an agent and what perks he gets for it.
- Optional tables to round out an operative to determine his gender, handedness, age, height, weight, even hair and eye color.
- An optional rule that provides an alternative to using origins.
- Guidelines on how to create new skills, if the ten that come in the core rulebook aren’t enough for you. Included is a full example, the merchant skill, who knows markets, product quality, and haggling like no other.
- Optional guidelines to using cash instead of equipment allowance in your campaign. This is allow for campaigns where operatives aren’t part of some central organization.
- An optional rule for determining and testing loyalties, as a replacement for or as an addition to the moral code rules provided in the core rule book.
- Guidelines on adding to the martial arts system in case your campaign focuses more on the cinematic ninja/kung-fu genre.
- A powerful optional system allowing operatives to have “strings” they can pull to pull off amazing things like gaining access to spy satellite data, manipulating internet and data grid information, enacting a quarantine in a city or a no-fly zone over a state.
- Optional rules for using initiative cards instead of initiative dice.
- Optional rules for hit locations in combat, where skill grants you a clear advantage by keeping hits closer to the kill zone.
- Optional rules for using condition cards.
- Guidelines for moderating risky social interaction situations, such as bribery, charm, deception, interrogation, intimidation, persuasion, and seduction.
- Rules for variant ammunition types, as well as how to model real-world firearms instead of using the firearm classifications found in the core rulebook. Included are six examples of modelling real-world pistols.
- Several step-by-step examples: game play, enemy organization generation, master villain generation, even mission generation. Even if you don’t need the clarification, these are good reads and might spur your creativity.
- Some helpful GM advice on storytelling techniques, focus on the story and the mission and its characters, as well as a list of common espionage tropes to sprinkle into your games to give the players familiar thematic elements they’ve likely seen in their favorite modern action/espionage movies.
The Usual Suspects
This accessory contains thirty illustrated archetypical operatives for use as player characters for one-shot missions or for visiting players, or for use as non-player characters to round out a team or serve as backup personnel. Game Masters can even use them as enemies, contacts, or for any other purpose his devious mind can dream up. Twenty of them represent types of starting-rank operatives commonly found within Command, named with archetype titles. The remaining ten are professional-ranked operatives with some experience behind them with names and background information riddled with inspiring content Game Masters might use to fill in his games. So whatever you need it for… you know you need it! Quick characters instantly available to bolster your player’s or their enemies’ teams.
Rank 1 Archetypes
- The Armchair Agent – he always wanted to be a spy, but the truth is he was never put to the test. Until now.
- The Brash Pilot – he’s been in a lot of conflict and comes complete with a stealth helicopter to tote the team around the globe.
- The Cat Burglar – no building is too high nor job too risky.
- The Combat Specialist – armed to the teeth and with skill to use it.
- The Corporate Enforcer – not all espionage comes from governments; corporate espionage breeds different sorts of agents.
- The Covert Commando – stealth and martial arts, wrapped in a military shell.
- The Ex-Mob Enforcer – organized crime makes a powerful enemy, but is also a great recruiting pool for new operatives.
- The Face Man – gets what he needs by acting and knowing people’s behavior patterns… or sometimes with a wink and a glass of wine.
- The Femme Fatale – dangerous curves and deadly intent.
- The Field Commander – whether he’s leading agents in an enemy base or soldiers in a battlefield, he’s always in charge.
- The Hacker – because everyone needs a hacker!
- The Hard Boiled Detective – always suspicious and no longer lured by false hope, he does what needs to be done.
- The Medical Investigator – sometimes the greatest secrets are answered by a scalpel than by interrogation.
- The Militant Rebel – he didn’t always work for the good guys, but you’re glad he does now.
- The Ninja – yes, they’re real and they make excellent assassins.
- The Old Sea Dog – sturdy and stoic, he has dealt with pirates and terrorists long before being recruited as an operative.
- The Point Man – an enigmatic and highly capable lone wolf operative. Given time and training, he can manage most missions on his own.
- The Resourceful Scrounger – capable of acquiring whatever is needed while in the field.
- The Sharpshooter – armed with a sniper rifle, stealth, and a whole lot of courage.
- The Wheelman – an expert behind the wheel of a car, able to transport operatives in dangerous situations.
Rank 3 Professionals
- Agent Robert Sloan – academic specialist, codename Seraph
- Agent Angela Faraday – detective specialist, codename Rook
- Agent Virgil Blake – leader specialist, codename Garrison
- Agent Marco Powell – martial artist specialist, codename Viper
- Agent Darryl Hardy – medic specialist, codename Stop-gap
- Agent Isabel Barton – pilot specialist, codename Tailspin
- Agent Damon Welch – scout specialist, codename Tracer
- Agent Dwight Manning – soldier specialist, codename Boomer
- Agent Brett Lopez – technician specialist, codename Five-o
- Agent Marshall Fuller – thief specialist, codename Watcher