In addition to praise and criticism for the TOP SECRET/S.I. game, your letters have included questions and corrections. This seems like as good a place as any to answer your questions.
How many Luck Points do PCs start with?
The Players Guide says that PCs have a minimum of 2 Luck Points, but never tells you how to generate Luck Points in the first place. The Administrator secretly generates beginning Luck Points for each character by rolling 1d6 + 1, for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 7.
How quickly do characters recover from damage?
As stated in the rules, characters recover 1 point of wound damage immediately if they’re treated by a character with the First Aid skill. They recover an additional point after 24 hours, and 1 point per week thereafter. Bruise damage is recovered at a rate of 1 point per hour per body area damaged. An additional point can be restored through the application of First Aid, but this is a one-time bonus (you don’t get an additional point each hour).
Recovery from CON damage is described in the Administrators Guide. The rate at which it is recovered depends on what caused the damage in the first place. Use the situations described in that book when confronted with something new.
Incidentally, the example of CON damage on page 71 of the Players Guide is wrong. There, Sebastian makes a check against his full CON rather than his current CON to see if he regains consciousness. All such checks are made at 1/2 CON or 1/4 CON. Follow the rule, not the example. When dealing with poison damage, first determine whether or not the character is killed immediately. If not, CON is recovered at a rate of 1d10 points per day. Antidotes can double or triple that rate, but this is determined by the Admin, taking into account the type of poison involved, the antidote, the character’s CON, and so on.
What’s the minimum damage a character can do in hand-to-hand combat?
The minimum damage in such cases is 1 point.
Can an AK74 assault rifle really use 5.56mm ammo?
No; this was an error. The AK74 uses 5.45mm rounds, not 5.56, as stated on page 5 of the Equipment Inventory.
Can an armored personnel carrier carry only two passengers?
No, that’s a typographical error on page 15 of the Equipment Inventory Use 12 passengers for a generic APC, or use the actual carrying capacity for a real APC with which you are familiar.
What’s with the columns on the Aircraft Table on page 15 of the Equipment Inventory?
The line of type reading “Spd Spd* Ceilg** etc.” was shifted one space to the right (see the aircraft tables on pages 67-76 of TSAC1 The G4 File: Guns, Gadgets, and Getaway Gear). Thus, the first column is Max Spd (maximum speed), the second is Stl Spd* (stall speed), the third is Ceilg** (ceiling), etc. (The asterisks are referenced in the table itself.)
How do you fire a burst at multiple targets? Is it one to-hit and damage roll for each target, or one roll for all targets? And do all the targets you do hit take full damage?
To fire a burst at multiple targets, make a separate to-hit and damage roll for each target. However, on a short burst fired at multiple targets, the attacker doesn’t receive to-hit or damage bonuses. On a long burst at multiple targets, the attacker receives only a + 5 to-hit bonus and a +1 damage bonus against each target.
Where are the aircraft and boat rules? The skills are there to use these vehicle types, and there are listings for them in the Equipment Inventory, but there are no rules about how they go, stop, and maneuver.
Boats work just like cars — their performance is measured using the same statistical categories, and they use the same maneuvers. Treat boats as if they were waterbound cars. Airplanes use special statistics and maneuvers:
Acceleration: In level flight, propeller-driven aircraft can accelerate at 1% of maximum speed per turn. This can be increased to 10% of maximum speed by diving at least 100′. Prop-driven aircraft can’t accelerate and climb at the same time — they must lose 10% of maximum speed if they climb more than 100′ in a turn. Jet aircraft can accelerate up to 10% of maximum speed in level flight or climb. This can be doubled to 20% in a dive.
Deceleration: In a single turn, aircraft in level flight can decelerate by as much as 1% of maximum speed. They can lose up to 10% of maximum speed by climbing 100′ or more in a single turn.
Maneuvering: Helicopters turn and use special maneuvers like automobiles. All other aircraft turn very gradually in a two-second TOP SECRET/S.I. game turn — up to 15% to the right or left if the pilot makes a successful Piloting skill check. If the check is unsuccessful, the aircraft turns only 5%.
If you’ve got a better idea of how to make airplanes and helicopters work, write it up and send it to us! If you find any other mistakes or have any questions, you know where to find us. Keep writing and, whatever you do, don’t blow your cover!