One of the hardest parts of the GM’s job is making combat in the James Bond 007 game as exciting as can be. The climactic battle between Bond and the Major Villain is often the high point of the movie or book, and so should it be in the game.
These rules for Advanced Combat will help GMs make combats more thrilling and cinematic . The major sections cover Combat Movement and Combat Events. The Combat Movement rules are designed for use with figures or miniatures, but such pieces aren’t necessary for the Combat Events rules.
Hand-to-hand combat in the James Bond movies is an art form. The stunt men will often choreograph such scenes days in advance. When the cameras finally roll, bodies fly, odd items are used as weapons, and furniture gets smashed up. Think of the confrontation between Bond and Red Grant on the train in From Russia with Love. Consider the damage committed to Osato’s office in You Only Live Twice.
In these films, Bond and the antagonist did not simply stand in place and exchange punches. They moved, dodged and ducked. So should it be in your game. When using miniatures and combat displays, it’s easy to add such incidental movement.
Dancing and Dodging
In Advanced Combat, characters and NPCs attacked by hand-to-hand combat will sometimes be required to move as a result of each attack. If the attacker rolls an even number when attacking, the defender is not required to move (he is considered to have either ducked the attack or taken the blow but held his ground).
When the attacker rolls an odd number however, the defender must move if able. If the defender was hit by the attack, then he will move one square straight back. If the defender was missed, then he may move to either side, straight back, or in a diagona l direction away from the attacker.
A scale of five feet to a square is suggested. The defender may be required to move more than once as a result of multiple attacks in a combat round.
When the defender is required to move because of an odd roll, but cannot due to being pinned next to a wall, other characters or similar obstacles, then the defender will hold his ground. As a penalty, his Speed is lowered by one for the next round only. This will affect both his number of attacks and the Ease Factor modifier he would receive for defense.
After the defender makes any necessary moves, the attacker may automatically occupy his square. He must occupy the square in order to continue making Hand-to-Hand Combat attacks. This incidental movement is not sufficient for the defender to claim the -2 Ease Factor for the attacker moving into range this round.
GM Note: If the defender is next to a ledge, and his required move would push him off, then he may hold his ground and take the Speed penalty if the attack was a miss. If the attack was successful, then he falls off. He may attempt to grab the ledge with a successful Dexterity roll. If the defender made his Pain Resistance roll, the Ease Factor for this DEX roll is equal to twice the Quality Result of the attacker’s roll. If he failed his Pain Resistance roll, the Ease Factor is equal to the attackers’ Quality Result.
For example, a QR3 Stun attack pushes the defender off. If he makes his Pain Resistance roll, he can hang on with an Ease Factor 6 DEX roll.
Trips and Throws
With the increase of movement in combat, it becomes necessary to modify the Trip Specific Blow. If the Trip Specific Blow succeeds, do not use the Dancing and Dodging rules above. Instead, use these rules.
As before, a QR1 Trip allows the attacker to throw the defender up to 10 feet in any direction, measured from the attacker’s square. Additionally, a QR2 or better result will allow the attacker to propel the defender up to 5 feet in any direction from the attacker’s square. A QR3 or better result will allow the attacker to move the defender 5 feet to the side, directly back or diagonally away from the defender’s square. A QR4 result will only knock the defender down in the square he occupies.
|1||1||3||3||3||The number in the square indicates|
|1||2||2||D||3||the QR or better need for A to|
|1||2||A||2||3||throw D into that square. D does|
|1||2||2||2||1||not move in case of a QR4 result.|
If the Trip Specific Blow fails, the defender will either dodge the attack or stay in place, as indicated in the regular fashion by the odd/even dice roll.
Unpredictable and surprising things seem to happen whenever Bond fights his adversaries. This section will help GMs generate “random events” that can be used to make their combats more exciting. These rules can also be used in chase situations.
The basic rule is this: Whenever a player or NPC rolls doubles for their attack (for example, 11 or 55), a Combat Event occurs. The GM will roll a D10 on the Combat Event Table to determine what the Combat Event is.
Combat Event Table
GM Note: The Combat Events rules will generally make combat more dangerous. Thus, you may wish to award Hero Points to your characters for their combat rolls when using these rules.
The Combat Events rules will require good improvisational skills on your part. The Combat Event Table give you some guidance on what sort of event occurs, but you’ll have to use your imagination to create the exact event that occurs.
GM Note: You may wish to add a +1 DRM to any combat involving the Major Villain or his Privileged Henchman.
When an Opportunity event occurs, something happens that either side may be able to exploit. It could be an improvised weapon that presents itself to the combatants, a chance to make a Specific Blow or Kick at a reduced Ease Factor penalty, or some other beneficial event that applies uniformly to all sides.
For example, a player and the GM are restaging the scene in Diamonds are Forever where Bond and Peter Franks are fighting in the elevator. An Opportunity comes up, and the GM decides that the glass walls of the elevator have been smashed, leaving shards on the floor that can be used as crude knives. Franks picks up a shard and tries to use it, but Bond Disarms him. Later in the combat, another Opportunity arises. This time, the GM announces that the combat has moved out of the elevator into the hallway, and there is a fire extinguisher on the wall nearby. Bond grabs the extinguisher and uses it to dispatch Franks.
In chase situations, an Opportunity event will usually mean an Obstacle that both sides must overcome. The GM can roll on this table to see what Ease Factor modifier will apply and then create an appropriate Obstacle.
|1-4||No Ease Factor modifier|
|5-7||-1 Ease Factor modifier|
|8-9||-2 Ease Factor modifier|
|10||-3 Ease Factor modifier|
GM Note: The rule of thumb with creating an Opportunity event is that it should be something either side can benefit from or might be able to take advantage of. If you have an impending Disaster event (see below), a good use of an Opportunity event is to defuse the situation or give the characters a little more time.
When an Advantage event occurs, something happens that poses a difficulty to one side. If the combat roll was a success, the disadvantaged side is the defender. If the roll was a failure, the disadvantaged side is the attacker.
Possible Advantages include somebody dropping his weapon or an important piece of equipment, an important NPC becoming separated from the other characters, or a chain of events that puts one side in peril.
For example, at the end of From Russia With Love, Bond and Tatiana Romanova are trying to escape some gunmen by boat. The gunmen get an Advantage event, so the GM decides their shots have pierced the boat’s fuel tanks , bringing the chase to an end. If Bond had received the Advantage event, the GM might have created a small cove where Bond could have tried to perform a Quick Turn maneuver to lose his pursuers.
In chase situations, an Advantage event will usually mean an Obstacle that only the disadvantaged side must overcome. The GM may roll on the table above to create the obstacle. For example, in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond and Tracy are trying to escape on skis. Bond gets an Advantage event, so the GM places a snow plow in the path of one of the pursuers, who promptly fails to avoid the plow.
GM Note: The rule of thumb with Advantage events is that they should only benefit one side. These events present good ways for the Major Villain to abduct Beautiful Foils and place them in jeopardy.
When a Disaster event occurs, something happens that threatens all the participants in the combat. It could be a fire that breaks out, a ship that starts to sink, a bomb that’s about to explode, and so on.
For example, in The Living Daylights, Bond and Necros are fighting in the back of the Soviet cargo plane. An Opportunity event comes up, and the GM announces that Kara (who is piloting the plane) has accidentally opened up the back cargo hatch; either character could attempt to push the other out. Later, a Disaster event comes up. The GM announces now that a large net of opium has fallen out of the plane with just one strapping connecting it back to the cargo hold; the characters, who were in the way of the net, are now clinging to it for dear life.
In chase situations, a Disaster event can be either an Obstacle with a -4 Ease Factor modifier or an event that dramatically changes the chase entirely: a cliff, dead end or similar obstruction.
GM Note: Generally, it’s best to invent an impending Disaster that will give the characters a chance to defuse the situation or get clear. Give them an idea of how much time they have to act before the disaster actually strikes.